Tuesday, December 22, 2009

Sin in the Bible - Part 3 Sin Has Consequences

Part Three of the Series on Sin in the Bible
It is easy to see that proper Biblical view of sin should persuade one to conclude that sin can be a nasty business in the hearts and lives of men. Friends who have not accepted Christ don’t see this in themselves though most I know readily acknowledge sin in others, even if they don’t call it such. More often, it is more of an annoying behavior than anything else and certainly isn’t something for Christians to get upset over. Or is it? Why do Christians give of their time, talents, and finances to tell others about salvation from sin? A survey of the terminology used in the Jewish Scriptures (the Old Testament) and Christian Scriptures (the New Testament) clearly show readers what it thought of sin. Sin is much more than mistaken behavior against a moral code. Sin is part of who every human being is. So what’s the problem with sin? The answer to this is that sin has consequences and those consequences are far more serious that a speeding ticket.
Holiness
When God showed Ezekiel visions of sin in the temple in Jerusalem, He told of still greater abominations. This vision was progressive culminating with 25 priests turning their back on the temple of God and worshipping the sun in the east.[1] Here is a clear indication of increasing degrees of sin and hatefulness before God.[2] In OT times, the sacrificial system provided for incrementally greater sacrifices for the cleansing of sin though we learn from Hebrews 10:4 that the animal sacrifices were insufficient. More was needed. We see this in three words that appear throughout Scripture.
Forgiven (Gk. charizomai) means to grant favor, to give graciously, to forgive out of grace. (Ex. 34:6, 7 Num. 14:18. Lev. 4:20, 26 vs. 31,35;; Lev. 5:10–13; Num. 15:25. Lev. 5:4–10; Num. 14:20; 2 Sam. 12:13; 1 Kin. 8:33, 34 vs. 22–50.; Job 10:14; Psa. 19:12; Psa. 25:7, 11, 18; Psa. 32:1, 2, 5; Psa. 51:9; Psa. 65:3; Psa. 79:9; Psa. 85:2, 3; Psa. 99:8; Psa. 103:12; Psa. 130:4; Isa. 1:18; Isa. 6:6, 7; Isa. 43:25, 26; Isa. 44:21, 22; Isa. 55:6, 7; Jer. 2:22; Jer. 5:1, 7; Jer. 31:34; Jer. 33:8; Ezek. 33:14, 15; Matt. 1:21; Matt. 6:12, 14, 15; Matt. 18:23–27; Matt. 26:28; Mark 2:5, 7 Matt. 9:2, 6; Luke 5:21, 24. Mark 3:28; Mark 11:26 Matt. 18:35. Luke 3:3 Matt. 3:6. Luke 24:47; John 8:11; John 20:23; Acts 2:38; Acts 10:36, 43; Acts 13:38, 39; Acts 26:16–18; Rom. 4:7, 8; Eph. 4:32; Col. 2:13; Heb. 8:12; Heb. 9:22; Heb. 10:2, 17, 18; Jas. 5:15, 20; 1 John 1:7, 9; 1 John 2:1, 2, 12; 1 John 5:16 Matt. 12:31, 32; Luke 12:10. Rev. 1:5).[3] The number of occasions this idea is expressed in the Bible cannot be overstated. The Bible is, after all, a collection of books about the failings of humanity and the solution for those failings. An entire treatment of God’s grace is a topic about which volumes have already been written and will not be addressed here.
Redemption (Gk. apolutrosis) means to be set free by payment of a price. (Psa. 111:9; Psa. 130:7; Matt. 20:28 Mark 10:45. Luke 2:38; Acts 20:28; Rom. 3:24–26; 1 Cor. 1:30; 1 Cor. 6:20; 1 Cor. 7:23; Gal. 1:4; Gal. 2:20; Gal. 4:4, 5; Eph. 1:7; Eph. 5:2; Col. 1:14, 20–22; 1 Tim. 2:6; Tit. 2:14; Heb. 9:12, 15; 1 Pet. 1:18, 19; Rev. 5:9, 10).[4] The Apostle Paul established the payment for redemption – the Blood of Jesus Christ.[5] The ultimate payment for the sin of the human race was paid by Jesus Christ as a perfect sacrifice accomplishing what the animal sacrifices could not. The sacrificial system ended with Christ as explained in Romans 10:4 with Christ being the end of the Law.
Propitiation (from Gk. hilasmos and hilasterion) means to appease or atone for. (Rom. 3:25; 5:1, 10, 11; 2 Cor. 5:18, 19; Col. 1:20–22; 1 John 2:2; 4:10; Heb. 9:5).[6] Atonement for sin was necessary due to God being holy. Through the shed blood of Christ, God’s holiness has been satisfied and His wrath averted.[7]
Holiness in relation to God refers to his moral perfection.[8] Habakkuk 1:13 tells us that God’s eyes are too pure to look upon evil. Evil is sin and all men are sinners. The New International Version of the Bible includes the thought “there is no difference”[9] further emphasizing that, all people are evil in the sight of God requiring forgiveness.
The Proper Place of God
All men are sinners! All people start life with something other than God at the center of their lives. This is difficult for many unbelievers to accept. I was recently challenged to find a child that required lessons in being dishonest. Though I had heard this example in the past, I had never given it much thought. As one might expect, I was unable to find such a child.
People throughout the Bible and up to our own day place things other than God at the center of their lives. This can be money, possessions, and even church. Erickson calls this idea a displacement of God and summarizes his view as simply failure to let God be God. The act of choosing our desires is not wrong because it is something we as people desire but rather because it is something, anything other than God chosen.[10] Erickson further points out that this idea is supported in both the OT and NT.[11]
God deserves to be the center of the lives of His creation. “Worship the Lord in the splendor of his holiness; tremble before him all the earth” (Ps. 96:9) as quoted by Williams before pointing out that God majestic presence calls for the response of worship and reverence.[12] To do anything less is to usurp God’s authority and attempt to replace it for our own which, no matter how well intentioned, is far and away inferior to God.
Death
Paul told us that all have sinned and fall short of the glory of God[13] and that the wages of sin is death.[14] Paul’s point in Romans 3 is that there is no difference between the Jews or the Gentiles. Paul goes on to say in Romans 4 that Abraham was saved by faith and not by circumcision. The Law did not save and never did! Because sin entered into the world through Adam, so too did death.[15] In Romans 6:23, Paul is pointing out that we will receive what we have earned, like wages, death.[16] The Biblical references to death as a consequence of sin are understood as references to separation from God, spiritual death, rather than physical death.[17] Sin has created a barrier between man and God as pointed out previously.
Of particular note is the concept of eternal death. Hebrews 9:27 tells us it is appointed to all people to die once and then the judgment. Those whose names are not found in the book of life will find themselves cast into the lake of fire with death and Hades. This is referred to as the second death.[18] This is the eventual result of not having a saving faith in Jesus Christ while here on earth. We are to be faithful unto death, the first death or physical death, and we will not be hurt by the second death.[19]


[1] The Holy Bible: King James Version. electronic ed. of the 1769 edition of the 1611 Authorized Version. (Bellingham WA: Logos Research Systems, Inc., 1995), Ezekiel 8:6-16.
[2] Grudem, Wayne. Systematic Theology: An Introduction to Biblical Doctrine. (Grand Rapids: Zondervan, 1994), 502.
[3]Swanson, James ; Nave, Orville: New Nave's. (Oak Harbor: Logos Research Systems, 1994).
[4]Ibid
[5] Enns, Paul P. The Moody Handbook of Theology. (Chicago: Moody Press, 1997), 110.
[6] Swanson, James ; Nave, Orville: New Nave's. (Oak Harbor: Logos Research Systems, 1994).
[7] Enns, Paul P. The Moody Handbook of Theology. (Chicago: Moody Press, 1997), 110.
[8] Williams, J. R., (Elwell, Walter A., ed.). Evangelical Dictionary of Theology 2nd Edition. (Grand Rapids: Baker Academic, 2001), 562-63.
[9] The Holy Bible: New International Version (electronic ed.). (Grand Rapids: Zondervan, 1996, c1984), Rom. 3:22-23.
[10] Erickson, Millard J. Christian Theology 2nd Edition. (Grand Rapids: Baker Academic, 1998), 595-98.
[11] See Exodus 20:3 and Mark 12:30 respectively. In the OT God tells Israel that they shall have no other gods before Him. In the NT, Jesus commands us to love God will everything we are.
[12] Williams, J. R., (Elwell, Walter A., ed.). Evangelical Dictionary of Theology 2nd Edition. (Grand Rapids: Baker Academic, 2001), 562-63.
[13] Rom. 3:23
[14] Rom. 6:23.
[15] Rom. 5:12.
[16] Erickson, Millard J. Christian Theology 2nd Edition. (Grand Rapids: Baker Academic, 1998), 628.
[17] Ibid, 629.
[18] Rev. 20:14.
[19] Rev. 2:11.

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