The Herald Weekly Vol XV : 33


Many people today seek for pleasure and indulge in this world’s temporary joys without realising (or refusing to realize) that they are heading for an eternity in the fires of Hell. Oftentimes they do not perceive their need for salvation, because they do not understand the extent, the seriousness and the results of sin in their lives.

Sin is the greatest problem in the world today. We need to face it squarely and talk about it because it is the most critical issue affecting the life of every man, woman and child. Unless every person comes to a true understanding of what sin is and what it does to our lives, we would be living in delusion and not in reality. There are three basic facts about sin we all need to know:

1. We need to know how sinful we really are in God’s sight.

In Romans 3:10-12 God tells us, “There is none righteous, no not one: there is none that understandeth; there is none that seeketh after God. They are all gone out of the way, they are together become unprofitable; there is none that doeth good, no not one.” We realize how true this is as we watch what is happening in the world today. The whole human race is a sea of iniquity. The effects of sin are found in every aspect of human life: broken homes and families caused by unfaithfulness and divorce, broken lives caused by vice, alcoholism and drug-addiction; broken relationships caused by envy and strife; a broken society caused by perversion and ambition; suicides, depression, wars, fighting, deceit, scandals, injustice, exploitation, apathy and indifference.

But all these are merely symptoms of the spiritual cancer that works insidiously in the heart of every person. God says in Ecclesiastes 7:20 that “there is not a just man upon earth, that doeth good and sinneth not.” In Jeremiah 17:9 He says “The heart is deceitful above all things and desperately wicked: who can know it?” God’s verdict is clear: “For all have sinned and come short of the glory of God.” (Romans 3:23)

God takes a very serious view of sin because it is an affront to His nature. He is deeply offended by the torrents of sin being poured forth in the world every day. He was even moved to judge the world with a great flood that destroyed all except eight people, because of sin that had multiplied and filled the whole world. Today sin has multiplied even more, and it is only by God’s enduring mercy alone that judgment has not yet descended again on the world. But a time is coming soon when God’s final judgment will descend. Revelation 20:15 tells us that when it comes, those who are guilty of sin will be cast into the Lake of Fire which is eternal death.

Do you regard sin the same way that God does? Does the magnitude of the world’s sin problem disturb you? Do you understand how serious it is? Most people do not fully understand the seriousness of their own sins. We do not realise it because we have become insensitive to sin. We can see the sinfulness of the world around us, and oftentimes we can recognise sin when it is found in the lives of others. But when it comes to our own sinfulness we tend to be lenient, excusing ourselves because of the circumstances we are in. We do not take our own sins seriously enough.

When King David sinned, the prophet Nathan presented a scenario of a rich man who had unscrupulously taken the only lamb of a poor man and slaughtered it to feed his guests. This immediately incurred David’s anger and he demanded that the rich man be punished for his sinful deed. Little did he realise that Nathan was referring to him! He had to be told, “You are the man!”

We are probably no better than David. How quick we are to take sin in the lives of others seriously, but how slow we are to do the same in our own. This should not be the case. God wants us to view sin seriously – in our own lives first, and then in the lives of others. Let us feel the way that God feels about sin.

2. We need to know the different forms that sin can take in our lives.

Romans 3:14-18 associates sin with various parts of the body – “Whose mouth is full of cursing and bitterness: their feet are swift to shed blood: destruction and misery are in their ways: and the way of peace have they not known: there is no fear of God before their eyes.” (vv. 14-18)

There are many ways a person can sin, and all of them are equally hateful to God. For example, the first commandment states: “Thou shalt have no other gods before me.” Some think that as long as they do not bow down to idols, they have kept this commandment. Here now is a paragraph taken from the Westminster Larger Catechism that provides the most comprehensive answer to the question, “What are the sins forbidden in the first commandment?”

“The sins forbidden in the first commandment are: atheism, in denying, or not having a God; idolatry, in having or worshipping more gods than one, or any with or instead of the true God; the not having and avouching Him for God, and our God; the omission or neglect of anything due to Him, required in this commandment; ignorance, forgetfulness, misapprehensions, false opinions, unworthy and wicked thoughts of Him, bold and curious searching into His secrets; all profaneness, hatred of God; self-love, self-seeking, and all other inordinate and immoderate setting of our mind, will or affections upon other things, and taking them off from Him in whole or in part, vain credulity, unbelief, heresy, misbelief, distrust, despair, incorrigibleness, and insensibleness under judgments, hardness of heart, pride, presumption, carnal security, tempting God, using unlawful means, and trusting in lawful means; carnal delights and joys; corrupt, blind and indiscreet zeal; lukewarmness, and deadness in the things of God, estranging ourselves, and apostatising from God, praying or giving any religious worship to saints, angels or any other creatures, all agreements and consulting with the devil. And hearkening to his suggestions; making men the lords of our faith and conscience, slighting and despising God and His commands, resisting and grieving of His Spirit, discontent and impatience at His dispensations, charging Him foolishly for the evils He inflicts on us, and ascribing the praise of any good we either are, have or can do to fortune, idols, ourselves, or any other creature.”

Anyone of these constitutes a sin against the first commandment. And the rest of the Ten Commandments have similar long lists of sins!

To most people, sin consists only of things that they do or say. People can only be prosecuted in a court of Law for what they have committed in word or deed. Perhaps we think that God’s court of law is like this too. But the Bible says otherwise: Genesis 6:5 – “And God saw that the wickedness of man was great in the earth and that every imagination of the thoughts of his heart was only evil continually.” This verse reveals that it was the attitude of wickedness and the sinful imaginations people had in their hearts that brought the great Flood upon them. In God’s sight, thinking evil thoughts is no less sinful and deserving of judgment as committing a heinous crime.

One passage of Scripture that helps us understand sin better is Matthew 5:22,28 – “But I say unto you, that whosoever is angry with his brother without a cause shall be in danger of the judgment…But I say unto you, that whosoever looketh on a woman to lust after her hath committed adultery with her already in his heart.” From this we learn that we commit sins not only with our actions or words but also with our thoughts and attitudes.

Most people also tend to regard certain sins as bring trivial. But such distinctions do not exist in God’s sight. In addressing the sin of giving unfair preferential treatment to different kinds of people, God’s Word says, “But if ye have respect to persons, ye commit sin, and are convinced of the law as transgressors. For whosoever shall keep the whole law, and yet offend in one point, he is guilty of all. For he that said, Do not commit adultery, said also, Do not kill. Now if thou commit no adultery, yet if thou kill, thou art become a transgressor of the law.” (James 2:9-11) Thus, even a seemingly small sin like unfair treatment should be taken seriously.

What then shall we do? We should not excuse any sin we commit, no matter how small it is, but seek God’s forgiveness for them. Even our attitudes and thoughts should be open to God. We must be conscious of the fact that God continually watches not only our actions but our thoughts and intentions as well.

3. We need to act on our responsibility to deal with sin.

It is not enough just to know how sinful you are in God’s sight and all the different forms that sin can take. You must act upon what you know. The Lord wants you to be holy as He is holy. He has done something about the sins of man – He died to pay for them. The death of Jesus Christ on the cross is God’s only provision for our sins.

If you are not yet saved, please avail yourself of this provision by repenting of your sins and turning to Christ alone to take all your sins away. This means trusting Him from now on to be your only Lord and Saviour. If the Lord has spoken to your heart, don’t put off doing this. He is willing to save you if you turn to Him with all your heart (John 6:37; 1 John 1:9).

If you are already saved, God wants you to keep yourself from committing more sins. Even though this may be very difficult, you must maintain vigilance and not give up. God has made adequate provisions to help us. Listen to His instruction, “Walk in the Spirit, and ye shall not fulfill the lust of the flesh….neither yield ye your members as instruments of unrighteousness unto sin: but yield yourselves unto God, as those that are alive from the dead…” (Galatians 5:16; Romans 6:13)

Perhaps you have grown weary in guarding yourself against sin. Perhaps there are some secret sins which you have allowed in your life because you thought that they are “small sins” and nobody knows about them. Perhaps you mistakenly believe that the Lord does not mind them, because everything seems to be going quite well for you now.

Please do not deceive yourself. God is not mocked (Galatians 6:7) He takes the most serious view of every sin in your life. He desires truth and purity in your inward parts (Psalm 51:6). But He will forgive you when you repent of those sins and confess them to Him (1 John 1:9). Will you take every sin in your life seriously from now on?

Rev Charles Seet
Source : Life B-P Church Weekly.

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