A Biblical View of Sin – Part 12

A Biblical View of Sin – Part 12

A Biblical View of Sin
Part 12

In this, the closing issue on the subject of A Biblical View of Sin let me note the following:

1 – Sin, grace, and predestination are linked: you cannot understand sin without understanding grace and predestination. Although you must believe in both the sovereign election of God and the free will of man in order to be biblical, you will be unable to grasp the depth of your sin without embracing the doctrine of election. If you think, in the final analysis, that you accepted Christ because of what you did, and Joe pagan did not accept Christ because of what he refused to do, you have an inadequate grasp of your depravity.

2 – People cannot save themselves from the problem of sin. Few things in life are as tragic as the person who engages in the futility of self-reformation. Jesus says: “When the unclean spirit is gone out of a man, he walketh through dry places, seeking rest; and finding none, he saith, I will return unto my house whence I came out. And when he cometh, he findeth it swept and garnished. Then goeth he, and taketh to him seven other spirits more wicked than himself; and they enter in, and dwell there: and the last state of that man is worse than the first.”[111] Sin incapacitates the soul, rendering it unable to deliver itself from bondage.

3 – Regeneration is the exclusive and supernatural work of the Holy Spirit. The Apostle Paul says: “As it is written, There is none righteous, no, not one: There is none that understandeth, there is none that seeketh after God. There is no fear of God before their eyes.”[112] Note four things regarding Paul’s indictment of the human race: no one is righteous, no one understands, no one seeks God, and no one fears God.

Man may be aware of his sin apart from the work of the Holy Spirit, but without the aid of the Spirit, he cannot understand his lostness and alienation from God. People seek God because God first sought them.

4 – God must intervene in a person’s life for salvation to take place, and He does not intervene in all people’s lives. As Paul says, “Even so then at this present time also there is a remnant according to the election of grace.”[113]

You cannot know the reason why God touches the lives of some and not others. Grace, by definition, means that there is no reason. Again, Paul says that God “predestinated us unto the adoption of children by Jesus Christ to himself, according to the good pleasure of his will.”[114] Hosea, the faithful servant of God, took for his wife a worthless whore. It was a marriage nonsensical in the eyes of the world. In this illustration, we are the faithless whores chosen by God “according to the good pleasure of His will.” The disposition to seek God is a product of grace and His gift of life.

5 – Scripture teaches that salvation is based on the propitious death of Christ. It is the ground or reason for God’s justification of the ungodly. If you want to understand God’s hatred of sin, look at what He did to His Son on the cross. Faith is the condition necessary to be saved, but faith is prompted by the regenerating work of the Holy Spirit.

6 – One of the most perplexing questions left unanswered in Scripture is, what is the source of the evil impulse? How is it related to our God-given desire to be autonomous, and what will it look like in eternity? Will the believer maintain his individual identity with his will intact? If not, does he become a robot?

When Jesus wrestled in the Garden of Gethsemane, He did not want to do God’s will. This desire to violate God’s will was part of His nature; exercising will in choice is essential to being human. When in heaven, will God ever ask us to do what we don’t want to do? In our resurrected bodies, must we struggle with the will of God, as did Jesus in Gethsemane? Will we be tempted with evil with the possibility of sinning?

Scripture seems to suggest, and it is our most fervent hope, that we will not be so tested. I know of no way to resolve this troubling dilemma, unless God removes in heaven this evil impulse – found in the angels before their fall, found in Adam and Eve before their sin, and found in the life of our Lord when He faced temptation.

We are taught that we will rule in eternity as Christ’s vice-regents: “If we suffer, we shall also reign with him: if we deny him, he also will deny us.”[115] “Worthy art thou to take the scroll and to open its seals, for thou wast slain and by thy blood didst ransom men for God from every tribe and tongue and people and nation, and hast made them a kingdom and priests to our God, and they shall reign on earth.”[116]

Reason suggests that whenever you have two rational beings where one is in submission to the other, you have created an environment of temptation where sin is possible.

7 – Regarding sin, there seems to be three kinds of people in the world:
A – Those who come to the Light, not because they have nothing to hide, but
rather they find not coming to the Light an unacceptable alternative.
B – Those who reject and avoid the Light because they are seeking to hide their
sins; they know that they are wrong and refuse to change.
C – Those who come to the Light, and yet refuse to be broken by Jesus Christ. They seemingly accept Christ without a willingness to abandon their sin.

Of the three groups, the third is the most miserable. When a man meets Jesus, believes that all is right with God because of this encounter, and still hardens his heart regarding his sin, this man may have committed the unpardonable sin. The only safe posture with God is perpetual brokenness and submission to His will.

8 – Each person has the tendency to believe that he gives more to others than what he receives. For example, in a marriage, in an unguarded moment the wife will say, “I give more to this marriage than I receive – I don’t mind doing it, for I love him.” When asked, the husband will say the same thing.

In most, if not all relationships in life, whether children, parents, employers, employees, etc., people feel they give more than they receive. One of the deadening effects of sin in our lives is it produces this perception that we give more than we get. It feeds discontentment and is the enemy of gratitude.

9 – Sin has many subtle manifestations, including rationalization. “But he, willing to justify himself, said unto Jesus, ‘And who is my neighbor?’”[117] You can easily distort and misrepresent the truth when confronted, especially if you anticipate adverse consequences.

10 – Make yourselves accountable to those who “watch for your souls.”[118] In order to avoid having to rationalize our behavior to others and confronting our sin, we often simply prefer to keep what we do private. Jesus said, “and this is the condemnation, that light is come into the world, and men loved darkness rather than light, because their deeds were evil.”[119] Generally, men do not want to expose their affairs to accountability.

Even though we may have valid reasons for keeping things to ourselves, (e.g., “People may unjustly judge my motives,” or “I don’t want to be a stumbling block to others,”) accountability is essential in our efforts to avoid the snares of sin. The Holy Spirit commands, “Obey them that have the rule over you, and submit yourselves: for they watch for your souls, as they that must give account, that they may do it with Joy, and not with grief: for that is unprofitable for you.”[120]


Let me offer two final conclusions to our study of sin:

First, if you wonder if you truly are depraved, I suggest that you think about what you think about.

Second, never forget that Christianity is unique in that it is the religion of the sinner, not the religion of the saint. “Those who are well have no need of a physician, but those who are sick; I am not come to call the righteous but sinners to repentance.”[121]

Your buddy in the faith,


[111] Luke 11:24-26
[112] Romans 3:10, 11, 18
[113] Romans 11:5
[114] Ephesians 1:5
[115] II Timothy 2:12
[116] Revelation 5:9-10
[117] Luke 10:29
[118] Hebrews 13:17
[119] John 3:19
[120] Hebrews 13:17
[121] Luke 5:30-31