Lesson 4 – The Sin Problem
Last week we looked at who God is. The most important characteristic of God is His holiness. This not only means that He is totally without sin, it also means that He cannot allow sin in His presence. We learned that because of His holiness He will in no wise clear the guilty.
This week I want to look at who is guilty, and why.
In the beginning God created the heaven and the earth. (Genesis 1:1)
This was a six day creation. We will probably look more in details on this in some later lessons.
And God said, Let us make man in our image, after our likeness: and let them have dominion over the fish of the sea, and over the fowl of the air, and over the cattle, and over all the earth, and over every creeping thing that creepeth upon the earth. So God created man in his own image, in the image of God created he him; male and female created he them. (Genesis 1:26-27)
We are not going to look in depth at Genesis Chapter 2, which gives us a fuller understanding of exactly what God did. I just want us to know that in the beginning God created everything in six days. On the sixth day, He created man and woman and rested on the seventh day.
He gave Adam certain responsibilities. The first thing He told Adam to do was to dress the garden. This means Adam was to keep the garden in good condition. I don’t think we can fully understand that because there was no sin at that time, and things did not deteriorate like the do today.
The second command Adam was give was to populate the earth. He was to have children, and those children were to spread out over all of the earth.
God only gave Adam one restriction:
And the LORD God commanded the man, saying, Of every tree of the garden thou mayest freely eat: But of the tree of the knowledge of good and evil, thou shalt not eat of it: for in the day that thou eatest thereof thou shalt surely die. (Genesis 2:16-17)
This wasn’t really a difficult to keep. He had all kinds of fruits and vegetables to eat. He didn’t need to eat of that tree. Man has a tendency to be self-centered, and it shows up in Genesis Chapter three. Let’s take a look at how sin came into the world:
Now the serpent was more subtil than any beast of the field which the LORD God had made. And he said unto the woman, Yea, hath God said, Ye shall not eat of every tree of the garden? And the woman said unto the serpent, We may eat of the fruit of the trees of the garden: But of the fruit of the tree which is in the midst of the garden, God hath said, Ye shall not eat of it, neither shall ye touch it, lest ye die. And the serpent said unto the woman, Ye shall not surely die: For God doth know that in the day ye eat thereof, then your eyes shall be opened, and ye shall be as gods, knowing good and evil. And when the woman saw that the tree was good for food, and that it was pleasant to the eyes, and a tree to be desired to make one wise, she took of the fruit thereof, and did eat, and gave also unto her husband with her; and he did eat. (Genesis 3:1-6)
What I want us to see from this is that Satan tempted Eve by questioning God’s Word. He said “Yea, hath God said.” Eve changed what God said in two ways. First of all she said that they couldn’t touch the tree. God didn’t tell them they couldn’t touch it, after all, Adam’s job was to dress the garden, and that probably included pruning all of the trees.
Secondly she said “Lest ye die” instead of ”thou shalt surly die.” This is a big difference. Lest ye die says it might happen that if you eat of that tree you will die. Thou shalt surly die says that if you eat of it you will die, no questions asked. They did die spiritually the instant they ate of the fruit.
They both ate of the fruit of the tree of the knowledge of good and evil and immediately something happened. It made a big difference in who they were and what they did. This is called the fall of man, and this is were sin came into the world.
Since the commandment was given to Adam, he was held accountable for the fact that they fell into sin.
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: (Romans 5:12)
At this time, the nature of mankind was frozen, it became sinful. Let me give you an example to help you understand what happened.
A number of years ago my wive made me a ceramic chess set. The green ware has to be put in a kiln and fired to make it durable. When the chess set was in the kiln, something else exploded, and some parts of it were stuck to some of the chess pieces. Once they came out of the fire, there was no way to remove them.
In the same way, when the nature of man, which was created perfect, went through the fire of testing, it was fixed, and could not be changed. Since Adam sinned, his nature became sinful, and could not changed back by any natural process. This sin nature is passed on to all of us through the blood, which comes through the man. Every man, woman, and child born into this world inherits this sinful nature.
How badly contaminated are we? We need to understand that mankind doesn’t see sin the same way God does. We see sin in degrees, little, unimportant sins, and big sins. We might tell a little white lie so as not to offend someone. We don’t consider this kind of sin to be very important. The big sins are considered very serious. These would be sins like murder, rape, mass murders, and so forth.
God doesn’t see things that way. He sees sin as sin. All of it does damage to His creation, even the little white lie. He loves His creation and does not want to see it damaged in any way. If He allowed the little sins to go unpunished, eventually those who committed them would move on to bigger sins and eventually His creation would be destroyed.
One thing we need to understand is, specific sins don’t condemn us, our sin nature does. We are not sinners because we sin, we sin because we are sinners. We sin because it is natural for us to do so. You did not have to teach your children how to lie or steal, they just did it naturally. When we see a cat, we don’t expect it to bark, that is what we expect from a dog. Cat’s meow and dogs bark because it is their nature to do so. They can’t help themselves. We have a sin nature passed on to us by Adam, and, therefore, we sin quite naturally. We need to understand that because we are, by nature, sinners, our righteous deeds don’t have much value in God’s eyes.
But we are all as an unclean thing, and all our righteousnesses are as filthy rags; and we all do fade as a leaf; and our iniquities, like the wind, have taken us away. (Isaiah 64:6)
This verse says all of our righteousnesses are as filthy rags. This is all of our good works that we do before we are saved. If we look at the Hebrew word that is used here, we see that is some of the most filthy rags imaginable. As sinners, all of our good deeds are nothing more that filthy rags in God’s sight. Because of this, there is no way that our good works can overcome the fact that we are sinners.
Here are a few examples of just how sick mankind is
- Hitler is a great example. He burned over 6,000,000 Jews in ovens simply because they were Jews. All will agree that this was a horrible thing. I doubt that there are too many who would think that Hitler didn’t deserve Hell for what he did.
- ISIS is something that is more on our minds today. ISIS does a lot of evil things. They blow things up, even blow themselves up, just so they can kill those who are not Muslims. They behead people who don’t agree with them. They think you are an infidel and deserve death if you are not a Muslim of the same stripe they are. The believe it is OK to rape women who are not Muslims. The think it is right to sell men and women into slavery, and for women that means they are sold as sex slaves. I could go into a lot of other things they do. We look at what they do and say that is horrible, I would never do something like that. How could a human being do that?
- The womans march the day after President Trump’s inauguration is another thing that shows the hearts of mankind. This march was mainly in Washington DC, but there were other marches across the country, and even in major cities outside of the US. If you saw this, you saw how wicked and vile these women were. Both the things that were said and the signs had filthy language that I can’t and won’t use. One of the signs tells us who the think they are. It said “Nasty Women Unite.” They know what they are doing is wrong, but they think that if they get together they can do that which is not right. They just want to do whatever is right in their own eyes. One of the signs, that really offended me, said. “If Mary had had an abortion, we wouldn’t be in this mess.” This sign is trying to tell us that if Christ hadn’t been born, we wouldn’t have all of the problems we are having. They are blaming Christianity for all of our problems, but we know that the reason we are having all of these problems is the fact we have turned our backs on the God of the Bible. Christianity seems to be the only group you can mock and denigrate today. You can’t say anything critical of Islam or of Muslims. You can’t say anything negative about people who live immoral lifestyles. This shows the state our nation is in today.
- The main demand of the women’s march in Washington was the right of women to kill their unborn babies. They want the right to kill their unborn babies just because they are inconvenient. They tell us that they want abortion to protect the woman’s health. No, that is not why! A woman’s health is endangered much more by an abortion than by natural birth. There was an abortion doctor who was just convicted of first degree murder for the way he did abortions. If the baby came out alive, he would slit its throat. There were quite a few women who died under his care, a lot more than who die in giving birth. These people are just wicked people.
Most of us would say that we wouldn’t do these things, but is is fear keeps us in check. The society we live in says that certain things are wrong, and we don’t want to be ostracized by society. Another restraining force is our religion, it gives us principles to live by. If we were not restrained by society and our religion, we would do the same things.
Muslims do what they do because they were raised in a culture the says the things they do are right and good. They are not only told they are good, they are told that they are obligated to do these things. The teaching of Islam says they are to get everybody to submit to Islam, and if they don’t, they are to kill them. It also tells them they can do all kinds of vile things to those who are not Muslims.
I work with the issue of Islam every day except Sunday. I can assure you that all of the things you see Muslims doing is taught in their scriptures, and was done by their Prophet, Muhammad. The reason we don’t do them because we were raised in a culture that says they are bad.
The Bible not only tells us we are to love our neighbor, it also says we are to love our enemy. If you compare what is happening in America with how it was 100 years ago you will see how we have changed. A hundred years ago abortion was considered evil. Anybody who would even think about having an abortion was ostracized. When a young girl got pregnant before she was married they often sent her away until after the baby was born, they didn’t kill it.
A hundred years ago vulgar language, especially from women, was not acceptable. The thousands of women march were demanding abortion rights, and expressed themselves with the most vile language. I listen to part of the speech by Madonna, and every three words or so, I heard bleep, bleep, because of the foul words coming out of her mouth. If you saw the signs they had, one of the most common words you saw started with “F” and has four letters, I will let you imagine what is was. As I said, the main purpose for this march was for women to demand the right to kill their babies in the womb, just because they were not convenient.
One thing that shows how stupid they were is that one actress was complaining because they had to pay taxes on their feminine products. She called this abuse of women. At the time she was saying this, in the Middle East, ISIS was raping women, selling women as sex slaves, and abusing women in all kinds of ways. They won’t speak up against this, and they will say you are islamophobic if you do.
I guess it is persecution to pay taxes on feminine hygiene products, but it is not abuse to be sold as a sex slave. These women don’t know what it means to be abused.
These are the same kind of people as 100 years ago, but our culture has changed. Since many people have turned their backs on religion, and are only interested in doing what they want to do. It should be obvious why we are in the trouble we are in. If you want to see what God has to say about all of this, go to Romans Chapter 1, and read from verse 18 to the end of the chapter. I warn you that if you read it in one of the modern version, you may not get the full force of what is being said.
It starts out by telling us that God’s wrath is revealed against all ungodliness and unrighteousness. It goes on to tell us exactly what that means. We have turned our backs on God, we have made everything else a god, and we have replaced God with our own desires. Man must worship something, and if he doesn’t worship God, he will worship an animal, and idol of wood or stone, or even himself.
The Bible tells us that when we reach this point, God gives us over to a reprobate mind. This is exactly what we see happening in America today. This is why things that were once considered evil, like abortion and homosexuality, are considered OK today. A reprobate mind is a mind that is incapable of making correct decisions. Something has to be done to shock those reprobate minds back into sensibleness so they can start making right decisions. It won’t happen until we, as Christians, start living the way we should, and start standing up against the evil around us.
We may think that there are some sins that are not important, and others that are, but that is not how God sees things. Every one of us is guilty of breaking God’s law.
For all have sinned, and come short of the glory of God; (Romans 3:23)
It doesn’t matter where we break the law. The Bible says:
For whosoever shall keep the whole law, and yet offend in one point, he is guilty of all. (James 2:10)
If we have broken any of the law, we are guilty of the whole law – All of it must be kept. I often use a guitar string to show what this means. It doesn’t matter where you break the string, it is still broken. It is the same with God’s law, it doesn’t matter where you break it, it is broken and the penalty must be paid. The penalty for sin is found in Romans 6:23.
For the wages of sin is death…
It does not say the wages of some sins, it says the wages of all sin is death. Wages are what you get paid for doing something.
In France the have an expression “Steal an egg, steal an ox.” It says that in both case it makes you a thief. It doesn’t matter if what you stole is as small as an egg, which will be replaced by the hen tomorrow, or if you stole an ox, which when this saying was coined, meant you had stolen a man’s livelihood, you are guilty of theft, and you are a thief. No matter where you break God’s law, you are a lawbreaker. This may seem like a very high standard, but remember, last week we saw that God is holy, and He cannot clear those who have broken His law. If God were to clear the guilty without proper payment, He would cease to be a holy God.
Today we have seen that we are all guilty of breaking His law, making all of us sinners. We also learned that we cannot help ourselves, it is our nature to sin.
God’s holiness obligates Him to punish us for our sin. I want us all to see that this puts us in a dangerous situation. The Bible says:
For the wages of sin is death… (Romans 6:23)
This is talking about spiritual death, and not physical death. Everyone leaves this earth through physical death. Everybody dies. Do you know anyone who has left this world without dying? There is coming a time when those who are in Christ will not die, but will be taken out of this world at the Rapture of the Saints. If we are not alive at that time, we will have died in some manner.
The Bible talks about a second death. You can read about in in Revelation Chapter 20. All of those who are subject to the second death, that is, those who leave this world spiritually dead, will spend all eternity in the Lake of Fire.
And whosoever was not found written in the book of life was cast into the lake of fire. (Revelation 20:15)
They will be in torments throughout all eternity. In the book of Luke we hear about the rich man and Lazarus. Listen to what he rich man said as he found himself in Hell.
And in hell he lift up his eyes, being in torments, and seeth Abraham afar off, and Lazarus in his bosom. And he cried and said, Father Abraham, have mercy on me, and send Lazarus, that he may dip the tip of his finger in water, and cool my tongue; for I am tormented in this flame. (Luke 16:23-24)
Some say that Hell is not a place of flames, but the testimony of the rich man says that it is. He had not yet gotten to the Lake of Fire because that doesn’t come until after the final judgment. Can you imagine spending all eternity being tormented by flames? You don’t want to go there. You must understand what you have to do to be saved from that situation. We will start looking at this next week.
We all start our lives condemned to the Lake of Fire, with a short stop in a place called Hell. There is a solution. Today, many have distorted the solution to make it something that it is not. Next week I intend to take a very good look at this solution so we will know what the Bible says about it.