Question: What is sin?
Answer: Sin is disobeying God.
Let’s look at the very first time humans sinned.
Gen 2:15-25 (HCSB)
15 The Lord God took the man and placed him in the garden of Eden to work it and watch over it. 16 And the Lord God commanded the man, “You are free to eat from any tree of the garden, 17 but you must not eat from the tree of the knowledge of good and evil, for on the day you eat from it, you will certainly die.”
Gen 3:1-24 (HCSB)
1 Now the serpent was the most cunning of all the wild animals that the Lord God had made. He said to the woman, “Did God really say, ‘You can’t eat from any tree in the garden’?” 2 The woman said to the serpent, “We may eat the fruit from the trees in the garden. 3 But about the fruit of the tree in the middle of the garden, God said, ‘You must not eat it or touch it, or you will die.’ ” 4 “No! You will not die,” the serpent said to the woman. 5 “In fact, God knows that when you eat it your eyes will be opened and you will be like God, knowing good and evil.” 6 Then the woman saw that the tree was good for food and delightful to look at, and that it was desirable for obtaining wisdom. So she took some of its fruit and ate [it] ; she also gave [some] to her husband, [who was] with her, and he ate [it] . 7 Then the eyes of both of them were opened, and they knew they were naked; so they sewed fig leaves together and made loincloths for themselves. 8 Then the man and his wife heard the sound of the Lord God walking in the garden at the time of the evening breeze, and they hid themselves from the Lord God among the trees of the garden. 9 So the Lord God called out to the man and said to him, “Where are you?” 10 And he said, “I heard You in the garden, and I was afraid because I was naked, so I hid.” 11 Then He asked, “Who told you that you were naked? Did you eat from the tree that I had commanded you not to eat from?” 12 Then the man replied, “The woman You gave to be with me—she gave me [some fruit] from the tree, and I ate.” 13 So the Lord God asked the woman, “What is this you have done?” And the woman said, “It was the serpent. He deceived me, and I ate.” 14 Then the Lord God said to the serpent: Because you have done this, you are cursed more than any livestock and more than any wild animal. You will move on your belly and eat dust all the days of your life. 15 I will put hostility between you and the woman, and between your seed and her seed. He will strike your head, and you will strike his heel. 16 He said to the woman: I will intensify your labor pains; you will bear children in anguish. Your desire will be for your husband, yet he will dominate you. 17 And He said to Adam, “Because you listened to your wife’s voice and ate from the tree about which I commanded you, ‘Do not eat from it’: The ground is cursed because of you. You will eat from it by means of painful labor all the days of your life. 18 It will produce thorns and thistles for you, and you will eat the plants of the field. 19 You will eat bread by the sweat of your brow until you return to the ground, since you were taken from it. For you are dust, and you will return to dust.” 20 Adam named his wife Eve because she was the mother of all the living. 21 The Lord God made clothing out of skins for Adam and his wife, and He clothed them. 22 The Lord God said, “Since man has become like one of Us, knowing good and evil, he must not reach out, and also take from the tree of life, and eat, and live forever.” 23 So the Lord God sent him away from the garden of Eden to work the ground from which he was taken. 24 He drove man out, and east of the garden of Eden He stationed cherubim with a flaming, whirling sword to guard the way to the tree of life.
Question: How did Adam and Eve disobey God?
Answer: Adam and Eve disobeyed God by disobeying His command:
“You are free to eat from any tree of the garden, 17 but you must not eat from the tree of the knowledge of good and evil, for on the day you eat from it, you will certainly die.”
Question: Why did Adam and Eve Sin?
Answer: Ultimately, the reason that Adam and Eve sinned was because the Devil tempted and deceived Eve who then influenced Adam.
Question: What were the results of their sin?
Answer: Some of the results of Adam’s and Eve’s sin were: the ground was cursed because of them, in time they would die, they felt extreme shame, they felt the need to be clothed, they became afraid of God, working the ground became painful and toilsome, etc.
There are many negative consequences for us, as humans, when we sin but the most devastating result of sin is found in Isaiah 59:1-2:
Isaiah 59:1-2 (HCSB)
1 Indeed, the Lord’s hand is not too short to save, and His ear is not too deaf to hear. 2 But your iniquities have built barriers between you and your God, and your sins have made Him hide [His] face from you so that He does not listen.
God was speaking specifically to His people at the time who had sinned against Him over and over again, but the concept is also universally true: The most devastating result of sin is that sin builds barriers between God and the sinner.
So today, the Devil still goes around and tries to tempt and deceive every single human to sin against God because he wants us to be separated from God so that he can devour us. And today, the results of sin are the same as they always have been: Sin builds barriers between God and the sinner.
Romans 3:23 (HCSB)
For all have sinned and fall short of the glory of God.
Here is the bottom line: Every single man and woman (besides Jesus Christ) has sinned or will sin. So there is a time in everyone’s life when a barrier of sin is built that separates him or her from God.
In this rest of this study, we are going to look at what to do about this barrier of sin that separates us from God.
1 John 1:5-10 (HCSB)
5 Now this is the message we have heard from Him and declare to you: God is light, and there is absolutely no darkness in Him. 6 If we say, “We have fellowship with Him,” and walk in darkness, we are lying and are not practicing the truth. 7 But if we walk in the light as He Himself is in the light, we have fellowship with one another, and the blood of Jesus His Son cleanses us from all sin. 8 If we say, “We have no sin,” we are deceiving ourselves, and the truth is not in us. 9 If we confess our sins, He is faithful and righteous to forgive us our sins and to cleanse us from all unrighteousness. 10 If we say, “We have not sinned,” we make Him a liar, and His word is not in us.
The only thing that can destroy the barrier of sin that separates us from God is the blood of Jesus. Part of getting the blood of Jesus to knock down the wall of sin that separates us from God involves walking in the light and confessing our sins. Verse 7 says, ‘if we walk in the light as He Himself is in the light…the blood of Jesus His Son cleanses us from all sin’ and in verse 9 it says, ‘If we confess our sins, He is faithful and righteous to forgive us our sins and to cleanse us from all unrighteousness’. Notice that in both of these verses, there is an ‘if…then’ promise.
James 5:16 (HCSB)
16 Therefore, confess your sins to one another and pray for one another, so that you may be healed. The intense prayer of the righteous is very powerful.
Not only are we to confess our sins to God, this verses makes it clear that we are to confess our sins to one another and pray for each other that we may be healed.
Also note that James 5:16 does not say, ‘confess your sins to one another and rebuke one another’. What does it say? It says, ‘confess your sins to one another and pray for each other’.
III. Specific Sins
Gal 5:19-21 (HCSB)
19 Now the works of the flesh are obvious: sexual immorality, moral impurity, promiscuity, 20 idolatry, sorcery, hatreds, strife, jealousy, outbursts of anger, selfish ambitions, dissensions, factions, 21 envy, drunkenness, carousing, and anything similar, about which I tell you in advance—as I told you before—that those who practice such things will not inherit the kingdom of God.
Question: In what ways have you been guilty (yes, throughout the course of your entire life) of the following sins:
sexual immorality –
moral impurity –
outbursts of anger –
selfish ambitions –
anything similar –
Prov 6:16-19 (HCSB)
16 Six things the Lord hates; in fact, seven are detestable to Him: 17 arrogant eyes, a lying tongue, hands that shed innocent blood, 18 a heart that plots wicked schemes, feet eager to run to evil, 19 a lying witness who gives false testimony, and one who stirs up trouble among brothers.
Question: How have you been guilty of:
having arrogant eyes –
having a lying tongue –
having hands that shed innocent blood –
having a heart that plots wicked schemes –
having feet eager to run to evil –
being a lying witness who gives false testimony –
being one who stirs up trouble among brothers –
2 Tim 3:1-5 (HCSB)
1 But know this: difficult times will come in the last days. 2 For people will be lovers of self, lovers of money, boastful, proud, blasphemers, disobedient to parents, ungrateful, unholy, 3 unloving, irreconcilable, slanderers, without self-control, brutal, without love for what is good, 4 traitors, reckless, conceited, lovers of pleasure rather than lovers of God, 5 holding to the form of religion but denying its power. Avoid these people!
Question: How have you been guilty of:
being a lover of self –
being a lover of money –
being boastful –
being proud –
being a blasphemer –
being disobedient to parents –
being ungrateful –
being unholy –
being unloving –
being irreconcilable –
being a slanderer –
being without self-control –
being brutal –
being without love for what is good –
being a traitor –
being reckless –
being conceited –
being a lover of pleasure instead of a lover of God –
Rev 21:8 (HCSB)
8 But the cowards, unbelievers, vile, murderers, sexually immoral, sorcerers, idolaters, and all liars—their share will be in the lake that burns with fire and sulfur, which is the second death.”
Question: How have you been guilty of::
being a coward –
being vile –
being sexually immoral –
2 Cor 7:7-11 (HCSB)
8 For although I grieved you with my letter, I do not regret it—even though I did regret it since I saw that the letter grieved you, though only for a little while. 9 Now I am rejoicing, not because you were grieved, but because your grief led to repentance. For you were grieved as God willed, so that you didn’t experience any loss from us. 10 For godly grief produces a repentance not to be regretted and leading to salvation, but worldly grief produces death. 11 For consider how much diligence this very thing—this grieving as God wills—has produced in you: what a desire to clear yourselves, what indignation, what fear, what deep longing, what zeal, what justice! In every way you have commended yourselves to be pure in this matter.
Paul makes a contrast between godly grief and worldly grief. Godly grief is, as Paul says, ‘grieving as God wills’ where as worldly sorrow is grieving from a worldly perspective. He says that godly grief leads to repentance and to salvation while worldly grief leads to regret and death.
Analogy: Lets say you get pulled over by a police officer for speeding in your neighborhood where many kids often play outside and sometimes even in the streets. One way you could feel is bummed out because you got caught for speeding and have to pay the ticket. This would be displaying worldly grief. Another way you could feel is grateful for the police officer because he stopped you from potentially hurting any children and indignant at yourself for putting the lives of kids in danger. This is godly grief.
Question: What does ‘repentance’ mean?
Acts 26:12-20 (HCSB)
12 “Under these circumstances I was traveling to Damascus with authority and a commission from the chief priests. 13 At midday, while on the road, O king, I saw a light from heaven brighter than the sun, shining around me and those traveling with me. 14 When we had all fallen to the ground, I heard a voice speaking to me in the Hebrew language, ‘Saul, Saul, why are you persecuting Me? It is hard for you to kick against the goads.’ 15 “But I said, ‘Who are You, Lord?’ “And the Lord replied: ‘I am Jesus, whom you are persecuting. 16 But get up and stand on your feet. For I have appeared to you for this purpose, to appoint you as a servant and a witness of things you have seen, and of things in which I will appear to you. 17 I will rescue you from the people and from the Gentiles, to whom I now send you, 18 to open their eyes that they may turn from darkness to light and from the power of Satan to God, that they may receive forgiveness of sins and a share among those who are sanctified by faith in Me.’ 19 “Therefore, King Agrippa, I was not disobedient to the heavenly vision. 20 Instead, I preached to those in Damascus first, and to those in Jerusalem and in all the region of Judea, and to the Gentiles, that they should repent and turn to God, and do works worthy of repentance.
Answer: Repentance is turning from darkness to light and from the power of Satan to God by turning away from sin and turning towards God. To break it down even further, to turn away from sin means to stop sinning. Paul also says that repentance involves works worthy of repentance. In other words, Paul is saying that there are actions that can prove one’s repentance. That being said, it is important to focus on the heart because repentance starts from the heart. A repentant heart will produce repentant actions. Hold your place there in Acts and turn over to Psalms 51.
Psalms 51:16-17 (HCSB)
16 You do not want a sacrifice, or I would give it;
You are not pleased with a burnt offering.
17 The sacrifice pleasing to God is a broken spirit.
God, you will not despise a broken and humbled heart.
Repentance starts from a heart that is broken and humbled, i.e., a heart filled with godly grief for one’s sin.
Back to Acts passage, not only does Paul clarify some things about repentance, we can see from this very passage that Paul was also a great example of repentance. He was sinning against God and going the wrong way but after Jesus knocked him over the head, he repented and turned towards God.
To close out, remember how one of the consequences of Adam and Eve’s sin was that they felt the need to be clothed? We see in Genesis 3:7 and Genesis 3:21 that even though Adam and Eve tried to cloth themselves, it was God Himself who clothes them:
Then the eyes of both of them were opened, and they knew they were naked; so they sewed fig leaves together and made loincloths for themselves.
The Lord God made clothing out of skins for Adam and his wife, and He clothed them.
With this in mind, lets look briefly look at two more scriptures:
Acts 2:38-39 (HCSB)
38 “Repent,” Peter said to them, “and be baptized, each of you, in the name of Jesus the Messiah for the forgiveness of your sins, and you will receive the gift of the Holy Spirit. 39 For the promise is for you and for your children, and for all who are far off, as many as the Lord our God will call.”
Gal 3:27 (HCSB)
27 For as many of you as have been baptized into Christ have put on Christ.
After we believe in Jesus, confess and repent of our sins, and are baptized into the name of the Father, the Son and the Holy Spirit, God allows us to cloth ourselves, but this time, with Christ!