What is sin and why should I care?
Sin is a transgression of God’s law (1 John 3:4; Romans 4:15). Sin by its very definition is against God because to sin means either to violate God’s prohibitive commands or to omit practicing His positive commands (James 4:17). Since God’s law is a reflection of His holy nature, to sin by transgressing His law is to offend Him personally.
No One Is Righteous, Not Even One
10 As it is written:
“There is no one righteous, not even one; no one understands; there is no one who seeks God. All have turned away, they have together become worthless; there is no one who does good, not even one.” “Their throats are open graves; their tongues practice deceit.” “The poison of vipers is on their lips.” “Their mouths are full of cursing and bitterness.” “Their feet are swift to shed blood; ruin and misery mark their ways and the way of peace they do not know.” 18 “There is no fear of God before their eyes.”
For the wages of sin is death, but the gift of God is eternal life in Christ Jesus our Lord.
In other words, the payment for your sin, the wages you have earned is death according to God’s perfect and Holy standard. Nothing impure will ever enter heaven. Sin prevents you from entering. But the God news is Jesus was willing to hang a die on a cross to be the payment for your sin.
As the Old Testament prophet Isaiah points out, your righteousness is about as good as a filthy rag. The Hebrew phrase for filthy rags, ukabeged ehdim, literally means, “like as rags of menstruation.” So can sin cast out sin? It is like saying cancer can cure cancer. The rag was meant to serve a purpose but in the course of that purpose it too became soiled and worthless so too is the person who by walking through this world has become soiled and stained with sin and has become unusable in the Kingdom of God. (But you do have hope – more on that later on.)
So, before a Righteous and Holy God our “good deeds” account for nothing. Let’s say you have committed a crime and you stand before the judge. You mention all of your good deeds and the judge says “You are not here for that, but you are before me to be judged on your crimes and to pay the wages for your crimes.” That is what a good judge does; he measures out the payment for the crime – it is called justice.
You can never earn your way into heaven. Let’s say you could pass a test to get into heaven. All you have to do is swim from New Jersey to England. The comparison would be keeping all of God’s laws and never sinning, not even once! So, some of you would not make it to the beach through a physical aliment or you are just too busy. Others may reach the beach but not the water. Most that arrived could swim out a few hundred feet and maybe a few hundred yards. Some might even make it a few miles. But none would pass the test and make it across, none! So how do you pass the test? How do you make it into heaven? You let Jesus take the test for you, for, in His perfection, only He can take away your sins.
Have you ever lied? Stolen? Lusted? So, you are a lying, thieving adulterer. You have broken God’s moral law the ten commandments and are worthy of death. In other words, you have sinned and nothing impure or unclean will ever enter the Kingdom of God/Heaven. Only by Christ washing you clean can you enter, Jesus said. You must be born again to enter the kingdom of Heaven. More on this in the next section – Salvation.
Of Filthy Rags and Transformed Hearts
That if you confess with your mouth, “Jesus is Lord,” and believe in your heart that God raised him from the dead, you will be saved. For it is with your heart that you believe and are justified, and it is with your mouth that you confess and are saved.
“Come now, let us reason together,” says the LORD. “Though your sins are like scarlet, they will be as white as snow; though they are as red as crimson, they will become like wool. 19 If you are willing and obedient, you will eat the best of the land.…