What is our problem? Are we in trouble and why?
WHAT IS SIN?
Sin is rejecting or ignoring God in the world He created and not believing or doing what He requires in His Law. Sin is fundamentally a distorted view of God, resulting in a lack of trust in His character (Genesis 3:4-6, Romans 1:21-23). Sin is the reason for humanity’s brokenness and all the evil and pain in this world.
Sin is a lot more than just merely breaking of a rule—it’s the breaking of a relationship—and the rejection of God himself! As we saw before, the Law reveals the character of God, therefore, sin is a rebellion against God’s rule, care, and authority over those to whom He gave life. Sin is more than merely “missing the mark”—more than just a mistake—it is intentionally shooting in the opposite direction!
We don't only sin because we don't know that something is wrong. We sin because it comes out of our inner-most being. Jesus said, “Out of the heart come evil thoughts, murder, adultery, sexual immorality, theft, false witness, slander…” (Matthew 15:19)
But the serpent said to the woman, “You will not surely die. For God knows that when you eat of it your eyes will be opened, and you will be like God, knowing good and evil.” So when the woman saw that the tree was good for food, and that it was a delight to the eyes, and that the tree was to be desired to make one wise, she took of its fruit and ate, and she also gave some to her husband who was with her, and he ate.
It is not that we do bad things and therefore we’re sinful, rather, the truth is that we’re sinful, therefore, we do bad things.
No matter how hard we try, we cannot perfectly keep God’s Law, our hearts lead us to think and act in ways that are wrong. Even people who make up their own moral law cannot keep their own made-up law perfectly! Why? Is it because they didn’t know? NO. It is because we are broken by our sinfulness at a profoundly deep level. This is why no amount of additional religious rules or human laws can solve our sin problem.
Author and pastor, Greg Gilbert at this point notes:
"The gospel of Jesus Christ is full of stumbling stones, and this is one of the largest. To human hearts that stubbornly think of themselves as basically good and self-sufficient, this idea that human beings are fundamentally sinful and rebellious is not merely scandalous. It is revolting."
Sin is a difficult topic to talk about. No one except a radical pessimist delights to talk about how bad things are. However, the Bible is clear about it in many places. If a pastor or Christian is afraid to explain to you the severity of sin in light of the holiness of God, they have betrayed you - because they love their ego more than they love God and you. No matter how difficult it is to talk about - we must understand the bad news before we truly embrace the amazingly Good News!
Sin is our worship of something or someone other than the True God because we want our own way rather than His. In our fallen state, we want His benefits and blessings, but we don't want God Himself. It's like a child telling their Father "I wish you would die so I can have your stuff and be rid of you." In fact, that's exactly what Jesus compares it to in the story of the Prodigal Son in Luke 15:11-32.
Matt Chandler, pastor and author, says it this way:
"The point is that if we are going to orient around anything less than God - even things that look happy and shiny and pretty, even things that God himself gives us to enjoy - or slip in even a moment's worship of something other than God, we are declaring our preference for the absence of God."
So, why is this a big deal, and what does it have to do with our first point? Let's take a moment to examine our own lives in light of this truth...
All sin is against God
If people are honest they have broken most (if not all) of God’s commandments. How have you done?
God’s requirement is perfection; if someone breaks one of the commandments they are guilty of breaking all. Why? Because the Law is based on the character of God—and breaking the commandments, therefore, is a direct assault on the very character and nature of God. Just as you cannot separate attacking one particular character of a person without at the same time attacking the whole person, so too we cannot break one Law without in essence, breaking them all and offending God.
Because God is infinite and eternal, an offense against Him is one deserving infinite and eternal punishment.
This is why when King David realized his own sin of adultery with Bathsheba, although he had wronged Uriah – killing him and taking his wife – David confessed, “Against You [God], and You alone, have I sinned…” (Psalm 51:4)
All sin is ultimately committed against a holy and righteous God. Sin brings condemnation (Romans 6:23) and Spiritual Bondage (Romans 6:16).
For I know my transgressions,
and my sin is ever before me.
Against you, you only, have I sinned
and done what is evil in your sight,
so that you may be justified in your words
and blameless in your judgment.
OUR SIN BRINGS THREE MAIN PROBLEMS
We have failed to keep God’s holy Law—we are imperfect and guilty—thus deserving of the just PENALTY of sin.
Our nature is fallen and we are slaves to sin—we are broken and unable to live rightly—we are under sin’s POWER.
Sin destroys and corrupts us and the world we live in—we are plagued by sin’s PRESENCE.
Because God is absolutely good and just, He must judge and punish sin. A good and perfect Judge cannot let wrongdoing go unpunished or else He would be unjust. The final end for all those who remain in their rebellion and never repent of their sins is a place called Hell (Mark 9:43-48; Revelation 20:10). Hell is a place of God’s active judgment against sin – it is God’s justice and wrath justly poured out against sin.
So, that leaves us with the problem: How can sinful, fallen people possibly stand before a perfectly Holy, Just and Righteous God?
If this is all the problems that sin brings into our lives and world, we should be starting to see how awful a thing it really is! Thomas Watson once said, "Till sin be bitter, Christ will not be sweet." And this is what we turn to next...
Who can set us right?
GOD | SIN | CHRIST | RESPONSE
Let's now move on to the third point - the Good News: