SIN AND THE BLOOD OF CHRIST
“For all have sinned, and fall short of the glory of God” (Romans 3:23).
Thus the Bible states man’s failure and unfitness before God. Every accountable person finds himself under sin’s condemnation. It behooves every thinking person to pause and ask, “What is sin?” and “How can I be made free from sin’s terrible punishment?”
To many people, sin is nothing more than a violation of current social standards. They think of it as something “naughty” and involving a moral lapse of some kind or another. They may even call sin a “disease,” implying that the individual is not responsible for what he does. Such an interpretation of sin is altogether too shallow.
1 John 3:4 “Everyone who practices sin also practices lawlessness; and sin is lawlessness.” Sin, then, is rebellion against God. Man says in effect, “God, you don’t know what you are talking about.” This is what makes sin so serious: we are not flaunting our parents, or society, but our Creator and God.
Sin may be committed in many ways; by our failures as well as our deeds. The Bible teaches that it is just as sinful to refuse to obey the commands of Christ as to commit a grave act such as murder or drunkenness. Either will cause man to go to hell.
Consider 2 Thessalonians 1:7-9 and 1 Corinthians 6:9,10. It is often that we think that morality is more important than obedience to God’s religious commands. We think it is worse to do something wrong than to fail to do something right. All such thinking is man’s frail viewpoint. Since the Bible teaches that omission is as sinful as commission and that irreligiousness will cause one to be lost as well as immorality, we must recognize this as being the true nature of sin. Consider the first sin: Our parents, Adam and Eve, were placed in a beautiful garden surrounded by every good thing. God said, “From any tree of the garden you may eat freely; 17 but from the tree of the knowledge of good and evil you shall not eat, for in the day that you eat from it you shall surely die.”
Genesis 2:17-18. Then, Satan deceived the woman and said, “You surely
shall not die!” Genesis 3:4.
She believed the devil rather than God, ate the fruit, then gave to Adam
and he ate also. Thus sin entered into the world. Though no moral
transgression had taken place, man had nevertheless disobeyed his
Maker. He had arrayed his human wisdom and will against God’s. All that
God commanded had been right and good, but man thought otherwise.
This was sin! This was lawlessness!
The results of Adam’s sin should be noted at this time. They are listed in Genesis 3.
1. Woman would have pain in child-bearing and be in subjection to her husband – vs. 16.
2. The earth was cursed with thorns and thistles – vss. 17, 18.
3. Man would die – vs. 19.
4. Adam and Eve were driven out of the garden – vss. 22-24.
QUESTIONS ON SECTION I.
II. SIN BRINGS PUNISHMENT
One way to understand the exceeding sinfulness of sin is to recognize
God’s punishment of it.
SEPARATION FROM GOD
Sin separates man from sinless God. “Behold, the Lord’s hand is not shortened, that it cannot save: neither his ear heavy, that it cannot hear.
But your iniquities have separated between you and your God, and your sins have hid his face from you, that he will not hear” – Isaiah 59: 1,2. This is perfectly illustrated in the case of Adam and Eve: while in the garden, God walked and talked with them; but after their transgression they were driven out and away from this intimate relationship with the Father. So it is with man today; sin deprives him of all the blessings of fellowship with God. “For the eyes of the Lord are over the righteous, and his ears are open unto their prayers: but the face of the Lord is against them that do evil” — 1 Peter 3: 12.
ETERNAL SEPARATION FROM GOD
Since it is true that sin separates man from God in this life, it must follow that if man will not turn from sin, he shall be eternally separated from God in the life to come.
This is precisely what the Bible teaches in 2 Thessalonians 1:7-9. “dealing out retribution to those who do not know God and to those who do not obey the gospel of our Lord Jesus. (9) These will pay the penalty of eternal destruction, away from the presence of the Lord and from the glory of His power“.
The Bible teaches that every person will go either to heaven (1 Peter 1:4), or to hell (Matthew 10:28). If we are not with God in heaven, we will surely be with Satan in hell. To the wicked, Christ shall
say, “Depart from Me, accursed ones, into the eternal fire which has been prepared for the devil and his angels;” – Matthew 25:41. “These will go away into eternal punishment: but the righteous into eternal life“. – vs. 46.
Here then is much of the terror of hell: the sinner shall be completely removed from the presence of God and His blessed influence. This world is bad enough, but suppose that all of God’s blessings and goodness were suddenly taken away – no righteousness, integrity or morality – only evil continually – no hope, help, or grace. And yet, hell will be filled with people who have freely chosen to disobey the commands and directions of a
gracious Father. Jesus said, “Enter by the narrow gate; for the gate is wide, and the way is broad that leads to destruction, and many are those who enter by it. – Matthew 7:13.
THE ANGUISH OF SIN
Not only must man pay a penalty for sin in the next life, but sin also causes him to suffer in this one. the Devil, of course, tries to hide this fact and presents sin as only harmless pleasure. Beer and liquor are advertised
most attractively, magazine pictures appeal to women to wear scanty clothing “to catch that man,” illicit sex in books and at the movies is portrayed as being “great fun,” gambling in every form is “exciting,” drugs will take you “out of this world,” and behind it all is the subtle contention that “everyone is doing it” and “a little bit won’t hurt you.” Satan is very clever indeed!
“Or do you not know that the unrighteous shall not inherit the kingdom of God? Do not be deceived; neither fornicators, nor idolaters, nor adulterers, nor effeminate, nor homosexuals, nor thieves, nor the covetous, or
drunkards, nor revilers, nor swindlers, shall inherit the kingdom of God. (1Corinthians 6:9-10)
No, sin is not pretty. Let the sinner reflect soberly upon his life and the judgment to come and he will be filled with anguish, terror, and foreboding. These are the facts of sin.
QUESTIONS ON SECTION II.
III. SIN CANNOT BE INHERITED
It should be abundantly clear by now that sin is
personal in its nature. It is something I do, or fail to do. No one can commit sin for me. It seems strange that some should teach differently, but they do.
Many denominations teach that sin is inherited, i.e. that an infant is born with the guilt of Adam’s sin upon him. Here is an example of what they say: There are a number of Bible reasons why this doctrine of inherited sin is false. Let us note them.
1. The definition of sin. Sin is “transgression of the law” (1 John 3:4). Now, what transgression have little babies committed? To affirm such would
be foolish indeed. James teaches that there can be no sin unless it is first preceded by temptation and lust (James 1: 14,15). Is a little baby capable of either?
2. Jesus tells us that we must become like little children in order to enter the Kingdom of heaven (Matthew 18:1-4). “For the Kingdom of Heaven belongs to such as these.” (Matt 19:14). Would Jesus say this if children are little sinners?
3. The Bible plainly tells us that one cannot inherit sin. “The person who sins will die. The son will not bear the punishment for the father’s iniquity, nor will the father bear the punishment for the son’s iniquity; the righteousness of the righteous will be upon himself, and the wickedness of the wicked will be upon himself.” Ezekiel 18:20.
QUESTIONS ON SECTION III.
IV. SIN AND THE BLOOD OF CHRIST
Who can deliver man from his terrible slavery to sin? One thing is abundantly clear: man cannot deliver himself. “I know, O LORD, that a man’s way is not in himself; Nor is it in a man who walks to direct his steps.” – Jeremiah 10:23. Isaiah uses the figure of helpless sheep to picture sinful mankind as he remarks, “All of us like sheep have gone astray, Isaiah 53:6.
As sheep we cannot find the way back to the fold of safety, but are subject to all the perils of the wilds. We are in danger of being devoured by our ravenous enemy. we need a Shepherd to lead us aright. Christ is that good Shepherd who was willing to give His life for His sheep (John 10:11).
Other figures are used in the New Testament to tell us of Christ’s mission.
John said, “Behold, the Lamb of God who takes away the sin of the world!”
– John 1:29.’ He is pictured as a physician who has come to heal man of all his soul’s diseases – Matthew 9:12. He said, “For the Son of Man has come to seek and to save that which was lost”. – Luke 19:10. Even His name signified his mission: “you shall call his name Jesus (Saviour), “for it is He who will save His people from their sins.” (Matthew 1 :21).
WHAT JESUS DID FOR US
When John the Baptist said, “Behold the Lamb of God, who takes away the sin of the World,” he was revealing the very heart of God’s plan for saving man. Almost from the very beginning God has commanded sacrifice. Abel’s acceptable offering consisted of the “firstlings of his flock and of their fat portions” (Genesis 4). The Passover sacrifice was an unblemished lamb, a first-year male. Sacrifices, in the Old Testament era, were made daily (Hebrews 7:27). The inspired writer says, “And almost all things are by the law purged with blood; and without shedding of blood is no remission”
Christ was God’s final sacrifice for sin. The sinless Son of God was to offer himself once, and the effectiveness of this action would be sufficient to take away the sins of the whole world, for all time to come (Hebrews 10:12-14). For this cause it was necessary that Christ suffer on the cross. Without His sacrificial death there could be no forgiveness. What a price to be paid!
Nor must we overlook the fact that Christ suffered in our stead. He died for us; He the sinless – we the sinners.
Every abuse: the mockery, spitting, slapping, whipping, the burden of the cross, the cruel biting nails into quivering flesh, the thirst, the anguish, the pain – all of this was borne on our behalf. Here is the true picture of sin! Sin was destroying mankind. God, hating sin so much and loving man so dearly, offered up His own willing Son. How we should love Christ and hate sin! We should gladly obey all that our Saviour commands us to do, lest it be said that for us He died in vain.
In closing, let us note Hebrews 5:8-9: “Although He was a Son, He learned
obedience from the things which He suffered. 9 And having been made perfect, He became to all those who obey Him the source of eternal salvation,” In our next lesson we will consider the question, “What must I do to be saved?”