~Jeremiah 17:9 The heart is deceitful above all things, and desperately wicked: who can know it?
~Matthew 23:28 Even so ye also outwardly appear righteous unto men, but within ye are full of hypocrisy and iniquity.
~Titus 1:16 They profess that they know God; but in works they deny him, being abominable, and disobedient, and unto every good work reprobate.
~Romans 8:6 For to be carnally minded is death; but to be spiritually minded is life and peace.
~Proverbs 21:4 An high look, and a proud heart, and the plowing of the wicked, is sin.
~Mark 10:18 …there is none good but one, that is, God.
No matter how hard we try, none of us are good. Since Adam and Eve’s fall, not one human being has been without sin. What is sin? According to Noah Webster’s 1828 Dictionary,
1. The voluntary departure of a moral agent from a known rule of rectitude or duty, prescribed by God; any voluntary transgression of the divine law, or violation of a divine command; a wicked act; iniquity. Sin is either a positive act in which a known divine law is violated, or it is the voluntary neglect to obey a positive divine command, or a rule of duty clearly implied in such command. Sin comprehends not action only, but neglect of known duty, all evil thoughts purposes, words and desires, whatever is contrary to God’s commands or law. 1 John 3. Mat 15. James 4. Sinner neither enjoy the pleasures of nor the peace of piety. Among divines, sin is original or actual. Actual sin, above defined, is the act of a moral agent in violating a known rule of duty. Original sin, as generally understood, is native depravity of heart to the divine will, that corruption of nature of deterioration of the moral character of man, which is supposed to be the effect of Adam’s apostasy; and which manifests itself in moral agents by positive act of disobedience to the divine will, or by the voluntary neglect to comply with the express commands of God, which require that we should love God with all the heart and soul and strength and mind, and our neighbor as ourselves. This native depravity or alienation of affections from God and his law, is supposed to be what the apostle calls the carnal mind or mindedness, which is enmity against God, and is therefore denominated sin or sinfulness. Unpardonable sin, or blasphemy against the Holy Spirit, is supposed to be a malicious and obstinate rejection of Christ and the gospel plan of salvation, or a contemptuous resistance made to the influences and convictions of the Holy Spirit. Mat 12.
1. To depart voluntarily from the path of duty prescribed by God man; to violate the divine law in any particular, by actual transgression or by the neglect or non-observance of its injunctions; to violate any known rule of duty. All have sinned and come short of the glory of God. Rom 3. Against thee, thee only, have I sinned. Psa 51.
2. To offend against right, against men or society; to trespass. I an a man more sinn’d against than sinning. And who but wishes to invert the laws of order, sins against the’ eternal cause.
This definition is totally different from today’s definition of sin. Merriam Webster’s on-line dictionary defines sin as:
1 a : an offense against religious or moral law b : an action that is or is felt to be highly reprehensible [it’s]c : an often serious shortcoming : FAULT
2 a : transgression of the law of God b : a vitiated state of human nature in which the self is estranged from God
Pretty diluted, isn’t it? Man’s heart is desperately wicked so of course he would prefer today’s definition of Merriam Webster’s.
So what is considered sin? We can start at the beginning with the Ten Commandments. This is God’s law to mankind. Have you broken one of these? Have you lied – even just once? Then by admission, you are a liar. Have you ever stolen – even a pen from work? Then by admission, you are a thief. Breaking any of these commandments makes us a sinner. Because of this fallen nature, it is impossible to keep all the commandments. For whosoever shall keep the whole law, and yet offend in one point, he is guilty of all. (James 2:10) Therefore, we must be punished for breaking God’s laws. It does not matter if you do good things like help the poor. It doesn’t matter if you give lots of money to the church. Although it’s nice that you did these things, the fact of the matter is that punishment is still needed for breaking God’s commandments. They weren’t put there just so a movie could be made. The Ten Commandments were given as the Law by God. They are our “teacher” and are there to show us that we are sinners.
Let’s say that you were sentenced to pay a penalty of $50,000 by a judge because you were caught stealing. You tell the judge that you do not have $50,000 and that you are really sorry for your crime but could he let you go this one time. The judge replies that he is a good judge but someone has to pay the penalty for this crime. A friend of yours shows up and says he’ll pay the $50,000 for you. Someone already in prison could not pay this penalty for you but this friend was free to do so. The judge accepts his payment and lets you go.
This is exactly what Jesus Christ did for us. Because God is a Good and Righteous Judge, He demands that the penalty for breaking His Laws be paid. Because God’s love for us is so great, Jesus Christ chose to take on the form of man so He could take the punishment for our sins and pay that penalty. Jesus said, “Father, I’ll pay their debt for them! I’ll become that sacrifice You require of shed blood and I will shed My own blood for them. Only Jesus Christ could do this because He did not sin once while He lived on earth. He was the only one qualified to pay this penalty. No man could do it because all men have sinned. Now that’s love, my friend!
The born-again believer no longer has to pay the penalty because our debt has been paid by Jesus Christ Himself. Will we continue to sin? Yes, but we will sin less. The believer has been given the Holy Spirit of God and He resides in us to teach us and guide us in how to live a more righteous life. Every day is a challenge for the believer to live a godly life. But it is a joyous challenge because we no longer have to fear spending eternity in hell! What joy!
When you look at the lost today, remember that his heart is deceitful and desperately wicked. He is serving his father, the devil. Have pity on the lost and share with them the reason for your joy. But sanctify the Lord God in your hearts: and be ready always to give an answer to every man that asketh you a reason of the hope that is in you with meekness and fear: (1 Peter 3:15)
This is the whole point of His birth, His life, His death, and His resurrection!
Your Law showed me my sin
Impossible to obey
Then Jesus paid my debt
He is the only Way.