For All Have Sinned and Come Short of the Glory of God!
Romans 5:12-21 (NLT) When Adam sinned, sin entered the entire human race. Adam’s sin brought death, so death spread to everyone, for everyone sinned. Yes, people sinned even before the law was given. And though there was no law to break, since it had not yet been given, they all died anyway–even though they did not disobey an explicit commandment of God, as Adam did. What a contrast between Adam and Christ, who was yet to come! And what a difference between our sin and God’s generous gift of forgiveness. For this one man, Adam, brought death to many through his sin. But this other man, Jesus Christ, brought forgiveness to many through God’s bountiful gift. And the result of God’s gracious gift is very different from the result of that one man’s sin. For Adam’s sin led to condemnation, but we have the free gift of being accepted by God, even though we are guilty of many sins. The sin of this one man, Adam, caused death to rule over us, but all who receive God’s wonderful, gracious gift of righteousness will live in triumph over sin and death through this one man, Jesus Christ. Yes, Adam’s one sin brought condemnation upon everyone, but Christ’s one act of righteousness makes all people right in God’s sight and gives them life. Because one person disobeyed God, many people became sinners. But because one other person obeyed God, many people will be made right in God’s sight. God’s law was given so that all people could see how sinful they were. But as people sinned more and more, God’s wonderful kindness became more abundant. So just as sin ruled over all people and brought them to death, now God’s wonderful kindness rules instead, giving us right standing with God and resulting in eternal life through Jesus Christ our Lord.
What Is Sin?
A working definition of sin is, “the transgression of God’s will, either by omitting to do what God’s law requires or by doing what God’s law forbids.“ This transgression can occur in thought (I John 3:15), word (Matthew 5:22), or deed (Romans 1:32). Quite frankly, sin is that which separates us from God. Have you ever heard someone ask why it is that God is against everything that is “fun”? Well, He is not, unless your definition of fun is that which is contrary to the moral law of God. Above all else the Bible declares that God is holy and He demands holiness from those made in His image. The problem arises in that we can’t be holy, regardless of how hard we try. Yes, we can choose to do some right and good things, and we can choose not to do some wrong and bad things. But you and I both know we don’t always do the good things we should and often find ourselves doing the things we know we should not do!
Sin is taken a step further by Jesus, who teaches that we do not need to actually commit a sin to be guilty of it when He states, “You have heard that it was said, YOU SHALL NOT COMMIT ADULTERY; but I say to you that everyone who looks at a woman with lust for her has already committed adultery with her in his heart” (Matthew 5:27-28 NASB). What Jesus is saying is that the very desire to sin is contrary to the will of God, and it is also sin. This is not to say that since it is a sin even to desire to do what is contrary to God’s will, a person should go ahead and act on that desire. The meaning of Jesus in this passage is that sin originates in the heart, and “the heart is deceitful above all things, and desperately wicked” (Jeremiah 17:9 KJV). Certainly there can be no person who would say, “I have not sinned,” for the Bible again states, “For all have sinned and come short of the glory of God” (Romans 3:23 KJV). Therefore, you and I are both sinners, and there is nothing we can do on our own to change it. Add to that God’s judgment on sin, and we are all condemned, “For the wages of sin is death…” (Romans 6:23).
Who Practices Sin?
Well, unfortunately, you and I do, or at least we did. But we will get to that later! You see, some people are liars. They lie to cover their tracks for having been involved in other sinful behavior. They lie to their spouses about inappropriate behavior with a co-worker. They lie to their bosses by calling in sick so they can do other things. They lie to their children by not keeping promises made to spend time with them. They lie to their pastor by making excuses for not attending services. They lie to their neighbors about whose dog it was that got into the trash. They lie to their customers about the quality of the product they are selling. They lie to the police about how fast they were going. And they lie to God every January by resolving to spend more time in His Word!
Some people are cheats. They cheat on their wives or their husbands after vowing to be faithful. They cheat on their timecards so they can steal their employer’s money. They cheat on their taxes rather than “rendering to Caesar that which is Caesar’s.” They cheat their friends while playing a “friendly” game of cards. They cheat at school to get a grade they did not earn. They cheat at work to get a promotion they do not deserve. They cheat playing ball on their church league team to win a trophy their talent alone cannot obtain. They cheat the cashier when they are given back too much change. They cheat the grocer by eating the grapes before they get to the checkout. They cheat the insurance company with inflated claims. And they cheat God by not giving to Him the tithe!
Some people are sexually immoral. They engage in pre-marital sexual relations, which God calls fornication. They engage in extra-marital sexual relations, which God calls adultery. They engage in homosexual relations, which God calls an abomination. They fill their minds with pornography, which God calls uncleanness and wantonness. They secretly lust after all types of sexual fantasies, which God calls lasciviousness. They have taken the gift that God intended to be shared between a husband and wife and have perverted it into “sexual freedom.” Indeed, they have become “lovers of pleasure more than lovers of God” (2 Timothy 3:4) and have itching ears to hear of God’s love while denying His holiness!
Let us hasten along by simply proclaiming that some people are idolaters, some are greedy, some are selfish, and some are envious. Some people are always involved in strife, outbursts of anger, disputes, and dissensions. Some even allow their anger to grow into hatred, which God considers murder. Some have given place to alcohol and drugs in their lives and have succumbed to its control. Some seek to make an easy buck by gambling with money that could be given to the work of God. And yes, some use the name of the Lord our God in vain! Should we continue, or have you already found yourself in this short list? Do you see why we must be delivered from sin if we are ever to see God?
Where Did Our Sinful Nature Come From?
If you remember in Lesson Five we discussed being created in the image of God. When Adam and Eve disobeyed God, the nature of God within them was distorted and changed to the point that God declared that they were spiritually dead. The entire human race existed within the seed of Adam, and as we are told in Romans 5, through the sin of Adam we all died. The Psalmist David says, “For I was born a sinner–yes, from the moment my mother conceived me” (Psalm 51:5 NLT). The Apostle Paul states, “And you were dead in your trespasses and sins” (Ephesians 2:1 NASB).
It might be a good idea to read the article, The Origin of the Spirit of Man, in Lesson Five of Laying the Foundation to review the three possibilities for the origin of the human spirit. The conclusion is that the traducian theory is the only view consistent with all of Scripture. It states that the spirit of man is a result of propagation, the union of the seed of man with the seed of woman. Just as a new physical life results, so does a new spiritual life. This new spiritual life, while still containing the image of God, can no longer think, feel, or act in a way pleasing to God. Instead, it is now the nature of man to think, feel and act in a way opposed to the will and nature of God. Therefore, everyone is born with a sinful nature and will die with a sinful nature. As we shall soon see, it is only with the new spiritual nature that comes with the “new birth” that man once again has the ability to choose not to sin. Every born again believer has two natures within, the old sinful nature, and the new spiritual nature. It is actually possible to choose not to sin and to respond to the will and nature of God in a way pleasing to Him.
What is the Result of Sin?
For the wages of sin is death. (Romans 6:23)
Do you not know that the wicked will not inherit the kingdom of God? Do not be deceived: Neither the sexually immoral nor idolaters nor adulterers nor male prostitutes nor homosexual offenders nor thieves nor the greedy nor drunkards nor slanderers nor swindlers will inherit the kingdom of God.
How is Our Sin Remedied?
Is it by doing good works? The Apostle Paul tells us in Ephesians 2:9 that it is “not by works so that no man can boast.”
Is it through the offering of sacrifices as did Israel in the Old Testament? The writer of Hebrews (10:4) says, “For it is not possible that the blood of bulls and of goats should take away sins.”
Is it by the keeping of the Law? “But those who depend on the law to make them right with God are under his curse, for the Scriptures say, ‘Cursed is everyone who does not observe and obey all these commands that are written in God’s Book of the Law.’ Consequently, it is clear that no one can ever be right with God by trying to keep the law.” Galatians 3:10-11
“Therefore no one will be declared righteous in his sight by observing the law; rather, through the law we become conscious of sin.” Romans 3:20.
So how then is our sin to be remedied? The answer is given to us by the angel Gabriel as he spoke in a dream to Joseph concerning Mary, “And she will bring forth a son, and you shall call his name JESUS: for he will save his people from their sins.(Matthew 1:21)
Salvation – Our Choice