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Christianity is the ONLY religion
that solves the sin problem.
Sin is our offenses against God. When a person offends another, their relationship is damaged until the person admits their wrong and asks for forgiveness. It is the same when we offend God. In no other religion is there proper restoration to God to deal with our sin. Many religions falsely declare that works, doing things, can appease God. Works do not change our hearts so the offense is still there. Works do not change the heart of the one offended NOR the one doing the offenses. When a person wrongs or violates you, it takes their being truly repentant before you can have a restored relationship.
Since sin is rarely discussed and it is even rarer to hear of it being studied, most people are clueless about what it is and how to deal with it. The salvation process is designed to legally restore our relationship with God. Our day to day growth in Christ shows us our sins so we can choose to follow Christ rather than keep sinning.
Sometimes I hear someone say "that since they are now a Christian, they no longer sin". It is sad as that person needs to study their Bible so they can know what they are talking about.
That if you shall confess with your mouth the Lord Jesus, and shall believe in your heart that God has raised him from the dead, you shall be saved. [Romans 10:9]
The "and shall believe in your heart" part of the salvation process is the depth that is so often not understood. The scripture defines two things necessary for salvation. "Confessing" with our mouth so that we have made a declaration to those around us that Jesus Christ is our Lord and Savior and "believing in our hearts", in our innermost core motivation, that God raised this Jesus Christ from the dead. Both are a choice, and God expects both from us. We don't have to fully understand in order to choose to do both.
We choose to believe in our innermost motivation that God raised this Jesus, the living word of God made alive in the flesh, our flesh, from the dead. The living word of God was dead as far as we were concerned, prior to our salvation. Now we confess Jesus Christ as Lord and we believe in our heart that the living word of God is alive in our flesh. Pretty logical when put into proper context.
What really is sin? Sin destroys lives.
Jesus came to save mankind from their sins,
yet what really is sin?
What is Sin?
We know that when we have done wrong, it is sin. We know that unrighteousness is also sin. However neither is a clear definition of sin. Looking up sin in different dictionaries isn't much help either, they basically say something like:
“A transgression of a religious or moral law, especially when deliberate”, or “Deliberate disobedience to the known will of God”
When I was first saved, I understood that it was my sins that separated me from God. My initial definition of sin was this short shopping list of bad deeds. As I grew in my understanding, my shopping list also grew. I began to realize that sin was more than just a definable list of wrong deeds. It was more than a list of items where I could pridefully check off items I assumed I had overcome. I later heard sin defined as "to miss the mark" so that definition replaced my shopping list. Years later, I realized the definition "to miss the mark" also fell far short of defining sin. Doing an Internet search on sin, turned up pathetic results. I wanted a real definition of sin as God saw it. The scriptures were the only logical place to find such a definition.
God Creates Man and Man Sins.
"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 creeps on the earth. So God created man in his own image, in the image of God created he him; male and female created he them. And God blessed them, and God said to them, Be fruitful, and multiply, and replenish the earth, and subdue it: and have dominion over the fish of the sea, and over the fowl of the air, and over every living thing that moves on the earth. And God said, Behold, I have given you every herb bearing seed, which is on the face of all the earth, and every tree, in the which is the fruit of a tree yielding seed; to you it shall be for meat. And to every beast of the earth, and to every fowl of the air, and to every thing that creeps on the earth, wherein there is life, I have given every green herb for meat: and it was so. And God saw every thing that he had made, and, behold, it was very good. And the evening and the morning were the sixth day." [Genesis 1:26-31]
"And the LORD God formed man of the dust of the ground, and breathed into his nostrils the breath of life; and man became a living soul. And the LORD God planted a garden eastward in Eden; and there he put the man whom he had formed. And out of the ground made the LORD God to grow every tree that is pleasant to the sight, and good for food; the tree of life also in the middle of the garden, and the tree of knowledge of good and evil." [Genesis 2:7-9]
"And the LORD God took the man, and put him into the garden of Eden to dress it and to keep it. And the LORD God commanded the man, saying, Of every tree of the garden you may freely eat: But of the tree of the knowledge of good and evil, you shall not eat of it: for in the day that you eat thereof you shall surely die. And the LORD God said, It is not good that the man should be alone; I will make him an help meet for him. And out of the ground the LORD God formed every beast of the field, and every fowl of the air; and brought them to Adam to see what he would call them: and whatever Adam called every living creature, that was the name thereof. And Adam gave names to all cattle, and to the fowl of the air, and to every beast of the field; but for Adam there was not found an help meet for him. And the LORD God caused a deep sleep to fall on Adam, and he slept: and he took one of his ribs, and closed up the flesh instead thereof; And the rib, which the LORD God had taken from man, made he a woman, and brought her to the man. And Adam said, This is now bone of my bones, and flesh of my flesh: she shall be called Woman, because she was taken out of Man. Therefore shall a man leave his father and his mother, and shall join to his wife: and they shall be one flesh. And they were both naked, the man and his wife, and were not ashamed." [Genesis 2:15-25]
"Now the serpent was more subtle than any beast of the field which the LORD God had made. And he said to the woman, Yes, has God said, You shall not eat of every tree of the garden? And the woman said to the serpent, We may eat of the fruit of the trees of the garden: For God does 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. And the eyes of them both were opened, and they knew that they were naked; and they sewed fig leaves together, and made themselves aprons. And they heard the voice of the LORD God walking in the garden in the cool of the day: and Adam and his wife hid themselves from the presence of the LORD God amongst the trees of the garden. And the LORD God called unto Adam, and said unto him, Where art thou? And he said, I heard thy voice in the garden, and I was afraid, because I was naked; and I hid myself." [Genesis 3:5-10]
God created both Adam and Eve as mature adults. First Adam, then afterward Eve. "So God created man in his own image, in the image of God created he him; male and female created he them." They were both with their full adult capacity and thinking. God had given Adam specific instructions before Eve was created (And the LORD God took the man, and put him into the garden of Eden to dress it and to keep it. And the LORD God commanded the man, saying, Of every tree of the garden you may freely eat: But of the tree of the knowledge of good and evil, you shall not eat of it: for in the day that you eat thereof you shall surely die.). Being an adult, Adam fully understood what God had told him. Adam had also shared God's instructions with Eve. She knew of God's instructions so Adam had told her.
Every human since Adam and Eve, came into being, by birth. Adam and Eve were the only humans which started life as adults. Babies start life by following their fleshly nature, what they want, what they feel, and what they think. Those three things are the actions or dictates of our fleshly nature or soul. This is an important point we will expand on a little later. So from birth, a baby will naturally take on a man-centered perspective. They have no concept or understanding of God. Living by the dictates of our fleshly nature is what causes every person to sin. Our fleshly dictates do not follow God. As one comes into an undertanding of the scriptures, it becomes very evident as to why. It is not a sin to be born. It is not a sin to have a baby. It will take a significant amount of growth before a baby can grow to where they can grasp a basic understanding of God and make a genuine decision to give their life to Him.
When these scriptures in Genesis and other related scriptures are studied together it provides a very clear definition of sin.
God created man of the dust of the ground (or the elements of the earth), then breathed into his nostrils the breath of life (gave him a human spirit to empower his body), and man became a living soul or being. This same process applies to us, even though we were born. When we are created, from that point on we exist. We need food, cloths and shelter to continue our existence. However the quality of life God designed for us requires more, it requires a personal relationship with God.
God created man with a free will.
The second scripture following God's creation of Adam, God provided man with three categories of choices. These same three choices also apply to us today. We mentioned earlier that Adam was created with a body, a soul and a human spirit (And the LORD God formed man of the dust of the ground, and breathed into his nostrils the breath of life; and man became a living soul.). It is very interesting that the three categories in the next paragraph fit the three parts of mankind.
These categories of choices are: Trees that were pleasant to the sight and good for food, plus the choice of the tree of life and of the tree of the knowledge of good and evil.
People seem to stumble here over the identity of "the tree of life" and of "the tree of the knowledge of good and evil". Artists have for centuries depicted Eve partaking of the tree of the knowledge of good and evil as the eating of an apple. Yet the scriptures say:
"Not that which goes into the mouth defiles a man; but that which comes out of the mouth, this defiles a man." (Matt. 15:11)
So we know that sin is not eating an apple or any other God given fruit (apple growers can breathe easy now). Because the Bible is a very precise document written under the inspiration of God (2nd Tim. 3:16), we can use it to define other parts of the Bible.
The "tree of life" is a specific term. The term “tree of the knowledge of good and evil” is also a specific term, although it is only used twice, both times in the book of Genesis.
The term “tree of life” is used in three books of the Bible (Genesis, Proverbs, and the book of Revelation). Some Bible scholars have argued that Proverbs is poetry and parts of Genesis are a fable, myth, or allegory so this study doesn’t hold true. Yet 2nd Timothy 3:16 says that ALL scripture is inspired by God, so their unbelieving viewpoint is not a valid one. We need the other scriptures to identify both the tree of life and the tree of the knowledge of good and evil in order to accurately define sin. God reveals things to us in the Bible that we cannot get from any other source.
It is also very interesting that God tells us that the trees that were pleasant to the sight and good for food “grew out of the ground”. Just about anywhere you go in the world, even a 5 year old knows that physical trees grow out of the ground. So why would God include that statement in such a precise document unless He was making a point? He is making a point. Those trees that were pleasant to the sight and good for food, did grow out of the ground. Here God is making a distinct difference between the trees that grew out of the ground and the tree of life or the tree of the knowledge of good and evil. Most Bibles use some sort of a break here after the word food (. . . pleasant to the sight, and good for food; the tree of life).
It is also very interesting that the original Hebrew words for tree are different between the tree that “grew out of the ground” and the other two.
Note the scripture in Genesis Chapter 2, verses 16 and 17:
"And the LORD God commanded the man, saying, Of every tree of the garden you may freely eat: but of the tree of the knowledge of good and evil, you shall not eat of it: for in the day that you eat thereof you shall surely die."
In other words God allows each of us choices. We are allowed to choose any of the choices, even those that cause us harm. However, we were warned beforehand of harmful choices. In the day that we partook of the fruit of the tree of the knowledge of good and evil, the English translation says we "shall surely die". This is not an accurate translation. Eve and Adam did not die on the day they first sinned, they lived many years afterward. In the original Hebrew, it reads something different which is closer to "for in the day that you eat thereof, dying you shall surely die." In other words, the day that a person sins, is the day that the dying process starts and the end result shall be death. The part "dying you shall surely die" was considered a figure of speech and shortened by the translators. Many Bibles used to have a footnote about this change, but later Bibles often have even dropped the footnote. However the original scriptures were correct as they were written.
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, dying thou shalt surely die. [Genesis 2:17 - correct early translation]
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 2:17 - wrong modern translation]
Another interesting translation is "also in the middle of the garden". Different translations use either the word "middle" or the word "midst". The word middle means the center of or near the center. While the word "midst" means "in or among". It could be in the middle, but it does not have to be. As we will see, midst is a far more accurate translation. If it is in the midst, it is where with effort one should be able to find it. We are quoting from the American King James, which generally is a very accurate, easy to read, translation.
So at this point God has created us and we now exist. We have been given a free will and different categories of choices. Our first choice is the fruit and beauty of trees that grow out of the ground. The next two choices we have to use the Bible to define. There is no other trustworthy source from which to define the tree of life.
So what is the tree of life? It is a specific term. As such it has a specific meaning, and the Bible gives us a clear understanding of what it is.
This takes us to Proverbs chapter 3, verses 13 to 18:
13. Happy is the man that finds wisdom, and the man that gets understanding.
14. For the merchandise of it is better than the merchandise of silver, and the gain thereof than fine gold.
15. She is more precious than rubies: and all the things you can desire are not to be compared to her.
16. Length of days is in her right hand; and in her left hand riches and honor.
17. Her ways are ways of pleasantness, and all her paths are peace.
18. She is a tree of life to them that lay hold on her: and happy is every one that retains her.
Here it is saying that wisdom and understanding is a tree of life, to someone "who will take hold of them". This wisdom and understanding is like a loving, supportive woman, precious and valuable beyond compare, full of pleasantness and peace.
There is more than one type of wisdom and understanding. There is Godly wisdom and understanding and there is also worldly wisdom and understanding. The Godly wisdom and understanding described here, is further described and clarified in the Book of Revelation.
"And he showed me a pure river of water of life, clear as crystal, proceeding out of the throne of God and of the Lamb. In the middle (midst) of the street of it, and on either side of the river, was there the tree of life, which bore twelve manner of fruits, and yielded her fruit every month: and the leaves of the tree were for the healing of the nations" (Rev. 22:1-2)
There is a lot of detail packed into this scripture. Life comes from God. It is likened to a pure river, undefiled. The term “tree of life” is singular because there is only one tree of life, the wisdom and understanding that comes from God. First the tree of life was “In the middle (actually midst) of the street of ” the river of life. This wisdom and understanding is fed directly from God. Next is the same (again singular) tree of life “on either side of the river”. The picture is of a tree on the banks where the water is filtered through the ground. This is wisdom and understanding that is filtered through the world and while it comes indirectly from God, as real truth it still comes from God.
As a side note, real wisdom and understanding will produce fruit all year long. It also will reverse the spiritually sick condition of the nations. It will make the nations right with God. Just like we desire God to heal our nation.
Back to our discussion on the Tree of Life. The scriptures identifies the “tree of life” as Godly wisdom and understanding that directly or indirectly comes from God. In other words when we take hold of Godly wisdom and understanding, we are partaking or eating of the tree of life, we are not sinning.
So then what is: “the tree of the knowledge of good and evil? Obviously the tree of life does not grow out of the ground, and neither does the tree of the knowledge (or knowing) of good and evil.
The tree of life is godly wisdom and understanding. In contrast eating or partaking of the tree of the knowledge or knowing of good and evil is determining or following wisdom and understanding that does not come from God. In other words, we reject God's wisdom and understanding and we create our own wisdom and truth. When a person chooses to believe that the moon is made of cheese or that the earth is millions of years old or that they deserve the bank’s money so they should rob it, they are sinning.
To act upon or even to just accept wisdom and understanding
that does not line up with the will of God is sin.
Does that mean we have sinned when we have a bad thought?
It becomes sin when one accepts it or acts upon it. Just having a bad thought is not a sin. Satan has the ability to plant thoughts or feelings into our mind or soul. We are to cast down every thought, every imagination that exults itself against God. When Satan plants bad thoughts into our minds we are responsible for what we do with them.
"For though we walk in the flesh, we do not war after the flesh: (For the weapons of our warfare are not carnal, but mighty through God to the pulling down of strong holds;) casting down imaginations, and every high thing that exalts itself against the knowledge of God, and bringing into captivity every thought to the obedience of Christ;" [2nd Cor. 10:3-5]
When the bad thought comes, it is our responsibility as a child of God, to cast down every thought, every imagination that is contrary to God. God gives us time to do this. However, if we accept or act upon a bad thought as truth, then we have sinned. God calls us to be gate keepers to our minds.
We were given a free will and we use that free will to constantly discriminate or determine what is right or wrong, or good or evil. Here we have two choices. The tree of life AND the tree of the knowledge of good and evil.
By applying knowledge that is contrary to the wisdom and understanding of the real and only God, we are in an error, a lie or a deception. To trust any of these that are outside of God's word, His will, will have negative consequences on our quality of life. It may short term appear to provide gain or things we want, but the end is not good.
After we have made the choice to give our life to God and to trust God with all that we are, God expects us to honor our decision. God's plan is that we trust two things. We are to trust what we truly know and also what God as asked us to believe in His word. This is the responsibility of the believer. The unbeliever naturally trusts the dictates of: what they feel, what they think, and what they want. Not so, with the believer. They are to trust what they truly do know. Not what they think they know, or what they feel they know, nor even what they believe they know. Feelings are most often from the soul, the fleshly nature of man. Likewise are are those things a person think they know or believe they know. Thinking and believing are functions of the mind and the mind is again part of the soul. We are to no longer live according to the dictates of the soul. That life is to be believed dead upon our receiving salvation. Now we are to be alive to Christ the living will of God, trusting in entirely in Him.
When a person rejects God they often think they can determine truth by what they feel, think, or want. The reality is, when we trust only the limited input we get from our fleshly nature, we may miss the information that God is trying to show us. In doing so we reject the living will of God and there will likely be future consequences. When we reject God, we are rejecting truth, (an attribute of God is truth). In doing so the remaining choices are not likely to be true. Worldly wisdom and understanding may appear, short term, to be acceptable, or even to be good, but being contrary to God, there are negative consequences, even if they are a long time in coming.
Those that trusted the tree of the knowledge of good and evil, started the death process. If they did not repent and turn to God, they died without having real life. Those that died without choosing God and the real life He offers, in effect chose death. And at physical death, they received the consequences of their own decision. God did not condemn them to Hell, God honored their choice and carried out their wishes, even though they had deceived themselves. They had rejected every attempt God made to reach them.
Those that made the decision to trust in God, ate of the tree of life, and had real life. Jesus came so that each person could have real life rather than just exist. And if one seriously draws closer to God, they can have the real life God designed for them, more abundantly. If they chose God, then when they died physically, God would receive them to be with Him forever in heaven.
Every person that has ever lived has the choice of the tree of life and of the tree of the knowledge of good and evil. Some would ask, what about those who have never seen a Bible. Well Abraham did not have a Bible, and he was one of the most righteous men to have ever lived. He lived among a very crooked and perverse people. Also in Romans 1:20 it says:
"For the invisible things of him (God) from the creation of the world are clearly seen, being understood by the things that are made, even his eternal power and Godhead; so that they are without excuse:"
The things around us verify that God exists. If we are truly honest we can even come to know God’s eternal power and Godhead by the creation around us. It is not easy but it is possible. We are so blessed to have the Bible and all the quality modern study aids we have available. Abraham would have loved to have had a Bible, but he didn’t and he still figured it out and walked honestly with God.
So the issue is, God had made a way from the very beginning for all people to know Him.
Sin affects every area of our lives. Understanding sin shows us the importance of knowing God's word and brings clarity to the scriptures.
Here are all the places where the term “Tree of Life” is used in the Bible.
Book of Revelation 22:2
Book of Revelation 22:7
Book of Revelation 22:14
Any Biblical concept or definition must fit with other scriptures. The first hurdle many face is the word "tree". In reality tree is an excellent choice of words to be used here. The Bible is intentionally designed to reach everyone from the most remote uneducated person to the most educated and knowledgable of people. Often someone will make a statement of how something really fed them emotionally or spiritually then turn around and say that because these are called trees, they had to have grown out of the ground. We don't interpret the Bible by how we feel. We let it speak and adjust our understanding to what it says. Isn't telling God what the Bible says, an example of us pretending to be God?
The decisions that we make and the decisions that any who influence our lives make, affect the direction and quality of our lives.
Decisions are shaped by what we feel, what we think, what we want, what we believe, and what we know. We often don't give it a second thought, we just make the assumption our decisions are right, because we made them. From our perspective we usually accept our justification as truth or as the right choice, even if we truly know it isn't.
God looks at how we make decisions as a very important issue. Why, because of God's intense love for us, He cares about the quality of our lives, both now and in the future. He is our Heavenly father and the father instinct God designed in men is there for us to be able to see an example of the love of God in a healthy father child relationship. Because of this intense pure love God has for us, we can trust his instructions on how to make decisions.
So God's plan for restoring mankind to Himself details how to properly make decisions. A Christian should be making decisions differently than how a worldly person makes decisions. Not only does the Christian have a different decision making process, they also have access to the God of all creation through His word, the scriptures, prayer and the Holy Spirit. If God was dead or non-existent as the unbeliever thinks, then a Christian's methods would be worthless. However God is alive and learning how God works gives the Christian a tremendous advantage if they will take the time to learn and follow God's instructions by faith.
Does this fit with the rest of scripture? Does anything that comes off a physical tree make one really wiser? Does the fruit of any physical tree deceive one into thinking they are now a God? Genesis 3:6 says that it was good for food. We feed our physical bodies but don’t we feed our spirits and souls as well? Jesus said “I have food to eat that you know not of” John 4:32. Here Jesus was not talking about feeding his body, but his spirit. In Genesis the eating of the fruit of the tree of knowledge of good and evil made them aware of themselves and they knew they were naked. The result of making decisions contrary to God causes us to feel exposed and a need to cover or protect ourselves. There is a fear that our nakedness will be exposed.
Saying, Blessed are they whose iniquities are forgiven, and whose sins are covered. Blessed is the man to whom the Lord will not impute sin. [Romans 4;7-8]
All unrighteousness is sin: [1 John 5;17a]
For the wages of sin is death; but the gift of God is eternal life through Jesus Christ our Lord. [Romans 6;23]
What then? are we better than they? No, in no wise: for we have before proved both Jews and Gentiles, that they are all under sin; [Romans 3;9]
"Blessed are they whose iniquities are forgiven, and whose sins are covered." Being forgiven for the things we have done wrong, that truly is a blessing!
Not having God condemn us for sinning, that is also a huge blessing.
Being righteous is doing the right thing, whatever the issue. So then unrighteousness is not doing the right thing. Unrighteousness is sin. Sin has its consequences. When we do wrong we may think that we can dodge the consequences of sin. However sin will have a negative effect, whether we initially see that effect or not. God will win in the end, so the wise will choose to be on His side. The Bible describes clearly how sin affects us, it culminates or ends in death. It is described as producing wages. We have earned something and payment is coming. Wages are delayed from the event that causes them, but the payment of wages, good or bad, does come. The final wages of sin, ends in death.
In contrast God is trying to give us real life. Eternal life or Heaven is part of that promise. This life, comes only through Jesus Christ. This is not just a one god of many gods, blessing its subjects. It is the creator of heaven and earth imparting in us a pure, productive, righteous life. There are two additional key points here. The Bible refers to Jesus Christ, our Lord as personally ours. If we choose to reject Jesus Christ as our personal God, we won't experience the life that is promised to us in the scriptures. The second key point here is scriptures call Him Lord which means master or one in control. To make Jesus Christ the Lord of our lives is our conscious decision we choose to, or not to, make. It does not just happen. Jesus Christ will not force us to make Him Lord. He is a gentleman.
For the unbeliever, the thought of making Jesus Christ their personal Lord, can bring up all sorts of unspoken fears and rebellion. We usually don't see far enough into the future to see that our sin does actually lead to death. Even if we do see it, we often ignore it or refuse to believe it. There is in us, a survival instinct, that does not want to give up control of ourown life, even when we begin to see the damage our sin is doing to us.
All people are under the effects of sin, we are all under the bondage of sin. No one is better than the other, we all have sinned and come short of God's plan for our life. Life will prove this to any honest heart.
Through time we realize that we have done wrong and it has had a negative impact on our lives. That realization is necessary for us to have motivation to correct it. Without seeing the problem or feeling the pain there is no need for correction.
If we see our sin, exercise of our own strength through our will and man's wisdom, won't stop us from sinning.
How blessed we are when our wrongs, our sins, are forgiven. God promises to forgive our iniquities and to cover our sins. This promise is to all who come to God asking forgiveness and commit their life to Him. We deserve a death sentence and when we repent, God gives us life. What is interesting here is how many things we do wrong, where we are not even aware that we have done wrong. God see all of our sins. Whether we are aware of a sin or not, if we have sinned we will receive the wages for that sin unless we repent. Repentance is admitting we did wrong and turning away from doing the sin again.
So how is the new believer different than the unbeliever? We are all under sin, all need salvation. Once, one asks forgiveness of God, they are forgiven by God. God does not impute these sins to those who have been forgiven. In other words, as far as God is concerned, the sins are forgiven and forgotten. They are covered by God' abundant mercy and grace. There may, however, be natural consequences from other people, the legal system, our health, etc, that still will affect us. If we continue in God, by faith, as made known in the scriptures, many times, God works it out that the natural consequences are diminished and sometimes erased entirely. There are times when God will have us face the natural consequences. We as believers then face these consequences with God, believing that all things work out for good as we trust and obey the living God. It is a mistake to ignore the natural consequences thinking that they will just go away. We are to face them in faith, trusting God for the outcome. Often God may let some of the sting of our sins remain for a season as a reminder to not go back and embrace the very things that hurt us in the first place.
Sin - Lesson #02
"Knowing this, that our old man is crucified with him, that the body of sin might be destroyed, that henceforth we should not serve sin. For he that is dead is freed from sin. Now if we be dead with Christ, we believe that we shall also live with him: knowing that Christ being raised from the dead dieth no more; death hath no more dominion over him. For in that he died, he died unto sin once: but in that he liveth, he liveth unto God. Likewise reckon ye also yourselves to be dead indeed unto sin, but alive unto God through Jesus Christ our Lord. Let not sin therefore reign in your mortal body, that ye should obey it in the lusts thereof. Neither yield ye your members as instruments of unrighteousness unto sin: but yield yourselves unto God, as those that are alive from the dead, and your members as instruments of righteousness unto God. For sin shall not have dominion over you: for ye are not under the law, but under grace. What then? shall we sin, because we are not under the law, but under grace? God forbid. 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? " [Romans 6;7-16]
There is a part of the salvation process, that is often ignored, that is key to keeping us from sinning. We are to believe that our old sin nature was crucified with Christ. This is a responsibility of each believer to work out. We have lived since birth under the control of our flesh. It has been our identity and a significant part of who we are. People often try to liva a Christian life and at the same time crucifing the sin nature. It then creates a religious person. Our sin nature does not want to die. Too much of us, is in it. Our cross is the crucify the dictates of the flesh and believe we are alive in Christ. Yet without applying the cross, we will continue to serve sin. This crucifying the flesh is a choice to believe dead, this sin nature, this body of sin. Then we choose to believe that it is not I, that live, but Christ that lives through me. A dead man does not sin. We are NOT talking about a physical death or suicide. We are talking about the sin nature, that has controlled us since birth, no longer being our king. In like manner as we believe that Christ died for us, we choose to believe that our body of sin, or sin nature, died with Christ when we made that decision to believe in God. There are other lessons later that go into greater depth on this topic. For now we will study this basic concept. We are born with a sin nature or body of sin. As long as that sin nature rules our life we are in conflict with God's plan and will not receive the fullness of "life" as God wants to impart it to us.
When we begin to grasp that the sin nature we were born with, does not have our best interest at heart, the natural reaction is to tackle our sins as we see them. We try to overcome one sin after another as we become aware of them. In due season, we realize we are addressing the symptoms, not the cause. There comes a realization that by the death of the sin nature, the problem is overcome in a far more proficient manner. We eliminate the cause of the sin, rather than the sin after it has sprung up. The sin nature has to die and something better put in its place. It is the pure love and the life of God that we should desire. It is when we choose to accept the death of Jesus Christ to pay the penalty for our sins, and we invite this risen Jesus Christ into our lives as our Lord and Savior.
Us and Jesus Christ, the living will of God, cannot both be the master of our lives. Either we make God's will our master or we remain the master of our own lives. There is no real life in living such a lie. We choose to believe in God, God adopts us. Then, over time, God will bring to light what He wants to change. We should be clay in His hands. With His abundant grace, God clean us up.
Sin is trying to control us by its enticements and lusts. Instead we submit our body, our thoughts, our actions, all of us as instruments of righteousness to God. This is how we become free in Christ. If we submit ourselves by faith as members of righteousness then real life will flow from God through us.
Sin - Lesson #03
"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. Being then made free from sin, ye became the servants of righteousness." [Romans 6:17-18]
"Behold, what manner of love the Father hath bestowed upon us, that we should be called the sons of God: therefore the world knoweth us not, because it knew Him not. Beloved, now are we the sons of God, and it doth (does) not yet appear what we shall be: but we know that, when he shall appear, we shall be like Him (Christ); for we shall see Him as he is. And every man that hath this hope in him purifieth himself, even as he is pure. Whosoever committeth sin transgresseth also the law: for sin is the transgression of the law. And ye know that He was manifested to take away our sins; and in Him is no sin." [1 John 3:5]
If we receive the witness of men, the witness of God is greater: for this is the witness of God which he hath testified of his Son. [1 John 5:9]
We were formally servants of sin. We have chosen to be honest and recognized that we were sinners. Then, from our hearts, we choose to no longer be the servants of sin, but servants of righteousness. From our heart means from our deepest desires or innermost motivation. From our heart is not just a casual choice, or a mental assent or decision. It is much deeper decision that comes from the very core of our being, from our spiritual heart.
We choose to receive and obey by faith the doctrine from the scriptures, that is detailed, line upon line and precept upon precept all of God's Word. That choice made us legally free from sin and at that decision we became servants of righteousness. God loved us so much that He made a way that we could become the sons and daughters of God. The sinners in the world, of which we were previously, do not now understand us or our new life in Jesus Christ. They do not know the God of all creation. Our new ways are totally foreign to them.
We look at ourselves and we still look a lot like the people we were before salvation. We still have bondages of some or most of our sins even though legally or positionally we are this new creation as this new child of the God. It does not yet appear what we shall be. Salvation starts this process of transformation. We have to start from where we are. We cannot start anywhere else. When God says we are now sons and daughters of God, he expects us to believe it. If we or other people think or say that we are the same as before, it does not matter. What matters is what God says. If God says we are now the sons and daughters of God, then it would be silly to believe any thing else. Always, if there is conflict between what we say or think and what God says in His Word, what God says is greater. What God says takes precedent over what we, or others, think, feel or want. The issue is who are we going to believe? The God of all creation that loves us and died for us, or someone or something else? We have made a decision to make this Jesus Christ, as Lord or master of our lives, and now we have an opportunity to do what we previously committed to do. In faith, if we walk and live as God instructs us to, we will see the reality of the scriptures come alive in our lives. By living now, by faith in God's word, and not by the old sin nature, of by living by what we felt, thought or wanted, we create an environment in which God moves to transform us and the often also the situations around us. Then we will see, in due season the will of God appear. It will transform our lives a little at a time at a rate we can handle. We will become more like God and understand more of who this living God is.
As we exercise this hope in God, we work by faith to purify ourselves, trusting that the power of God will enable our efforts and strength to accomplish this transforming work of purification. God is pure and as we take on His ways in faith, we become more pure, by being more like Him. If we disobey God's Word we are transgressing God's law, we are sinning. Jesus Christ is come, that in turning from our sin nature to obeying God by faith, God is able to take away our sins. There is no sin or guile in Jesus Christ.
Sin - Lesson #04
This then is the message which we have heard of him, and declare unto you, that God is light, and in him is no darkness at all. If we say that we have fellowship with him, and walk in darkness, we lie, and do not the truth: but if we walk in the light, as he is in the light, we have fellowship one with another, and the blood of Jesus Christ his Son cleanseth us from all sin. If we say that we have no sin, we deceive ourselves, and the truth is not in us. If we confess our sins, he is faithful and just to forgive us our sins, and to cleanse us from all unrighteousness. If we say that we have not sinned, we make him a liar, and his word is not in us. [1 John 1;5-10]
For the life of the flesh is in the blood: and I have given it to you upon the altar to make an atonement for your souls: for it is the blood that maketh an atonement for the soul. [Leviticus 17;11]
My little children, these things write I unto you, that ye sin not. And if any man sin, we have an advocate with the Father, Jesus Christ the righteous: [1 John 2;1]
This is the covenant that I will make with them after those days, saith the Lord, I will put my laws into their hearts, and in their minds will I write them; and their sins and iniquities will I remember no more. Now where remission of these is, there is no more offering for sin. [Hebrews 10;16-18]
God's message by Jesus Christ to all of mankind is God is light. Light allows us to see, to understand. For us to be able to truly see and understand, requires a choice on our part, to closely examine and think through what we see. We suffer deception when the light is on but we choose to not look or to consider the truth that can be seen.
There is no darkness or evil in God or in Jesus Christ. Darkness allows evil and deception. If we walk in darkness and say that we have fellowship with God we deceive ourselves. It is by our faith that the blood of the substitutional death of Jesus Christ, paid the penalty that was due us, that cleanses us from all sin. In other words the life, that is in God's word, represented by Christ's blood, was poured out or spilled by our rejection and denial of God. When we choose to believe in Jesus Christ, that life, that was poured our in Christ's death, was the life that was sacrificed in our place. We should have died for our sins. Jesus died in our place. When we choose to believe in the power of the resurrected Jesus Christ, we are now believing in the very will of God that we formally rejected and despised and crucified from having any place in us. As we choose to have fellowship with God's word, we give up our ways that we recognize are contrary to the will of God and it is this process that cleanses us from sin. We know if we are walking in darkness. We can choose, the choice is our decision, to walk in the light with God. This fellowship with God, gives us light for our path to keep us from and cleanses us from, sin.
If we say we have no sin we are just deceiving ourselves, and choosing to believe a lie for self justification. If we ask forgiveness to God for our sins, with a sincere heart, God is faithful and He is Just to forgive them. God is not playing games with us. The answer is not maybe or that He may consider it. He forgives our sins. If we continue in sincere faith and fellowship with God, He will cleans us from all unrighteousness.
If on our path as believers, we again sin (and we will, that is why God pours out on us His abundant grace), we have an advocate in Jesus Christ to speak on our behalf to God the Father. This is like the son of the President speaking out on our behalf. He will be heard.
God has, past tense, as its already been done, made a covenant, or binding agreement with those that choose to believe. This covenant gives us life and forgiveness of all our sins in exchange for our choice to live trusting the God of creation by making Jesus Christ our Lord and Savior. In doing so God will put His will in our hearts and our minds plus He will remember our sins and iniquities no more. God will forget them. Satan will bring them up again and again if we will listen, but we are to cast down all such thoughts, that are contrary to God.
If we have truly given our life to Christ, and then backslide or fall, there is not a new sacrifice for our sins. We instead re-commit our lives again to God from a sincere heart, and He is faithful to forgive.
Sin - Lesson #05
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. 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: but every man is tempted, when he is drawn away of his own lust, and enticed. Then when lust hath conceived, it bringeth forth sin: and sin, when it is finished, bringeth forth death. Do not err, my beloved brethren. [James 1;16]
Therefore to him that knoweth to do good, and doeth it not, to him it is sin. [James 4;17]
And he shall speak great words against the most High, and shall wear out the saints of the most High, and think to change times and laws: and they shall be given into his hand until a time and times and the dividing of time. [Daniel 7;25]
Wherefore seeing we also are compassed about with so great a cloud of witnesses, let us lay aside every weight, and the sin which doth so easily beset us, and let us run with patience the race that is set before us, looking unto Jesus the author and finisher of our faith; who for the joy that was set before him endured the cross, despising the shame, and is set down at the right hand of the throne of God. For consider him that endured such contradiction of sinners against himself, lest ye be wearied and faint in your minds. Ye have not yet resisted unto blood, striving against sin. [Hebrews 12;1-4]
God blesses the person that by faith endures temptation without giving in. God is pure and righteous and does not tempt anyone. If we are being tempted, it is our own lust that leads to us being enticed. It is our choice to allow lust to draw us away. Lust is not love, its lust. When we give lust an opportunity it brings forth sin, doing wrong and unrighteousness. As we have already studied, the end result of sin is death. This is a progression. Sin seems simple enough at the start. We won't realize that while it appears weak, it is working to come to where it can control us. God is warning us through James, do not make this error. Temptation is not how God works.
If we know to do good or what is right and we don't do it, we sin. A believer will exercise wisdom by examining whether or not they know something is good or the right thing to do. What is very interesting here is the balance God exhibits in this statement. Satan would love to wear out the saints (believers) with good works. (while the scripture on wearing out the saints does not refer to giving them busywork, we can conclude that Satan would love to wear out the saints any way he can, and this would include giving them busywork) On the other hand God wants his people to be tending to the issues of life, which is doing what is good. The balance is brought in by the word "knoweth' or knows. Knowing something is not the same a believing, wanting, feeling, or being pushed into. To know or knows is deeper. The word knows adds the balance that keeps the believer in the will of God, not just doing busywork. Obviously honesty plays a part here as a lazy person may choose to say that he does not know what he knows.
“All scripture is given by inspiration of God, and is profitable for doctrine, for reproof, for correction, for instruction in righteousness”. [2nd Timothy 3:16]
The word “all” in 2nd Timothy means all. Meaning “all” is inspired and “all” is profitable for doctrine, for reproof, for correction, and for instruction in righteousness. There is a false secular view of the scriptures, that has gained some acceptance, even in many Bible colleges. That view is that parts of the Bible are to be classed as myths, fables, poetry, narratives etc. Those teaching this view, claim that parts of the Bible are either not inspired or less trustworthy than other parts. This heresy is in direct conflict with the Bible. This dishonesty does not stop with the parts that these false scholars call fables or myths. It also carries over to those parts deemed as poetry, narratives, etc. The Bible clearly states that all scriptures are inspired or God breathed and all of it is good for doctrine, reproof, etc. If you are under a teacher that has this false view, it is our suggestion that you find another teacher, even if it means finding another church. These false teachers will often have convincing evidence that support their view, and some have impressive sounding titles and degrees. However they have not gained this view form honest Bible study but from secular challenges that they were not studied enough to refute. That said, there are portions of scripture that exhibit poetic or narrative styles, however, do not be deceived, those parts are no less inspired.
Genesis is one book of the Bible that this attack falls on, over and over. These false scholars call Genesis, or parts of it, a fable or a myth. However as you study Genesis in a careful balanced manner, one finds that it is truly written by the inspiration of God. Genesis provides precise answers found nowhere else in the scriptures. It would be impossible for man to have written this much verifiable detail, from his natural mind. It is very rare HeSavedMe.org will enter these church doctrine issues, however this attack to destroy ones faith occurs on some of the foundational core issues of the Bible and some of these are in Genesis. The church, due to its lack of clean in-depth Bible understanding, has capitulated and not stood up to these attacks as it should. As we study Genesis through out the various lessons, we invite you to be the judge if it is inspired or not.
"But if ye have respect to persons, ye commit sin, and are convinced of the law as transgressors." [James 2;9]
"For there is not a just man upon earth, that does good, and sins not." [Ecc 7:20]
"The Lord knoweth how to deliver the godly out of temptations, and to reserve the unjust unto the day of judgment to be punished: but chiefly them that walk after the flesh in the lust of uncleanness, and despise government. Presumptuous are they, selfwilled, they are not afraid to speak evil of dignities. Whereas angels, which are greater in power and might, bring not railing accusation against them before the Lord. But these, as natural brute beasts, made to be taken and destroyed, speak evil of the things that they understand not; and shall utterly perish in their own corruption; and shall receive the reward of unrighteousness, as they that count it pleasure to riot in the day time. Spots they are and blemishes, sporting themselves with their own deceivings while they feast with you;Having eyes full of adultery, and that cannot cease from sin; beguiling unstable souls: an heart they have exercised with covetous practices; cursed children: which have forsaken the right way, and are gone astray, following the way of Balaam the son of Bosor, who loved the wages of unrighteousness;" [2 Peter 2;9-15]
"He that committeth sin is of the devil; for the devil sinneth from the beginning. For this purpose the Son of God was manifested, that he might destroy the works of the devil." [1 John 3:8]
"Whosoever is born of God doth not commit sin; for his seed remaineth in him: and he cannot sin, because he is born of God." [1 John 3:9]
Forasmuch then as Christ hath suffered for us in the flesh, arm yourselves likewise with the same mind: for he that hath suffered in the flesh hath ceased from sin; that he no longer should live the rest of his time in the flesh to the lusts of men, but to the will of God. [1 Peter 4;1-2]
For what glory is it, if, when ye be buffeted for your faults, ye shall take it patiently? but if, when ye do well, and suffer for it, ye take it patiently, this is acceptable with God. For even hereunto were ye called: because Christ also suffered for us, leaving us an example, that ye should follow his steps: Who did no sin, neither was guile found in his mouth: who, when he was reviled, reviled not again; when he suffered, he threatened not; but committed himself to him that judgeth righteously: who his own self bare our sins in his own body on the tree, that we, being dead to sins, should live unto righteousness: by whose stripes ye were healed. For ye were as sheep going astray; but are now returned unto the Shepherd and Bishop of your souls.
[1 Peter 2;20-25]
By faith Moses, when he was come to years, refused to be called the son of Pharaoh's daughter; choosing rather to suffer affliction with the people of God, than to enjoy the pleasures of sin for a season; choosing rather to suffer affliction with the people of God, than to enjoy the pleasures of sin for a season; esteeming the reproach of Christ greater riches than the treasures in Egypt: for he had respect unto the recompence of the reward. [Hebrews 11;23-26]
Above when he said, Sacrifice and offering and burnt offerings and offering for sin thou wouldest not, neither hadst pleasure therein; which are offered by the law; then said he, Lo, I come to do thy will, O God. He taketh away the first, that he may establish the second. By the which will we are sanctified through the offering of the body of Jesus Christ once for all. And every priest standeth daily ministering and offering oftentimes the same sacrifices, which can never take away sins: but this man, after he had offered one sacrifice for sins for ever, sat down on the right hand of God; from henceforth expecting till his enemies be made his footstool. For by one offering he hath perfected for ever them that are sanctified. [Hebrews 10;8-14]
For Christ is not entered into the holy places made with hands, which are the figures of the true; but into heaven itself, now to appear in the presence of God for us: nor yet that he should offer himself often, as the high priest entereth into the holy place every year with blood of others; for then must he often have suffered since the foundation of the world: but now once in the end of the world hath he appeared to put away sin by the sacrifice of himself. And as it is appointed unto men once to die, but after this the judgment:So Christ was once offered to bear the sins of many; and unto them that look for him shall he appear the second time without sin unto salvation. [Hebrews 9;24-28]
For the word of God is quick, and powerful, and sharper than any twoedged sword, piercing even to the dividing asunder of soul and spirit, and of the joints and marrow, and is a discerner of the thoughts and intents of the heart. Neither is there any creature that is not manifest in his sight: but all things are naked and opened unto the eyes of him with whom we have to do. Seeing then that we have a great high priest, that is passed into the heavens, Jesus the Son of God, let us hold fast our profession. For we have not an high priest which cannot be touched with the feeling of our infirmities; but was in all points tempted like as we are, yet without sin. Let us therefore come boldly unto the throne of grace, that we may obtain mercy, and find grace to help in time of need. [Hebrews 4;12-16]
Take heed, brethren, lest there be in any of you an evil heart of unbelief, in departing from the living God. But exhort one another daily, while it is called To day; lest any of you be hardened through the deceitfulness of sin. [Hebrews 3;12-13]
And that ye put on the new man, which after God is created in righteousness and true holiness. Wherefore putting away lying, speak every man truth with his neighbour: for we are members one of another. Be ye angry, and sin not: let not the sun go down upon your wrath: [Ephesians 4;24-26]
And all things are of God, who hath reconciled us to himself by Jesus Christ, and hath given to us the ministry of reconciliation; to wit, that God was in Christ, reconciling the world unto himself, not imputing their trespasses unto them; and hath committed unto us the word of reconciliation.Now then we are ambassadors for Christ, as though God did beseech you by us: we pray you in Christ's stead, be ye reconciled to God. For he hath made him to be sin for us, who knew no sin; that we might be made the righteousness of God in him. [2 Corinthians 5;18-21]
Be not deceived: evil communications corrupt good manners. Awake to righteousness, and sin not; for some have not the knowledge of God: I speak this to your shame. [1 Corinthians 15;34]
But when ye sin so against the brethren, and wound their weak conscience, ye sin against Christ. Wherefore, if meat make my brother to offend, I will eat no flesh while the world standeth, lest I make my brother to offend. [1 Corinthians 8;12]
But he that is joined unto the Lord is one spirit. Flee fornication. Every sin that a man doeth is without the body; but he that committeth fornication sinneth against his own body. What? know ye not that your body is the temple of the Holy Ghost which is in you, which ye have of God, and ye are not your own? For ye are bought with a price: therefore glorify God in your body, and in your spirit, which are God's. [1 Corinthians 6;18]
Hast thou faith? have it to thyself before God. Happy is he that condemneth not himself in that thing which he alloweth. And he that doubteth is damned if he eat, because he eateth not of faith: for whatsoever is not of faith is sin. [Romans 14;23]
Now if I do that I would not, it is no more I that do it, but sin that dwelleth in me. [Romans 7;20]
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. Being then made free from sin, ye became the servants of righteousness. [Romans 6;17-18]
Nevertheless I tell you the truth; It is expedient for you that I go away: for if I go not away, the Comforter will not come unto you; but if I depart, I will send him unto you. And when he is come, he will reprove the world of sin, and of righteousness, and of judgment: of sin, because they believe not on me; [John 16;7-9]
Then said Jesus to those Jews which believed on him, If ye continue in my word, then are ye my disciples indeed; and ye shall know the truth, and the truth shall make you free. They answered him, We be Abraham's seed, and were never in bondage to any man: how sayest thou, Ye shall be made free?Jesus answered them, Verily, verily, I say unto you, Whosoever committeth sin is the servant of sin. And the servant abideth not in the house for ever: but the Son abideth ever. If the Son therefore shall make you free, ye shall be free indeed. [John 8;31-36]
Then came Peter to him, and said, Lord, how oft shall my brother sin against me, and I forgive him? till seven times? Jesus saith unto him, I say not unto thee, Until seven times: but, Until seventy times seven. [Matthew 18;21-22]
Will the LORD be pleased with thousands of rams, or with ten thousands of rivers of oil? shall I give my firstborn for my transgression, the fruit of my body for the sin of my soul? He hath shewed thee, O man, what is good; and what doth the LORD require of thee, but to do justly, and to love mercy, and to walk humbly with thy God? [Micah 6;7]
And whiles I was speaking, and praying, and confessing my sin and the sin of my people Israel, and presenting my supplication before the LORD my God for the holy mountain of my God; yea, whiles I was speaking in prayer, even the man Gabriel, whom I had seen in the vision at the beginning, being caused to fly swiftly, touched me about the time of the evening oblation. And he informed me, and talked with me, and said, O Daniel, I am now come forth to give thee skill and understanding.
Again, when I say unto the wicked, Thou shalt surely die; if he turn from his sin, and do that which is lawful and right; if the wicked restore the pledge, give again that he had robbed, walk in the statutes of life, without committing iniquity; he shall surely live, he shall not die. None of his sins that he hath committed shall be mentioned unto him: he hath done that which is lawful and right; he shall surely live. [Ezekiel 33;14]
The soul that sinneth, it shall die. The son shall not bear the iniquity of the father, neither shall the father bear the iniquity of the son: the righteousness of the righteous shall be upon him, and the wickedness of the wicked shall be upon him. But if the wicked will turn from all his sins that he hath committed, and keep all my statutes, and do that which is lawful and right, he shall surely live, he shall not die. All his transgressions that he hath committed, they shall not be mentioned unto him: in his righteousness that he hath done he shall live. Have I any pleasure at all that the wicked should die? saith the Lord GOD: and not that he should return from his ways, and live? But when the righteous turneth away from his righteousness, and committeth iniquity, and doeth according to all the abominations that the wicked man doeth, shall he live? All his righteousness that he hath done shall not be mentioned: in his trespass that he hath trespassed, and in his sin that he hath sinned, in them shall he die. [Ezekiel 18;20-24]
For Israel hath not been forsaken, nor Judah of his God, of the LORD of hosts; though their land was filled with sin against the Holy One of Israel. [Jeremiah 51;5]
For the children of Israel and the children of Judah have only done evil before me from their youth: for the children of Israel have only provoked me to anger with the work of their hands, saith the LORD. For this city hath been to me as a provocation of mine anger and of my fury from the day that they built it even unto this day; that I should remove it from before my face, because of all the evil of the children of Israel and of the children of Judah, which they have done to provoke me to anger, they, their kings, their princes, their priests, and their prophets, and the men of Judah, and the inhabitants of Jerusalem. And they have turned unto me the back, and not the face: though I taught them, rising up early and teaching them, yet they have not hearkened to receive instruction. But they set their abominations in the house, which is called by my name, to defile it. And they built the high places of Baal, which are in the valley of the son of Hinnom, to cause their sons and their daughters to pass through the fire unto Molech; which I commanded them not, neither came it into my mind, that they should do this abomination, to cause Judah to sin.
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