The Bible maintains that humankind is under the sway of sin. All have been engulfed by its fire. It says, “For all have sinned and fall short of the glory of God” (Romans 3:23). Though the topic may not be fashionable for twenty-first century minds, it is important for us to be aware of it. Sin’s consequences rage around us. News headlines of wars, mass shootings, natural disasters, and political corruption remind us that sin is public enemy number one. A denial of this Bible doctrine will eventually lead to despair. Without a keen awareness of its nature, one will not be equipped with a filter for understanding humanity’s greatest predicament. Consider three important Bible concepts related to sin.
teaches that all of us are in bondage to sin because of our initial ancestors — Adam and Eve. None is exempt from the consequences of the Garden of Eden (Genesis 3:8-24). Our first parents served as representatives for us all. Now their nature is embedded within our nature. Paul spoke of this truth frequently. When writing to the first century church at Rome, he said, “Sin entered the world through one man” (Romans 5:8). It is for this reason that David sang, “Indeed, I was guilty when I was born: I was sinful when my mother conceived me” (Psalm 51:5). One must understand this doctrine in order to come to grips with the impact sin has had on us all. None is righteous (Romans 3:10). No one can say that he or she has a pure heart (Proverbs 20:9). All have a fundamental problem — sin. Though we were each made in the image of God (Genesis 1:26-27), that image has been distorted by depravity. At best, we are a sinfully skewed representation of what God created us to be.
Redemption from Sin
Have you ever had someone give you good news and bad news at the same time? Which one do you like to hear first? I usually like to hear the bad news to start. I figure the good news will give me some hope afterwards. When it comes to the doctrine of sin, there is bad news — we are all separated from God because of Adam and Eve’s failure. But there is good news as well. God loves us so much that He made a way for our sin to be made right! The Bible says, “But God proves his own love for us in that while we were still sinners, Christ died for us” (Romans 5:8). Though we have a fundamental flaw, God has provided a solution. Humanity’s great crisis has been cured through the cross of Calvary! To be restored into a right relationship with God, one only needs to repent of sin and trust in Jesus Christ for salvation. Though “the wages of sin is death…the gift of God is eternal life in Christ Jesus our Lord” (Romans 6:23).
The puritan John Owen is known for saying, “Be killing sin, or sin will be killing you.” The preacher was aware of the way in which residual sin can plague the life of the believer. Though the Christian is forever freed from the penalty and power of sin (Romans 8:1-2), the presence of sin will not be removed until the eternal state (Revelation 22:3). In order to effectively live the Christian life, we must be aware of this truth. Though we are saved, we are still susceptible to sin. In fact, “we all stumble in many ways” (James 3:2). John knew this. That’s why he encouraged his readers to deal with the sin in their midst (John 1:7-2:2). When we aren’t sober minded concerning indwelling sin, we will never experience the abiding life of Christ (John 10:10).
Dr. Patrick Latham