I. WHAT IS SIN?
No one can read the Bible much without realizing that a great deal of attention is given to the subject of sin, its cause and cure. We often think of sin in connection with crime and murder. But sin in the Bible refers to anything short of God's perfection. In Romans 3:23, we read, "All have sinned and come short of the glory of God." The "glory of God" includes the thought of absolute perfection. Sin is therefore falling short of the mark. All men are guilty of this. Sin is also spoken of in the Bible in the following ways.
A. Breaking the law of God. Romans 5:13.
B. Rebellion against God, or lawlessness. I John 3:4 (Revised Version).
C. Moral impurity. Psalm 32:5.
D. Evil thoughts are sinful, as well as evil deeds. Matthew 5:28.
II. THE ORIGIN OF SIN
The first recorded instance of sin took place in heaven. The angel Lucifer became ambitious to be equal with God. Isaiah 14:12-14. For this sin of pride, he was cast out of heaven, and became the one whom the Bible elsewhere describes as the devil or Satan.
The first instance of sin on earth is described in the Third Chapter of Genesis. It took place in the Garden of Eden. God forbid Adam and Eve to eat the fruit of the tree of the knowledge of good and evil. They disobeyed God, ate the forbidden fruit and thus became sinners.
III. THE RESULTS OF SIN
A. As soon as the parents of the human race sinned, they became conscious of the fact that they were naked, and they tried to hide from God. Genesis 3:7-8.
B. The penalty of sin is death. Adam became spiritually dead the moment he sinned. By this we mean that he became separated from God, and was banished from God's presence. He also became subject to physical death. Although he did not die immediately, his body was eventually doomed to die. Romans 5:12.
C. Adam’s sinful nature was passed on to the entire human race. Every child born of sinful parents is a sinner by birth by choice and by practice. Thus Adam's oldest son, Cain, was a murderer, and sin began to take its toll on the human race. Because all men are born sinners, they are all dead spiritually, and are all doomed to die physically some day. Read Romans 5:12-18 carefully at this point.
D. Man's sin brought God's curse upon all creation. Adam’s oldest son became a murderer. Thorns and thistles, for instance, are evidence of this curse. Other evidences are mentioned in Genesis 3:14-19. Modern man tries to explain that our depravity is just human failure and mistakes. Some of our psychologists would try to make us believe man is getting better and better because of our advancements in knowledge and technology. However, we do not need proof of sin as long as we have cemeteries, prisons, hospitals, and funeral parlors. We may call it what we want, but tears, sickness, sorrow, pain and death are clear evidences of the result of sin. Why does man sin? Read John 8:44. It began in heaven and will end in hell. Revelations 20:10.
IV. THE PENALTY OF SIN
"The wages of sin is death." Romans 6:23. God has pronounced the penalty of sin as being death. There is no way that a man can perfect himself to be acceptable to God. “For all have sinned and come short of the glory of God.” Romans 3: 23. We have already seen that this means spiritual death and physical death. This penalty must be paid. God must punish sin or provide a way to cleanse us and forgive us of our sins.
As long as a man lives in his sins, he is dead spiritually and is facing physical death. If he is still in his sins when he dies, he is subject to eternal death. This means that he will be forever banished from God and will suffer for his sins in the lake of fire. This is the second death spoken of in Revelation 20:14.
V. THE REMEDY FOR SIN
God has provided a remedy so that men do not need to suffer everlasting punishment for their sins. He sent His Son into the world to provide a way of escape for man. The Lord Jesus Christ was born of the Virgin Mary. The virgin birth was absolutely necessary in order for Him to be born without sin. Because of this, he did not inherit Adam's sinful nature. He is the only sinless man who ever lived. On the cross he willingly suffered the penalty of sin, and satisfied all God's holy demands. Since the penalty of sin has been met, God can now give eternal life to every sinner who confesses the fact that he is a sinner and receives the Lord Jesus Christ as his Lord and Savior. II Corinthians 5:21. (This will be more fully explained under Salvation.)
When a person trusts in Christ, he is saved from the penalty and power of sin. This does not mean that he no longer commits sin. But it does mean that all his sins, past, present and future have been forgiven and that he will never be judged for them. Remember all your sins were future when Christ died. In Christ he has the power to live for God with victory over sin instead of living for the pleasures and power of sin and Satan.
This is why Jesus Christ died on the cross. “Who his own self bare our sins in his own body on the tree, that we, being dead to sins should live unto righteousness.” I Peter 2:24.