SIN, a Devotion for 21 July 2017 Anno Domini
“Whosoever committeth sin transgresseth also the law: for sin is the transgression of the law. And ye know that he was manifested to take away our sins; and in him is no sin. Whosoever abideth in him sinneth not: whosoever sinneth hath not seen him, neither known him. Little children, let no man deceive you: he that doeth righteousness is righteous, even as he is righteous. He that committeth sin is of the devil; for the devil sinneth from the beginning. For this purpose the Son of God was manifested, that he might destroy the works of the devil. Whosoever is born of God doth not commit sin; for his seed remaineth in him: and he cannot sin, because he is born of God. In this the children of God are manifest, and the children of the devil: whosoever doeth not righteousness is not of God, neither he that loveth not his brother.” 1 John 3:4-10 (all scripture quoted is from the King James Version)
At the outset of every serious discussion, there must be a clarification of terms that highlight the discussion. The banner term upon which today’s discussion is centered is the word, SIN. Sin is not a very pleasant topic of discussion. Reference to SIN is more avoided today in churches than it is in the bar room. Many believe that sin is a word passé to our time, but it is more relevant a point of discussion and deliberation today than ever before. Many have dismissed the Law of God as having nothing to do with our obligations before God. That is a lie straight from the burning fires of Hell itself. So what, exactly, is SIN? I will not mince human terms of theologians in the definition for their opinion is irrelevant in the face of God’s pure Word. Simply put, as Scripture declares, “sin is the transgression of the law.” No further effort to define sin is necessary when God has summarized it so concisely.
It may surprise some readers to hear me aver that we are even saved under the terms of the Law, but we are. You may claim, “Not so, by grace alone are we saved.” Both answers are correct and both are required for salvation. In what way? Do you agree that we have all sinned and fallen short of the righteousness of God? “For all have sinned, and come short of the glory of God;” (Romans 3:23) So, are you an exception, or perhaps an angel who kept his first estate? No! You and I are sinners who fell short of the glory of God – no exception. God is a God who cannot disregard His Holy Law. The sentence of death, which we all deserve, must be executed. “For the wages of sin is death; but the gift of God is eternal life through Jesus Christ our Lord.” (Romans 6:23) Those wages will be paid – no exception. However, the penalty of the Law stands between us and our God. Since God cannot ignore His Law of Justice, that penalty must be paid ere we come to Him at the end of this life. How can we satisfy that debt before we perish (for we cannot be saved after death)?
The Law requires the penalty of death to all sinners, and there is no way we can pay the penalty. We are poor and desperate sinners who have no collateral or bond to post that will satisfy our sin debt. “If we say that we have no sin, we deceive ourselves, and the truth is not in us. If we confess our sins, he is faithful and just to forgive us our sins, and to cleanse us from all unrighteousness. If we say that we have not sinned, we make him a liar, and his word is not in us.”(1 John 1:8-10) We need to call on someone who has the means and resources to pay our debt, and that Benefactor must have no debt on His own part, else the debt could not be paid. There is but One who could satisfy the terms of the Law on our behalf. Only One of all men who has no sin and who is rich in righteousness. That Person is both Man and God. His name is our Lord Jesus Christ. Being sinless, He had no sin debt to pay on His own part. Therefore, He could be our substitute in redeeming the debt for all who accept His Lordship. “Being justified freely by his grace through the redemption that is in Christ Jesus,” (Romans 3:24)
When a prisoner is pardoned by proper court of wrong doing, the law that convicted him from the beginning is not done away; and neither are the Law and Commandments of God done away. They exist for all, but those who have found their calling and election in Christ are pardoned from paying the sin-debt that our Lord satisfied on our behalf. Every one of the Ten Commandments of God are subordinate to the first. If we keep the first Commandment, we cannot fail to keep the other nine.
Jesus summarized the Ten Commandments when asked what is the first and great Commandment. Jesus responded: “…Thou shalt love the Lord thy God with all thy heart, and with all thy soul, and with all thy mind. This is the first and great commandment.” (Matthew 22:37-38) Jesus is summarizing the first five Commandments in our obligations to God – the Fifth is a transition Commandment between our obligations to our Father in Heaven and our obligations to our earthly parents. Our Lord then summarizes our duties to each other: “And the second is like unto it, Thou shalt love thy neighbour as thyself.” (Matthew 22:39) Please note how the second summary is totally contingent on keeping the first: “If a man say, I love God, and hateth his brother, he is a liar: for he that loveth not his brother whom he hath seen, how can he love God whom he hath not seen? And this commandment have we from him, That he who loveth God love his brother also.” (1 John 4:20-21)
SIN IS A THIEF AND MURDERER:
SIN represents the legal code of Satan. We are born with a propensity to sin. That means that no matter how hard we try, or how much we study, we cannot claim a free will to live righteously; therefore, the very wills of the sinner is not free at all, but enslaved to the legal code of Satan which is unrighteousness altogether. Sin is Satan’s means of taking all that we have and leaving us for dead. “A certain man went down from Jerusalem to Jericho, and fell among thieves, which stripped him of his raiment, and wounded him, and departed, leaving him half dead.” (Luke 10:30) Fellow Christians, you and I were that ‘certain man’ that went DOWN from the Holy City, out of the will of God, and was mugged by Satan – robbed and left for dead. When Satan leaves you for dead, it is time for the mighty power of God to act.
SIN IS A DEBT OWED:
In that communal prayer called the Lord’s Prayer, we pray: “And forgive us our debts, as we forgive our debtors.” (Matthew 6:12) Forgiveness must be sought, and it will be granted by God’s mercy and grace.
SIN IS A HEAVY BURDEN:
Sin weighs us down and makes running the race God has chosen to set before us impossible to run. “For mine iniquities are gone over mine head: as an heavy burden they are too heavy for me.” (Psalms 38:4) As the track runner, Paul says, “Wherefore seeing we also are compassed about with so great a cloud of witnesses, let us lay aside every weight, and the sin which doth so easily beset us, and let us run with patience the race that is set before us, Looking unto Jesus the author and finisher of our faith; who for the joy that was set before him endured the cross, despising the shame, and is set down at the right hand of the throne of God.” (Hebrews 12:1-2) The sin burden is too heavy for any man to bear across Jordan Banks without a Deliverer of them: “Come unto me, all ye that labour and are heavy laden, and I will give you rest. Take my yoke upon you, and learn of me; for I am meek and lowly in heart: and ye shall find rest unto your souls. For my yoke is easy, and my burden is light.” (Matthew 11:28-30)
SIN IS A DEADLY STING:
Sin is a sting that results in eternal death unless the antidote is applied (the blood of our Lord Jesus Christ.) “The sting of death is sin; and the strength of sin is the law. But thanks be to God, which giveth us the victory through our Lord Jesus Christ.” (1 Corinthians 15:56-57)
SIN IS A DEADLY WOUND AND SEPARATE US FROM GOD AND HIS PEOPLE:
Just as the disease of leprosy is a living death, so is the wound of SIN. “My wounds stink and are corrupt because of my foolishness.” (Psalms 38:5) “The spirit of a man will sustain his infirmity; but a wounded spirit who can bear?” (Proverbs 18:14)
SIN IS A PLAGUE OF THE SOUL:
“What prayer and supplication soever be made by any man, or by all thy people Israel, which shall know every man the plague of his own heart, and spread forth his hands toward this house:” (1 Kings 8:38) Sin is spiritual LEPROSY. IT ALWAYS leads to death. It is a disease of the blood contaminated at Eden. It is a growing sickness. It becomes impossible to conceal the spread of the disease due to its disfiguration of the soul, and the putrid odor of a character blemished by the advancing leprosy. Only the blood of Christ can cleanse the spiritual leper’s blood disease.
SIN IS UNCLEANESS:
When we are unclean, we need to take a bath. When we have sinned, we need the washing of the Word. “In that day there shall be a fountain opened to the house of David and to the inhabitants of Jerusalem for sin and for uncleanness.” (Zechariah 13:1)
There are many other features that are associated with sin; however, it is enough to know that sin kills, and salvation in the Lord makes alive. Rather than study the parameters of sin, let us more diligently study the ways of righteousness in the Lord. “Study to shew thyself approved unto God, a workman that needeth not to be ashamed, rightly dividing the word of truth.” (2 Timothy 2:15-16) But bear in mind, we would not know sin were it not for the Law, for sin is the transgression of God’s Law.