Archive for Sin – Page 2

The Purpose for the Law

How does God’s law work? Hint! The law was never intended by God to make a bad person good or a good person better. The reason? “There are none who does good, no not one” (Rom. 3:12).  Why? “All have sinned and come short of the glory of God” (Rom. 3:23).  The only payment for sin is death (Rom. 6:23). “The soul who sins shall die” (Eze. 18:20a). Every sinner will stand before God to give an account for his or her own sin. No one can opt out and no one can shift the blame. “The son shall not bear the guilt of the father, nor the father bear the guilt of the son. The righteousness of the righteous shall be upon himself, and the wickedness of the wicked shall be upon himself” (Eze. 18:20b).

How can we know for sure that we are all sinners and guilty before God? What if I told you that God has provided a spoon to stir up sin in order that we may know its character? You would probably silently chuckle. “The law entered that sin might abound” (Rom. 5:20a). A period follows this statement because it is a truth that stands alone. The word “entered” is translated from a word that was often used in a script for a Greek play to indicate the entrance of an actor onto the stage to play a supporting role. The Law of Moses entered onto the stage of God’s plan of grace to play a part. The part played by the law was to cause sin within us to abound, to be stirred up, to be known.

There is the illustration of a small jar filled with water retrieved from a drainage ditch. One sets it on a shelf for a while, and the trash will then settle to the bottom. The water gives the appearance of being clear and pure. However, if a spoon were used to stir the water, the trash on the bottom would be stirred up and become visible, and the true character of the water would be evident. In like manner, the spoon of the Mosaic Law stirs up and reveals the real character of sin within man. The law is given that sin might be stirred up so that our silent, unknowable sin can become known.

If we are honest before God, we know that we have not kept His law. In fact, we have broken it many times. We are, therefore, rendered sinners before God and in need of His grace. The law gives sin its strength. “The strength of sin is the law” (1 Cor. 15:56b). Without the law, the death nature within us has no strength. God uses the law to mysteriously set in motion the hidden impulses of sin that are born within. These sinful impulses were already there but were aroused by the law. The law, as the strength of sin, gives sin a little nudge.  “For when we were in the flesh, the passions of sins, which were aroused by the law, were at work in our members to bear fruit to death” (Rom. 7:5).

Young Johnny had come into the kitchen with his mom many times. One day, however, she said to him, “Sweetheart, do you see that big jar up there on the top shelf?” “Yes, mommy,” he replied. “Well, dear, there is something in that jar that mother does not want you to see, so please do not ever look in it, okay?” “Sure, Mom,” was his reply. But now the hidden impulses of Adam’s sin that were always within began to vibrate like a tuning fork struck by a mallet. These vibrations nudged him to take just one peek into the jar. Because of sin within, his ability to disobey his mom was always there, but the command stirred the sin. Why? Because the strength of sin is the law!

The law provides the muscle that Adam’s death nature within us needs to express itself. God was gracious in providing this spiritual aspect of the law to expose our sinful condition, and to give us a thirst for His wonderful grace. Now we know that whatever the law says, it says to those who are under the law, that every mouth may be stopped, and all the world may become guilty before God” (Rom. 3:19). The law of God is a single unit. It must be kept as such. But that no one is justified by the law in the sight of God is evident, for “The just shall live by faith.” Yet the law is not of faith but the man who does them shall live by them” (Gal. 3:11-12).

God’s law is not like a religious cafeteria where we can pick and choose the rules that we want to keep or the ones that we want to break. The law is one document that demands perfect obedience. The Jew could never receive the righteousness demanded by the law by just having faith in the law, or even having faith in their own ability to keep the law. One could never keep part of the law all the time or all of it some of the time. It must be kept perfectly all the time. “Keep the law perfectly and live,” it shouted to them. But if just one law is broken, and only one time, then the lawbreaker would have broken the whole unit of the law and must suffer the penalty.  “For whoever shall keep the whole law and yet stumble in one point he is guilty of all” (James 2:10). When just one law is broken or one small portion of the law, it tells me that I am dead and in need of life. It tells me that I am a sinner and in need of a Savior. The law then brings the guilty to Jesus Christ – that we may be justified by faith (Gal. 3:24). Blessings! 

Sin and Death

Happy Independence Day! We have all heard the saying. Weightlifters know it! “No Pain, No Gain.” “If our gospel is veiled, it is veiled to those that are perishing, in whom the god of this age has blinded the minds of those who do not believe, lest the light of the gospel of the glory of Christ, who is the image of God, should shine on them” (2 Cor. 4:3-4). Unbelievers are under a spiritual trance, inflicted by the god of this age; the very same god who said to Eve in the garden, “You shall not surely die!” This god “deceives the whole world” (Rev. 12:9). This deception is to convince the world that there are no such things as sin and death.


Sigmund Freud said that we all have a touch of mental illness and just need to get well.  Our sickness can be cured if we see our local shrink, limit our bad habits, and seek some higher power. The deceiver’s false logic for humanity goes something like this: “We are all ultimately destined to go to heaven, each in his own way. After all, we are not all that bad, and there is at least a spark of good in the worst of us.” If we can just provide the right environment and some outside positive influence, we can all get better and make our world a better place for everyone. All our society needs is just a good cleaning up. Did not Jesus come to motivate us to love one another, and didn’t He tell us to follow His example, and make this a better world?


This is exactly what the god of this age wants Adam’s fallen race to believe. If we never knew our true condition before God, why would we desire to flee to Him? If we never knew what it really means to be wrong, why would we ever want to be right? If we never knew what it was to be in darkness, why would we seek to come to the light? If we never knew that we were spiritually blind, why would we ever want to see? If we never knew the tremendous horror of being spiritually dead in Adam, why would we ever desire life?


The Bible does not say that we are spiritually sick; the Bible says that we are dead in trespasses and sins (Eph. 2:1). Jesus said it!  Explaining the perils that lay in store for those who chose to follow Him, a young potential disciple asked Jesus to allow him to first go and bury his father. Our Lord’s response is jaw dropping. He said, “Follow me and let the dead bury their own dead” (Matt. 8:22). How do dead people bury dead people? Think a moment about the result of being spiritually dead and at the same time blind to that fact. A spiritually dead man does not “feel” his death any more than a physically dead person would feel a 400-pound weight on his chest. If we felt spiritually separated from God, realizing that we might die in that condition and spend an eternity separated from Him in hell, then there might be a sense of extreme urgency to do something about it. But because of Satan’s veil of blindness, we do not feel dead, nor do we feel any sense of urgency to receive life. Instead, this death in us is like the pain being inflicted by a dentist on our gums that have been deadened by an anesthesia. In the case of the dental profession, anesthesia is good because it deadens the feeling of pain in the gums, and the dentist is free to do his work. A few hours after the procedure, however, this anesthesia wears off, and only then is the pain felt, even though it had been there all the time. The pain of the second death that is born in us is likewise being spiritually anesthetized from our mind.


Little Beverly Smith, born in Akron, Ohio, almost never cried. She never cried when she fell down; she never cried when she bumped her head; she didn’t even cry when she touched her hand on a hot stove. She cried only when she was hungry or sleepy or angry. The doctors discovered that she had a very rare defect of the central nervous system for which there is no cure. She was born with the inability to feel pain. The doctors told her mother that she had to be watched constantly because little Beverly could break a bone and not know it, or she could develop appendicitis and not know it. This is what it must be like to be spiritually dead and not know it.


Tragically, it will take passing through the valley of the shadow of death for many to awaken from this spiritual swoon to the pain of eternal separation from God in hell, but it will be forever too late. Left to ourselves we do not feel threatened, nor do we sense any desire for God’s life because we are spiritually dead. Without God personally scraping the scales of blindness from our eyes, we will remain dead and insensitive to the truth about who we really are (Jn. 6:44;65). We will remain oblivious to His gracious provision in Jesus Christ. God was gracious to provide His law in order for us to understand our spiritual condition before Him, to feel the pain of sin and death, and to be pointed to God’s provision of life in Jesus Christ. Just how does God’s Spirit use His law to remove these scales of blindness from our eyes? More tomorrow. Blessings!

Be Sure Your Sin Will Find You Out (part 2)

God told the Jews that their sin would always find them out (Numbers 32:23). Because of Achan’s secret sin, the anger of the Lord burned against the children of Israel (Joshua 7:1). They began to lose battles. Joshua was confused and began to whine and complain. God’s response was quick and decisive. He said to Joshua: “Get up! Why are you lying on your face? Israel has sinned. For they have even taken some of the accursed things and have both stolen and deceived; and they have also put it among their own stuff” (Joshua 7:10–11).

One can just hear the rationalization today: But God, is that so horrible a sin? No sin is ever small to a holy God. His righteousness must always be in perfect balance with His justice – always! “Righteousness and justice are the foundation of Your throne; Mercy and truth go before Your face” (Psalm 89:14).

Achan confessed that he had stolen property (Joshua 7:18–20). Achan was guilty, and he confessed, but sin always has its consequences (Romans 6:23). Achan and his entire family were killed. This seems to be severe punishment for such a seemingly small crime. God’s judgment always fits the crime. This message is now penned in the Bible for a thousand generations to read and heed.

As a young man, David had a heart for God. So much so that God selected this simple shepherd boy to be the king of all Israel. His family produced the line from which the Messiah would come. His throne is the throne upon which our Lord will one day reign. Yet David became a tremendous example of how believers can and do sin and how God disciplines those whom He loves.

There came a time in Israel’s history when all the soldiers went off to war, but David, the warrior king, stayed home. This was not good. One morning he got up early, walked out on his roof, looked across the way, and saw a woman bathing. She was very beautiful. David was overcome with lust. He found out that her name was Bathsheba and that she was the wife of Uriah the Hittite – one of his best soldiers.  

David had the woman brought to him. She bowed before his wishes because he was the king. When she informed him later that she was pregnant with his child, David sent to the battlefield for Uriah. David hoped that her husband would go in to his wife so that Uriah would think that the child was his. Uriah refused, saying that he would not enjoy his home life while his men were fighting.

David was frantic. At his command, Uriah was shipped to the front line of battle where he was killed. Like Achan, David tried everything to cover his sin, but he could not (2 Samuel 11:27).

God sent Nathan the prophet to give David a house call. Nathan gave David this illustration. He said that there was this very wealthy man who had thousands of sheep, but this neighbor had one little lamb that had grown up with his children. A guest came to eat with the rich man, and the rich man stole the little lamb from the poor man to feed his guest. David was furious and lashed out. How dare that man do that! “He shall repay fourfold for the lamb, because he had no pity” (2 Samuel 12:6).

There was probably a long, deafening silence. Nathan said simply and probably quietly, “You are the man” (2 Samuel 12:7). David’s sin had found him out. It always does. David’s confession was simple and sincere. “Against You (God) and You alone have I sinned” (Psalm 51:4a).  Did he not sin against Bathsheba? Yes! Did he not sin against Uriah? Yes! Did he not sin against the entire nation of Israel as their king? Yes! David realized, however, that his sin was against God. He had rebelled against Him, and that led to the domino effect that touched all the other lives. David asked God to purge him from the guilt of his sin, to wash him and make him as white as snow. David cast himself entirely upon God’s grace. There was no arrogance and no prideful attitude. He did not blame others. He took full responsibility. He brought out all the details. He cried out to God for forgiveness (Psalm 51:1-12). David’s greatest desire was for God to restore to him the joy of his salvation. David had not lost his relationship with God, but He had lost his personal fellowship. After his confession, he was forgiven. Forgiven! That is one of the sweetest words in any language. David’s joy returned (Psalm 32:1–6). Stay safe and stay tuned.


Cain and Abel: Darkness and Light

Cain and Abel launched the human race into a fallen world created by the sin of Adam. Their characters were symbolized by their offerings. They were the product of the same home, brothers made in God’s image. They both sensed the value of bringing a sacrifice to God. They were, no doubt, taught to do this by their parents, and they had certainly heard the story many times of how their fallen parents covered themselves with fig leaves, but God had clothed them with animal skins. His requirement is a blood sacrifice. They understood the meaning and clearly knew what God required. But the two men were very different.

When the time came, Cain rebelled! It’s that simple. He brought the works of his own hands as an offering to God. He brought “fig leaves.” It was as though he was saying in a quiet way, “I remember that you, God, covered my parents with animal skins. You demanded a blood sacrifice, but I’ll come to you my way. I’ll bring my own offering.” Satan’s venom was pulsating through his veins. His offering was a product of his pride. It’s as though he was saying, “Look what I have grown myself.” 

Abel, on the other hand, was different. By faith, he brought a blood sacrifice to God. He knew that God required death, which was symbolized by the shedding of blood. He had a spiritual nature, a spiritually fertile mind, that Cain did not have. God accepted Abel’s offering and rejected Cain’s (Hebrews 11:4). No surprise!

Cain became furious. God gave him every opportunity to make things right, to bring the right sacrifice. At this point Cain knew precisely what God required. God told Cain that sin was waiting at the door to devour him, but it was not too late to offer the right sacrifice. Cain had no excuse at all. However, he wanted to do things his way. His rebellion ultimately led to murder. Rebellion and murder were already in his heart.

John pulled off Cain’s mask and revealed his true identity. Cain rebelled against God and killed his brother because he was of the evil one (1 John 3:12, NASB). John’s words are clear, powerful, and cannot be misunderstood. John clearly spelled out the major difference between true brothers.  In fact, Jesus called Abel “a prophet.”


Therefore, indeed, I send you prophets, wise men, and scribes: some of them you will kill and crucify, and some of them you will scourge in your synagogues and persecute from city to city, that on you may come all the righteous blood shed on the earth, from the blood of righteous Abel to the blood of Zechariah, son of Berechiah, whom you murdered between the temple and the altar. (Matthew 23:34-35)


A prophet is one who speaks for God. What did Abel say? Nowhere in Scripture do we find any words ever spoken by Abel. He spoke with his actions. He brought the right sacrifice. Cain was from the source of Satan, the seed of Satan, and Abel was of God. Jesus confirmed the truth that Satan’s seed is alive and well on this planet. He spoke these powerful words to the Pharisees.


You are of your father the devil, and the desires of your father you want to do. He was a murderer from the beginning, and does not stand in the truth, because there is no truth in him. (John 8:44)


As amazing as this must sound, every human being comes into this world under the power of darkness.


He has delivered us from the power of darkness and conveyed us into the kingdom of the Son of His love, in whom we have redemption through His blood, the forgiveness of sins. (Colossians 1:13-14)

To give light to those who sit in darkness and the shadow of death, to guide our feet into the way of peace. (Luke 1:79)

Then Jesus spoke to them again, saying, “I am the light of the world. He who follows Me shall not walk in darkness but have the light of life.”  (John 8:12)

I have come as a light into the world, that whoever believes in Me should not abide in darkness.” (John 12:46)

I will deliver you from the Jewish people, as well as from the Gentiles, to whom I now send you, to open their eyes, in order to turn them from darkness to light, and from the power of Satan to God, that they may receive forgiveness of sins and an inheritance among those who are sanctified by faith in Me. (Acts 26:16-18)


Do not be unequally yoked together with unbelievers. For what fellowship has righteousness with lawlessness? And what communion has light with darkness? (2 Corinthians 6:14)

For you were once darkness, but now you are light in the Lord. Walk as children of light. (Ephesians 5:8)

You are all sons of light and sons of the day. We are not of the night nor of darkness. (1 Thessalonians 5:5)


God must remove Satan’s blindness and allow the gospel to penetrate the mind.  Satan’s world is in rebellion against God (Romans 3:10-18). The entire human race is spiritually dead and yet blind to this fact. God is in the process of calling some, like Adam and Eve and Abel, to Himself. If He did not, none would come (1 Corinthians 2:14; John 6:44, 65). Salvation is of God!

Cain’s rebellion led to the murder of his brother and the retributive judgment of God.  Cain went out from God’s presence (Genesis 4:16). This is an ill-omened statement. It becomes the seed truth for life without God, the root of secular humanism. Secular means “not religious,” and humanism is the belief that man has the answers to his own destiny.

This entire scene points clearly to the shed blood of Jesus Christ on the cross as the only means of forgiveness. Just as Cain clearly knew, so do we. No one can ever receive forgiveness before God except through the offering made by Jesus Christ (John 14:6).



Satan: The Original Sinner

January 9, 2009

One of the delightful things about a blog is that one can wonder and speculate without penalty. I want to take a momentary plunge of profound proportions. I want to take a stab at identifying the original sinner and the original sin.

When I was younger, I worked hard at never sweating the details. My view was, just give me the big picture. The older I have become and the amazing truths that I have seen in the Bible have turned me into somewhat of a detailed person. I never cease to ask questions! One of the most probing questions that I have asked is where did sin originate? I can see the results of it everywhere, but where did it originate? You might be thinking, well it was ole Adam and his wife. No, I mean before them. Sin “entered the world” through Adam, but it did not originate with him (Romans 5:12).

God does not tell us everything that we would like to know about this subject, but we can put some small insights together and come up with some intriguing thoughts.  The first time we run into the devil in the Bible is in Genesis 3:1.

“Now the serpent was more crafty than any beast of the field which the LORD God had made. And he said to the woman, ‘Indeed, has God said, ‘You shall not eat from any tree of the garden’?”

God had given Adam and Eve the command to freely eat of every tree in the Garden. There was only one tree that was off limits, the tree of the knowledge of good and evil. The verse quoted above seems to come out of nowhere. There is no explanation of who this serpent is or where he came from. We are just told that a snake slithered into paradise and ruined Adam and Eve’s day.  The serpent (Hebrew: natash), bright one, shinning one, was extremely beautiful. This was obviously not an ordinary snake. Strangely enough we are given a small insight into his identity in the book of the Revelation.

“So the great dragon was cast out, that serpent of old, called the Devil and Satan, who deceives the whole world; he was cast to the earth, and his angels were cast out with him.” (Revelation 12:9)

“He laid hold of the dragon, that serpent of old, who is the Devil and Satan, and bound him for a thousand years.” (Revelation 20:2)

So there was much more to that reptile in the garden than at first met the woman’s eye.  In order to unmask the real snake behind this snake, we must take a short peep into the realm of angels.

The Old Testament word for angel is “malach,” which means messenger.  The New Testament word is “angelos,” messenger.  Names have meaning, so God created angels to be His messengers. Angels were characterized by wisdom (2 Sam. 14:20) and by strength (Psalm 103:20).  Angels were also created to render service for the sake of those who will inherit salvation (Hebrews 1:14). One of the most amazing truths in the Bible is this strange angelic conflict that is evidently going on all around us.  Evil angels are somehow being used upon the earth to orchestrate rebellion against God’s kingdom.

Daniel was in captivity in Babylon. He asked God for information concerning Israel’s future. And angel came to give Daniel the answer to his prayer. Though no name is given to this angel we assume it was Gabriel since he had already been sent to Daniel twice.

“Then behold, a hand touched me and set me trembling on my hands and knees. He said to me, ‘O Daniel, man of high esteem, understand the words that I am about to tell you and stand upright, for I have now been sent to you.’  And when he had spoken this word to me, I stood up trembling. Then he said to me, ‘Do not be afraid, Daniel, for from the first day that you set your heart on understanding this and on humbling yourself before your God, your words were heard, and I have come in response to your words. But the prince of the kingdom of Persia was withstanding me for twenty-one days; then behold, Michael, one of the chief princes, came to help me, for I had been left there with the kings of Persia.’” (Daniel 10:10-13)

It is evident that the prince of the kingdom of Persia was not a human being!  This prince was an angel. This angel had prevented Gabriel from coming to Daniel for 21 days. Michael, the archangel came to Gabriel’s rescue freeing him so that he could get to Daniel.  Such angelic activity is continuing today.

“For our struggle is not against flesh and blood, but against the rulers, against the powers, against the world forces of this darkness, against the spiritual forces of wickedness in the heavenly places.” (Ephesians 6:12)

Gabriel continued to speak to Daniel.

“Then he said, ‘Do you understand why I came to you? But I shall now return to fight against the prince of Persia; so I am going forth, and behold, the prince of Greece is about to come’” (Daniel 10:20)

Notice again the prince behind the king of Persia and the mention of the prince of Greece. Evidently these demonic spirits are in Satanic control of many of the kings of the earth. They continuously attack the kingdom of God and appear to be working to establish the false kingdom of the antichrist.

With this truth now in our minds, let’s plug into a seemingly strange request by God to His prophet, Ezekiel. God instructed Ezekiel to give a message to someone he referred to as the “prince of Tyre.”

“The word of the Lord came to me again, saying, “Son of man, say to the prince of Tyre, ‘Thus says the Lord GOD. ”  (Ezekiel 28:1-2a).

This king was consumed with pride. He was in control of much of the sea trade of the ancient world and was very wealthy. In fact, he was so arrogant that he considered himself to be a god (Ezekiel 28:2). Again, Ezekiel did not refer to him as “king” but he called him a “prince.”

In the course of the conversation Ezekiel’s words take a strange twist. Notice carefully this next passage.

“Again the word of the LORD came to me saying, ‘Son of man, take up a lamentation over the king of Tyre and say to him, ‘Thus says the Lord GOD, You had the seal of perfection,full of wisdom and perfect in beauty.” (Ezekiel 28:11)

Ezekiel is no longer calling him a prince but now calls him “a king.” Seal is a word that indicates that this “king” filled out the pattern of perfection! He was the most perfect being that God created. Full of wisdom means he filled up the pattern for wisdom, he was the wisest being that God created.  And perfect in beauty means that he was the most beautiful being that God created.  Note carefully where this being had once been.

“You were in Eden, the garden of God; Every precious stone was your covering: The ruby, the topaz and the diamond; The beryl, the onyx and the jasper; The lapis lazuli, the turquoise and the emerald; And the gold, the workmanship of your settings and sockets, was in you. On the day that you were created they were prepared.  You were the anointed cherub who covers, and I placed you there. You were on the holy mountain of God”

It is obvious that we have left the surly bonds of earth and launched into a heavenly realm. We are obviously introduced to the angelic being behind the human king of Tyre.  Ezekiel referred to this being as “the anointed cherub who covers.”   There were three separate ranks of beings in the angelic realm.

The lowest rank was the angels under the command of Michael the archangel. Next were the seraphim. The Hebrew word “seraphim” means “burning ones.” Fire in the Bible implies judgment. Evidently these angels were to carry out judgment for God (Isa. 6:1-3).

The highest order of angels was the cherubim. The name “cherubim” means “to cover.” The cherubim were anointed to protect God’s throne in order to preserve His holiness.  Satan may have once been one of these anointed angels.  The garden of God was not located in the Eden that we know about.  That garden, as we shall see, was a garden of trees and plants. The garden described here was a mineral garden. It evidently served as this angel’s original dwelling place. The original sinner was the most perfect, wise, and beautiful creature that God that God created.

“You were blameless in your ways from the day you were created until unrighteousness was found in you.” (Ezekiel 28:15)

This creature was blameless “until.” “Until” is a time word.  He had been blameless until the moment in time when unrighteousness was found in him. The details of this moment of unrighteousness are found in Isaiah 14:12-14.

Like Ezekiel, Isaiah was at first speaking with the human king of Babylon. But all of a sudden it becomes obvious that he was speaking to someone behind this human king.

“How you have fallen from heaven, O star of the morning, son of the dawn! You have been cut down to the earth, You who have weakened the nations! But you said in your heart, ‘I will ascend to heaven; I will raise my throne above the stars of God, And I will sit on the mount of assembly In the recesses of the north. I will ascend above the heights of the clouds; I will make myself like the Most High’” (Isaiah 14:10-14)

It is obvious that the king of Babylon had not been in heaven and then been cut down to earth. Isaiah refers to him as “Lucifer,” translated glistening one or shining one.  This may be a description of the original original sin.


·       I will ascend to heaven.

I will start my climb to the lofty position of God Himself.

·       I will raise my throne above the stars of God.

I will take over as commander and chief of the angelic realm.

·       I will sit on the mount of the assembly in the recesses of the north.

I will rule over Israel which is a position reserved for the Messiah.

·       I will ascend above the heights of the clouds.

I will take upon myself glory that is reserved for God alone.

·       I will make myself like the Most High.

Now we know who the original sinner is, and we also know what the original, original sin was. Lucifer’s ultimate goal is to take for himself the position of God. God judged Lucifer because of his pride, and he became Satan, the adversary of God. God cast him out of heaven and reserved for him judgment (Matt. 25:41). Satan is brilliant, but God is the ultimate genius. Satan has a plan, but God has the master plan. “God will do according to His will in the army of heaven and among the inhabitants of the earth,” records the prophecy of Daniel (Daniel 4:35).

Satan is a perfect, wise, and beautiful creature, but he is just a creature and as such, he is limited. He is not omniscient, omnipotent, nor omnipresent.

Pride has now become public enemy number one to God and the mainspring behind all sin!

For more information on this subject, read the articles on our website: The Adversary and The First Sinner.