- Preaching the Living WORD through the Written WORD - 2 Tim 4:2 -
STUDY OF SIN
Grace Bible Church, Gillette, Wyoming Gillette Bible Institute
The sins of man and the holiness of God are both infinite in proportion. Under satanic influence people often tended to minimize the sinfulness of man, and in so doing they also minimize the redemptive plan of God. Sin and redemption are to be as sharply contrasted as hell and heaven. Interpreters faithful to the Scriptures recognize the infinite extent of both. (Chafer/Walvoord)
I. THE QUINTESSENTIAL NATURE OF SIN
A. Sin is Disobedience to God’s Law (Ja 2:10)
"Sin is any want of conformity unto, or transgression of
any law of God, given as a rule to the reasonable creature." (
B. Sin is Violation of God’s Holiness (Ro 3:23)
"The holy character of God is the final and the only standard by which moral values may be accurately judged. The influence of the standards of social customs over the dictates of an unsure and perverted conscience are not sufficient to identify sin. Sin is sin because it is unlike God." (Chafer/Walvoord)
II. THE QUESTION OF DIVINE PERMISSION OF SIN
"God has not been overtaken with unexpected disaster in respect to His holy purposes, nor is He now seeking to salvage something out of an unforeseen wreckage." (Chafer)
A. Sin Demonstrates Man’s Moral Responsibility (Ge 2:16-17)
B. Sin Demonstrates God’s Hatred of Sin (Ro 1:18; 5:9; 9:22)
C. Sin Demonstrates God’s Ultimate Sovereignty (Job 1:12; Ge 50:20; Ro 8:28)
D. Sin Demonstrates God’s Infinite Love (Ro 5:8)
E. Sin Demonstrates God’s Infinite Mercy (La 3:22)
F. Sin Demonstrates God’s Infinite Grace (Ro 9:23)
III. THE BIBLICAL TERMS OF SIN
A. There are only 3 words used in the Bible for the word “grace” (Heb. chen, chesed; Grk. charis) but approximately 20 which describe “sin.” This is not to suggest that God is not a God of grace, but that man’s propensity is to ignore his own sin.
B. Terms in the Bible
1. Missing the mark
a) Heb. chata (root 580 times)
(1) It is literally used of accurate slingshots, which hit the mark (Jud 20:16).
(2) Figuratively it is used of those who miss the mark morally (Ge 13:13; Ps 51:4-5) and ceremonially.
b) Grk. equivalent, hamartia (LXX & NT - 313 times)
(1) It also means to miss the mark and is a general term for sin in the NT (Ro 3:23).
(2) The Gospel teaches that Christ died for those sins (1Co 15:3).
a) Heb. rah (520 times)
(1) It is the opposite of “good” (Heb. tob) and means bad (Ge 2:9).
(2) It also refers to the evil disposition of the wicked (Ge 6:5; Ps 7:9).
b) Grk. equivalent, kakos or poneros
(1) Kakós denotes a lack of something good including moral character (Mk 7:21; Ro 1:30).
(2) Ponęrós can refer to evil men (Lk 6:45) or the evil one (i.e. the devil - Mt 13:19).
(3) Through Christ the believer is to abstain from evil (1Th 5:22) and he is not touched by the evil one (1Jn 5:18-19).
a) It is the Hebrew word pasha, which is used some 134 times in OT
b) The fundamental root means a breach of relationships and the rules of those relationships (Ps 51:3, 13).
c) It can also carry the idea of rebellion and revolt (Is 1:2).
d) The Greek word used in the NT to describe “transgression” or stepping aside or over the line of the Law is parabętęs (Ro 2:25; Ja 2:11).
The Lord has forgiven the believer’s transgressions (paraptoma - “step over”) by nailing them to the
a) The Heb. word is avon or awon and literally means to bend, distort, or deviate.
b) Thus, it means the guilt or punishment of guilt for crooked behavior (Ge 4:13; 15:16).
c) Iniquity is influential on generations and so is God’s punishment (Ex 20:5).
d) The believer’s iniquity has being placed upon Christ as our sacrificial Lamb (Isa 53:6).
5. Other Hebrew words for sin
a) Shagag - to err or go astray (Lev 4:2; Nu 15:22)
b) Asham - intentional and unintentional sin (Lev 4:13)
c) Rasha - unrighteousness (Ex 2:13; Ps 9:16)
d) Taah - deliberately wander away (Ps 58:3; 119:21)
a) Unrighteousness is the Grk. word adikía and literally means not righteous (a-not & dikia-righteous; used some 252 times in the Bible). Unrighteousness is any failure to live up to God’s righteous standard.
b) The book of Romans highlights man’s unrighteousness as the reason for God’s wrath (Ro 1:18) and man’s need for the gospel (Ro 3:10).
c) Christ took the believer’s unrighteousness and imputed man His righteousness (Ro 3:22-23; 2Co 5:21).
d) The believer’s fellowship is restored by confessing his sin to God (1Jn 1:9).
a) Ungodliness is the Grk. word asébeia, used some 79 times. It is the negative of sébō, and means a disregard for religious worship and practice. It is irreverent and ungodly.
b) Enoch prophesied against the ungodliness of his day (Jud 1:14-15).
c) God’s grace instructs the believer to deny ungodliness and worldly desires (Tit 2:12).
a) Hupókrisis (Grk) means to speak religiously but not live religiously. As an actor portrays himself to be different character, so the sinner portrays himself to be a saint (Mt 23:28).
b) Such sinful pretense by false teachers will lead many astray (1Ti 4:2).
c) Hypocrisy, like any sin, permeates like leaven (Lk 12:1)
IV. THEOLOGICAL CATEGORIES OF SIN
A. Imputed Sin
1. Concept of Imputation of Sin
a) Three categories of sin are mentioned in theology. They are imputed sin, inherited sin, and personal sin.
b) Imputation of sin means that Adam’s sin and guilt has been attributed to the entire human race.
c) The concept centralizes on Rom 5:12-21 and in particular, vs. 12. The Scriptures state that:
(1) “through one man (Adam) sin entered into the world.”
(2) “and death (entered the world) through sin.”
(3) “and so death spread to all men.”
(4) “because (the reason is) all sinned (in Adam).”
2. Views of Imputation of Sin
a) Pelagian View
(1) Pelagius, a British monk (A.D. 409), held that Adam’s sin affected only himself.
(2) The human race is only accountable for their own personal sins when they follow Adam’s example.
(3) This view was condemned by the Council of Carthage in 418.
b) The Arminian View
Arminius, a professor in
(2) The human race is only accountable for their own personal sins when they follow Adam’s example and their partially corrupted nature.
(3) This view is sometimes referred to as the Semi Pelagian View.
c) The Federal (Representative) View
(1) Adam sinned as man’s representative and completely affected humanity.
(2) The human race is accountable because their representative failed the test.
(3) Adam was the first human and innocent, therefore, he became man’s representative and head.
d) The Augustinian (Seminal) View)
Augustine (A.D. 354-430), bishop of Hippo (present-day
(2) The human race is accountable because they sinned in Adam.
(a) This view seems to better support the biblical phrase, “all sinned” in Rom 5:12. “Sinned” (hę́marton) is in the aorist tense, which assigns a point in time in the past. According to Rom 5:12, the point in time was when Adam sinned (“just as”…”so).
(b) The Greek phrase, epí hō, can either be a relative clause (“upon whom” or “in whom” all sinned) or a causal force (“because” all sinned), both of which seem to better support the Augustinian View.
(c) Heb 7:7-10 alludes to the idea how humanity could sin in Adam. The context speaks of Levi being subordinate to Melchizedek because Levi paid tithes to Melchizedek. How could Levi pay tithes when he had not even been born? He paid tithes in the “loins” of Abraham. In the same way, humanity sinned in the “loins” of Adam.
(1) The Pelagian and Arminian Views do not accurately portray the biblical picture of man’s sinfulness.
(a) Neither View represents man as totally depraved (Ro 3:10-18).
(b) The Pelagian View sees man as basically good and the Arminian View believes in a universal prevenient grace to seek God.
(c) The Pelagian View supports Universalism while Arminianism cannot support eternal security.
(2) The Federal and Augustinian Views lend themselves to a proper view of man’s major problem (imputed and inherent sin) and to man’s only salvation (imputed righteousness, i.e. justification by faith).
3. Result of Imputation of Sin
a) The result of imputed sin is physical death.
(1) Physical death (separation) is separation of the soul from the body.
(2) Physical death came into the world and spread to all men because all sinned (Ro 5:12).
(3) Physical death has been appointed to all men (He 9:27).
b) The result of inherited sin is spiritual death (Ep 2:1-3; Re 2:11; 20:6).
4. Three Imputations in the Bible
a) Imputation of Adam’s sin to man
(1) Adam’s sin was imputed to mankind because all mankind sinned in Adam.
(2) However, even if a person were to claim that such a concept was unfair, everyone has committed personal sins making them accountable to God.
b) Imputation of man’s sin to Christ
(1) When Christ died on the cross, man’s sin were laid on Him as our substitute (Isa 53:5-6; 1Pe 2:24).
(2) To the one who trusts in Christ’s death on the cross, He forgives and takes away his sins (Jn 1:29; 2Co 5:19).
c) Imputation of Christ’s righteousness to man (2Co 5:21)
(1) Christ not only removes the sin and guilt but He also imputes His righteousness to the believing sinner (2Co 5:21).
(2) Justification is the divine judicial process whereby God imputes and declares a sinner to possess Christ’s righteousness (Ro 4:5).
B. Inherited Sin
1. Terms Associated with Inherited Sin
a) “Inherited sin” is the sinful nature transmitted from our parents.
b) “Original sin” is Adam’s sin nature transmitted to mankind’s succeeding generations.
c) “Sin nature” is the sinful corruption of man’s entire nature and his propensities.
2. Scriptural Evidences for Inherited Sin
a) The sin nature is universal, extending to every individual in the human race (Ep 2:3; Ro 3:23).
b) The sin nature is passed to every individual in the human race from birth (Ps 51:5).
c) The sin nature affects every facet of man (total depravity).
(1) Intellect (2Co 4:4; Ro 1:28; Ep 4:8)
(2) Emotions (Ro 1:21, 24, 26; Ti 1:15)
(3) Will (Ro 6:20; 7:20)
3. The Concept of Total Depravity
a) Three words in the NASB are translated depravity.
(1) Adókimos (Ro 1:28) means tested and found rejected. Because of universal total depravity, man and his works have been rejected by God as a means for meriting salvation.
(2) Diaphtheírō (1Ti 6:5) means to utterly corrupt or destroy. Because of universal total depravity, every facet of man has been corrupted by sin.
(3) Kataphtheírō (2Ti 3:8) means to corrupt entirely. Because of universal total depravity, man’s corruption of sin is humanly irreversible and irreparable.
b) Explanation of Total Depravity
(1) Understand that Total Depravity does not mean, “utter depravity” in that man always exhibits the lowest degree of sin, that man does not have a conscience toward God, or that man is incapable of doing any good (humanly speaking).
(2) Total Depravity means that sin’s corruption extends to every aspect of man’s being and therefore, man is incapable of meriting saving favor with God.
(3) [Total Depravity] … declares that no part of us is untouched by sin, and therefore no action of ours is as good as it should be, and consequently nothing in us or about us ever appears meritorious in God’s eyes. We cannot earn God’s favor, no matter what we do; unless grace saves us, we are lost. (Packer, Concise Theology)
(4) All men are conceived in sin, and born children of wrath, indisposed to all saving good, propense to evil, dead in sins and the slaves of sin; and without the grace of the regenerating Holy Spirit they are neither willing nor able to return to God, to correct their depraved nature, or to dispose themselves to the correction of it. (Articles of Synod of Dort, Chap. iii., Art. 3, in 1618)
4. False Views Concerning Inherited Sin
(1) Pelagius taught that man did not inherit Adamic or parental sin.
(2) Each person is created neutral, neither sinful or holy. Therefore, man is able to live free from sin and merit salvation.
(1) Semi-Pelagianism is a mediating position between Pelagius’ view and Augustine’s view, which holds man’s total depravity and salvation by God’s sovereign grace alone.
(2) Semi-Pelagianism teaches that man’s nature was weakened by the fall but he is not totally depraved.
(3) Furthermore, man is able to choose God first, and then God adds His grace.
(4) Some teach that “original sin” is eliminated by water baptism.
(1) This view is named after Lelio Socinus (1525-62) and his nephew, Faustus Socinus (1539-1604).
(2) They denied the deity of Christ, predestination, original sin, total inability, and penal substitution.
(3) This view is the forerunner of Unitarian Universalism.
(1) This view is named after Jacobus Arminius (1560-1609), whose beliefs were not so divergent from traditional Reformed theology as were his successors.
(2) Arminianism teaches that man neither inherits a sin nature (though he does inherit some pollution of sin) nor is he totally depraved.
(3) Man has the ability to live righteously and willfully choose salvation.
(4) Wesleyan theology holds similar views on the subject of Adam’s sin and man’s ability, though it differs in other points.
(1) Neo-orthodoxy teaches that the account of Gen 3 was not a historical event but an analogy of self-centeredness.
(2) Denying the historical account of Adam and his sin, there can be no culpability or transference of a sinful nature on the human race.
5. Result of Inherited Sin
a) The result of inherited sin is spiritual death (separation), the separation from eternal life and fellowship with God. (Ep 2:1-3).
b) The result of those who die separated from Christ is “eternal death” or the “second death” (Re 2:11; 20:6, 14).
c) As was stated, the result of imputed sin is physical death (Ro 5:12; He 9:27).
6. Remedy for Inherited Sin
a) There are several aspects of a remedy for inherited sin, but they all generate from the death of Christ (Ro 8:1-3)
b) The believer’s sin nature was judged so that he would no longer be a slave to it (Ro 6:18; Ga 5:24).
c) The believer has a new nature, allowing him to live with new life in Christ (Ro 6:11-14).
d) The Holy Spirit indwells the believer, empowers, and imparts righteousness to him (Ro 8:4, 12-14).
C. Personal Sin
1. Distinction of Personal Sin
a) Personal sin is a different category than imputed sin or inherited sin.
(1) Man is guilty of sin because of imputed sin.
(2) Man is sinful because of inherited sin.
b) Man is not a sinner because he sins; rather he commits personal sin because he is a sinner at birth.
2. Characteristics of Personal Sin
a) It is Universal
(1) Everyone commits personal sin in thought, word, and deed (Ro 3:9; Ja 3:2).
(2) Everyone falls short of God’s righteous and perfect standard (Ro 3:23).
b) It is Overt
(1) Man may not see imputed or inherited sin, but he can see observable personal sin.
(2) They are:
(a) difficult to see sometimes (Mt 5:27-28; 15:18).
(b) sins of omission (Ja 4:17; 1Th 5:19).
(c) sins of commission (1Co 6:9-10; Ga 5:19-21; Eph 4:30).
3. Classification of Personal Sins
a) All sin is sin to God, however even God gives varying degrees of punishment for different sins.
b) The OT distinguished sins of ignorance (Nu 15:22-24; Le 4:2) with sins of defiance (Nu 15:30).
(1) The sacrifices and offerings were to cover unintentional sins. They are still sinful even though they are called “unintentional.”
(2) However, there was no sacrifice for defiant, “high-handed,” or outright rebellious sins. Forgiveness for such sins could only come from the Lord after confession and repentance (Ps 51:1, 3, 16-17).
c) There is a difference in the OT between unintentional manslaughter (Nu 35:11-12) and premeditated murder (Nu 35:20-21).
d) In the NT, the Lord Himself ranked Caiaphas’ sin (or possible Judas’) greater than Pilate’s sin (Jn 19:11).
e) There was the unpardonable sin, which was only capable of being committed when the Lord was on earth performing miracles through the power of the Holy Spirit (Mt 12:31-32).
f) There is a sin unto death, which applies only to a genuine believer who continues to practice sin without confession and repentance (1Jn 5:16). The Lord reserves the divine prerogative to take such a disobedient believer home prematurely (cp. 1Co 11:30).
g) There is no scriptural evidence to support the teaching of venial sins (sins that reduce time in purgatory) and mortal sins (sins that remove justification).
4. Transmission of Personal Sin
a) Personal sin is not transmitted, but each person commits his or her own sin.
b) Each person suffers the consequences of his or her own sin.
c) However, other people can be influenced by personal sin and sometimes the consequences reach farther than the sinner himself.
5. Result of Personal Sin
a) As was mentioned, the result of imputed sin is physical death and the result of inherited sin is spiritual death.
b) The result of personal sin for an unbeliever is the confirmation of God’s eternal judgment (1Co 6:9-10; Ga 5:21).
c) The result of personal sin for a believer is the loss of fellowship with God (1Jn 1:7), not his eternal relationship (Ro 8:1).
6. Remedy for Personal Sin
a) The remedy for the unbeliever’s personal sin (as well as imputed and inherited sin) is to receive Christ for the forgiveness of sins (Ep 1:7).
b) The remedy for the believer’s personal sin and restoration of fellowship with God is confession of sin to God (1Jn 1:9).
(1) The word “confess” is homologéō and means to say the same thing.
(2) In other words, it means that we are to agree with God and acknowledge that we have sinned in a particular sin(s).