Sunday, January 20, 2008

On Sin

Therefore by the deeds of the law there shall no flesh be justified in his sight: for by the law is the knowledge of sin. 21But now the righteousness of God without the law is manifested, being witnessed by the law and the prophets; 22Even the righteousness of God which is by faith of Jesus Christ unto all and upon all them that believe: for there is no difference: 23For all have sinned, and come short of the glory of God; 24Being justified freely by his grace through the redemption that is in Christ Jesus: (Romans 3:20-24)

The modern (false) professing church has gone to great lengths to minimize the concept of sin in the lives of its members:

by watering down the definition of sin.
by calling most sins trespasses, mistakes, oversights, etc.
by focusing its members on a form of works righteousness.
by insinuating that in most cases deliberate action is required to commit a sin.

In other words instead of being taught to see their sin, they are conditioned to see their worthiness. This results in many false converts who place great stock in not having committed particular sins. These false converts are conditioned to build themselves up by seeing the sins they do not commit while simultaneously being taught that they are forgiven for the pet sins they rebelliously and stubbornly continue in. This being the case the natural and obvious result is that modern (false) professing church conditions a person to focus on self, self worth, self progression, and self reliance which diminishes the need for prayerful reflection and self-examination against the standard God has set in His Word.

The false “Plan of Salvation” taught by the modern (false) professing church is thus actually contingent on an individual’s progression in worthiness, that is, self righteousness. When confronted by this truth most modern (false) professing Christians and their false teachers will react angrily and make the requisite claim that they believe that “salvation is by faith in Jesus Christ alone” and they’ll quickly point you toward their dusty old Statement of Faith that contains some creedal language and possibly a few tidbits from scripture. However upon closer examination we find that what these churches and false converts say they believe and what they actually practice are two very different things. To borrow a phrase they often ”talk the talk, but they don’t walk the walk”. Yet according to scripture both are equally important and true believers are effectively commanded to “walk the talk”. Not only are true believers commanded to “walk the talk”, according to the scriptures only true believers are empowered by the Holy Spirit to actually do so. The Bible is clear that true Christians will walk according to God’s commands because God Himself will see to it. No one is able to walk according to the precepts of God, and all human efforts to do so are in vain.

Certainly true born-again believers can (and do) sin both miserably and frequently. But the difference herein is that the true born-again child of God will hate the sin and flee from it with a heart of true contrition and repentance as opposed to simply blowing it off as “already forgiven at the cross” and moving right along in continual patterns of unbroken disobedience and rebellion. True repentance is marked by a turning away from sin; true repentance is not marked by a trite “I’m sorry God”, or a temporary feeling of remorse that’s quickly discarded and disregarded as one continues in trespass and sin.

In practice (false) professing Christians are conditioned to think that as they avoid sins or “do good”, they are, in some way, building a positive bank account of their own righteousness. To aid them in this, the modern (false) professing church twists and wrests myriads of commands and requirements from God’s Word in order to bolster their false teachings. Many times these (false) teachings will consist of 100% Old Testament law that’s been reworked for application in the New Testament church. Frequently these false teachings will consist of scriptural sounding phrases like, “As you honor God and step out in faith He’ll respond and move on your behalf’, or “As you are faithful to God and pass His tests you will move into higher realms of spiritual truth”, or “The Bible teaches that life is a test and a trust. God give you a certain amount of ability, possessions, and time so that you can serve Him and gain heavenly rewards based on how you use what He’s given you.” In truth none of these concepts are to be found anywhere with application to the New Testament church. These teachings are spawned by the unbiblical error of interpreting the New Testament with the Old Testament, which is an egregious mistake. The OT is ALWAYS to be interpreted using the light of the NT, however the NT is NEVER to be interpreted using the OT. The OT is likened to a dark room which, while richly decorated and beautifully textured, nevertheless cannot be clearly seen due to the obscurity and dimness of light. Only when exposed to the brilliant light and revelation of the NT can the OT can be seen as it truly is and its message understood.

Sadly some of these manipulated false teachings are held in higher regard than biblical commands especially with respect to separation from the world and being holy unto God. Many of the manufactured commands that are used to display temporal holiness are easily kept because they deal only with actions and not with the attitudes of the heart allowing false converts to believe they can be true, born-again, Spirit-filled Christians while still keeping one foot in the world and holding onto their secret pet sins.

By manipulating God’s Word and providing flesh pleasing commands and requirements that a (false) professing Christian can keep the modern (false) professing church leadership actually enables their false converts to perceive themselves as worthy. This perverse and unbiblical self-righteous self-perception thereby serves to perpetuate the prevalent man-centeredness of today’s modern (false) professing church including that of its false teachers and false converts as well. Therefore the self-righteous products of today’s modern (false) professing church are unable to see themselves as they really are, desperately wicked and sinful and in need of true contrition and repentance unto salvation.

In order to maintain the outward appearance of spiritual health and growth the modern (false) professing church puts filters around its false converts with a man-centered false Gospel. These filters work to distort the Gospel message, even to prevent its message from being ‘heard’. Not understanding God’s message has as damaging an effect as never hearing it. Jesus makes this point in his explanation to his disciples of the parable of the sower:

When any one heareth the word of the kingdom, and understandeth it not, then cometh the wicked one, and catcheth away that which was sown in his heart. This is he which received seed by the way side. (Matthew 13:19)

God’s true requirement for salvation (attaining to eternal life instead of eternal damnation) is absolute perfection. The Holy Bible plainly teaches:

God’s absolute demand for perfection.
God’s universal definition of sin.
The rebellious nature of sin.
The consequence of sin.
The severity of even one sin.
The breadth of God’s commands.
How prevalent sin is in a person’s life.

Based on God’s requirements we can see the futility and utter folly of the modern (false) professing church’s “Plan of Salvation” which clearly and irrefutably has borne much bad fruit. Jesus Christ says a good tree cannot bear bad fruit. Is Jesus Christ a liar, or is man a liar? What does the Holy Bible have to say about sin and sinners?

For every one that doeth evil hateth the light, neither cometh to the light, lest his deeds should be reproved. 21But he that doeth truth cometh to the light, that his deeds may be made manifest, that they are wrought in God. (John 3:20-21)

Matthew 5:48 states God’s requirement for perfection:

Be ye therefore perfect, even as your Father which is in heaven is perfect.
The Apostle John provides a universal definition of sin:

Whosoever committeth sin transgresseth also the law: for sin is the transgression of the law. (1 John 3:4)

In short, any violation of any command of God is a sin.

Sin is serious not only because of how often we sin, but also because of whom we sin against. Whenever we sin we are, in reality, sinning against God. King David, even though he committed adultery, confessed that he had sinned against God.

We can illustrate the magnitude of sin’s seriousness by showing its relative impact based against whom the sin is committed. This short story illustrates this:

“Think of a young man who takes a swing at his brother. His brother might swing back, but that will probably be the extent of the consequences. Now think of that very same young man taking that very same swing at a police officer. Same swing, but the consequences are a whole lot more serious. Take it one step further. Imagine that young man taking that very same swing at the President of the United States. Same swing, but even more consequences. The seriousness of the action often is determined by whom the action affects.”

Now we can witness that sin is against God! That sin is rebellion against the majestic Lord! That’s serious! When we do not follow the precepts (commands) of God, we sin against our Maker.

The consequence of sin is the opposite of God’s gift of eternal life, namely eternal death.

For the wages of sin is death; but the gift of God is eternal life through Jesus Christ our Lord. (Romans 6:23)

In vast swaths of the (false) professing church, eternal death is not necessarily a horrendous thing. Much of today’s post-modern doctrine (if you can call it doctrine) secretly adheres to and espouses a form of Universalism. This sort of thinking obscures what occurs death, claiming that “we can’t be sure” what happens if, for example, a “good Buddhist”, or a “good Hindu” or a “good Muslim” or a “good atheist” dies without a saving knowledge of and relationship with Jesus Christ. Did you notice the utter subjectivity of this kind of thinking? Who gets to decide what “good” means? We’ve already established that absolute perfection is the benchmark for what is to be considered “good”. The Holy Bible clearly demonstrates the falseness of a “universally inclusive” soteriology:

But the fearful, and unbelieving, and the abominable, and murderers, and whoremongers, and sorcerers, and idolaters, and all liars, shall have their part in the lake which burneth with fire and brimstone: which is the second death. (Revelation 21:8)

The wages of sin, death, earns people a place in the lake of fire and brimstone! The Gospel message preached by Jesus Christ is incredibly narrow and exclusive and the rewards and punishments meted out by God to mankind are clear cut and unmistakable. There’s no reasonable way to deny these points which are reiterated again and again by the Lord Himself!

Because of His infinitely and absolutely perfect and Holy nature God views any and every form of rebellion as an eternally fatal and damnable offense against His Person. Because of God’s Holiness; because of Who He Is; and because of His standard of absolute perfection, sinful man’s breaking of even one command is as bad as breaking every command. Because God is perfect He is also infinitely Just and therefore the breaking of God’s commands demands God’s Holy Justice against all those guilty of transgression.

For whosoever shall keep the whole law, and yet offend in one point, he is guilty of all. (James 2:10)

Christ’s requirement is to be as perfect as our Heavenly Father. Only absolute perfection avoids the penalty of sin. All others are cursed.

For as many as are of the works of the law are under the curse: for it is written, Cursed is every one that continueth not in all things which are written in the book of the law to do them. (Galatians 3:10)
And God will deal harshly with the cursed:

Then shall he say also unto them on the left hand, Depart from me, ye cursed, into everlasting fire, prepared for the devil and his angels: (Matthew 25:41)

At this point some would claim that God is also Love and therefore it would be “out of character” for God to be so harsh and unloving toward sinners. If this is our attitude then we must ask ourselves, does our heavenly Father love sin?
According to His Word He hates sin with a perfect hatred. How can this be? How can a God Who is love also hate perfectly? It’s because of something else that we’ve already mentioned; God is JUST. I submit to you God must hate sin and all unrighteousness precisely because He is love. Perfect love cannot tolerate sin and unrighteousness because these things are compatible with God’s absolutely HOLY, PURE, PERFECT, RIGHTEOUS and JUST nature. Men ought to be careful not to elevate one of God’s divine attributes and characteristics above another. He is completely and absolutely perfect beyond our ability to comprehend and explain and thus all of His divine attributes operate in perfect harmony with one another within Himself accordingly.

The truth is that the Bible says God is angry with the wicked every day. If our conception of God is that He is so kind and loving that He simply overlooks His own divine requirement for justice then we make Him into an unjust and unrighteous Judge of our own vain imagining. Some would have Him winking at all unrighteousness and wickedness, simply waving His hand and patting abomination upon the head with a holy blessing and tacit approval. God forbid!

According to His self-revelation in scripture we know that God cannot simultaneously be loving and be unjust. God’s holy justice demands punishment for sins, and unless one’s sins were paid for by Jesus Christ on the cross of Calvary then that one is condemned already. Yet the scriptures further teach that Jesus Christ paid only for the sins of HIS OWN on that cross and only those who belong to Jesus Christ by grace through faith in Him alone - and not of works lest any man should boast - are miraculously “born-again” of the Spirit of God and translated from spiritual death unto spiritual life. Those who are purchased by Christ’s atoning blood are made a new creature in Christ and become partakers of His divine and eternal life. To deny divine justice against sin is to call Jesus Christ a liar since He himself spoke of certain judgment to come. In fact this concept is in full view throughout the scriptures.

The Bible is clear that there are only two types of people in the world - the saved and the lost. The redeemed and the unredeemed. The forgiven and the unforgiven. The blessed and the cursed. Those who will go to heaven and those who will go to hell. The born-again and the damned. Those who belong to the family of God by grace through faith in Jesus Christ alone and everyone else. Herein is wisdom - just as He did in the first act of creation God is still separating the light from the darkness, and the darkness comprehended it not.

Those who are in spiritual darkness fail to comprehend their sinful, damned position before God Almighty, and the Bible teaches that they prefer it this way:

For every one that doeth evil hateth the light, neither cometh to the light, lest his deeds should be reproved. 21But he that doeth truth cometh to the light, that his deeds may be made manifest, that they are wrought in God. (John 3:20-21)

Still the Holy Bible continues providing evidence of sin’s breadth and depth. First, we sin in our thoughts and in our words, as well as in our deeds:

Master, which is the great commandment in the law? 37 Jesus said unto him, Thou shalt love the Lord thy God with all thy heart, and with all thy soul, and with all thy mind. 38This is the first and great commandment. 39And the second is like unto it, Thou shalt love thy neighbour as thyself. 40On these two commandments hang all the law and the prophets. (Matthew 22:36-40)

First man is directed to keep these greatest commandments, and all the others which ‘hang’ on them, in our hearts, our souls, and mind. In fact, when stating the greatest command; Jesus does not even discuss actions. The core of sin is in our hearts, not in our actions. Sinful actions may or may not follow sinful thoughts. We will look again at these “greatest commandments” in the list of sins.

Second, not only do we sin by breaking God’s commands (sins of commission), we also sin when we don’t do the positive things God commands us to do (sins of omission):

Therefore to him that knoweth to do good, and doeth it not, to him it is sin. (James 4:17)

Third, we can and do sin unintentionally:

Ye shall have one law for him that sinneth through ignorance, both for him that is born among the children of Israel, and for the stranger that sojourneth among them. (Numbers 15:29)

Fourth, we are not even aware of every sin we commit:

Who can understand his errors? cleanse thou me from secret faults. (Psalm 19:12)

We can use the Apostle Paul as an example of the prevalence of sin in a person’s life. Paul offers his own personal confession of the prevalence of sin in his life. He references both sins of commission and omission. He makes it clear that because of his flesh (sinful nature) he will continue to sin. He says sin lives (dwelleth) in him!

For I know that in me (that is, in my flesh,) dwelleth no good thing: for to will is present with me; but how to perform that which is good I find not. 19For the good that I would I do not: but the evil which I would not, that I do. 20Now if I do that I would not, it is no more I that do it, but sin that dwelleth in me. (Romans 7:18-20)

God offers many expressions of the futility of attempting to gain (or retain) eternal life through obedience to His laws, or to man made doctrines, precepts, requirements, or commands. In fact God states this futility outright, calling such people “cursed” (see Galatians 3:10 above). He demonstrates it by giving laws we can never continuously keep (see Matthew 22:36-40 above). He makes a single transgression the same as breaking all his commands (see James 2:10 above). In addition He tells us that He gave us commands so that sin can increase! Is this because God desires increased sin? God forbid! It’s because He wants to make it perfectly clear to men that they cannot overcome sin through their own efforts. It’s impossible, and the realization of this cold, hard fact should cause sinners to realize that they need a Savior in order that GRACE (God’s grace which brings glory to Him alone) might “much more abound”!

Moreover the law entered, that the offence might abound. But where sin abounded, grace did much more abound: (Romans 5:20)

With the exception of the Lord Jesus Christ the Bible teaches us that no one has ever been sinless or will ever stop sinning in this life.

For all have sinned, and come short of the glory of God; (Romans 3:23)

If we say that we have no sin, we deceive ourselves, and the truth is not in us. (1 John 1:8)

For there is not a just man upon earth, that doeth good, and sinneth not. (Ecclesiastes 7:20)

He tells us that even our good works are corrupted by our sin, calling them “as filthy rags”.

But we are all as an unclean thing, and all our righteousnesses are as filthy rags; and we all do fade as a leaf; and our iniquities, like the wind, have taken us away. (Isaiah 64:6)

Ye have heard that it was said by them of old time, Thou shalt not kill; and whosoever shall kill shall be in danger of the judgment: 22But I say unto you, That whosoever is angry with his brother without a cause shall be in danger of the judgment: and whosoever shall say to his brother, Raca, shall be in danger of the council: but whosoever shall say, Thou fool, shall be in danger of hell fire. (Matthew 5:21-22)

We sin not only when we murder, but when we are unjustly angry. Even if this anger takes no action, it is still a sin against God. If we feel a flash of anger at a team mate because he took the shot instead of passing us the ball, we sin. If we resent our spouse, if only for a moment, because he left his dirty dish on the counter instead of putting it in the dishwasher, we sin. When we yell angrily, and out of patience at our children, we sin. When we are angry at a coworker because she honestly forgot a meeting, we sin. Sinful action need not occur; these sins are present whenever such thoughts are in our hearts!

Ye have heard that it was said by them of old time, Thou shalt not commit adultery: 28But I say unto you, That whosoever looketh on a woman to lust after her hath committed adultery with her already in his heart. (Matthew 5:27-28)

We sin not only when we commit adultery, but when we lust. Even if this feeling takes no outward form, and we keep it to ourselves, it is still a sin against God. If we feel that tingling in the loins when we see a young person at the beach and entertain the thoughts brought about by that feeling, we sin. When we fantasize about a sexy movie star, or a sports figure, we sin.

Ye have heard that it hath been said, An eye for an eye, and a tooth for a tooth: 39But I say unto you, That ye resist not evil: but whosoever shall smite thee on thy right cheek, turn to him the other also. (Matthew 5:38-39)

Say not, I will do so to him as he hath done to me: I will render to the man according to his work. (Proverbs 24:29)

We sin when we retaliate, even if the injury done us was wrong (evil). When someone insults us and we fire an insult back, or even if we say nothing, but later get even by telling others bad things about the person, we sin. When we are cut off in traffic and think a private “I hope you get yours”, we sin.

Ye have heard that it hath been said, Thou shalt love thy neighbour, and hate thine enemy. 44But I say unto you, Love your enemies, bless them that curse you, do good to them that hate you, and pray for them which despitefully use you, and persecute you; (Matthew 5:43-44)

We sin when we do not love our neighbor. As seen in the parable of the Good Samaritan, all men are our neighbors. We sin when we do not love our enemy. These commands are not referring to the emotion of love, but to the action of love.

Charity suffereth long, and is kind; charity envieth not; charity vaunteth not itself, is not puffed up, 5Doth not behave itself unseemly, seeketh not her own, is not easily provoked, thinketh no evil; 6Rejoiceth not in iniquity, but rejoiceth in the truth; 7Beareth all things, believeth all things, hopeth all things, endureth all things. 8Charity never faileth: (1 Corinthians 13:4-8)

Love never fails (charity in the King James Version); therefore, we sin every time we fail to perform a loving act for our neighbor or our enemy (i. e. any of the actions referred to by these passages!). We are also to pray for our enemies, when we don’t; we sin. When we don’t sincerely want the best for our enemies we are sinning. Jesus prayed to his Father to forgive those who had put him on the cross. When we do less for our enemies, we sin.

Take heed that ye do not your alms before men, to be seen of them: otherwise ye have no reward of your Father which is in heaven. (Matthew 6:1)
We sin when we perform a “good” work for the purpose of inflating ourselves. Such a work is not seen as “good” by God, but hypocritical. A good work is not defined so much by the action as by the heart!

Ye hypocrites, well did Esaias prophesy of you, saying, 8This people draweth nigh unto me with their mouth, and honoureth me with their lips; but their heart is far from me. 9But in vain they do worship me, teaching for doctrines the commandments of men. (Matthew 15:7-9)

Paying a tithe or giving an offering to keep up appearances or to make one feel good makes the tithe or offering a sin. Accepting a church assignment because you think refusing it would make you look bad, turns the fulfillment of the assignment into sin. If we serve God with an eye towards being menpleasers in order to bring attention to ourselves or to what we’ve done, we sin. We may be able to fool others, sometimes even ourselves; but God can see into our hearts.
Lay not up for yourselves treasures upon earth, where moth and rust doth corrupt, and where thieves break through and steal: (Matthew 6:19)

We sin when, regardless of how much we may give to God, if there is something we hold dear that we would be unwilling to part with. This might include reputation, family, position, job, income, recreation, money, leisure, time, comfort, hobby, investments, house or anything else you might imagine. If any of these things become more important or get in the way of loving and serving God with our entire being, we sin. Every time we fail to use our treasures to glorify God, we sin. God does not want us to be friends of the world (that is, love our worldly life), when we are; we sin. When we are so comfortable that we don’t want to serve the Lord, give to the Lord, or be with the Lord, we are sinning. When we don’t singularly desire the Lord above all else, we sin. When we knowingly or unknowingly place anything whatsoever as a priority above or before Him, we sin.

He that loveth his life shall lose it; and he that hateth his life in this world shall keep it unto life eternal. (John 12:25)

Therefore I say unto you, Take no thought for your life, what ye shall eat, or what ye shall drink; nor yet for your body, what ye shall put on. Is not the life more than meat, and the body than raiment? (Matthew 6:25)

We sin when we worry. When we worry about our finances, we sin. When we worry about our popularity, we sin. When we worry about our appearance, we sin. When we worry about our health, we sin. When we worry about whether our home will impress our visitors, we sin. When we worry about whether we are good enough, we sin. When we worry about whether we will gain eternal life, we sin. God wants us to cast all our cares on him. He wants us to trust in him and his promises.

Cast thy burden upon the LORD, and he shall sustain thee: he shall never suffer the righteous to be moved. (Psalm 55:22)

Casting all your care upon him; for he careth for you. (1 Peter 5:7)
When we worry about our sin, worry about whether we’re forgiven, we sin.

Judge not, that ye be not judged. (Matthew 7:1)

This passage is often misunderstood. A person is not ‘judging’ when he or she tells another about God’s decrees. Say a person has a friend who is living with another person as ‘man and wife’ outside of marriage; it is a loving act to say “What you are doing is a sin against God and will affect your relationship with him”. In this situation the focus is on the act, the message is that it is against God’s decrees and has consequences. Pointing out those consequences is not ‘judging’ in the context of this passage.

God’s command here deals with judging, or making assumptions about, another person’s intentions or motives. In this case the focus is on the person, on the contents of the person’s heart. Only God can judge another person’s heart. When we think or say “She did that just so she would look good” or “He did that on purpose, he thinks he is better than me”, we sin. If we think “It won’t do any good to talk this out with her, she won’t listen… or she’ll just throw it back in my face later”, we sin. When we feel superior to another person because “he’s so sinful”, we sin. When we attempt to see the sin in the heart of another person, we only pass judgment on ourselves; because that sin is in our own heart as well.

Therefore thou art inexcusable, O man, whosoever thou art that judgest: for wherein thou judgest another, thou condemnest thyself; for thou that judgest doest the same things. (Romans 2:1)

Master, which is the great commandment in the law? 37 Jesus said unto him, Thou shalt love the Lord thy God with all thy heart, and with all thy soul, and with all thy mind. 38This is the first and great commandment. 39And the second is like unto it, Thou shalt love thy neighbour as thyself. 40On these two commandments hang all the law and the prophets. (Matthew 22:36-40)

The greatest command is to love God; completely, continuously, with every part of our heart, soul, and mind. When we fall short of this complete dedication, we sin. When we are distracted by this world and what is in it, we sin. When we take God for granted, we sin.

How many ways can we break the commandment “Love the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your mind”? Anytime we question his plan for us. Anytime we are not content with what he has given us. Anytime we are angry about what ‘life has dealt us’. Anytime we fail to give God the glory, the credit. Anytime we want control over our lives instead of searching out what God has prepared for us. Anytime we “rely on our own understanding” instead of turning to God’s Word for our answers. Anytime when we are out in the world and we don’t stand up for God. Anytime we hide our faith. Anytime we don’t test the words of men by searching scriptures. Anytime we allow our feelings to sway us in a direction different from God’s revealed word. Ultimately, anytime we sin we rebel against God and break this command as well.

When we cut a person off in traffic; rather than letting him in, we sin. When we greedily hide the last few cookies so that we can secretly eat them later when everyone else is gone, we sin. When we fail to offer help to an ill neighbor, we sin. When we shun the people living around us, not wanting to be bothered by them, we sin. When we consider the command to “love our neighbor as ourselves” we must consider our sins of omission. The command is not “When you interact with your neighbor treat him with love”. The whole world is our neighbor, especially those who by His providence God has placed into our lives. This command is broken many times by omission for every time by commission.

He saith unto him, Which? Jesus said, Thou shalt do no murder, Thou shalt not commit adultery, Thou shalt not steal, Thou shalt not bear false witness, 19Honour thy father and thy mother: and, Thou shalt love thy neighbour as thyself. (Matthew 19:18-19)

Several commands are repeated from above. Additions are “do not steal”, “bear false witness”, and “honor your parents”. When we get ‘creative’ with our tax report, or bring the office’s supplies home to use, shave a little time off the clock by leaving early or taking long breaks, or don’t tell the cashier about an error in our favor, we commit the sin of stealing. We can steal not just money and valuables, but also time, privileges, and honor.

When we talk a person down behind his back, when by our silence we fail to stick up for someone being ‘bad talked’, when we’d rather feel justified in our bitterness towards a person than admit our own complicity, we bear false witness and sin. When we pay a person false complements, exaggerate qualifications, or hide faults, resulting in a false representation of a person, we also commit this sin.

“Honor your father and mother” is more than just a command for children to obey their parents until they become adults. When we fail to respect our parents, we sin. When we distance ourselves from our parents, ‘not listening’, we sin. When we hold resentments, we sin. If they have hurt us through their sinful actions and we fail to approach them with our pain and address the situation openly and in love, we sin. When we fail to forgive our parents, or hold them to unrealistic ideals, we sin. When we place ourselves above our parents, we sin.

Wherefore putting away lying, speak every man truth with his neighbour: for we are members one of another. (Ephesians 4:25)

Let no corrupt communication proceed out of your mouth, but that which is good to the use of edifying, that it may minister grace unto the hearers. (Ephesians 4:29)

When we say something that is untrue, we sin. Even when we don’t actually say something, but by our silence create a false impression, we sin. Or, when we fail to state the truth when it is needed, we sin. When we tear someone down, rather than build that person up, we sin. When we hold back the truth because we fear it might make us unpopular or the other person “will take it the wrong way”, we sin. Our society has sayings like “white lies don’t hurt” and attitudes such as false humility, and ‘kissing up to someone’. These things are in fact lies and manipulation, and are sins.

A lying tongue hateth those that are afflicted by it; and a flattering mouth worketh ruin. (Proverbs 26:28)

Let love be without dissimulation. Abhor that which is evil; cleave to that which is good. 10Be kindly affectioned one to another with brotherly love; in honour preferring one another; 11Not slothful in business; fervent in spirit; serving the Lord; 12Rejoicing in hope; patient in tribulation; continuing instant in prayer; 13Distributing to the necessity of saints; given to hospitality. 14Bless them which persecute you: bless, and curse not. 15Rejoice with them that do rejoice, and weep with them that weep. 16Be of the same mind one toward another. Mind not high things, but condescend to men of low estate. Be not wise in your own conceits. 17Recompense to no man evil for evil. Provide things honest in the sight of all men. 18If it be possible, as much as lieth in you, live peaceably with all men. 19Dearly beloved, avenge not yourselves, but rather give place unto wrath: for it is written, Vengeance is mine; I will repay, saith the Lord. 20Therefore if thine enemy hunger, feed him; if he thirst, give him drink: for in so doing thou shalt heap coals of fire on his head. 21Be not overcome of evil, but overcome evil with good. (Romans 12:9-21)

A long list. When we consider ourselves better than another, we sin. Failing to return evil with love is sinful. When we shun people “of a lower class” or people who “are different”, we sin. Again, actions alone do not satisfy these commands. Feeding our enemy while not wishing him well and actually desiring him well in our heart is still a sin.

But fornication, and all uncleanness, or covetousness, let it not be once named among you, as becometh saints; 4Neither filthiness, nor foolish talking, nor jesting, which are not convenient: but rather giving of thanks. 5For this ye know, that no whoremonger, nor unclean person, nor covetous man, who is an idolater, hath any inheritance in the kingdom of Christ and of God. (Ephesians 5:3-5)

When we are not content with the things God has given us, and desire more, we sin. When we share a coarse joke, we sin. Any kind of impure or unclean thought, word, or deed is a sin.

But now ye also put off all these; anger, wrath, malice, blasphemy, filthy communication out of your mouth. 9Lie not one to another, seeing that ye have put off the old man with his deeds; (Colossians 3:8-9)

Dont’s - most of these have been covered already; but Paul makes the clear point that avoiding sins of commission is not ‘good enough’. He follows these “Dont’s” with a list of “Do’s”.

Put on therefore, as the elect of God, holy and beloved, bowels of mercies, kindness, humbleness of mind, meekness, longsuffering; 13Forbearing one another, and forgiving one another, if any man have a quarrel against any: even as Christ forgave you, so also do ye. 14And above all these things put on charity, which is the bond of perfectness. (Colossians 3:12-14)

When we don’t show kindness, we sin. Patience is said to be a virtue, but the absence of patience is a sin. When we withhold unconditional forgiveness from someone, we sin. This includes ourselves. That is, when we fail to forgive ourselves and hold onto transgressions as some form of false humility, we sin. These do’s are centered in the heart. No act is truly compassionate if compassion is not its motivation.

The true goal of God’s magnification of sin is to mercifully and lovingly help mankind see their need for a Savior not merely as their example and creditor, but as the One and only provider of eternal life. It’s out of God’s abundant pity and longsuffering patience that He continually demonstates to sinful mankind that they must give up on their own efforts to earn forgiveness, to become perfect, or progress in worthiness toward earning God’s favor. Through witnessing God’s view of sin as revealed in the Holy Bible we can show sinful man’s utter hopelessness in order that we might point toward a sure hope in the Savior Jesus Christ! This hope is realized only by abandoning any hope in ourselves and fleeing to and trusting in Him and Him alone as He is revealed by the Spirit in the Holy Bible!

I’ll restate what has already been said in the study above; the Bible is clear that there are only two types of people in the world - the saved and the lost. The redeemed and the unredeemed. The forgiven and the unforgiven. The blessed and the cursed. Those who will go to heaven and those who will go to hell. The born-again and the damned. Those who belong to the family of God by grace through faith in Jesus Christ alone and everyone else.

Dear reader, which are you?

Adapted from a teaching by Truth In Love to Mormons