Back to Basics
As Christians, we talk a lot about how Jesus saves us from our sin. We say that He has redeemed us, that everyone is a sinner and that sin is what separates us from God in the first place. While we talk a lot about how sin relates to our salvation, we often give little thought to exactly what sin is. In this post, we will look at what Christians mean when they talk about sin.
To begin with, sin is a word that is often considered taboo in society today. The concept of sin is written off to human mistakes, illnesses, and irresponsibility. It is rarely seen for what it truly is — moral guilt.
Sin is our inward inclination to do things that are outside of God’s will. It is not just what we do, it is part of who we are. Sin in our hearts leads to rebellion against God. When our natural desires are corrupted, they lead to sin.
Sin is not just what we do, it is part of who we are
Believers, over time, have come up with several theories concerning sin that encompass at least some of the total Christian doctrine about sin. These ideas are as follows:
We must remember that sin is unnatural, but that humanity has a propensity towards sinning because we live in a fallen state and our very natures have been corrupted. Sin appears to be part of our nature, though, in reality, this is limited to our fallen natures. God is not merely saving us from the things that we do, He is saving us from who we are.
Sin is not always fully deliberate or voluntary, and some people may not know they are sinning in regards to every sin they commit. Some sins are deliberate; some may be the result of ignorance. But let it be known that once someone knows that a certain action is sinful, there is no longer room for ignorance when that sin is committed.
Once someone knows that a certain action is sinful, there is no longer room for ignorance when that sin is committed
Christians are to view sin as a universal problem as is the issue of personal sinning. All humans are born as depraved individuals. John Calvin believed that original sin was a hereditary feature that corrupts all human beings in their souls; it makes all people subject to the wrath of God. Walter T. Conner later described human depravity as not only the ability to sin, but also as the inherent tendency to do so because of man’s moral weakness.
It is inevitable that all humans will sin. Total depravity can be understood as the corruption of every aspect of man’s being; man is unable to deliver himself from the power of sin. Sinful depravity has corrupted our nature, but it has not caused us to lose our value. God still values us, and while our image of Him is broken, it is not absent.
Sin causes people to become hardhearted and, ultimately, it leads to disaster. Our disaster. This is why we view God’s laws not as a list of things not to do, but as a way of looking out for our good and benefit.
Sinners are alienated from God. Humans are not free to choose not to sin. Humans who never repent from their sins and turn to follow Christ will ultimately remain alienated from God. These will face God’s eternal wrath, which results in both physical and spiritual death.
When someone becomes conscious of sin, that person recognises his or her wilful disobedience and pride. Consciousness of sin is intended to lead us to repentance.
Sin always leads to disaster. That is why we view God’s laws not as a list of things not to do, but as a way of looking out for our good
Here are some specific things the Bible has to say about sin:
God’s righteousness demands the punishment of sin. When a person dies in his or her sins, the individual’s soul goes to Hades. At the final judgment, the person will stand before God guilty of his or her sins, and be cast into hell, the eternal lake of fire.
Theologian Millard J. Erickson detailed three ways sin influences our lives for the worse.
Salvation saves us from the Fall; it allows us to overcome the things that separate us from God. Salvation re-humanises us, but its full impact will not be realised until we enter into the eternal state. Christ’s death on the cross, His resurrection, His place in glory, and His incorruptibility and immorality show us a glimpse into what we will become.
Salvation re-humanises us, but its full impact will not be realised until we enter into the eternal state
Here are some things the Bible says about what salvation does to sin:
Every aspect of the Fall was offset by the death and resurrection of Christ. God desires for all humans to be saved. He calls us to love others and not to hate them, to act justly rather than unjustly to others. God extends grace to sinners so that they may repent, be saved, and escape His wrath.
I want to encourage you to spend some time in prayer, asking God to reveal to you attitudes and actions in your life that need to change. Think of things you can do to make those changes and remember that apart from the strength of the Holy Spirit in your life, you cannot do anything. Do not let your heart become hardened to the conviction of God’s Spirit, but instead allow Him to conform you to the person He wants you to be.
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