What the Bible says about sin
The thoughts presented here are unique in that not many of the religious groups in our community offer the perspective that mankind should stop sinning and in fact, live without sin. Although we have nothing new to share, because these are age-old bible truths, this message is not heard often. The essence of this article is to explain that believing in God and/or holding a membership in a Christianity-based organization, does not by definition make someone a true “Christian.” You must both have faith and live life sin-free. The happiness this salvation brings and the change in one's life is incontrovertible.
The Concept of Living Sin Free
If it is not possible to be a Christian if you have sin in your life, why haven’t you heard this before? Wouldn’t it be extremely critical and important for this message to be shared? What about the millions of people that are walking the streets of this world, claiming to be followers of Jesus, but convinced that it is not possible to live without sinning? Are they not Christians? Or how do you explain the commonly held practice of defining “sin” so broadly, that even preachers instruct their audience to just do the best they can because they can’t help committing sin?
The good news is that the answers to these questions are at our fingertips and have been for over two millennia. Let me ask you... Are you tired of living with guilt? Have you been trying to be happy for years but never found true satisfaction? Have you spent time and money going from one philosophy to another, but you still can’t find peace?
Salvation; the beginning
It all really starts with the Christmas story. Maybe you are thinking that perhaps it started quite a bit before that... but actually the story of a baby in a manger, born to a virgin woman, started with a prophecy. Follow along with us in your bible. We are using the King James Version. You will find the story of Jesus’ birth and life in the first 4 books of the New Testament, but in order to capture the prophecy let’s go to the book of Isaiah chapter 7 and verse 14.
Isa 7:14 Therefore the Lord himself shall give you a sign; Behold, a virgin shall conceive, and bear a son, and shall call his name Immanuel.
Just a little farther on, in chapter 9 verses 6 and 7 we read:
Isa 9:6 For unto us a child is born, unto us a son is given: and the government shall be upon his shoulder: and his name shall be called Wonderful, Counsellor, The mighty God, The everlasting Father, The Prince of Peace.
Isa 9:7 Of the increase of his government and peace there shall be no end, upon the throne of David, and upon his kingdom, to order it, and to establish it with judgment and with justice from henceforth even for ever. The zeal of the LORD of hosts will perform this.
This prophecy was given from God after the Jews had been taken captive as punishment for living wrong. God has always desired that His people live according to methods that He prescribed. Generally those methods were, and still are, things like peace, love, joy, honesty, and worship of God instead of idols. It is evident that, for as long as people have inhabited the world, it has been a constant struggle to live according to those standards.
In chapter 1 of the book of Isaiah verse 4, we read:
Isa 1:4 Ah sinful nation, a people laden with iniquity, a seed of evildoers, children that are corrupters: they have forsaken the LORD, they have provoked the Holy One of Israel unto anger, they are gone away backward.
Because of their wickedness, the Jewish nation was punished by being allowed to be taken captive. Naturally, this prophecy was something to be celebrated as the Jews looked for freedom. The search for a Messiah had begun! Read with us in chapter 11 verses 1 and 2 as more details are shared:
Isa 11:1 And there shall come forth a rod out of the stem of Jesse, and a Branch shall grow out of his roots:
Isa 11:2 And the spirit of the LORD shall rest upon him, the spirit of wisdom and understanding, the spirit of counsel and might, the spirit of knowledge and of the fear of the LORD;
Jesse was a man descended from one of the original patriarchs of the nation of Israel. Jesse was only special in the sense that his youngest son David was chosen by God to be the second King of Israel. Fast forwarding to this prophecy, we understand that thousands of years later, descended in this family line, the Messiah was going to be born. Towards the end of this book, in chapter 61 verses 1 through 3, we read enough of the prophecy to lay a good foundation. The Messiah was going to come to perform the following actions:
Isa 61:1 The Spirit of the Lord GOD is upon me; because the LORD hath anointed me to preach good tidings unto the meek; he hath sent me to bind up the brokenhearted, to proclaim liberty to the captives, and the opening of the prison to them that are bound;
Isa 61:2 To proclaim the acceptable year of the LORD, and the day of vengeance of our God; to comfort all that mourn;
Isa 61:3 To appoint unto them that mourn in Zion, to give unto them beauty for ashes, the oil of joy for mourning, the garment of praise for the spirit of heaviness; that they might be called trees of righteousness, the planting of the LORD, that he might be glorified.
Nearly the entire world considers December 25th a special holiday. Many have decorations including an evergreen tree of some type, as well as tinsel, garlands, and multi-colored lights. Many even decorate with a scene of a nativity, containing an image of a baby in a manger surrounded by farm animals, wise men, etc. Many give and receive gifts, and generally, there is peace on earth and goodwill to men. Whether you celebrate Christmas or not, you can still enjoy the results of Jesus coming to earth to walk among us.
We continue in the bible over to Matthew chapter 1 through 17 and read a genealogy of the baby Jesus. He truly did descend from the tribe of Judah as prophesied, and was even born in the town of
Bethlehem. Bethlehem is located in an area that this small tribe of Israelites had once populated as a sovereign nation.
In verse 21, we read as an angel describes to Joseph what would shortly happen to his wife:
Mat 1:21 And she shall bring forth a son, and thou shalt call his name JESUS: for he shall save his people from their sins.
This simple phrase defines why Jesus came to earth. The message literally reads “from” which in the Greek language (the original language of this portion of the bible) is ‘apo’ meaning a cessation, or departure from something.
This is seriously good news! Although the Jews are still looking for a Messiah to create an earthly kingdom, and while the majority of the world reads about “peace on earth, goodwill to men” at Christmas, but stops there, this message is still in most bibles and should still be lived out by all true Christians.
Read verses 22 and 23 as the disciple Matthew, the author of this book, describes the prophecy literally happening.
Mat 1:22 Now all this was done, that it might be fulfilled which was spoken of the Lord by the prophet, saying,
Mat 1:23 Behold, a virgin shall be with child, and shall bring forth a son, and they shall call his name Emmanuel, which being interpreted is, God with us.
Let’s fast forward about 30 years into Jesus’ life. In the book of Luke chapter 4 verses 17 through 22 we read more about the fulfilling of this prophecy:
Luk 4:16 And he came to Nazareth, where he had been brought up: and, as his custom was, he went into the synagogue on the sabbath day, and stood up for to read.
Luk 4:17 And there was delivered unto him the book of the prophet Esaias. And when he had opened the book, he found the place where it was written,
Luk 4:18 The Spirit of the Lord is upon me, because he hath anointed me to preach the gospel to the poor; he hath sent me to heal the brokenhearted, to preach deliverance to the captives, and recovering of sight to the blind, to set at liberty them that are bruised,
Luk 4:19 To preach the acceptable year of the Lord.
Luk 4:20 And he closed the book, and he gave it again to the minister, and sat down. And the eyes of all them that were in the synagogue were fastened on him.
Luk 4:21 And he began to say unto them, This day is this scripture fulfilled in your ears.
Luk 4:22 And all bare him witness, and wondered at the gracious words which proceeded out of his mouth. And they said, Is not this Joseph's son?
Yes, they wondered about Jesus being Joseph’s son. Most of them didn’t connect the dots from the prophecy about the Messiah descending from the man Jesse.
Faith & its Application
One of the most popular bible scriptures is John 3:16 where John writes about the love of God, and the precious gift that was given to all mankind. We read about everlasting life that is a reward for belief in Jesus. John had the benefit of hearing the teachings of Jesus in person, and was diligent to write these down so that we can read them today. He goes on to relate many amazing miracles that he witnessed, and many important happenings that inspire us.
One of the most remarkable is a healing of a disabled man’s spiritual and physical problems, and the ensuing discussion between Jesus and religious leaders at the time. We read this account in chapter 2 of the book of Mark. The discussion sparked after Jesus forgave the man’s sins, then continued on to heal his palsy. Jesus explained to his audience that spiritual and physical healing were both equally within His power.
As the disciple John relates, Jesus provided context and a reason for having salvation, and why it matters how one lives. In verse 29 of the 5t h chapter of John, Jesus explains that there are rewards and punishments depending on how one’s life is lived:
John 5:28 Marvel not at this: for the hour is coming, in the which all that are in the graves shall hear his voice,
John 5:29 And shall come forth; they that have done good, unto the resurrection of life; and they that have done evil, unto the resurrection of damnation.
Another loved disciple of Jesus, Peter, writes to us in the second letter of Peter chapter 3 verse 9 that it is God’s will that all should repent (or turn away from) sin. All can achieve repentance, not only a select few as some religious sects teach today:
2 Pe 3:9 The Lord is not slack concerning his promise, as some men count slackness; but is longsuffering to us-ward, not willing that any should perish, but that all should come to repentance.
2 Pe 3:10 But the day of the Lord will come as a thief in the night; in the which the heavens shall pass away with a great noise, and the elements shall melt with fervent heat, the earth also and the works that are therein shall be burned up.
2 Pe 3:11 Seeing then that all these things shall be dissolved, what manner of persons ought ye to be in all holy conversation and godliness.
What is "Godliness," What is not
Romans chapter 6 verses 1 and 2:
Rom 6:1 What shall we say then? Shall we continue in sin, that grace may abound? Rom 6:2 God forbid. How shall we, that are dead to sin, live any longer therein?
“God forbid,” indeed. The apostle Paul, the author of this book, did not know Jesus as a flesh and blood
man. Paul became a Christian after Jesus’ death and resurrection through an amazing miracle. He was taught Christianity by the followers of Christ Jesus, and also by revelation directly from God. Our bibles relate these amazing teachings and we gain instruction from them. The letter to the church in Rome compliments what we have read already as related by Matthew, John and Peter. Continue in chapter 6 verses 15 through 23. We read that contrary to mainstream teachings of religion today, the bible does not condone living and committing sin regularly. The bible also disagrees with the commonly held belief that the grace of God overlooks a conscience that is guilty of committed sin. Your life is either free from sin or free from righteousness, not a combination or mix of the two conditions.
Rom 6:15 What then? shall we sin, because we are not under the law, but under grace? God forbid.
Rom 6:16 Know ye not, that to whom ye yield yourselves servants to obey, his servants ye are to whom ye obey; whether of sin unto death, or of obedience unto righteousness?
Rom 6:17 But God be thanked, that ye were the servants of sin, but ye have obeyed from the heart that form of doctrine which was delivered you.
Rom 6:18 Being then made free from sin, ye became the servants of righteousness.
Rom 6:19 I speak after the manner of men because of the infirmity of your flesh: for as ye have yielded your members servants to uncleanness and to iniquity unto iniquity; even so now yield your members servants to righteousness unto holiness.
Rom 6:20 For when ye were the servants of sin, ye were free from righteousness.
Rom 6:21 What fruit had ye then in those things whereof ye are now ashamed? for the end of
those things is death.
Rom 6:22 But now being made free from sin, and become servants to God, ye have your fruit
unto holiness, and the end everlasting life.
Rom 6:23 For the wages of sin is death; but the gift of God is eternal life through Jesus Christ our Lord.
Verses 22 and 23 speak of everlasting life being the reward for holy living. Holy living defined is this: in the image of God, sin-free. Be cautious therefore, what you allow others to teach you. Sin has to be a specific, definite action. The consequences of sin in your life are so severe, that it is of utmost importance that you know what sin is and what it is not. Another loved disciple of Jesus teaches us in the book of James chapter 4, verse 17, that sin is a conscious action of not doing good; or stated another way, a willful transgression of the law of the conscience.
Jas 4:17 Therefore to him that knoweth to do good, and doeth it not, to him it is sin.
The process of sinning is also defined in the book of James chapter 1. You will note that stray evil imaginations, temptations to do something you know is wrong, or wicked thoughts that pass through your mind, are NOT sins if they are rejected and not acted upon. By definition they cannot be. In the first chapter of James verses 12 through 15 we are instructed that the man that does not act on temptation is blessed, and to not make a mistake in thinking or acting otherwise.
Jas 1:12 Blessed is the man that endureth temptation: for when he is tried, he shall receive the crown of life, which the Lord hath promised to them that love him.
Jas 1:13 Let no man say when he is tempted, I am tempted of God: for God cannot be tempted
with evil, neither tempteth he any man:
Jas 1:14 But every man is tempted, when he is drawn away of his own lust, and enticed.
Jas 1:15 Then when lust hath conceived, it bringeth forth sin: and sin, when it is finished, bringeth forth death.
Jas 1:16 Do not err, my beloved brethren.
You too can be Saved
Jesus Christ preached the message to “go and sin no more.” The disciple John gave examples in his book in chapters 5 and 8. We know that in ourselves we can do nothing, and that it is not human will-power that keeps a life holy and without sin. The power of God alone can forgive sins, as well as enable you to continue day after day without committing sin.
If you attend a place of worship that does not teach living from sin, then it is imperative to make a change. If you are burned out on “religion” and need something better, there is a better way. And there are people doing it every day.
Come and worship with us at the Avondale Church of God at 2605 N Avondale Blvd, on the cross-streets of Avondale Boulevard and Thomas Road in Avondale, see you soon!