Chapter 4: Sin
Let’s imagine a friend has given you a palace full of beautiful things. It is yours to enjoy. The only request he makes is, “Please don’t jump from the tower because you will die.”
Then an enemy comes to your palace. He says, “Who told you not to jump? Go ahead. You’ll feel wonderful! You will know how it feels to fly. You will be able to see your palace from a different view. Don’t worry about what happens when you hit bottom; just think about all the new things you’ll learn on the way down.”
Would you run to the top of your tower and jump? Of course not. It would be stupid to trust your enemy and do as he says.
Adam and Eve had a similar experience. God put them in a beautiful garden and made them masters over everything. He gave them permission to eat of every tree but one. Along came the enemy, Satan, who told them to eat the fruit of the tree anyway-that it wouldn’t hurt them. They trusted his word instead of God’s. How foolish!
As we studied in the previous lesson, man was made perfect but through disobedience sin entered his life. How would we define sin? Did Adam bring it into the world? What is the punishment for sin? Is there any escape? The Bible verses in this lesson will give us the answers.
This lesson will help you describe the nature and consequences of sin and appreciate the work of Christ in removing man’s sin.
DEFINITION OF SIN
Objective 1. Recognize descriptions of sin.
Sin is disobeying God’s laws. It is saying to God, “I am more important than You. I don’t take Your Word as my final authority.” Sin is rebellion.
“No one has a right to limit me,” you might say. “I’ll do what I please.” The limits God has set for us were made for one reason-our highest good. For instance, God knows that bitterness and hate can cause severe headaches; a desire for revenge can cause ulcers. These attitudes hurt other people too. God showed His love for us by setting certain limits, or laws, as protection. For us to go outside these limits is to sin. First John 3:4 says, “Whoever sins is guilty of breaking God’s law, because sin is a breaking of the law.”
“Is it all right then to do anything that doesn’t hurt me or others?” No, everything is lawful ONLY if it is inside the limits that God has set. We might think that something doesn’t hurt us or others and be mistaken in our belief. For example, there were parents who thought they shouldn’t obey God’s law of correcting their children because that would frustrate or confuse them. Now a recent magazine article informs us, “It’s time to discipline our children.” Man’s opinions change. For a while he thinks one thing won’t hurt us and later he says it will. The only safe conduct for us is obedience to the laws that God has set, whether we understand the reason for them or not.
THE ORIGIN OF SIN
Objective 2. Identify statements showing how sin entered the world.
Satan tempted man to sin, and man yielded to that temptation. First John 3:8 says. “Whoever continues to sin belongs to the Devil, because the Devil has sinned from the very beginning.” It was Satan that brought sin into the world, but this does not free man from blame. Man is responsible too.
Adam did not have to yield to temptation from Satan. We know that temptations do not come from God. James 1:13-14 tells us:
If a person is tempted by such trials, he must not say, “This temptation comes from God.” For God cannot be tempted by evil, and he himself tempts no one.
It is not sin to be tempted. Even Jesus was tempted by the devil. But it is sin to yield. How different the world would be if Adam had not yielded.
What happened to man when he sinned? God said that if he disobeyed he would die. He didn’t die immediately as we know death, but he immediately became mortal. Death began to work in his body, soul, and spirit.
Sin came into the world through one man, and his sin brought death with it. As a result, death has spread to the whole human race because everyone has sinned (Romans 5:12).
Yes, all people are sinners. “Everyone has sinned and is far away from God’s saving presence” (Romans 3:23).
The penalty for sin today is the same penalty that was given to Adam and Eve-death. Romans 5:12 expresses it this way: “Death has spread to the whole human race.” In Romans 6:23 we read: “For sin pays its wage-death.” No. the sinner doesn’t physically die the moment he commits sin. Sometimes it even looks as though he prospers. But death is working there nevertheless, and eventually he will not only die physically but spiritually also. Spiritual death means eternal separation from God.
Objective 3. Explain how a sinner can escape the penalty of sin.
Do you remember the story that I told you at the beginning of this lesson? The person who jumps from the palace tower will surely die. But what if a friend was near and stretched out a strong net just below the window? If the one who jumped caught the net, his life could be saved.
God has given us a way to escape the punishment of sin which is spiritual death and everlasting separation from Him. The way is through accepting Jesus Christ as our Savior. In a future lesson we will learn the verses that tell us how to reach out and be saved. For now, it would be good to memorize two verses that show us how to escape the punishment of sin.
God has shown us how much he loves us-it was while we were still sinners that Christ died for us! (Romans 5:8).
If we confess our sins to God, he will keep his promise and do what is right: he will forgive us our sins and purify us from all our wrongdoing (1 John 1:9).
Test your knowledge by taking this short quiz which covers what you just read on this page and some Bible verses.
1. Sin is __________ .
a) whatever you feel is wrong.
b) whatever others tell you is wrong.
c) being discovered doing something wrong.
d) rebellion and disobedience to God’s laws.
2. God set limits to man’s conduct because He __________ .
a) wanted to frustrate Adam and Eve.
b) doesn’t want man to enjoy himself or be free.
c) loves man and wants the best for him.
3. To step outside the limits God has set is __________ .
a) all right if no one gets hurt.
b) permissible as long as we are not discovered.
c) sometimes necessary to get us out of trouble.
d) never to be done.
4. Sin entered the world __________ .
a) through Satan who sinned from the beginning.
b) because Adam yielded to Satan’s temptation.
c) when Adam deliberately disobeyed God.
5. Since sin entered the world __________ .
a) Satan no longer has to tempt anyone.
b) everyone is a sinner and can be tempted.
c) there is both physical and spiritual death.
6. Read I John 4:9 and choose the right answer to fill in the blank: God showed how much he loved us by __________ his one and only Son into the world so that we might have __________ through him.
a) sending, eternal life
b) birthing, hope
c) allowing, forgiveness
7. Read I John 4:10 and choose the right answer to fill in the blank: This is __________ – not that we loved God, but that he loved us and sent his Son as a sacrifice to take away our __________.
a) truth, mortality
b) hope, doubt
c) real love, sins
8. Complete this statement: a sinner can escape the penalty of sin only by __________ .
a) accepting Jesus Christ as Savior.
b) doing what is right regardless of the circumstances.
c) being baptized by full immersion.