By Dr. John Williams, New York       

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Sin is the most dreadful thing. It is like spiritual cancer. Sin is satanic, in the sense, that sin is committed under the influence of evil spirits. Satan cannot make a person commit sin, but he can certainly influence him. At the same time, people commit sin exercising their free will. Sin is a deliberate and a willful act. When a person commits a sin, he becomes a slave to that sin. Satan is a deceptive, enticing, lying, tormenting and destructive spirit. Satan is the arch- enemy of God and he is always trying his best to defeat the plans of God. Further he is jealous of men because God created men even above the angels. Satan lied to Adam and Eve and deceived them in the Garden of Eden by influencing them to commit sin and brought about the curse of death, sickness, poverty, etc., on mankind. The Bible warns us severely of the wages of sin, which is death.

Sin is not just a weakness, habit, hang-up, problem, mistake, inappropriate act, wrongful act, something done under sudden and grave provocation, or an instinctive reaction. Sin is a deliberate , willful, intentional, pre-meditated, conscious, planned, wrongful, inexcusable act and an act committed by a man against his moral conscience!

Some strange and shocking facts about sin are as follows:
The world pretends like that there is no such thing as sin, and that we do not have to pay any penalty for it
The word sin is neither recognized nor used by the legislators, judiciary, academicians, journalists, philosophers, psychologists or doctors.
Even though salvation is sought by almost all religions, no research work is being done in any university, and no course is offered on the subject of sin and salvation
The religion tries to work their own ways to merit and earn one's salvation, through some act of sacrifice or goodness

Dealing with the issue of sin and salvation:
Sin and salvation are real issues of life whether we believe it or not
Any intelligent man should know that we cannot violate God's laws and work out our own salvation.
Man cannot make a sacrifice or pay some compensation and be exonerated from his guilt and sin.
For violating God's laws, one has to seek and find the remedy that God has provided for us
The bible is the most authentic, authoritative and accepted book on the subject of sin and salvation.

Sin is something spiritual!
Sin may involve a physical act
Sin may be done in an intelligent way
Sin is an immoral act
Sin may be an anti-social act
Sin could be related to a psychological problem
Sin is generally wrong even legally
Sin is something against ones own moral conscience
Sin is something which is not correct philosophically
Sin is something generally forbidden by the religions

There are several explanations and definitions given in the Bible about sin. Some of them are given below:
1. All unrighteousness is sin (I John 5:17)
Anything that is not right is sin. In other words everything that is wrong is sin. God has endowed every man with a moral conscience to discern between right and the wrong. Further, the Bible answers every question that one might have as to what is sin and what is not sin.

2. Transgression of law is sin (I John 3:4)
The Bible has covered all the Laws of God both in the Old and in the New Testament. No one has any excuse for not knowing the Laws of God. The Bible says that people are willingly ignorant of the truth. The Bible lists two kinds of laws:- Mandatory Laws and Prohibitory Laws (the do’s and the don’ts). God’s Laws require us to do certain things and at the same time they require us to refrain from doing certain things. God requires us to serve Him, love Him and love our neighbors, win souls, go and preach the gospel, make disciples, give tithes, forgive those who trespass against us, live by faith etc. On the other hand, God’s laws prohibit certain kinds of behavior and actions such as lying, backbiting, being proud, envying, being jealous, being covetous, hatred, stealing, murder, adultery, etc.

3. What is not of faith is sin (Romans 14:23)
God expects us to put our whole trust in Him and to live by faith. Of course God has also given us a measure of faith. God does not expect or require us to do something that we are not capable of doing. Many people conveniently choose not to believe God and His Word so that they may continue to live in their own wicked way as they please. John 3:16 says that God so loved the world that He gave His only Son that whosoever believeth in Him should not perish but have everlasting life. John 3:18 says that, he that believeth on Him is not condemned but he that believeth not is condemned already, because he has not believed in the name of the only begotten Son of God. John 3:19 says that the reason why people are condemned is that after the light is come to this world, people have loved darkness rather than light, because their deeds are evil.

4. Not doing good when one knows to do good, is sin (James 4:17)
The Bible says that to whom much is given, much is also expected (Luke 12:48). God expects us to be good stewards of everything that He has blessed us with. Many know these truths but they do not do it, which means they are committing sin.

5. What separates man from God is sin (Isaiah 59:2)
God created man to love and to have fellowship with Him. In the modern day in which we are living, because of the complexities of life, so many things come between us and God. If we love or give more importance to these things, it would amount to sin. What may come between us and God may be television, newspaper, paperback books, entertainment, sports, hobbies, recreation, education, job, house, friends, music, etc. We have to make sure that our love for God, relationship with God, commitment to God, etc., are not affected in any way because of our involvement in so many things. The examples listed above may not be wrong, evil or sin by themselves, but they may become sins when we overindulge ourselves in them and neglect God and the things of God.

6. A multitude of words is sin (Proverbs 10:19)
Many may be guilty of this sin, because several other sins are also committed through one’s speech. For example gossip, backbiting, boasting, lying, blasphemy, swearing, etc., are committed through speech. Jesus said that our communication should be yea, yea and nay, nay, for whatsoever is more than these cometh of evil (Matthew 5:37). James 3:2 says that if any man offend not in word, he is a perfect man. James 3:8 says that no man can control the tongue which is an unruly evil full of deadly poison. Proverbs 21:23 says that whoso keepeth his tongue keepeth his soul. James 1:26 says that if we do not bridle our tongue, we will deceive our own hearts and our religion also will be in vain.

7. A foolish thought is sin (Proverbs 24:9)
Generally people commit sins by acts, words and thoughts. Before a sin is committed, it is first conceived in the mind. Matthew 15:19 says that lust when conceived brings forth sin. We may even say that it is sin to be foolish. Psalm 5:5 says that the foolish shall not stand in the sight of God. Ecclesiastes 2:4 says that fools walk in darkness. Proverbs 4:19 says that, fools mock at sin. It is foolish not to be ready for the coming of the Lord (Matthew 25); and to hear the Word and not do it (Proverbs 24:9)

8. Despising the neighbor is a sin (Proverbs14:21)
Hating anyone is a sin. Jesus commanded us to love Him and our neighbors. If any one disobeys this great commandment, it will constitute a sin. We have already seen that transgression of the Law is sin. Our God is a loving God and He has shed abroad in our hearts His love (Romans 5:5). Therefore we have the capacity to love and to grow in love.

9. Lust becomes sin when it is conceived (James 1:15)
The Bible says in I John 2:6 that the lust of the flesh and the lust of the eyes are not of the Father, but of this world. Galatians 5:19 lists several works of the flesh including adultery, fornication, uncleanness and lasciviousness. In the next verse it is written that those who do such things shall not inherit the Kingdom of God.

10. Whatever the bible calls a sin is a sin
In Galatians 5:20-21 a few other serious sins are also listed, which are idolatry, witchcraft, hatred, variance, emulations, wrath, strife, seditions, heresies, envyings , murders, drunkenness and revellings. It will be very difficult to make a complete list of all the sins mentioned in the Bible. In II Timothy 3:1-5, several sins of the last days are listed as, being lovers of themselves, covetous, boasters, proud, blasphemers, disobedient to parents, unthankful, unholy, without natural affection, truce breakers, false accusers, incontinent, fierce, despisers of those that are good, traitors, heady, high-minded, lovers of pleasures more than lovers of God and having a form of godliness but denying the power of God. In this passage we are admonished to turn away from such people.

Because it is Satan that influences people to sin, he follows a pattern in influencing them. We can find a set of characteristics in all sins, which are discussed below:

1. Sin is deceptive (Rom. 7:11, Titus 3:3, II Tim. 3:13, Heb 3:13)
Satan uses subtle methods to deceive the sinners. If anyone can see clearly the consequences of a sin, they would not commit that sin. The seriousness and consequences of sin are not apparent. The sinner is not aware of the fact that he is going to be hooked to it. The pleasure or the benefit resulting from that act of sin is only momentary or temporary. A time will come in the life of every sinner when he will regret for committing that sin.

2. Sin is a shameful act (Proverb 14:34)
Most of the sins are committed in secret because they are shameful acts, whether it is stealing or any other immoral act. Eventually when they get caught, it becomes a big scandal.

3. Sin is destructive (James 1:15, Romans 7:11)
When a person continues to sin, it slowly destroys and kills his body, mind, spirit, reputation, etc. The Bible says that Satan steals, kills and destroys (John 10:10).

4. Sin will expose the sinner (Numbers 32:23, II Theses. 2:3)
The Bible says that the sin will find the sinner out. The sinner will get caught eventually. The question is how long he can continue to sin.

5. Sin has a penalty (Romans 5:12)
There is a penalty for sin, which is death and no one can escape it. In addition to that, every one who commits sin may have to pay a price during this life. The Bible says that, what a man sows that shall he also reap, and if he sows to his flesh, he shall reap corruption (Galatians 6:7-8).

6. Sin gives a guilt feeling to the sinner (Genesis 3:8)
When a person commits a sin, it puts a guilt feeling on the inside. It creates a sense of fear, which disturbs the peace of the individual. Adam and Eve went through this experience. When Judas betrayed Jesus, he went through the same experience.

7. Sin is a willful act (Genesis 4:8, Hebrews 10:26)
Even though Satan entices, deceives and lies, man commits sin knowingly, deliberately and intentionally, exercising his free will. In other words man has the ability to control every one of his actions, and therefore he is fully responsible for it, and no one can be blamed for it.

8. Sin is enticing and alluring (Genesis 3:6, Proverbs 9:17)
Generally sin is very attractive to the flesh. Satan has his own way of enticing men to commit sins and they become victims. Genesis 3:6 says that the fruit was pleasant to the eyes and Proverbs 9:17 says that stolen waters are sweet.

9. Sin puts the sinner into a bondage (II Peter 2:19)
When a person commits a sin he becomes a servant of that sin (John 8:34) and as a result he is forced to commit the same sin over and over again (Romans 6:16). A person that steals, murders, lies etc. has a tendency to repeat the same sin over and over again.

10. Sin is inexcusable (Romans 1:20, Romans 2:1)
As man has the God given ability to know the difference between the right and the wrong, he has no excuse for committing any sin. He cannot plead ignorance. As we have seen already, every act of sin committed is done willfully and deliberately, and therefore he is liable to face its consequences. We can find real satisfaction in life, only in God and in spiritual things.

It is important to know that Satan and his followers, numbering one third of the angelic force in heaven, are engaged in an organized effort to defeat the plan of God, by influencing men to commit acts of sin, which are forbidden by God, so that they will be condemned by God.

11. Sin gives momentary pleasure
The motivation for committing any act of sin, is the momentary pleasure or some other benefit that the sinner gets. Judas betrayed Jesus for thirty pieces of silver. David killed Uriah to marry his wife Bethsheba. Adam and Eve ate the fruit from the tree in the middle of the garden, because Satan [in the form of a serpent] deceived Eve by telling her that she would become wise after eating the forbidden fruit. In the bible it says that it was attractive to her eyes as well.

12. Sin has a tendency to grow
When a person commits a sin, he does not stop with that act. Usually he has a tendency to indulge in that sin over and over again. An occasional smoker becomes a chain smoker and a social drinker becomes an alcoholic. This is because the spirit that influences the sinner, continues to work in that individual, until he is destroyed.

13. Sin is unprofitable
No one can derive any real benefit by committing sins. After committing a sin over and over again, spending money, time and energy, they realize that it is a total waste and regret for doing it. As a matter of fact, a person who commits a sin goes through some misery and torment because of the feeling of guilt, until he repents for it and is forgiven by God.

14. Sin does not give satisfaction:
As we have seen already, sin is very deceptive. The sins of this world can never give satisfaction to people no matter to what extent they indulge in it and how many times they repeat it. After sin is committed, the sinner has a feeling of guilt and emptiness. He will never have the feeling of satisfaction or fullness.

A person who has a good understanding and a full revelation about sin and its serious consequences, will not sin. Satan operates in two ways. Either he keeps the people blind to the spiritual truths or deceives them through lies or temptations. So people commit sins and become the victims of Satan. Some of the reasons why people commit sins are discussed below:

1. Because of deception
In most cases, the people who commit sins are deceived by Satan. Satan entices, lies and deceives people. If people know the whole truth about sin, they would not indulge in it for any reason whatsoever.

2. Because of ignorance
The Bible says in John 8:32, "that ye shall know the truth and the truth shall make you free." It is very important that everyone has a full revelation about sin and its implications. Because sin is something spiritual, no book in this world in any discipline deals with this subject. The Bible is the only book that deals with the subject of sin. It is the prayer of the writer of this book that every reader will be truly enlightened on the subject of sin, so that they will not be deceived by the subtle ways of Satan and fall into sin.

3. Because of attraction
Every sin is enticing and alluring to the prospective sinner, in a particular situation. What people do not realize is that, there is an organized effort by Satan and his evil forces to entice everyone to sin and follow Satan rather than God. There is something attractive about sin to everyone. Romans 7:11 says that sin, taking occasion by the commandment, deceives and slays the sinner. Titus 3:3 says, "For we ourselves also were sometimes foolish, disobedient, deceived, serving divers lusts and pleasures, living in malice and envy, hateful, and hating one another". II Timothy 3:13 says that evil men and seducers shall wax worse, deceiving, and being deceived. Hebrew 3:13 says, "Exhort one another daily ....lest any of you be hardened through the deceitfulness of sin".

The real and the only remedy for sin is Jesus Christ. The Bible says that Jesus came into this world to seek and to save the sinner (Luke 19:10). The Bible says that the blood of Jesus Christ has power to cleanse us from all unrighteousness (I John 1:9). Jesus died on the cross of Calvary and shed His blood as an atonement for our sins.

The fact that Jesus, the Son of God, was sent to this world to save mankind from the penalty of sin, can be seen very clearly in the Bible. This truth is stated in the Bible in so many ways that no one can question it. Some of the expressions used in the Bible to prove that Jesus came to this world to save sinners are stated below:-

- - - purged our sins (Isaiah 6:7)
- - - Washed with His blood (Revelation 1:5)
- - - Covered our sins (Psalm 32:1)
- - - Bore our sins (Hebrew 9:28)
- - - Forgave all trespasses (Colossians 2:13)
- - - Took away the sins (John 1:29)
- - - Reproved the world of sin (John 16:8)
- - - Delivered us (I Thessalonians 1:10)
- - - Sin will not have dominion (Romans 6:14)
- - - Put away the sins (Hebrews 9:26)
- - - Sin will not reign (Romans 6:12)
- - - Shed his blood for the remission of sin (Matthew 26:28)
- - - Pardoned abundantly (Isaiah 55:7)
- - - Saved the world (John 3:16)
- - - Blotted out sins (Isaiah 44:22)
- - - Cleansed all unrighteousness (I John 1:9)
- - - Wounded for transgressions (Isaiah 53 :5)
- - - Bruised for iniquities (Isaiah 53:5)
- - - Gave Himself for our sins (Galatians 1:4)
- - - Redeemed us from all iniquity (Titus 2:14)
- - - Purchased with His own blood (Acts 2:28)
- - - Sanctified with His blood (Hebrew 13:12
- - - Suffered for our sins (I Peter 3 :18)
- - - Died for our sins (I Corinthians 15:3)

The penalties for sin are: curse, reproach, shame, guilt, fear, torment, death, hell, and eternal separation from God.

Even though sin is a dreadful thing and the wages of sin is death as stated in the Bible, Jesus came into this world and took away the sins of this world so that our sins may be forgiven. In order to have our sins forgiven and to escape the punishment for sins, we must do the following:

Realize and acknowledge that we are sinners
Hate and forsake sin
Renounce Satan
Reconcile with God
Repent for our sins
Confess our sins
Receive forgiveness
Give a thanksgiving offering
I Corinthians 15:34 says, "Awake to righteousness and sin not". Isaiah 55:7 says, "Let the wicked forsake his way and the unrighteous man his thoughts; and let him return unto the Lord, and He will have mercy upon him; and to our God, for He will abundantly pardon". I John 1:9 says that if we confess our sins, He is faithful and just to forgive us our sins, and to cleanse us from all unrighteousness. In John 8:11 Jesus said. "Neither do I condemn thee, go and sin no more". Romans 6:12 says, "Let not sin therefore reign in your mortal body, that ye should obey it in the lusts thereof".

The scriptural ways to deal with sin are as follows:
By reproof
By correction
By counsel
By exhortation
By admonition
By rebuke
By confession
By repentance
By conviction
By renouncing sin and satan
By turning away from sin
By deliverance
By being washed by the blood of Jesus

Sin will put us in a bondage; take away our peace and torment us; expose our secret sins to the world and put us to shame; deceive us; destroy our body, mind, spirit and put eventually in the fire of hell? Therefore, it is very important that we truly repent for our sins and ask the Lord for forgiveness. Only Jesus Christ, the son of the Living God, has the power to forgive our sins because He was sinless and He gave himself for us, as a perfect sacrifice. John 3:16 says that God so loved the world that He gave His only son that whosoever believeth in Him, should not perish but have everlasting life. Acts 4:12 says that neither is there salvation in any other; for there is none other name under heaven given among men, whereby we must be saved. In the future also, we must be very cautious so that we will not be deceived by Satan when we are tempted by him, to commit any kind of sin. Beware of sin!