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Have you ever sinned? I know ... silly question, right? However, if we are going to live a life that truly glorifies God, it is important for us / it is critical that we understand the depths of this issue and how it applies to me (and to you). Every one of us listening to this podcast not only HAS sinned but IS a sinner. We battle with the temptation to sin every day of our lives. Well, aren’t we starting this episode on an exciting note?
Welcome to The Point of Purity Podcast. I’m your host, Steve Etner, Author, National Speaker, and Purity Coach for The Pure Man Ministry. This is episode #62, and in this episode, we begin a 2-part podcast on understanding sin and why I sin. So buckle up and hang on because ready or not, here we go!
If you are a born-again believer, a follower of Christ, then you already know that before salvation, every one of us was a sinner destined for an eternity in the lake of fire known in the Bible as “Hell.” The Apostle Paul wrote in Romans 5:12 that “just as sin entered the world through one man, and death through sin, in this way death came to all men, because all have sinned.”
Psalm 14:3 says, “There is no one who does good, not even one.” David is declaring in this verse that there is not one who is capable of producing that which is excellent in God’s eyes completely on their own. Left to ourselves we will sin – every time, all the time.
Paul also declares in Romans 3:23 that “all have sinned and fall short of the glory of God.” Scripture is clear that the wages (paycheck if you will, the price paid) for our sin is death – an eternal separation from God (Romans 6:23). Watch this now: to know true victory in your life – to live a godly life that truly glorifies your Heavenly Father – you must begin with the acknowledgement that outside of a personal relationship with Christ, your natural tendency is to sin.
OK, so we keep throwing out this word “sin” – but what is it? I mean, if we are going to effectively pursue godliness, we must gain a proper understanding of sin. And to do that, let’s focus our thoughts on four specific questions.
You see, in 1 John 5:17 we read that “all wrongdoing is sin.” Can’t get a better definition than one coming straight from Scripture! OK, so I want you to think about that definition as I repeat it. All wrongdoing is sin. Ahhh, but there are so many different standards today of what is right and what is wrong. If “all wrongdoing is sin,” then we must ask, “Wrongdoing according to whom? Certainly, there must be one ultimate standard that rises head and shoulders above all the rest, right?
In the grand scheme of things, it is more important to know what God says sin is than what you or I think sin might be. In the end, I will not stand before your judgment seat, nor will you stand before mine. 2 Corinthians 5:10 tells us that “we must all appear before the judgment seat of Christ, that each one may receive what is due him for the things done while in the body, whether good or bad.”
There is a day coming when you and I will stand before God and answer for all our wrongdoings (as well as our right-doings). What matters then – watch this now – what truly matters then is God’s definition of what is right and what is wrong and our willful obedience to it.
In both the Hebrew and Greek languages (the languages in which the Bible was written), the word “sin” means a failure to hit the mark because of disobedience. OK, great! But what mark do we fail to hit? The answer? We fail time and time again to keep God’s standards of perfection. In 1 John 3:4 we read, “whosoever committeth sin transgresseth also the law: for sin is the transgression of the law.” Now I want you to focus your attention for a moment on that word “transgresseth.” You see, a transgression is a breaking or violation of an established law. It is doing the opposite of what is required. In short – it’s disobedience. It’s choosing to NOT do what you have been told to do, or TO DO what you’ve been told not to do.
All sin is wrongdoing according to God because sin is breaking God’s law. It’s going against God’s perfect standards given in Scripture. It’s choosing not to obey God’s expressed commands. Simply put, when you violate the principles, standards, and commands of God’s Word, you are guilty of sin. In John 17:17 Jesus Himself declares that God’s Word is absolute truth. Therefore, when you do anything against – or in opposition to – God’s truth, you are transgressing His law and thus sinning.
An understanding of what God says sin is will help us understand what goes on in our minds. You see, sin is calling your own shots. Sin is living for “King Me.” Sin is going along through life as if there was no law – other than your own – requiring your obedience. Sin is reading God’s standards and principles in God’s Word, and then choosing not to do what God says. Sin is in the nature of the heart. This is why God says in Jeremiah 17:9 that “the heart is deceitful above all things and beyond cure.” It doesn’t matter how good you may be; trip up in just one point, no matter how small the offense, and you are guilty of breaking all of God’s law. But hey, don’t take my word for it – read James 2:10.
I want you to ask yourself this: what is preventing me from living a consistent godly life? The answer is sin! In order to learn how to live a life that glorifies God, we must first learn what keeps us from accomplishing that task, and what we need to do about it. We cannot understand the solution to the problem unless we first understand the problem itself.
The whole premise of this Point of Purity Podcast, the whole point of each and every episode is this: To glorify God in our everyday living, we must first glorify Him in our every-moment thinking. We will never be able to understand God’s remedy for our thinking process if we don’t understand the reason why we struggle so much with our thoughts.
Romans 5:12 says, “Therefore, just as sin entered the world through one man, and death through sin, and in this way death came to all men, because all sinned.” When Adam sinned in the Garden of Eden, you and I were there. We inherited that original sin nature. This is why it is easier to do wrong than it is to do right. Before becoming a Christian, your natural tendencies were to think selfish, sinful thoughts which always led to selfish, sinful behavior.
Today, the world at large rejects the concept of sin. Watch this now: Because they reject sin, they have no true understanding as to why they are the way they are and do the things they do. Everything today is considered to be a “lifestyle choice.” Hardly anything is considered to be sin anymore. Is it any wonder that we struggle so much with living godly lives when the world’s wicked philosophy is all around us, permeating almost everything we see and hear, and thus influencing how we think and behave?
The second question we must consider is this: When I sin, where does my sin (my wrongdoing) come from? I can remember many years ago there was a famous actor that coined the phrase, “The Devil made me do it!” It was meant to be funny and cute, and would illicit laughter, but it truly expresses the mind-set so many have. Man refuses to take responsibility for his sin. It’s far easier to blame someone or something else for our wrongdoing.
So where does sin come from? Does the Devil make us sin? No. Does God make us sin? Definitely not! God is “a faithful God who does no wrong upright and just is He.” (Deuteronomy 32:4) Genesis 18:25 says that God, the righteous Judge of all the earth, does what is right. Job cries out in Job 34:10, “Far be it from God to do evil, from the Almighty to do wrong.” And in James 1:13 we see that “God cannot be tempted by evil, nor does He tempt anyone.”
So, if sin doesn’t come from the Devil, and it doesn’t come from God, where does it come from. God answers that question for us in Jeremiah 17:9. There He says, the HEART is deceitful above all things and beyond cure.” God also says, “Each of you is following the stubbornness of his evil HEART instead of obeying me.” (Jeremiah 16:12) In other words, at the very core of our being is evil and deceit. Without Christ, it is part of who we are. Sin comes from within our own being. We are born sinners – it’s part of our human nature.
King David declared in Psalm 51:5, “Surely I was sinful at birth, sinful from the time my mother conceived me.” In Genesis 8:21 God Himself declares that “every inclination of (man’s) heart is evil from childhood.” You see, it’s part of our natural makeup to sin. Jesus said that it is “from within, out of men’s hearts, come evil thoughts.” (Mark 7:21)
The third question we need to consider is this: Who sins? The answer should be fairly obvious. We know that everyone sins. In fact, if someone says they don’t sin, God says they’re a liar (1 John 1:10). But the question and the answer are still worth looking at in the light of God’s Word. Galatians 3:22 tells us that “the whole world is a prisoner of sin.” In Ecclesiastes 7:20 we read, “There is not a righteous man on earth who does what is right and never sins.” You’re probably familiar with Romans 3:23 where the Apostle Paul writes, “For ALL have sinned and fall short of the glory of God.”
No, the devil did not make any of us do it. It’s within our nature to sin. You may think you’re doing ok. You may be convinced that you’re not as bad as someone else. The Bible clearly teaches that “there is no one who does not sin.” (1 Kings 8:46 & 2 Chronicles 6:36) God’s Word asks the question, “Who can say, ‘I have kept my heart pure; I am clean and without sin’?” (Proverbs 20:9) The answer is NO ONE! Isaiah 64:6 declares that even the greatest, most “holy” thing you may do in life is still like a filthy rag before a righteous, holy, and pure God.
“As it is written: ‘There is no one righteous, not even one; there is no one who understands, no one who seeks God.’” (Romans 3:10-11) So, who sins? Raise your hand high my friend, right along with me – because we all sin.
Our fourth question to consider in this episode is this: Why do I so easily give in to sin? The answer can be found in Hebrews 11:25 where we read that sin has its pleasures for a season. We give in to sin simply because we enjoy it! Let’s face it, sin is pleasurable, as well as easy, effortless, and even comfortable. For example, it can feel good to explode in anger. Two people have an adulterous relationship because it feels good. A person may gossip or backbite to feel better about himself. Sin, indeed, does have its pleasures.
We need to pause for a moment here to reflect on the fact that sin is pleasurable only “for a season.” A season definitely refers to a specific period of time. That explosion of anger may have felt good at the moment, but the feeling of satisfaction is short-lived when compared to the devastation left in its wake. Adultery has its moment of physical elation, but it fades quickly, leaving long-lasting painful and damaging ramifications.
A season of pleasure also indicates something else. Having grown up in Indiana I have become quite familiar with the definition of “season.” We experience all four of them every year in very succinct ways. You don’t have to live here long, however, before you realize there is yet another type of season that we see all around us in Northern Indiana – corn! It’s actually quite interesting to watch the farmers low their fields in the Spring, churning up all that fresh dark soil, and then plant the seed. As the corn season progresses through the warm summer months, we are able to almost literally watch the corn grow (I’ve even been told that on a quiet summers’ eve you can actually hear the corn grow)! What I have observed and learned is that every year the corn has a time of beginning and a time of harvest – a season.
God says that sin has its pleasure “for a season.” Sin will grow. Sin can be quite pleasurable indeed. But it lasts for only a season – for a short period of time – at the end of which there will be a harvest.
James says that “sin, when it is full-grown, gives birth to death.” (James 1:15) Job 4:8 tells us that “those who plow evil and those who sow trouble reap it.” In Proverbs 22:8 we rea, “He who sows wickedness reaps trouble.”
You may be familiar with these words in Galatians 6:7-8 which say, “Be not deceived; God is not mocked: for whatsoever a man soweth, that shall he also reap. For he that soweth to his flesh shall of the flesh reap corruption; but he that soweth to the Spirit shall of the Spirit reap life everlasting.”
Choose to sin and you will reap the effects. Choose to walk in the Spirit and reap the rewards!
If you would like to learn more about today’s study, or if you’re interested in learning more about our ministry, be sure to visit our website to see the multitude of resources we’ve made available to you – you can find our website at ThePurityCoach.com.
One of those resources I have been highlighting for you here is my book entitled “Extreme Mind Makeover: How to transform sinful thoughts and habits into patterns of life pleasing to God.” This book takes you on a journey through the Bible to examine what God has to say about how your thoughts, words, and actions influence and impact your heart.
Jesus said, “Make a tree good and its fruit will be good or make a tree bad and its fruit will be bad, for a tree is recognized by its fruit.” (Matthew 12:33) Your thoughts bear fruit: your behavior. When you train your mind to think godly thoughts, the fruit of your life – the things you do day in and day out – will be godly. On the flip side, when you allow your mind to think sinful, fleshly, ungodly thoughts, the fruit of your life (your daily attitudes and actions) will be ungodly. So, how do I change the way I think? How do I change the things I do? How do I successfully and effectively guard my heart? This book, “Extreme Mind Makeover” takes you into God’s Word to help you answer those questions.
So go to our website, ThePurityCoach.com, and check out our resources page, or go directly to Amazon.com and purchase your copy of “Extreme Mind Makeover” today.
And if you have not yet subscribed to this podcast, let me encourage you to do so today so you won’t miss any of our upcoming episodes!
So, until next time this is Author, Speaker, and Purity Coach Steve Etner reminding you that if you are going to glorify God in your everyday living, He must first be glorified in your every moment thinking.