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What is Sin?

What is Sin?
By Let Us Reason Ministries

The law has a relationship to sin, it gives the standard to show what sin is. Rom.4:15: "because the law brings about wrath; for where there is no law there is no transgression."However this word "law"does not always refer only to the 10 commandments. Sin is called transgression of the law, but not all sin is transgression of the 10. The law keeps one in check, it is a boundary line. Rom.5:13 "For until the law sin was in the world, but sin is not imputed when there is no law."This shows there was sin previously without the 10 Commandments which means that God gave numerous commands before, these are spoken laws to those he instructed. History shows this to be true, for example the angels sinned, 2 Pet. 2:4 which means as it states they left their assigned place that God gave; Adam sinned not by breaking the 10 (Rom.5:12). The only commandments God gave Adam were to keep the garden, be fruitful and not eat from the tree of knowledge of good and evil. These texts have no reference to the 10 commandments. The Sodomites sinned, Gen.13:13 "the Gentiles which have not the law"sinned, Rom.2:12-14. We can see that sin is something more than a violation of the Decalogue. In the New Testament John says, "All unrighteousness is sin"1 John 5:17. A neglect to do good is sin James 4:17, Unbelief is sin Rom.14:23, but none of these are a transgression of the Decalogue. There are numerous wrongs that the Decalogue does not address. God writes to us that the law came so we may know how to measure sin specifically. Through time God continued to give commands, Rom.5:20 "Moreover the law entered that the offense might abound. But where sin abounded, grace abounded much more."The laws intent was to increase ones ability to sin, to exaggerate its practice so it would be evident. Rom.3:20 "for through the Law {comes} the knowledge of sin". This is the same law Paul speaks about that condemns and makes one guilty it includes the 10 commandments and anything else contrary to God. The law was given to show man could not meet the requirements of God. If you put yourself under the law you will sin, it has no power, its for those who operate in the flesh to know they fall short of his standard.

SIN - has different Hebrew and Greek words and meanings. All sin is the breaking of the law or commands meaning to violate Gods perfect standard or a command given. Each has a slightly different description in relation to what is violated. but this is not the only description of sin, it can be summed up as anything contrary to Gods perfect nature as well as his commands. Sin is when someone is defied, offended, or hurt. This can pertain to people or God. Although all sin is offending God, since he is what we offend by breaking his standard by either word, law or person.

Gal.3:10 explains that ignorance of the law does not exclude anyone from punishment, it only lessens the degree of punishment Lk.12:47-48.

Sin has a principle or nature, it is also an act Mt.15:19, and it brings about pollution Lk.6:45. It brings darkness to our understanding. It makes an evil and vain imaginations sensual affections expressed in the body Rom.1:26-27 corrupts speech Eph.4:29. Defiles the mind and conscience Titus 1:15 Enslaves the will Rom.7:18-19. Sin is selfishness1 Jn.3:4, there are no gray areas it is either right or wrong. It always will relate to the will and relationship of God Rom.5:13 guilt and pollution will always be its fruit. Rom.3:19 teaches that it makes us all guilty -liable for punishment.

Sin has its roots in the heart and influences the intellect and will and finds expression through the body Prov.4:3; Mt.15:19-20; Lk.6:45; Heb.3:12 ; Jm1:14-15. The sin nature is the basis for sinful habits Rom.7:7, the consequence of practicing sin is spiritual death, separation from God in this life Eph.2:5 and in the hereafter.

Rom.4:15: because the law brings about wrath; for where there is no law there is no transgression. The law was a standard so their would be no question that we are sinners. We often hear sin is a transgression of the law. Yes, but its more than that, transgressions are a particular kind of sin. SIN - has different Hebrew and Greek words and meanings. All sin is the breaking of the law meaning to violate Gods perfect standard. Each has a slightly different description in relation to what is violated.

Each of the definitions of sin gives a standard we cannot reach or a line deliberately or unintentionally crossed. Sin is when someone is defied, offended, or hurt. This can pertain to people or God. (these are a few of the descriptions in Greek)

Harmatia -- missing the mark or target and hitting another is the most common explanation. To keep the law perfect means to have a bullseye everytime. No one can do this.

Greek words- Adikia -- unrighteousness, iniquity, injustice.

Poneira -- evil of a vicious kind, degenerate. it is an inward corruption which distorts or perverts character.

Parabasis -- Heb.pesha` from #6586;(strongs) a revolt (national, moral or religious): rebellion, sin,. trespass, transgressions - stepping over a known boundary. 1) a going over 2) metaphorically, a disregarding, a violating a) used of the Mosaic law b) the breach of a definite, promulgated, ratified law c) to create transgressions, that is, that sins might take on the character of transgressions, and thereby the consciousness of sin be intensified and the desire for redemption be aroused.

Anomia -- lawlessness - violation of a known law.

James gives the definition of how sin is birthed.Jm.1:14-15 "but each one is tempted when, by his own evil desire, he is dragged away and enticed. Then, after desire has conceived, it gives birth to sin; and sin, when it is full-grown, gives birth to death."

The source of sin doesn't come from the outside but from within. we are drawn away from our own desires( The Greek means to be lured into a trap) It is not a single act but a process that begins in our heart. You can say the real source is heart disease, our fallen human nature. The Law cannot change the heart all it does is point to the problem, it is diagnostic but it is not the cure. It cannot change the heart of man because the law has no power in this area. It points and convicts makes one guilty, it has no other ability.

Those who say they have no sin whether they are unbelievers or believers that think they have attained a state of perfection in this life, do not understand what sin is or they do not know how holy God is.

Purposes of the Law

1. To reveal God's holiness; god had a standard of righteousness that he demanded for someone to have a proper relationship with him. Nowhere in the scripture do we find anyone keeping the law for their salvation which would make one accepted by works, it was always by faith.

2.To provide a basis for Israel's walk and worship of God. To unify and distinguish Israel as a nation. This kept them separate from the other nations around them that worshipped false Gods. The Jews became distinct from the way they conducted themselves in worship Lev.1-7, 16, 23, diet Lev.11:1-47, clothing Lev.19:19, even how they cut their beards Lev.19:27.

3.(Rom.3:2 ) It was to expose the sinfulness of man and to make man sin more (Rom.4:15, 5:20). as in 1 Cor.15:56 says the power of sin is the law . Before the law man was still a sinner but not a transgressor, once a standard came we had a goal and our nature made us violate the requirements even more.

4.(Rom..7:9) To provide atonement by the shedding of blood. The sacrificial system prefigured Christ by covering their sin but not taking it away (Gal.4:4) there was a permanent sacrifice needed.

5.To serve as a middle wall of partition to keep Gentiles from enjoying Israel's blessings as Gentiles. They needed to become proselytes joining the nation that was a theocracy (Eph.2:14 -15)

6. To reveal the Messiah and bring one to faith in him to be saved. (Gal.3:23 -25, Rom.8:1-4).

Going back and expanding on point (3.)The law tells us how guilty we are, the prophets tell us what to do. If one cannot pay heed to what can change their conscience, they certainly will not hear why they need to do so.

The Law in Hebrew is "TORAH"and in Greek is "NOMOS". These consist of a single unit, it is linked together.

James 2:10: "For whoever keeps the whole law and yet stumbles in one {point,} he has become guilty of all."

What purpose then does the law serve? The law was temporary = Gal 3:19 "Why the Law then? It was added because of transgressions,.., until the seed should come to whom the promise had been made. The law was an addition to make sin apparent, when Christ came the dispensation of the law for one under faith had ended.

To make everyone guilty = Rom. 3:19: "Now we know that whatever the law says, it says to those who are under the law, that every mouth may be stopped, and all the world may become guilty before God. because by the works of the Law no flesh will be justified in His sight; for through the Law {comes} the knowledge of sin."

The law is not the only way to make one a sinner = Rom. 5:13-14 (For until the law sin was in the world, but sin is not imputed when there is no law. Nevertheless death reigned from Adam to Moses, even over those who had not sinned according to the likeness of the transgression of Adam, who is a type of Him who was to come.

The law was made to increase sin = Rom. 7:9-11: "And I was once alive apart from the Law; but when the commandment came, sin became alive, and I died; and the commandment, which was to result in life, proved to result in death for me;"Rom. 5:20: "Moreover the law entered that the offense might abound. But where sin abounded, grace abounded much more,"Gal 3:19 "Why the Law then? It was added because of transgressions."

1 Cor.15:56: "the sting of death is sin and the strength of sin is the law."This is saying the more one keeps the law the more the sin nature becomes alive. This in turn brings death. In other words the sin nature operates by the law. It gives more power to it.

It brought wrath=Rom.4:15 because the law brings about wrath; for where there is no law there is no transgression.

The law was temporary = Gal 3:19: "Why the Law then? It was added because of transgressions,.., until the seed should come to whom the promise had been made. Gal 3:23-25 But before faith came, we were kept in custody under the law, being shut up to the faith which was later to be revealed. Therefore the Law has become our tutor {to lead us} to Christ, that we may be justified by faith. Now that faith has come, we are no longer under a tutor. (under its teaching or instruction)

The law killed someone it never brought life = Rom. 8:2-4: "For the law of the Spirit of life in Christ Jesus has set you free from the law of sin and of death, For what the Law could not do, weak as it was through the flesh, God {did:} sending His own Son in the likeness of sinful flesh ."Rom. 7:6 But now we have been released from the Law, having died to that by which we were bound, so that we serve in newness of the Spirit and not in oldness of the letter.

Did the law motivate Israel to live holy lives, were they victorious or did it end in failure. Moses the very one who was the most humble man on earth, who received the laws from God, broke one that was not included (misrepresenting God to the people) and was barred from the Promised Land. The whole nation except two died out. The law will not deliver God's people to paradise. Deut.31 the whole generation did not enter the promise land except for two who God said had a different Spirit in them, they had faith. This proves you cannot enter the promise land keeping the law. Moses represented the law but it was Joshua who entered the land. This is why Moses couldn't enter the promise land, its typology showed you can't enter in by your own efforts, which is how the law functioned. Moses broke the command of God by misrepresenting him and was forbidden to enter. He presented God as angry when God wanted to have grace for the people.

The people of the law were cut off in the book of Acts when God turns to the Gentiles. What legalists claim "not keeping the law is damnable", but it is really is the opposite. Because Paul says you can't mix the two in the book of Galatians, like Israel who was to have only one type of material to wear and not mix fabric one with another.

Israel was cut off because of unbelief, having no faith Rom.11 tells us they were trying to be justified by the law. Paul said not to circumcise which no Jew in history ever said. Why? Because its now the circumcision of the heart not the flesh, its in Christ not the law. Biblically the flesh is a synonym of the law, the Spirit is of grace. The New Testament portrays sin being resurrected by one trying to live under the law and is overcome only through the grace of God in the New covenant.

Original Article


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