“Sin” is such an ugly word — it always has been and it always will be.
It is no wonder why the word is used less often today as it causes discomfort — and understandably so. Sin is a word that reminds us of all those times we fail other people as well as our failures before God.
Sin shows us that we are far less of a “good person” than what we want to be, reminding us that we are flawed and simply fall short of that goodness.
We sense God’s displeasure and we do not know what to do about it.
There are at least two important ways of understanding sin. The first is to deny that humans are sinful creatures, to dismiss that notion completely while pretending that the bad things people do are just the unfortunate result of imperfect humans: “nobody is perfect, right?”
The second is to acknowledge that there is something inherently wrong with the evil that humans cause on a daily basis, and to recognize our need for help and salvation.
Let’s face it: most of us would agree that our lives are full of things we would call “mistakes.” Sometimes these mistakes are considered little things by human standards, like, cheating on a test, getting angry with someone, telling a “white lie,” failing to come through on a promise, and so on.
Sometimes they are big things, like cheating on a spouse, murder, stealing or rape.
How tragic it is that these lists can go on and on with no clear ending point. Let’s be honest with ourselves: don’t examples like these stir our hearts to think that perhaps there is something grossly wrong with the human condition? That deep down inside each one of us there is a desire to be perfect, free of our constant failures…without sin?
Though it is true that humans will never be sinless on this earth, the shared and very human desire to “be perfect” is a telling indicator of how things used to be, before humans brought sin into a good and perfect world.
In His Likeness
Most likely you have heard something about the first book of the Bible, Genesis, and the first humans God made — Adam and Eve. Indeed, this is where the story of where the human race begins: in a special garden, made by a wholly good and gracious God, who desired a personal relationship with us.
However, because God gave our first parents the freedom to choose, they disobeyed God’s one and only command: to not eat of the tree of knowledge of good and evil.
And the Lord God commanded the man, “You are free to eat from any tree in the garden; but you must not eat from the tree of the knowledge of good and evil, for when you eat from it you will certainly die.” (Genesis 2:16-17)
Once Adam and Eve ate from the tree, they were exposed to sin, and ultimately death came into the world. Because of their sin, those consequences have stayed with us down through the generations. People are not able to fix sin and that is why war, disease, suffering and death are consequences we still feel today.
Separated From God
The Bible warns us that, “all people have sinned and fallen short of the glory of God” (Romans 3:23), that sin is “lawlessness” against God’s perfect nature (1 John 3:4), that it is a “curse” (Galatians 3:13), and that sin ultimately brings forth death in human beings (Romans 6:23).
In short, sin is a major problem for the human race! The Bible also teaches us that sin is such a great matter, that it is not only linked with our relationship to God and man, but also to the entire created order.
In Romans 8:21-23, Paul talks about how all of creation is under the bondage of sin. This speaks volumes about why we feel a sense of injustice and sorrow when we see natural disasters like tornadoes, tsunamis and fires take unsuspecting lives. There is a sense that such disasters are just not right — that in a perfect world such tragedies would not happen.
That thinking is correct and underscores what is going on here: sin is rampant everywhere and is an obstacle in our relationship with God and with other people.
This is why we all need salvation or freedom from sin. Every sin we do separates us from the loving God who made us in His likeness. Sin can and does often disrupt and destroy human relationships.
Each one of us needs to be restored to a right relationship with God our creator, and to other people, but the question is this: how can that happen?
The Perfect Solution
Thank God that the story of the human race did not end when sin entered the world. Instead, God made redemption possible by providing us with the perfect solution to save us from sin’s curse.
Next week, we will take a closer look at God’s solution to the problem of sin and how salvation is offered to all of us through Jesus Christ, the sinless one.
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