1. WHAT IS SIN?
By way of definition we may say that sin is a godless attitude of mind which manifests itself in disobedience of the commandments of Yahweh the God of Abraham, Isaac and Israel. The Bible says simply:
1 John 3:4
|“Whosoever committeth sin transgresseth also the law:
for sin is the transgression of the law.”
In other words when a person violates one or more of the Almighty’s commandments, then that person is sinning, whether he/she knows it or not.
2. PURPOSE OF THE LAW
Why was the law given in the first place? Do we need moral laws?
|“… for by the law is the knowledge of sin.“|
|“What shall we say then? Is the law sin? God forbid. Nay, I had not known sin, but by the law: for I had not known lust, except the law had said, Thou shalt not covet. “|
You will see from these texts that Yahweh’s law defines sin. It brings it to one’s notice. It details the behaviour the Most High considers right and wrong. Humanity is incapable of defining sin. Only the Creator can do that. Were a society to totally set aside Yahweh’s law, the law which defines sin, then within a single generation people would become incapable of even recognising error. Such a society would inevitably descend into a vortex of vice, violence and vandalism beyond our ability to imagine, let alone control.
3. TYPES OF LAWLESSNESS
Sin is lawlessness. Sin is breaking divine law. From the Biblical viewpoint lawlessness, disobedience and sin are three words meaning the same thing. The two words ‘sin’ and ‘disobedience’ are interchangeable. Broadly speaking, sin may be divided into two categories:
- Obvious Sins
These are the all too evident sins of blasphemy, deceit, theft, violence, rape, sodomy, adultery murder etc.
- Not so Obvious Sins
Then we have the socially acceptable sins such as unbelief, covetousness, ingratitude, envy, pride and Sabbath-breaking.
All these sins are really expressions of rebellion against the Almighty’s law. The spirit of rebellion was first manifest in the mind of Satan, the first sinner ever to be.
4. ALL OF US ARE BORN WITH A LAWLESS NATURE
Few people would admit to being lawless or sinful. Nevertheless, it is true to say that sinful tendencies are inherent in every human mind and make-up. The Bible says:
|“For all have sinned, and come short of the glory of God”|
|“Wherefore, as by one man sin entered into the world, and death by sin; and so death passed upon all men, for that all have sinned:”|
Yes, it is a tragic truth: We have all sinned, and we have all sinned repeatedly. What’s more, the human mind is naturally antagonistic towards the Almighty’s law and instinctively seeks to reject it. This is a far more serious problem than people realise. The inspired writer continues:
|“Because the carnal mind is enmity against God: for it is not subject to the law of God, neither indeed can be.“|
|” The heart is deceitful above all things, and desperately wicked: who can know it?”|
The spiritual mirror the Creator uses to show a sinner his/her sinful condition is His law. But the human heart (mind) is at war with the law of God. It is not naturally subject to the law of God, neither indeed can be. By the divine standard the human heart is sick! Such is the inspired assessment of the human mind: and before the reader can ever hope to make any spiritual progress in life, that ego-shattering divine diagnosis must be recognised for what it is – the truth! Are you willing to acknowledge that fact?
5. EFFECTS OF LAWLESSNESS (Sin)
Individual lawlessness produces guilt, pain, mental disorders, family break upheavals, disease and finally death. On the national and international scale, lawlessness repels the Spirit of God and results in all kinds of social, political and natural calamity: poverty, vandalism, revolution, war, freak weather conditions, famine, disease epidemics, earthquakes and disasters of all kinds: disasters which most people believe happen ‘purely by chance.‘ The truth is, few things happen ‘purely by chance.‘ For everything there is a cause; and that cause is more often than not linked to moral degeneracy. Read Deuteronomy chapter 28 where the amazing link between a nation’s moral behaviour and its welfare is explained in detail.
6. JESUS CHRIST, THE ONLY REMEDY FOR SIN
Lawlessness (sin) cannot be pampered, educated or somehow coaxed to quietly go away or even to change its nature. For sin is an incurable spiritual malady: a moral form of AIDS with which Satan has infected mankind. Indeed, sin must needs be totally rooted out of the human mind, else it will destroy civilisation. Sin is not just another social problem. Sin is a spiritual problem and nothing short of a spiritual cure will get rid of it. Jehovah (Yahweh), for that is the name of the God of Israel, must either overcome and annihilate sin, or sin will overrun the universe.
Yahweh’s agent for the annihilation of sin and the salvation of mankind is none other than His only begotten Son Yeshua (Jesus). Jesus conquers sin in the believer by creating in him/her a new mind, a new outlook, a new person. The old sinful mind is not somehow patched up and coaxed along. No, it is confronted, slain and buried. In its place is put a new mind, a new outlook, a new person, a new creation. And this new creature or convert (which could be you!) is born to move in accordance with the requirements of the Father’s law. Believe it or not, that is the reason why Jesus Christ (Yeshua the Messiah) came to this earth. He came to make his followers obedient to his Father’s law. To be sure, he came to save mankind from the consequences of sin – which is eternal death. But over and above that initial task, his main reason for coming to earth was to empower the repentant believer to be obedient to his Father’s law. This objective is mentioned in the following verses.
|“For what the law could not do, in that it was weak through the flesh, God sending his own Son in the likeness of sinful flesh, and for sin, condemned sin in the flesh: that the righteousness of the law might be fulfilled in us, who walk not after the flesh, but after the Spirit.”|
|“And she shall bring forth a son, and thou shalt call his name JESUS: for he shall save his people from their sins.”|
|” For this is the covenant that I will make with the house of Israel after those days, saith the Lord; I will put my laws into their mind, and write them in their hearts: and I will be to them a God, and they shall be to me a people:”|
In other words the Saviour came to save us from our sins: and to write his father’s law on the tablets of our hearts and minds. NOTE: Yeshua (Yahshua, Y’shua) is the Saviour’s Hebrew name. Jesus is the Greek form. Both names mean salvation. Throughout SBS pages you will notice that these names are used. We trust that the reader will recognise that in every case we mean Jesus Christ, the only begotten Son of the Almighty God.
7. THE LAW CANNOT SAVE THE SINNER
You will have noticed at point 6 that salvation comes through Jesus Christ. In other words, Yahweh’s law, perfect though it is, cannot save a single sinner. It cannot make a lawbreaker obedient. No law can. Like a sacred signpost on the highway of life the law of the Most High can only point the way to life. It has no more power to change a sinner’s character than a traffic sign has to move a motorist to his destination. The law can only point the way to right and wrong. That is all it can and was designed to do.
The purpose of Yahweh’s law, in short, is to define sin, to make the sinner aware of what is wrong and what is right; and to point the way to salvation – to Christ!
|” Wherefore the law was our schoolmaster to bring us unto Christ, that we might be justified by faith”|
Some well-meaning believers have completely misunderstood the role of Yahweh’s law in the great Plan of Salvation. They have incorrectly assumed that after the death of Jesus the law of God became obsolete. Nothing is further from the truth. Here are a few Scriptures concerning this vital matter of Yahweh’s law and the results of obedience and disobedience.
(Psalm 19:7; Proverbs 28:4; Jeremiah 9:13-16; Hosea 4:6; Malachi 2:4-10; Matthew 5:17-18, 19:16-17; Romans 2:13; James 1:22-25; Revelation 22:14)
The only time you do not need the law of the Almighty God is when you are obeying it to perfection.
- Sin (lawlessness) is an inherent anti-God attitude which manifests itself in disobedience of one or more of the commandments of God.
- Sin results in guilt, disease, disorder and disasters of all kinds.
- There is no man-made remedy for sin. It is fatal.
- Yahweh’s law, perfect and holy though it is, is unable to save the sinner. Its primary purpose is simply to define sin and to point the sinner to Jesus Christ Yeshua the Messiah .
- Sin can only be overcome by the power of Yahweh the Almighty God of Israel as administered through His Son: whose ultimate objective is to write his Father’s law on the mind of all true believers. That is why he came to earth in the first place: to save his people from their sins.
- In short: salvation comes through Jesus Christ.
Do you think you have the courage to acknowledge and accept the truth of this first lesson? If you do, then this Course is most certainly for you.
Author: David B Loughran
Stewarton Bible School, Stewarton, Scotland