One of the central themes of the Bible is sin. It offers a review of the origin, nature and results of sin, as well as the solution to the sin problem.

Sin is:

Transgressions of God’s laws – Dan. 9:5; Rom. 5:13; Jas. 2:9; 1 John 3:4.

Unrighteousness – Ex. 20:5; 34:7; Num. 14:18; Deut. 5:9; 1 Kings. 8:47; 2 Chron. 6:37; Isa. 1:4; 13:11; 53:6; 59:12; Jer. 30:14.

Unintentional contraventions of God’s commandments – Lev. 4:2,13,22,27; Heb. 5:2.

Adultery and fornication – Lev. 20:10; 1 Cor. 5:11; 6:9; Gal. 5:19; Eph. 5:3; Col. 3:5.

Homosexual and lesbian relations – Lev. 18:22; 20:13; Rom. 1:26-28; 1 Cor. 6:10.

Involvement with occult activities – Lev. 18:21; 20:27; Deut. 18:9-14; 1 Cor. 10:7,14,19-20; Rev. 2:20.

The love of money – Matt. 13:22; 19:23-24; Luke 12:15; 1 Tim. 6:7-10; 2 Tim. 3:2; Rev. 3:17.

Drunkenness and other forms of addiction – Prov. 20:1; 23:20,29-36; Isa. 5:11,22; 28:7; Rom. 13:13; 1 Cor. 5:11; 6:10; Gal. 5:21; Eph. 5:18; 2 Pet. 2:19.

Neglect of duty – Matt. 23:3; Luke 6:46-49; John 13:17; 15:22; Jas. 4:17.

Every deed which is condemned by your conscience – Luke 12:47; John 9:41, 15:22; Rom. 14:14; 1 Cor. 8:7.

Every deed that is not in faith – Rom. 14:23.

Thoughts of the unregenerate heart – Gen. 6:5; 8:21; Prov.. 6:14; 15:26; Isa. 59:7; Jer. 17:9, 18:12; Ezek. 11:2.

The origin and habitation of sin:

The devil is the cause of sin and the father of all sinners – John 8:44; 1 John 3:8.

Sin entered the world through Adam – Gen. 3:6-12; Rom. 5:12,19; 1 Tim. 2:14.

Every person is born in sin – Gen. 8:21; Job. 15:14; 25:4; Ps. 51:7; 58:4; Isa. 48:8; John 3:6.

Sin comes from the heart – Ps. 95:10; Isa. 57:17; Matt. 15:19; Mark 7:21-23; Heb. 3:10.

Every person is a sinner – 1 Kings 8:46; 2 Chron. 6:36; Ps. 14:1-3; 53:2-4; 106:6; Prov. 20:9; Eccles. 7:20; Isa. 64:6; Rom. 3:10,12,23; 5:12; Gal. 3:22; Jas. 3:2; 1 John 1:8; 5:19.

He who says that he has no sin is a liar – 1 John 1:8. Such a person also makes God a liar – 1 John 1:10.

Jesus Christ alone was without sin – John 8:46; 2 Cor. 5:21; Heb. 4:15, 7:26; 1 Pet. 2:22; 1 John 3:5.

Sin is called:

Transgressions and rebelliousness against God – Isa. 1:28, 59:13, 65:2; Lam. 3:42; Dan. 9:5; Titus 1:16.

An abomination to the Lord – Prov. 15:9; Jer. 44:4.

The fruit of desire – Jas. 1:15.

Uncleanness, filthiness or pollutions – Lev. 15:31; 16:19; Ezra 9:11; Ezek. 24:13; 36:17,25,29; Zech. 13:1; Matt. 15:18-20; Mark 7:20-23; 2 Cor. 7:1; 1 Thess. 4:7; Jas. 1:27; 2 Pet. 2:20.

The works of darkness – Isa. 29:15; Rom. 13:12; Eph. 5:11.

The works of the devil – John 8:41,44; 1 John 3:8.

The works of the flesh – Gal. 5:19.

The love and friendship of the world – 1 John 2:15-16; Rom. 12:2; Jas. 4:4.

Dead works – Heb. 6:1; 9:14.

The sting of death – 1 Cor. 15:56.

To live in sin means:

To walk according to the flesh – Rom. 7:5; 8:1,5; 2 Cor. 10:2; Gal. 5:13; 2 Pet. 2:10.

To fulfil the lusts of the flesh – Rom. 1:24; 13:14; Gal. 5:16; Eph. 2:3; 1 Thess. 4:5; 1 Pet. 1:14; 4:2-3; 2 Pet. 2:10; 3:3; Jude v. 16.

To walk in spiritual darkness – Prov. 2:13; Isa. 9:2; Matt. 4:16; Luke 1:79; 11:34; Acts 26:18; Rom. 1:21; Eph. 5:8; 1 John 1:6; 2:11.

The situational context of sin

National sins (Prov. 14:34). National sins are committed when a country entrenches sin in its constitution and other policy documents by allowing and protecting it. That can be done by denying the supreme authority of God in the constitution, rejecting Jesus as Saviour, King and Son of God, openly associating with one or more false religions, accepting and allowing homosexuality, legalising prostitution and gambling, offering multireligious education, promoting humanism, and in various other ways undermining Christian principles in society. Israel and its leaders in Jerusalem committed national sins against the Messiah and paid a high price for it (Luke 19:41-44).

Sins by heads of state (2 Sam. 24:10,17). There are autocratic heads of state who take decisions or do things which are contrary to God’s will, and then bear the sole responsibility for them. It is only when the majority of their subjects follow their sinful examples, that they will become national sins for which the whole nation will be punished.

Personal sins (Ps. 51:5). Sinful acts are mostly committed by individuals and put the perpetrators in a position of condemnation by the Lord (Prov. 28:13; Rom. 6:23).

Secret sins (Ps. 19:12; 90:8). Many people wrongly argue that secret sins, as well as evil thoughts which are not known to other people, will not put any guilt or blame on them. However, every though must be taken captive to the obedience of Christ (2 Cor. 10:5).

Open sins (1 Tim. 5:24). Sins committed openly and with public approval, are equally wrong and punishable in the eyes of God. Society and its customs is not our norm for the determining of sin and unrighteousness, but the Word of God.

Shameless sins (Isa. 3:9). Hardened sinners do their evil works in public without any shame or remorse for what they have done.

Youthful sins (Ps. 25:7). These must also be confessed.

Subtle temptations

The most subtle temptations to sin are those that seem nearest to the purpose of God for our lives, which is to be conformed to His image. Lucifer’s great sin was: “I will be like the Most High” (Isa. 14:14). He tempted man with the same kind of deception: “You will be like God” (Gen. 3:5). The Antichrist will also commit the same sin as he will “sit as God in the temple of God, showing himself that he is God” (2 Thess. 2:4). He will do that in an effort to be personally worshipped as “God” by all people on earth.

It is a sin to make yourself equal to God so as to be worshipped by people as a god. A human being can never obtain or imitate the natural attributes of God, for example His creative power, His perfect knowledge, His right to forgive sins, His authority over life and death, and His absolute perfection. We are only commanded to be conformed to God’s moral attributes so that His holiness, righteousness, love and forgivingness can be seen in us. We must ever be humble and remember that we are only servants and disciples of the Lord Jesus. We are deeply dependent on Him as, in our own right, we are nothing (John 15:5).

We have a big responsibility to discern and reject the religious lies of the devil and his false prophets (1 John 4:1). That also includes the “nice-sounding” gospel messages in which all the blessings are mentioned which the Lord Jesus has in store for us, but without mentioning God’s judgement upon sin, and also the full meaning of Christ’s atoning death on the cross and His blood that He shed for us. There are many of these “pious” messages in circulation today, in which people are not explicitly led to a conviction of their sins, neither are they confronted with the Saviour’s atonement on the cross to pay the penalty for our sins. He came to purge our sins (Heb. 1:3), but for that to be imputed to us we must first realise the full nature and extent of our sins. When these basic facts on sin are concealed the gospel message becomes perverted.

Jesus Christ:

Has come to forgive our sins and take them away – John 1:29; Acts. 5:31; Heb. 9:26; 1 John 3:5.

Has come to save sinners – Matt. 1:21; 9:13; 18:11; Mark 2:17; Luke 5:32; 1 Tim. 1:15.

Has given Himself for our sins – Gal. 1:4; Titus 2:14.

Has died for our sins – Isa. 53:8; Rom. 6:10; 1 Cor. 15:3, 1 Pet. 3:18.

Has died for sinners – Rom. 5:6,8; Heb. 2:9, 9:15.

Has borne our sins – Isa. 53:4,11,12; 2 Cor. 5:21; 1 Pet. 2:24.

Has given us redemption through His blood – Matt. 26:28; Eph. 1:7; Col. 1:14.

He cleansed us from our sins with His blood – Titus 2:14; Heb. 1:3; 9:14; 1 John 1:7; Rev. 1:5.

The sufficiency of grace to forgive sin

Grace abounds more than sin – Rom. 5:20.

Shall we continue in sin that grace may abound? – Rom. 6:1-2,15.

There is forgiveness for all – Isa. 1:18; Jer. 33:8; Matt. 12:31-32; Mark 3:28; Luke 12:10.

No sacrifice for the wilful denying, slandering and rejection of Christ after repentance – Heb. 6:4-6; 10:26-31; 12:16-17.

Personal commitment

I praise the Lord for the provision that He has made on the cross of Golgotha to save us from sin, and also for breaking the power of sin that it should have no dominion over us. The old man which grows corrupt according to the deceitful lusts can be put off and conquered. I thank God for the continued cleansing from all sin by the blood of the Lamb. I realise that, as a human being, I can falter and sin again, but I pray for a close walk with the Lord and a sensitivity to sin, that I may not fall victim to deception and temptation. I take the command to heart to earnestly strive against sin (Heb. 12:4). May the words of my mouth and the meditation of my heart be acceptable in His sight (Ps. 19:14).


1.    Describe the nature of sin with regard to God’s law

2.    Explain the sin of homosexuality.

3.    Where in the Bible are ancestor worship, witchcraft and magic prohibited?

4.    Give three examples of national sins.

5.    How can we be cleansed from our sins?

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