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Part 1 What is Sin?

Greek words

Anyone who seeks to do the will of God ought to know what sin is and that the wages of sin is death (Romans 6:23). This death is spiritual separation from God, the source of life (Isaiah 59:1,2). There are various words used in the Greek NT to describe sin. They are:

The Scriptures teach us that sin is the breaking or transgression of the law (1 John 3:4); sin is lawlessness because the one who sins sets aside the law to do as he wishes. Sin is the breaking of God's law and is an offense against God Himself (Genesis 39:9; Psalm 51:4). Sin is not only doing what God forbids; it is also the failure to do what God demands of us. "Anyone, then, who knows the good he ought to do and doesn't do it, sins" (James 4:17). Many people will be lost at judgment for failure to obey the gospel (2 Thessalonians 1:7-9). All wrongdoing or unrighteousness is sin (1 John 5:17).


Part 2 Various Kinds of Sin


John said that worldliness is characterized by three things: the lust of the flesh, the lust of the eyes and the pride of life (1 John 2:15-17). The very first sin of Adam and Eve, eating of the fruit of the tree of knowledge of good and evil is an example of how temptation to sin may appeal to any or all of these categories (Genesis 3:1-19). Eve saw that the fruit was good for food (flesh), pleasing to the eye (eyes), and was able to make her wise (pride). Both Adam and Eve gave in to temptation. Their sin led to their spiritual death and to physical death coming upon all men (Romans 5:12-17).

  1. Works of the Flesh: "sexual immorality, impurity and debauchery; idolatry and witchcraft; hatred, discord, jealousy, fits of rage, selfish ambition, dissensions, factions and envy; drunkenness, orgies, and the like. I warn you, as I did before, that those who live like this will not inherit the kingdom of God" (Galatians 5:19-21).

  2. Wicked deeds: sexual immorality, idolatry, adultery, male prostitution, homosexuality, theft, greed, drunkenness, slander, swindling. Those who commit such acts will not "inherit the kingdom of God" (1 Corinthians 6:9-10).

  3. Godlessness and wickedness: failure to acknowledge or give thanks to God, idolatry, sexual impurity, homosexuality, shameful lusts, lesbianism, indecency, perversion, wickedness, evil, greed, envy, murder, strife, deceit, malice, gossip, slander, God-hating, insolence, arrogance, boasting, disobedience to parents, senselessness, faithlessness, heartlessness, ruthlessness, and the toleration and approval of others' wickedness (Romans 1:18-32).

  4. Deeds of Darkness: the hint of sexual immorality, impurity, greed, obscenity, foolish talk or coarse joking (Ephesians 5:1-12). Those who practice these things will not inherit the kingdom of God and have the wrath of God coming on the disobedient.

  5. Earthly Deeds: sexual immorality, impurity, lust, evil desires, and greed (which is idolatry). Also anger, rage, malice, slander, filthy language, and lying. The Christian must rid himself of these things.

  6. Godlessness in the last days: "For men will be lovers of self, lovers of money, boastful, arrogant, revilers, disobedient to parents, ungrateful, unholy, unloving, irreconcilable, malicious gossips, without self-control, brutal, haters of good, treacherous, reckless, conceited, lovers of pleasure rather than lovers of God; holding to a form of godliness, although they have denied its power; and avoid such men as these. For among them are those who enter into households and captivate weak women weighed down with sins, led on by various impulses, always learning and never able to come to the knowledge of the truth. And just as Jannes and Jambres opposed Moses, so these {men} also oppose the truth, men of depraved mind, rejected as regards the faith. . . . But evil men and impostors will proceed {from bad} to worse, deceiving and being deceived" (2 Timothy 3:2-8,13).


Sexual Sins

  1. Sexual Immorality. This is a broad term referring to all kinds of sexual intercourse before or outside of marriage (1 Corinthians 6:12-20). This includes intercourse before marriage, adultery, homosexuality, bestiality, incest, multiple husbands or wives (Matthew 19:3-9). Those who practice sexual immorality will not enter the kingdom of heaven (1 Corinthians 6:9,10; Galatians 5:19-21).

  2. Adultery. Adultery is committed when a married person has sexual intercourse with someone other than the person to whom he is married. Those who commit adultery are guilty of breaking a covenant with their spouses. A single person commits adultery when he has sexual intercourse with a person who is married to someone else.

  3. Homosexuality. Sexual intercourse between two persons of the same sex; those who practice it cannot enter heaven (Genesis 13:13; 18:20; 19:1-29; Romans 1:24-32; 1 Corinthians 6:9,10; 1 Timothy 1:10). Sodomites are called "dogs" in Deuteronomy 23:17,18 and may be referred to in Revelation 22:15.

  4. Incest. Illicit sexual intercourse performed between members of the same family (Leviticus 18:6-18; 20:11-21; 1 Corinthians 5:21; cf. Matthew 14:3,4).

  5. Bestiality. Sexual intercourse with an animal (Exodus 22:19).

  6. Lust or Lasciviousness. Jesus taught that the man who looks on a woman to lust after her has committed adultery with her already in his heart (Matthew 5:27-30). The Christian is to avoid lusting (Romans 13:13; Galatians 5:19-21; Colossians 3:5). Coveting another man's wife is sin (Exodus 20:17), even though one may not touch her. The Christian must be careful to avoid activities that promote lasciviousness or lust. "Don't be misled: 'Bad company corrupts good morals'" (1 Corinthians 15:33).


Sins of the Heart

"Above all else, guard your heart, for it is the wellspring of life" (Proverbs 4:23).

"For out of the overflow of the heart the mouth speaks. The good man brings good things out of the good stored up in him, and the evil man brings evil things out of the evil stored up in him" (Matthew 12:34,35).

"For out of the heart come evil thoughts, murder, adultery, sexual immorality, theft, false testimony, slander" (Matthew 15:19).

  1. Anger. Jesus taught that anger with a brother is sinful (Matthew 5:21,22). Christians who have sinned against a brother are to reconcile quickly (Matthew 5:23-26). Christians who have been forgiven by God are expecting to be forgiving with others (Matthew 6:14,15; 18:21-35; Ephesians 4:32). Jesus gives us instructions as to how to deal with a brother who has sinned against us (Matthew 18:15-17).

  2. Partiality. Christians are to love and treat everyone with respect (James 2:1-10). God does not show favoritism (Acts 10:34; Romans 2:6,11).

  3. Envy or Jealousy. Love is not jealous (1 Corinthians 13:4). Envy is the feeling of displeasure produced by witnessing the advantage or prosperity of others (Matthew 27:18; Romans 1:29; Galatians 5:21; Philippians 1:15; 1 Timothy 6:4; Titus 3:3; 1 Peter 2:1. Envy desires to deprive another of what he possesses; jealousy desires to have the same or the same sort of thing for itself (Romans 13:13; 1 Corinthians 3:3; James 3:14,16; Galatians 5:20; James 4:2).

  4. Prejudice. Judging according to appearances is wrong; Christians are to judge righteously (John 7:24; cf. Luke 9:36-51). Since we do not know the motives of other people's hearts, we must be careful not to judge. The Lord warns us against judging others (Matthew 7:1-5). This, however, does not mean that we should not take note of other people's actions and deal with them accordingly (cf. Matthew 7:6, 15-20; 1 Corinthians 5; 1 Timothy 1:19,20; 3 John 9,10).

  5. Thanklessness. An unthankful heart leads to many sins (Romans 1:21-32). One who is not thankful to God for kindnesses may turn his life to cynicism, grumbling, complaining and bitterness (See 1 Corinthians 10:10; Phil. 2:14; James 5:9; Jude 16).

  6. Pride or Arrogance. Arrogance is the attitude of exalting oneself so that one is better than others. The "holier-than-you" attitude is greatly offensive to God (Isaiah 65:5). God hates haughty eyes (Proverbs 6:16,17) and expects us to despise it as evil (8:13). Pride leads to disgrace (11:2; 29:23), breeds quarrels (13:10), and goes before destruction (16:18). God will humble the proud (Luke 1:51; Romans 1:30; 2 Timothy 3:2; James 4:6; 1 Peter 5:5). The Pharisee was not justified, even though he compared himself with a sinner (Luke 18:9-14). The pride of Nebuchadnezzar (Daniel 4) led to his downfall.

  7. Selfish Ambition. A contentious struggle for personal profit or power, with no redeeming hint of service to others. Selfish ambition battles others for immediate gains and empty honors, which have no eternal value (Luke 12:13-21; Romans 2:8; Galatians 5:20; Philippians 1:17; 2:3,4; James 3:14-16).

  8. Bitterness and Revenge. Bitterness describes the twisted way individuals respond to the pain events of life. (Acts 8:23; Ephesians 4:31,32; Hebrews 12:15). Revenge is the paying back of evil for evil (Matthew 5:38-48). The Christian is to depend upon God to take vengeance on evildoers (Romans 12:11-21; Hebrews 10:30). The Christian is expected to forgive others (Matthew 6:14,15; 18:21-35). The Christian is instructed about what to do when a brother sins against him (Matthew 18:15-17).

  9. Greed or the Love of Money. "The love of money is the root of all kinds of evil. Some people, eager for money, have wandered from the faith and pierced themselves with many griefs" (1 Timothy 6:10). One cannot serve God and money at the same time (Matthew 6:19-24). Greed or covetousness is idolatry (Ephesians 5:5; Colossians 3:5).


Sins of the Tongue

  1. Lying. The tongue can be used to hurt other people in a variety of ways: lying, bearing false witness, false accusations, and flattery. (See Psalm 34:13; Leviticus 19:16; Ex. 20

  2. Gossip, slander, blasphemy, and busybodies. Romans 1:28,29,30; 1 Corinthians 12:20; 1 Timothy 5:13; 2 Timothy 3:1,2; James 4:11; 1 Peter 2:12; 3:16. It is slander to speak evil about anyone. Those who speak about others should ask themselves: Is it true? Is it needful? Is it kind? Is it helpful? Does it edify? (See Proverbs 16:27; 18:8; 21:23; Psalm 15:1-3; 101:5; 2 Thessalonians 3:11; 1 Timothy 5:13,14; 1 Peter 4:15.)

  3. Angry outbursts, unjust criticism, and ridicule. See Proverbs 14:17; 15:1; 29:22 The Christian is to be quick to hear, slow to speak, and slow to anger (James 1:19,20), for a man's anger does not bring about the righteous life that God desires. When Jesus was reviled, he did not revile in return, leaving us an example to follow his steps (1 Peter 2:21-25).

  4. Idle Talk. (Matthew 12:36,37; James 3:10). Idle talk is unproductive; it does not bless or help anyone. It is negative and worthless. One who does not bridle his tongue, but deceives his heart, has a vain religion (James 1:26,27). The Christian is instructed to use his tongue to edify others (Ephesians 4:29; Colossians 4:5,6).

  5. Profanity. "Thou shalt not take the Name of the Lord Thy God in vain, for the Lord will not leave him unpunished who takes His name in vain" (Exodus 20:7). To profane something is to treat what is holy and should be respected as if it were common. Profaning God's name is to use it in an unholy manner. To speak of God, Christ, heaven or hell in such a way as to make it common is sinful. To swear, using God's name, and not mean what you swear is taking the Lord's name in vain (Matthew 5:33-37; James 5:12).
    Sexual things are often used in such a way as to be profanity. Marriage is holy, and the marriage bed is undefiled (Hebrews 13:4). Dirty jokes, filthy language, and vulgar talk have no place in the conversation of Christians (Ephesians 4:29; 5:3-5; Colossians 3:4,5).

  6. Sowing discord. God hates the spreading of strife among brothers (Proverbs 6:16-19). The person who uses his tongue to incite anger and bitterness among brethren surely sins against God and against his brethren. Many will be hurt by his actions.

  7. Boasting. Men should not boast of themselves, but rather boast that they know God (Jeremiah 9:23,24; cf. Proverbs 20:30,31). Let him who glories, glory in the Lord (1 Corinthians 1:29-31; Galatians 6:14). Boasting is a cause of strife and jealousy (1 Corinthians 4:6,7; 2 Corinthians 10:12-18). See also Romans 1:30; James 3:5; 4:16.


Origin of Personal Sin

James 1:13-15 "But each one is tempted when he is carried away and enticed by his own lust. Then when lust has conceived, it gives birth to sin; and when sin is accomplished, it brings forth death. Do not be deceived, my beloved brethren."

Romans 7:6-10 "And I was once alive apart from the Law; but when the commandment came, sin became alive, and I died."

Personal Accountability for Sin

  1. Each responsible for his own sin (Ezekiel 18; Romans 6:23)

  2. All have sinned (Romans 3:10; Romans 3:23; 1 John 1:8,10)

Two Kinds of Sin

  1. Unintentional Sins Can Be Forgiven (Leviticus 4:2)

    1. sins of ignorance

    2. sins of weakness (Matthew 26:41; Hebrews 4:15,16)

  2. Presumptuous Sins Cannot Be Forgiven (Numbers 15:29-31)

    1. presumptuous (Psalm 19:13)

    2. impenitence (Jeremiah 5:3; Luke 13:3; 2 Peter 3:9)

    3. blasphemy of the Holy Spirit (despising the Word, Numbers15:30,31; see Matthew 12

    4. Sins unto death (1 John 5:16; Jeremiah 7:16-20)

    5. willful sins (Hebrews 6:4-6; 10:26-31)


Part 3 What Sin Will Do


There are always consequences to sin.

  1. Sin will deceive (Hebrews 3:12 14; Ephesians 4:22)

  2. Sin will enslave (John 8:34; Romans 6:16 18; 2 Peter 18 22)

  3. Sin will corrupt and defile us spiritually and physically (Titus 1:15,16; Galatians 6:7,8)

  4. Sin will harden (Titus 1:15; 1 Timothy 4:1 3; Ephesians 4:19; Hebrews3:12 14; 6:4 6)

  5. Sin will bring spiritual death (Ezekiel 18:4; Romans 6:23; Ephesians 2:1)

  6. Sin separates us from God (Isaiah 59:1,2) no relationship


How God looks upon sin

      1. Exodus 20:5 "jealous God, taking vengeance on them that hate me"

      2. Sin is often called an abomination

      3. Ephesians 4:30 "grieve not the Holy Spirit"

      4. Matthew 27:37 39 Jesus was broken hearted


It Is the Tendency of Man
To Downplay Sin

  1. Men have always thought that sin should be softened

    1. We call it mistake, difficulty, error in judgment, disappointment, an inappropriate action, problem, disease

    2. We wish to blame society, parents, and circumstances and remove responsibility from the perpetrator

    3. We offer so many excuses: (rationalizing away our sin)

      1. "Just once won't hurt"

      2. "Everyone's doing it"

      3. "I can quit when I want to"

      4. "Get with it, this is the 2000's! Things have changed!"

      5. "We were all in on it"

      6. "She did it first" (Adam)

      7. "I had to do it, or I would have lost face" (Saul)

      8. "I didn't use the proceeds anyway." (Judas)


We often lie to ourselves about sin!

  1. 1 Corinthians 6:9 11 "Do not be deceived."

  2. 1 Corinthians 15:33 "Do not be deceived: Bad company corrupts good morals."

  3. Galatians 6:7,8 "Do not be deceived. God is not mocked"

  4. 1 John 1:8 10 "no sin? We are deceiving ourselves"

  5. In our hearts we know that sin is wrong, but we often would rather believe a lie

Part 4 The Punishment of Sin

  1. Earth cursed because of sin (Genesis 3:17,18)

  2. Death entered the world through sin (Romans 5:12)

  3. The sting of death is sin (1 Corinthians 15:56)

  4. The wages of sin is death (Romans 6:23; Ezekiel 18:4)

  5. Sin prevents people from entering heaven (Galatians 5:19 21; Ephesians 5:5; Revelation 21:8,27)

  6. The punishment for sin is eternal (Matthew 25:41 46; Revelation 20:10 15; 21:8)


J.W. McGarvey said, "I wonder if any of us has ever realized what it is to commit sin. I have prepared sermons designed to set forth the enormity of sin: but I have every time felt that I made a failure. The pleasures of sin have blinded our eyes to its enormity. The journey of human life is strewn with tears; the whole earth on which we live has become dotted over with graveyards. The Word of God tells us that all this woe, pain, sorrow and death result from sin."


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