Teacher: Chancellor Roger J. Magnuson
Topic: After carefully reviewing the Biblical account of the Fall, describe what occurred in three dimensions: with respect to the principle of authority, with respect to the Satanic tactic generally used in getting people to sin, in seeking to spell out the distinctions between sin, transgression and iniquity.
Title: Sin is a Disaster
If a minister doesn’t understand that sin is a disaster, pity the people under his shepherdship. There are people who view sin as non-existent. Then there is the view of sin as something antiseptic. Then there is the view that sin is simply separation from God. The therapist tells us that sin doesn’t really have a moral dimension, but is an illness that you catch and that therefore the way out of it is psychological or other type of therapy. For almost anything people do today, no matter how repugnant or reprehensible it may be, there is someone coming in and saying all they need is therapy.
- Disaster—Considering the consequence of sins “wonderfully concentrates the mind.” A sin affects the entire life; a single incident can lead to shame and great harm. If we put the pleasures of sin on one side of the scale, and put the consequences on the other side, there is no comparison. Sin is truly a disaster. In Lamentations, the prophet looks around and sees a city that was the joy of the whole earth, now entirely destroyed. Where children played in the streets, now all sit solitary. It is utterly devastated. All the charming, exciting sins of sensuality and sodomy and idolatry and worldliness, how dim their pleasures look now, in the looking back. We must have a dire view of sin! In the beginning chapters of the book of Genesis, the Bible clearly associates sin and death. They lost so much for their sin (Adam and Eve). “In the day you eat of this fruit, you shall die.” The message of the Bible is inflexible, “The soul that sinneth, it shall die.” “The wages of sin is death.” “…by one man sin entered into the world, and death by sin.”
- Death in Spirit—At the point of sin, the spirit dies, is cut off from fellowship with the Creator.
- Death in Soul—The spirit, soul and body would face death: they would be described as “dead in trespasses and sins.” They were intended to physically live, but now their bodies will die.
- Death in Sustenance—Even in the woman’s pain in the onset of a new life, there is a picture of death. In man’s labor over the ground there is a picture of death: the land rebels against him. You can’t have sin without death: one doesn’t come without the other. Anyone who wanders into sin has gone through the door toward death.
- Device—“We are not ignorant of his devices…” The Devil has his devices, unless we have a clear look at his devices, we’re going to be devastated, just like a boxer who doesn’t see the quick punches coming at him.
- Types of Sin—Sin, transgression and iniquity.
- Sin—failure to measure up to God’s perfect righteousness. “Be ye holy, as I am holy.” God’s requirement is given in both Old and New Testaments. He demands utter separation unto Him, total perfection, to be “hadosh,” separate and holy. Harnartia (Gr.) is a failure to measure up to perfection: the first commandment is, “Love the Lord thy God with all thy heart, with all thy soul and with all thy mind.” Is not the first and greatest sin to disobey the first and greatest commandment? “All have sinned, and come short of the glory of God.”
- Transgression—“Trans,” across, “gress,” border—to cross a border. God draws a line in the sand and He says, “Thou shalt not cross it.” The Ten Commandments are ten families of commandments-—”honor father and mother” means to be submitted to authority figures, “don’t commit adultery” means not to engage in any sexual sin. If God draws a line and we willfully rebel and cross the line, we are guilty of transgression.
- Iniquity—doing your own thing; given by Is. 53:6, “All we like sheep have gone astray, we have turned every one to his own way…” What the world today calls morality—deciding for yourself what is right and wrong—the Bible calls iniquity. This was what was taking place in Israel when Deuteronomy says, “Every man did that which was right in his own eyes.”
- Tactics of Sin—they are clear from John, James, and the temptation given to Jesus. James tells us that sin comes from our own lusts: this is the process. Satan knows we have inherent weaknesses: he is a matchmaker of sin. The three basic human points of sin are lust of flesh, lust of eyes, and pride of life. We are enticed by our own lusts! What is the world: it incorporates all three. Eve saw that the fruit was good to look upon (lust of eyes), would taste good (lust of flesh), would make her wise (pride of life): there are the three. These same three were temptations for Jesus:
- Avarice—Covetousness, you see something you want. You have curiosity.
- Appetite—Normal appetites or abnormal appetites satisfied in the wrong way.
- Ambition—You want a good name, putting your own reputation above doing the right thing. You don’t want to humble yourself and admit wrong, but you want to look good and be prestigious.
- These three are in us, but are not always all active. Some are stronger than others in our nature. Satan is a matchmaker; he puts a weakness in our heart in connection with an opportunity for us to fail. lf you have a bad temper, he will match you up with somebody cutting in front of you on a road, and so on…There is a triangle of sin, Satan, our weakness, and the opportunity.
- Theology of Sin—Man exists in a four-fold state:
- “Posse peccare,” our original state: possible to sin.
- After they sinned it became, “Non posse non peccare,” not possible not to sin: in our state, we simply must and will sin.
- But the condition of the saved person is, “Posse non peccare,” possible not to sin.” When we are partakers of the divine nature, and the Holy Spirit comes into us, it is now possible not to sin: the only way we sin is by resisting the grace of God.
- Man in his fourth and glorified state will be “Non posse peccare,” not possible to sin: when we get to heaven and have passed through this vale of tears and into Paradise (first as disembodied spirits in the presence of Jesus, then as resurrected bodies), we won’t be able to sin anymore.
- Duty—Jesus came to earth to solve the sin problem. The whole purpose we have is to be sin-fighters, for that is why Jesus came into the world. How do we do that? Not by excuses, therapy, or denial of sin’s existence, but by understanding three consequences of sin:
- Penalty—The judgment for one sin is hell. “It is appointed unto a man once to die, and after this the judgment.” We see people under the wrath of God, and we want to lead them to what Bible doctrine calls “justification.” When they put full faith and trust in Jesus Christ, their punishment is expiated and remitted. “The Lord has laid on Him the iniquity of us all.” With our sin laid on Him, it is just as though we had never sinned. Our ultimate goal needs to be the salvation of people’s souls from sin, as we picture them like helpless spiders dangling over the fire of hell.
- Power—Sin has power over us. We can continue to be forgiven for our sins: “If we confess our sins, he is faithful and just to forgive us…” He also tosses our sins into the sea and remembers them no more. But we’re miserable if we keep on sinning and recognize what we are doing! Therefore, we seek to bring people first to justification, then to sanctification, an actual life of holiness: the sin quotient of a Christian’s life should, by God’s power, go down:
- Imputed Righteousness—given to us, Jesus’ own righteousness laid upon us, when we are saved. We are saved in our sins.
- Imparted Righteousness—But we are also saved from our sins, saved to not continue in sin! Once the divine seed of God is planted in us, we can expect to take on more and more of the nature of God. We want to help people find power over the sins in their life. Sanctification is a gradual progressive victory over sin: the ancient didache, an early church document, teaches four steps:
- Submisse—Submit to all godly authority.
- Vigilate—Watch and pray; unless you walk through life as though it were a minefield, you cannot be sanctified.
- Medetatsio—unless you know how to internalize the Word of God, you cannot possibly be sanctified.
- Resiste—You need to actively resist the devil (Matt. 4). We have the promise: “Resist the devil and he will flee from you.”