CHAPTER FOUR.

THE NATURE OF SIN.

God created the human race so He could share His life and love with them, so that He could have a relationship with them, and love and bless them. We were created for union with God and He made us in His image and in His likeness, uniquely fitted to interact with Him in love. This is the meaning of our existence, to live by the life of God enjoying the privilege of being His children. We are unique in our creation; we were created with the ability to commune with God in our in a body of flesh made from the dust of the earth. We were created to live in and respond to God in love.

God created human beings with a free will because He desired to share His love with free beings that could partake of His life and join Him in His unspeakable joy. He did not create us out of a some need within Himself for company. He is the infinitely fulfilled One. He created us because wanted to share His love with us. He loves you because He loved you into existence.

God created every one of us with a free will, the ability to choose Him or reject Him. Love must exist by choice alone. Love cannot be forced or legislated. Robots can not love! God created mankind, with no necessity within Himself and no pressure from without to bring about another creature with free will. He freely chose to create us with free will. Al of us have the God given ability to say yes or no to Him.

Man was not designed to live independent of God. God's intent was to rule in the heart of man, for man's good, and for His own enjoyment. Man needs God, and was to live in (and enjoy!) total submission to Him. God is no 'tyrant', His demand for our submission is for our good.

In order for mankind to make the deliberate choice to believe God, to love Him and walk in His love, He made a tree called, the tree of the knowledge of good and evil and He placed it into the Garden. Remember, without the choice of at least two things, love, obedience, holiness and sin cannot exist.

"And the Lord God commanded the man, saying, "Of every tree of the garden you may freely eat; but of the tree of the knowledge of good and evil you shall not eat, for in the day that you eat of it you shall surely die." (Genesis 2:16,17)

The response of the Adam and Eve to the tree would either be one of obedience, which would develop into trust and love toward God. Or they would make the choice of disobedience; unbelief that rejected God and His love and the result of such a declaration of independence from God would be death. Adam and Eve lived in fellowship with God until they chose to rebel by eating the forbidden fruit. God had designed them so they would rely and trust Him for all wisdom and knowledge.

Adam and Eve had everything they could possibly need. God provided them with everything as a free gift. Since they were created, every breath they took they were reminded that they were not God but dependent on Him. The meaning of their life was to be submitted to their Creator. It was at that point that the devil came to tempt them. He tempted Eve with the lie that she could like God. The heart of sin is the desire to be king and ruler of ones own life. To be independent of God and to dethrone Him and take His place. Sin in its ultimate desire wills to remove God, kill him if it could and crown oneself in God's place.

Satan began tempting Eve by portraying God as a liar that could not to be trusted. He inferred that God did not really love her because He did not have her best interests in mind. Satan made it look like God was withholding something good from her. He then told Eve that in eating from the tree she could declare her independence from God and she could like God. He assured her that God had lied; eating from the tree would not bring death but was instead the doorway to her total self-directed freedom.

"Then the serpent said to the woman, "You will not surely die. For God knows that in the day you eat of it your eyes will be opened, and you will be like God, knowing good and evil. Eve saw that the fruit was good for food, pleasing to the eye and desirable for gaining wisdom, so she took it and ate it. She gave some to Adam and then he also ate it" (Genesis 3:4,6)

Instead of trusting and having her confidence in God, Eve believed the serpent and made the choice to disobey and declare her independence from God. In this act of defiance towards God, she severed herself from God, who was the only source of her life and the meaning of her existence. This was not just a slip or fall but an act of total rebellion! Both Adam and Eve rebelled in an act of disobedience that declared independence from Him. By rebelling they disconnected themselves from God who was the only true source of life and plunged themselves into death.

They were created to say yes to God and choose to trust His love. Instead they have said no to God and yes to the lie of Satan and in so doing become the enemies of God. They have denied the meaning of their existence as creatures and rejected their God given glory of submission and obedience to the Creator. They have said no to the covenant union with Him, for whom they were created, exchanging it for the dead end street of independence that results in death.

When God said "In the day you eat of it you shall surely die" this was not just a punishment, but the announcement of a fact. You are dependent upon God for your life, you are created to live in His love and if you walk away from Him, a law will be triggered that cannot be reversed - you will certainly and unquestionably die.

Adam and Eve died in the moment they ate of the tree. God is Life and the source and upholder of all life, no life exists outside of Him, and nothing is independent of Him. When Adam and Eve ate this fruit they turned away from God's rulership. The life-sustaining relationship with God was broken. They cut themselves off from God and His wisdom, blessings, life, power, love and light. They decided to live for self, and for the purpose of self-gratification, rather than for fellowship with, and in obedience to, God. They kicked God out of His rightful place on the throne of the heart and replaced Him with self. They plunged themselves into darkness and placed themselves under the total control of selfishness.

All of us have sinned in same way. Each of us have turned away from God and to our self. We have placed ourselves above God and our fellow man. In doing so, we become the voluntary but real slave of lust, appetite and desires. We freely choose it and that is why we are totally responsible for it and why God can justly send us to hell. The sinner has cut and removed himself from God and now is independent of Him. He has kicked God off His throne and has taken His place. Man truly needs God for fulfillment and satisfaction. The problem is, he does not think he needs God.

Adam and Eve's spirit did not die, nor was it annihilated when they sinned. Adam and Eve died to God and became alive to self. Instead of receiving only what God had to offer, they received only what selfishness could offer. Sinners are dead in trespasses and sins but their spirit is still alive. Our spirit is like a phone that is disconnected from the true source. The phone itself is not dead but the fact that is disconnected makes it defective. We have all rebelled and have disconnected our spirit from the only true source. Now instead our spirit is connected to our own selves as our source of life.

After we sin, we do not lose the ability to choose, we still have a free will. We all have the free choice to decide to believe and submit to God or reject Him. There must be a free choice of at least two things for sin or holiness to exist. This choice must be voluntarily made. Without a choice and the freedom to make it, good and evil could not exist.

The two choices are:

1. The choice to believe in and submit totally to God, to rule and rein over us.
2. The choice to rebel and be independent of God, for self to rule and rein over us.

A person is either led (controlled) by the flesh or led by the Spirit. If led by the flesh, he is living to gratify his senses. His will is in submission to his own selfish desires. If led by the Spirit, he is living with his will in submission to God. No other choice exists nor can both choices coexist because they completely oppose each other.

The two aspects of sin are:

1. The choice to live supremely for oneself.
2. The refusal and unwillingness to let go of selfishness and turn to God.

A sinner is a criminal and a rebel because he can let go of his selfishness and self-serving and turn to God, but refuses to do so. Selfishness is the root, the trunk, and the branches of all the destructive evil and sin of man's rebellious state. Self-esteem, self-love, and self-seeking are the very essence and life of pride. Pride rules in the heart of man and daily worships the idol of self.

Man's ego, pride, and selfishness raises up in his heart and self exalts itself above God. Pride takes over God's place in His temple. Self shows and declares himself to be God. This is the spirit of the antichrist that is already at work in the hearts of all sinful men. The sinner's self-exaltation is the ruling power of his life and the cause of all sin. Selfishness is the root, the trunk, and the branches of all the destructive evil and sin of man's rebellious state. Self-esteem, self-love, and self-seeking are the very essence and life of pride. Pride rules in the heart of man and daily worships the idol of self. A sinner is a criminal and a rebel because he can let go of his selfishness and self-serving and turn to God, but refuses to do so.

Sin is living as if there's no God and it's living independently from God and depending on the world and your own ability with your mind to get from the world what you need. Now instead of depending on God and depending on faith on Him, you depend on the world and on your ability to manipulate the world to get what you want. That's what sin is. Sin is the act that cuts one self off from God.

The sinner instead of getting his love from God gets it from the world. He lives off the love that the world can give him, He lives off the security that the world can give him. He scrounges and scrabbles for his salary and his insurance policy. He lives off the sense of significance that world can give him. He lives off the world that's why he is dead in his spirit and so his personality is hopelessly perverted.

God created man to be His dwelling place. He made everyone with a desire for Him. Man can only find satisfaction in Him. Everyone has turned away from the true God to the god of self. Sin and darkness are the result of the sinner choosing self and rejecting God. We have all fallen from God into ourselves and into a government and activity under our own powers broken off from God. The reason that people remain in the darkness of sin is they reject Christ by holding on to their selfishness.

A sinner instead of having true life in God is selfish. This selfishness is the result of his choosing self over the will and instruction of God. The sinner has cut himself off from the life of God. He tries to find life and fulfillment without Him. This is never possible because there is no true life or satisfaction outside God. Many build their own religious system to comfort them and bring themselves pleasure.

Every sinner has committed two evils. These are, forsaking God and building a system that tries to quench their spiritual thirst and desire.

Jer. 2:13 "For my people have committed two evils; they have forsaken me the fountain of living waters, and hewed them out cisterns, broken cisterns, that can hold no water."

Do not forget that before a sin nature can exist, sin has to take place. So a sin nature is only the RESULT of sin not the CAUSE of it. True sin consists in the willful choice to live supremely for self and not for God. The sin nature is the result of this sin. We are the author of our own sin nature. The real sin is forsaking God, all other sins are the result of this rejection.

Many think that everyone is born sinful or with a sinful nature and this is the source and cause for all sin. This is false. A sinner does have a sin nature but this is the direct consequence of his own free choices. A sin nature consists in habit patterns formed by the sinner living for himself and not for God. All sin is a wrong choice freely made. A sin nature is the result of sin, not the cause of it.

Each sinner has a carnal mind and walks after the flesh. The carnal mind is the choice to live entirely for oneself. This choice shuts out God's life, presence and control. It is a state of complete rebellion against God and His character. The carnal mind is a total enemy of God. It hates God and is totally hostile to Him. The carnal mind is not subject to the law of God, neither can it be. Obedience is impossible in this state. When a person chooses to have self as king instead of God in his heart, he violates God's original design and purpose. He decides to pursue and to gratify self. The carnal mind is not the mind itself, but a voluntary choice and preference of the mind. It is not a part of man's body, soul or spirit.

No one is born with a carnal mind or a sin nature. This enmity against God is not transferred from father to son. It is impossible for a voluntary state of mind to pass from one generation to the next. Sin is the direct result of the free choice to live entirely for the gratification of his desires, lusts, emotions, and feelings.

This desire and pursuit becomes the law of his life. The Apostle Paul calls it the law in one's members that wars against the law of the mind. Romans 7:23 "But I see another law in my members, warring against the law of my mind, and bringing me into captivity to the law of sin which is in my members."

The reason behind the choice to indulge a desire makes it right or wrong. God made man with desires. They will bring joy if used rightly. They will bring destruction if used wrongly. Desires, feelings and emotions have no moral character in themselves. Indulging them in an unlawful way or for the purpose to please oneself supremely is sin. The choice to make self-gratification the goal of life is the whole of sin."

The dominion of any desire, lust, emotion or feeling over the will is called minding the flesh. Romans 8:5 "For they that are after the flesh do mind the things of the flesh; but they that are after the Spirit the things of the Spirit."

The Bible says that sin is the transgression of the law and we sin when each of us turn to his own way. It also says that if we love God supremely and others as ourselves we fulfill the law.

Isa. 53:6a "All we like sheep have gone astray; we have turned every one to his own way."

I John 3:4 "Whosoever commits sin transgresses also the law: for sin is the transgression of the law."

Matt. 22:36-46 "Master, which is the great commandment in the law? Jesus said unto him, Thou shalt love the Lord thy God with all thy heart, and with all thy soul, and with all thy mind. This is the first and great commandment. And the second is like unto it, Thou shalt love thy neighbor as thyself. On these two commandments hang all the law and the prophets."

Romans 13:8-10 "Owe no man any thing, but to love one another: for he that loves another has fulfilled the law. For this, Thou shalt not commit adultery, Thou shalt not kill, Thou shalt not steal, Thou shalt not bear false witness, Thou shalt not covet; and if there be any other commandment, it is briefly comprehended in this saying, namely, Thou shalt love thy neighbor as thyself. Love works no ill to his neighbor: therefore love is the fulfilling of the law."

Sin is supreme selfishness. It is the choice of self-gratification and self-indulgence in direct opposition to one's own reason. Sin is the choice to live supremely to please oneself disregarding God's higher and more important interests, the greater good of all moral beings, and one's own reason. Sin is the wrong aim or intention of the heart.

Sin is the heart of man aimed at and intending to get personal pleasure and satisfaction at all cost. Sin puts self with its pleasure first. We sin when we consent to gratify a desire that violates God's law, to bring ourselves pleasure. All sin is the misuse of our own natural resources.

It is for self gratification and self pleasure that the sinner lives, moves and has his being. His entire purpose in life is seeking after his own pleasure. He fulfills all acts for only one reason: to promote his own gratification. He regards nothing else worthy of choice except as it applies to self for self-gratification.

The sinner demands his own rights to such a degree that they are more important to him than all other interests, including God's. He is the king of his own realm and wants, He wants God and all other interests to bow to him. He makes himself a god and tramples underfoot the law of God.

Sin is a voluntary committal of the will in a state of seeking its own gratification and using all the methods it can to achieve this goal. The sinner is the king or ruler of his own realm.

Here is a list of things sin is not.

1. Not just a slip.
2. Not just a mistake.
3. Not unavoidable nor accidental.
4. Not a sickness nor disease.
5. Not ‘only human’.
6. Not something we inherit from Adam or our parents.
7. Not a part of any person's soul, spirit or body.
8. Not something we are forced to do.
9. Not something in which we are helpless victims.
10. Not something that is natural or normal.

Sin is completely unreasonable and a crime worthy of eternal punishment. Sin is the intent to live supremely for oneself at all cost. It is a premeditated, calculated, voluntary, choice to live contrary to God's original design. No one is born a sinner. There can never be any excuse for sin. Sin is original because each sinner creates it. Sin is a crime and sinners are rebels and not a subject of pity or sympathy. Sinners truly deserve the punishment of hell for their crimes because they are monsters of iniquity.

There is no proof in the Bible that sin is anything else than a wrong moral choice. The meaning of the original Greek and Hebrew words used in the Scriptures to describe sin are:

1. To act perversely, to twist and distort.
2. To be stubbornly disobedient.
3. To refuse to serve God.
4. To act treacherously and disobey.
5. To be rebellious and refuse to do right.
6. To be lawless and to refuse to reform.
7. To be obstinate or noncompliant.
8. To deviate from the right.
9. To be ungodly and to be unjust.

The following passages point out the sinner's rebellion and refusal to obey God. The sinner's real problem is pure rebellion. He can turn to God but instead he defiantly and boldly refuses to even listen to God. All sin is disobedience and rebellion.

Romans 6:16 "Know ye not, that to whom you yield yourselves servants to obey, his servants you are to whom you obey; whether of sin unto death, or of obedience unto righteousness."

James 5:17 "Therefore to him that knows to do good, and does it not, to him it is sin."

Isaiah 65:2 "I have spread out my hands all the day unto a rebellious people, which walks in a way that was not good, after their own thoughts."

Isaiah 1:19-20 "If you be willing and obedient, you shall eat the good of the land: But if you refuse and rebel, you shall be devoured with the sword: for the mouth of the Lord has spoken."

Psalms 81:11 "But my people would not hearken to my voice; and Israel would have none of me."

1 Samual 12:15 "But if you will not obey the voice of the Lord, but rebel against the commandment of the Lord, then shall the hand of the Lord be against you, as it was against your fathers."

Isaiah 42:24b "For they would not walk in His ways, neither were they obedient unto His law."

Psalms 78:10 "They kept not the covenant of God, and refused to walk in his law."

Ezekiel 20:21a "They rebelled against me: they walked not in my statutes, neither kept my judgements to do them, which if a man do, he shall even live in them."

Matt. 23:24b "How often would I have gathered my children together, even as a hen gathers her chickens under her wings, and they would not!"

Romans 10:21 "But to Israel He saith, All day long I have stretched forth my hands unto a disobedient and gainsaying people."

Joshua 24:15 "And if it seem evil unto you to serve the Lord, choose you this day whom you will serve; whether the gods which your fathers served that were on the other side of the flood, or the gods of the Amorites, in whose land you dwell: but as for me and my house, we will serve the Lord."

The only real and true source for all sin is one's own free moral will. The carnal mind is the result of the free moral choice to rebel against God's righteous authority. This choice shuts out God's life, presence and control. It is a totally voluntary state where the sinner chooses to live in complete rebellion against God and His character. The carnal mind is the total enemy of God. It hates God and is totally hostile to Him. The carnal mind refuses to be subject to the law of God. As long as a sinner stays in this chosen state he will never be obedient to God or His laws. The sinner totally rejects God's true authority and makes himself the king and ruler of his own life. He violates God's original design and purpose. He decides to reject God to pursue self-gratification. The carnal mind is not the mind itself, but a voluntary choice and preference of the mind. It exists only as a result of a free moral choice. It is not a part of man's body, soul or spirit.

The sinner must see his sin as a crime worthy of eternal punishment in hell. Sin is not an inescapable slip of a helpless victim. Sin is rebellion against God. The sinner when truly convicted will beg for mercy because he knows that he is a criminal that truly deserves hell. Unless a sinner turns from sin and bows to Jesus Christ as Lord, he cannot have eternal life.

No one can truly repent if they do not believe that they are responsible for their sin. As long as a person blames his parents, Adam, his physical condition, God, the devil, or whatever, he will never truly repent. A person must see and realize that his sin is the result of his rebellion. The sinner must realize that he has chosen to rebel and refused God's righteous authority over him. He has willingly set his heart against God to live entirely and only for himself. This is the true condition of the sinner. Sinners do not deserve any pity or sympathy at all! They are chosen criminals fighting against God. Would God punish sinners with everlasting hell if they did not truly deserve it?

I recommend the reading of the following books for those of you who wish to study more in detail about sin and why we are not born sinners.

1. FINNEY'S SYSTEMATIC THEOLOGY, by Charles Finney. Bethany Fellowship.

2. YOUTH AFLAME, by Winkie Pratney. Bethany Fellowship.

3. THE GOD THEY NEVER KNEW, by George Otis Jr. Mott Media.

4. DON'T BLAME IT ALL ON ADAM, by J.W. Jepson. Bethany Fellowship.

5. ARE MEN BORN SINNERS? THE MYTH OF ORIGINAL SIN, by Alferd T. Overstreet.

Study questions.

1. What was man designed to be by God?

2. Did Adam's spirit die when he sinned? Why?

3. What happened to Adam when he sinned?

4. Explain how we have all sinned.

5. What must always be present for sin and holiness to exist?

6. What are the two choices we have?

7. How is a person led by the flesh?

8. How is a person led by the Spirit?

9. What are the two aspects of sin?

10. Why is a sinner a criminal and guilty of hell?

11. Explain how the spirit of antichrist is at work in the hearts of all sinners.

12. What is a carnal mind? How does a person get one?

13. What is a sin nature and how does a person get one?

14. What does the law require?

15. What is sin?

16. From where does sin come?

17. Can a sinner turn to God and stop sinning? Why?

18. What does a sinner live for supremely? Why?

19. If you sin, explain why.

20. Are we born sinners? Why?