AIM: The aim of this lesson is to encourage Christians to please God by departing from sin; doing away with all manner of unrighteousness.
OBJECTIVES: During and at the end of this lesson, Christians are expected to:
- understand the origin of sin
- know the nature of sin
- categories of sinful ways
- how to avoid temptation to sin
- effect of sin towards the doer and His Creator
- the punishment for sin
- the reward of remaining a life devoid of sin.
KEYWORDS: name, depart and sin.
NAME OF CHRIST: A name is basically for identification. Now Christ is known by the following names:
- Conqueror of Sin (Romans 8:3)
- Holy one (Spotless) (Acts 3:14)
- Faithful and true (Rev 1:5)
- The way true and life (John 14:6)
- Justifier (Gal. 2:16)
DEPART: To leave, go away from, separate oneself from.
SIN: According to Oxford Advance Learners Dictionary:
Sin is an offence against God or against a religious or moral law.
Violation of God’s will.
Sin is described in the Bible as transgression of the law of God (1 John 3:4) and rebellion against God (Deut. 9:7; Joshua 1:18). Sin had its beginning with Lucifer, probably the most powerful of the angels. Not content with his position, he desired to be higher than God, and that was his downfall, the beginning of sin (Isa. 14:12-15). Renamed Satan, he brought sin to the human race in the Garden of Eden, where he tempted Adam and Eve with the same enticement, “you shall be like God.” Gen. 3 describes Adam and Eve’s rebellion against God and against His command. Since that time, sin has been passed down through all the generations of mankind and we, Adam’s descendants, have inherited sin from him. Rom. 5:12 tells us that through Adam sin entered the world, and so death was passed on to all men because “the wages of sin is death” (Rom. 6:23).
Through Adam, the inherent inclination to sin entered the human race, and human beings became sinners by nature. When Adam sinned, his inner nature was transformed by his sin of rebellion, bringing to him spiritual death and depravity which would be passed on to all who came after him. This passed-on depravity is known as inherited sin. Just as we inherit physical characteristics from our parents, we inherit our sinful natures from Adam. King David lamented this condition of fallen human nature in Psalm 51:5: “Surely I was sinful at birth, sinful from the time my mother conceived me.”
Another type of sin is known as imputed sin. Greek word translated “imputed” means “to take something that belongs to someone and credit it to another’s person.”
God used the principle of imputation to benefit mankind when He imputed the sin of believers to the account of Jesus Christ, who paid the penalty for that sin—death—on the cross. Imputing our sin to Jesus, God treated Him as if He were a sinner, though He was not, and had Him die for the sins of the entire world (1 John 2:2). It is important to understand that sin was imputed to Him, but He did not inherit it from Adam. He bore the penalty for sin, but He never became a sinner.
His pure and perfect nature was untouched by sin. He was treated as though He were guilty of all the sins ever committed by the human race, even though He committed none. In exchange, God imputed the righteousness of Christ to believers and credited our accounts with His righteousness, just as He had credited our sins to Christ’s (2 Cor. 5:21).
A third type of sin is personal sin, that which is committed every day by every human being. Because we have inherited a sin nature from Adam, we commit individual, personal sins, everything from seemingly innocent to murder. Those who have not placed their faith in Jesus Christ must pay the penalty for these personal sins, as well as inherited and imputed sin. However, Christians have been freed from the eternal penalty of sin—hell and spiritual death—but now we also have the power to resist sinning. Now we can choose whether or not to commit personal sins because we have the power to resist sin through the Holy Spirit who dwells within us, sanctifying and convicting us of our sins when we do commit them (Rom. 8:9-11). We can sustain the Holy Spirit in us once we confess our personal sins to God and ask forgiveness for them, if only with a sincere heart. We are restored to perfect fellowship and communion with Him. “If we confess our sins, He is faithful and just to forgive us our sins and cleanse us from all unrighteousness” (1 John 1:9).
The penalty for sin is death (Romans 6:23), not just physical death but eternal death (Rev. 20:11-15). Thankfully, inherited sin, imputed sin, and personal sin have all been crucified on the cross of Calvary by Jesus Christ, and now by faith in Jesus Christ as the Savior “we have redemption through His blood, the forgiveness of sins, according to the riches of His grace” (Eph. 1:7).
ORIGIN OF SIN
The age-old question of where and how sin began has been explored and debated by some of the greatest minds of history, yet no one can give a completely definitive or satisfying answer. Some, quoting Isaiah 45:7, seek to make God the author of sin: “I form the light, and create darkness: I make peace, and create evil: I the Lord do all these things” (KJV). The context of this passage concerns God’s sovereignty over everything. God is sovereign over all things (Exodus 4:11), but He is not the author of sin (1 John 1:5; cf. James 1:13). He hates sin (Proverbs 8:13). Moral evil originated with the creature, not the Creator.
The Lord had declared that ‘everything that he had made . . . was exceedingly good’ [Genesis 1:31]. Lest we should think it comes from creation, God had put His stamp of approval on what had come forth from himself. By man’s own evil intention, then, man corrupted the pure nature he had received from the Lord; and by his fall drew all his posterity with him into destruction. In other words, sin was not part of the original creation, nor was it decreed by the Creator’s will.
The first man, Adam, sinned, and his transgression spiraled mankind into sin, but this was not sin’s origin. Ezekiel 28:13-15 speaks figuratively of Satan, who was originally created without flaw, as all things created by God were. Verse 15 gives us a hint as to the origin of sin: “You were blameless in your ways from the day you were created till wickedness was found in you.” Isaiah 14:12-14 further indicates that Satan (Lucifer) sinned in his pride and his coveting of God’s throne. When he rebelled against God, Satan was ejected from heaven (Eze. 28:15-17; 1 Tim. 3:6).
Which brings us to the question, how did evil manifest itself in a perfect creature? It may be good to mention that evil is not a created thing – it is not a creature and has no independent being. Also, evil has no standard as goodness does; it is a lack, a deficiency, a falling short of the standard of God’s perfect goodness. All sin, no matter how trivial it may seem, falls short of moral perfection. God is always consistent with His perfect nature (Deut. 32:4). All sin, therefore, must come from the creature, and the desire for evil comes from within the creature (James 1:14-15). Sin was “found” in Lucifer because of a choice that angel made to seek something other than what God had chosen for him. Any time we seek “other” than God’s choice, we sin.
The mystery of evil and why God has allowed its reality with all of the suffering it causes may never be fully known in this world, but Scripture assures that evil is temporary. Once the culmination of God’s redemptive plan is complete, Jesus Christ will have destroyed the devil’s work forever (1 John 3:8).
THE NATURE OF SIN
The sin nature is that principle in man that makes him rebellious against God. When we speak of the sin nature, we refer to the fact that we have a natural inclination to sin; given the choice to do God’s will or our own, we will naturally choose to do our own thing.
Proof of the sin nature abounds. No one has to teach a child to lie or be selfish; rather, we go to great lengths to teach children to tell the truth. Sometimes sinful behavior comes naturally. Listen to news, you will hear tragic examples of mankind acting badly. Wherever people are, there is trouble.
Paul admits that “the trouble is with me, for I am all too human, a slave to sin” (Romans 7:14, NLT). Paul was in his “sinful nature a slave to the law of sin” (Romans 7:25). Solomon concurs: “Indeed, there is no one on earth who is righteous, / no one who does what is right and never sins” (Eccl. 7:20). The apostle John perhaps puts it most bluntly: “If we claim to be without sin, we deceive ourselves and the truth is not in us” (1 John 1:8).
Where did the sin nature come from? Scripture says that God created humans good and without a sinful nature: “God created man in His own image, in the image of God he created him; male and female he created them” (Gen. 1:27). However, Genesis 3 records the disobedience of Adam and Eve. By that one action, sin entered into their nature. They were immediately smitten with a sense of shame and unfitness, and they hid from God’s presence (Gen. 3:8). When they had children, Adam’s image and likeness was passed along to his offspring (Gen. 5:3). The sin nature manifested itself early in the genealogy: the very first child born to Adam and Eve, Cain, became the very first murderer (Gen. 4:8).
From generation to generation, the sin nature was passed down to all of humanity: “Sin entered the world through one man, and death through sin, and in this way death came to all people, because all sinned” (Rom 5:12). This verse also presents the unsettling truth that the sin nature leads unavoidably to death (see also Rom 6:23a and Eph. 2:1).
Other consequences of the sin nature are hostility toward God and ignorance of His truth. Paul says, “The mind governed by the flesh is hostile to God; it does not submit to God’s law, nor can it do so. Those who are in the realm of the flesh cannot please God” (Rom. 8:7–8). Also, “the person without the Spirit does not accept the things that come from the Spirit of God but considers them foolishness, and cannot understand them because they are discerned only through the Spirit” (1 Cor. 2:14).
There is only one Person in the history of the world who did not have a sin nature: Jesus Christ. His virgin birth allowed Him to enter our world while bypassing the curse passed down from Adam. Jesus then lived a sinless life of absolute perfection. He was “the Holy and Righteous One” (Acts 3:14) who “had no sin” (2 Cor. 5:21). This allowed Jesus to be sacrificed on the cross as our perfect substitute, “a lamb without blemish or defect” (1 Peter 1:19).
The Spirit of God takes up residence in each believer and supplies the power we need to overcome the pull of the sin nature within us. “No one born of God makes a practice of sinning, for God’s seed abides in him, and he cannot keep on sinning because he has been born of God” (1 John 3:9). God’s ultimate plan for us is total sanctification when we see Christ (1 Thess. 3:13; 1 John 3:2).
Through His finished work on the cross, Jesus satisfied God’s wrath against sin and provided believers with victory over their sin nature: “He himself bore our sins’ in his body on the cross, so that we might die to sins and live for righteousness” (1 Pet. 2:24).
SUNDAY SCHOOL LESSON FOR APRIL 2017
OF UYO TOWN CHURCH OF CHRIST,
20 PAUL BASSEY STREET, UYO
BY BRO. EMEDIONG S. NYONG