What is Sin and what is Forgiveness?

What does the Bible say about sin?

We often forget that we live in a world of sin, that the world around any Christian will still be so entrenched in sin that the concept of righteousness will not exist.  The Bible clearly divides our lives into two:  the first being what we are like before we become a Christian  and secondly  the person we become when we are no longer a slave to sin.  In this second instance the Christian may also be known as a saved sinner or a follower of Christ.

Romans 6:6 For we know that our old self was crucified with him so that the body of sin might be done away with,  that we should no longer be slaves to sin.

People today, living in the western world have got so accustomed to excusing sin that we have totally ignored the mercies of God, the forgiveness of our sinful nature and have completely distorted the grace of God  which is what we receive (ie our salvation). We know God’s grace is contrary to that which we do deserve (ie punishment). Both salvation and gifts / blessings of the Holy Spirit are free and are attainable only through Jesus Christ, and not through any other means.

Selfish gene

We are told that “humans are the way they are because of their  genetic make up”.  Our genetic makeup prevents us from being that which we may desire and makes us into that which we are born into.

Therefore, when you call someone a sinner just because they are sexually immoral you are being unreasonable and judgmental as they were born that way and nothing you can say will change that.  At least that is what you will think if your world view is aligned with that of  modern western civilization.

Richard Dawkins will have us believe that the only time we are not selfish is to help us further our own genetic self or our descendants (ie our own children) .  He further argues that our work and co-operation with others, on which our society is based, is there only to help ensure our own survival and that of our own children.  Our understanding of what is right and wrong will therefore always be based on that which will help support our self-preservation rather than the rights of others.

On human destiny and environment 

You may have heard that some members of the elite thinkers, environmentalists and the United Nations’ think tank have come to the conclusion that in order to maintain sustainability of the earth and its ecosystem we should have no more than half a billion humans at any one time. This leaves us with approximately six billion extras that cause global warming and disruption to the delicate balance of nature.  Many have therefore argued that the strong should continue to subdue the weak and to dominate the progress of humanity. We should therefore not intervene when wars break out, mass murder and genocide is committed as this is simply  one way of dealing with human over- population.

Human Rights

So when we talk about Human Rights we should think carefully about what we say.  In fact, a group of people in one part of the world will have a completely different concept of this idea of Human rights from our western culture. For example, if you ask a question about Human rights someone who comes from the Brazilian tribal area of head hunters is inevitably going to give you a different answer from someone who has actively been fighting racism, sexism or religious intolerance.

In fact, this ideology i.e. control of our behaviour, is precisely what drives people like Dr Dawkins and others to say that religion is bad for humanity as it enslaves and prevents personal development.  Let me take this opportunity to quote Billy Joel whose understanding of Sin is significantly different from that which we find in the Bible and which we call Original Sin.

Billy Joel

“I wasn’t raised Catholic, but I used to go to Mass with my friends, and I viewed the whole business as a lot of very enthralling hocus-pocus. There’s a guy hanging upon the wall in the church, nailed to a cross and dripping blood, and everybody’s blaming themselves for that man’s torment, but I said to myself, ‘Forget it. I had no hand in that evil. I have no original sin. There’s no blood of any sacred martyr on my hands. I pass on all of this.”

“I believe that all important matters have to be settled here, not in the clouds somewhere after we kick off.”

Billy Joel, American musician

I love the book by William Golding called “Lord of the Flies” in which he attempts to show how self-destructive we as humans are.  For those who are unfamiliar with this book,  William Golding builds a setting where a group of young children are stranded on an island and who eventually lead to murder and abuse of  some by physical dominance over  the weaker and less able children.

Here is a definition in New Testament Greek of the meaning of sin:

ἁμαρτάνω hamartanō (ham-ar-tan’-o)
properly to miss the mark (and so not share in the prize), that is, (figuratively) to err, especially (morally) to sin: – for your faults, offend, sin, trespass. The literal meanings of the Hebrew, and (Greek, “hamartanō”, “sin,” “sinner”, etc), disclose the true nature of sin in its manifold manifestations.

Strong’s Concordance

Sin is transgression, an overstepping of the law, the divine boundary between good and evil (Psa_51:1); (Luk_15:29); iniquity, an act inherently wrong, whether expressly forbidden or not; error, a departure from right; (Psa_51:9); (Rom_3:23); missing the mark, a failure to meet the divine standard; trespass, the intrusion of self-will into the sphere of divine authority (Eph_2:1); lawlessness, or spiritual anarchy (1Ti_1:9); unbelief, or an insult to the divine veracity (Joh_16:9).

Sin originated with Satan (Isa_14:12-14); entered the world through Adam (Rom_5:12); was, and is, universal,

Scofield Dictionary

Bible is clear when pointing the finger at us and telling the listener where they stand when compared to the holiness of God.

Romans 3:23 for all have sinned and fall short of the glory of God.

There are others who have tried hard to convince us that religion is a product of the human mind which  has induced the concept of self harm in order to control the masses by a clever few. Therefore, comments by people such as Dr Dawkins saying that religion is a form of child abuse is to be understood as an attempt to liberate the human mind and to allow its own evolution until it reaches a higher understanding of how we should live our lives.

Who else wanted to liberate the human mind?

Karl Marx who was famous for propagating his ideology known as Marxism which evolved to Communism or common ownership of everything by the masses, emphasized that one should serve the many. In other words hurting one individual where this will be beneficial to a group of individuals is acceptable.

This led to very oppressive regimes in Russia, China, Cambodia, Cuba and many other Eastern  European nations where the ideaology was superior  to the values of individuals and institutional atheism which led to mass murder being justified by means of atheist arguments  and where there was the belief that it will all turn out well in the end. So  from where did they get such ideas and why was it so easy to manipulate if, on the one hand, they said religion is used to control the masses but on the other hand they had to enforce their ideology until there was no opposition.

Karl Marx

“The wretchedness of religion is at once an expression and a protest against real wretchedness. Religion is the sigh of the oppressed creature, the feeling of a heartless world, just as it is the spirit of unspiritual conditions. It is the opium of the people.”

“The social principles of Christianity preach cowardice, self-contempt, abasement, submission, humility, in a word all the qualities of the canaille.”

Karl Marx, German political philosopher and economist (1818-1883)

I have often criticized people on both sides of the argument when dealing with this issue of freedom and acquiring an understanding of why things are the way they are. Why is it then that Karl Marx is wrong in his assumption?

Firstly, it is necessary to look at the background to his statement which was made in nineteenth century Europe  when a great deal of injustice took place.  This is where we would find a very small group of people who control most of the national wealth.  These same people used to go to Church on Sunday but continue with their oppression and abuse of their workers oppression on Monday.

The industrial revolution did not bring a solution to our moral problems and neither was it responsible for social injustice. It is human nature and our tendency to destroy rather than to build, to steal what was developed by others in order to allow us to both do nothing and be self-obsessive and self-indulgent but then to continue to take advantage of the labour of others which only serves to continue our self-indulgence.

Friedrich Engels

Karl Marx had a close friend and financial support called Friedrich Engels. Note that without his financial support it would have been almost impossible for Marxism and Communism intellectual ideology to develop. So was Karl Marx sponging (one who habitually depends on others for one’s own maintenance) off Friedrich Engels and how dare he tell us about  suffering when he only experienced this on an intellectual level.

After Marx’s death, Engels spent his remaining years editing Marx’s unfinished volumes of Capital.  Engels made an argument using anthropological evidence of the time to show that family structures have changed over history, and that the concept of monogamous marriage came from the necessity within class society for men to control women to ensure their own children would inherit their property.

He argued a future communist society would allow people to make decisions about their relationships free from economic constraints. Sexual freedom was therefore very high on his agenda and constraints of marriage are just as detrimental to human development as is religion.

We find this idea present in many other proponents of the theory of evolution. What is this and why should we listen to someone who is sex obsessed, lazy and is happy to kill other humans in order to further his own ideology.

The fact is that if there is NO GOD and therefore no external to a humanity law giver, then all is relative and permissible and any frowning and disapproval of any such ideas are only a remnant of our evolutionary past. At this point I would like to share a story with you which will most probably be very distressing to anyone reading it.

Signs of Human development and progress

A group of men (around 5 in total) and one woman kidnapped, raped and tortured a young couple.

Hugh Christopher Newsom, Jr., 23, and Channon Gail Christian, 21, were a couple from Knoxville, Tennessee. According to a Tennessee grand jury, they were murdered and both were raped after being kidnapped early on the morning of 7th Jan 2007. Their vehicle had been carjacked. Five suspects have been arrested and charged in the case. The grand jury indicted four of the suspects on counts of murder, robbery, kidnapping, rape and theft, while one final suspect has already been convicted of federal charges as accessory after the fact to carjacking. Both victims endured horrendous torture and died horrific death which appalled many, both victims were black and all perpetrators of the crime were white.

Remember that this is just one crime I have picked at random in order to show you what is within human nature. There are many examples of fathers who kill their offspring in order to get even with their ex wife, of husbands who kill their wives in order to stop them from leaving them and marrying someone else, of unhappy employees who go on to kill their bosses and other innocent bystanders who just happen to be at the wrong place at the wrong time.

Human devolution

I remember when a few years ago a friend of mine said that  human evolution can only be measured in a  number of ways.  We have progressed from killing each other, we may have started with clubs, then knifes then guns, cannons, heavy artillery then finally we moved to mass murder using atomic bombs, chemical weaponry and so on.

I have always been amazed by our own capacity to be cruel to each other but at the same time ignore that savage injustice and find ways of justifying our own wrong doing.

Where does  sin lead humanity according to the Bible?

Romans 6:23 For the wages of sin is death, but the free gift of God is eternal life in Christ Jesus our Lord.

Many have tried to accuse Christians and the Christian faith of being oppressive and manipulative in order to enslave the hearer into submission. But this is a misunderstanding of massive proportions and can easily be demonstrated that it’s  sin within that causes this lie to flourish in our societies. We see from the Bible (Jesus own words):

John 3:16  “For God so loved the world, that He gave His only begotten Son, that whoever believes in Him shall not perish, but have eternal life.

17  “For God did not send the Son into the world to judge the world, but that the world might be saved through Him.

He goes on to explain the real reasons why we as humans desire to stay away from Jesus and the offer of forgiveness and reconciliation to God.

18  “He who believes in Him is not judged; he who does not believe has been judged already, because he has not believed in the name of the only begotten Son of God. 19  “This is the judgment, that the Light has come into the world, and men loved the darkness rather than the Light, for their deeds were evil. 20  “For everyone who does evil hates the Light, and does not come to the Light for fear that his deeds will be exposed. 21  “But he who practices the truth comes to the Light, so that his deeds may be manifested as having been wrought in God.”

A summary:

  • God is Love and just, justice demands punishment but the love of God wants to grant us forgiveness. This can only be achieved by punishing the guilty, and for this Jesus came to take our guilt upon himself.
  • The main objective of coming of Jesus is to save and not condemn
  • To bring enlightenment not to enslave
  • Evil and good are in direct opposition
  • Men love darkness (sin) and therefore stay away from light as this exposes their sin
  • Sin will not be ignored, neither will it be forgiven on our own merits.

Justice and freedom

I know that some will say, this is not my fault, neither is it my battle and I have no quarrel with God. He should just let me be.  The problem is that I have yet to meet anyone who is totally benign (not dangerous to humans) and really is happy for the world to go on as it is, without any intervention that can be deemed oppressive.

In other words we all like to fix this problem but this is impossible without God’s intervention, as any other influence we see today may be seen as oppressive, manipulative, freedom reducing and  murderess ideology.  This intervention can lead to the oppression of political opponents and the distortion of  truth through the mediums of TV, radio and the Internet.

The freedom of human kind

We like to be free even when we don’t possess an understanding of freedom. In the world of Satan and Sin it is impossible to claim any possibility of freedom. If , by association, you are deemed to belong to a group of people who oppose the light then your origin and destiny is predetermined. As Bob Dylan famously puts it in one of his songs:

“You gonna have to serve somebody, it may be the devil or it may be the Lord but you gonna have to serve somebody”. Bob Dylan

Benjamin Franklin

They who would give up an essential liberty for temporary security, deserve neither liberty or security

This saying is so relevant for today’s society where we have given up so much of our liberty in order to maintain security in our lives.

Goethe

None are so hopelessly enslaved as those who falsely believe they are free.

Finally, I would like to finish by saying, all should examine where they come from and where does it lead.  Is there freedom after all and if there is none at all, whether it’s due to genetics or spiritual conditions which force us to make choices between good or evil. However, one thing is certain and that is that the choice is still yours.  It may be limited but it’s free. If your life is at stake today choices that you make would determine your life’s philosophy. However, I would argue that before this should happen you should consider this question and decide what your answer is going to be.

Wishing you all God’s blessings and freedom from sin

Defend the word

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4 Responses to What is Sin and what is Forgiveness?

  1. P.E.T says:

    Defend,

    If you are interested in writing about the Bible, please do, but keep your words within the boundaries of topics you know about…

    1. Are you AGAINST cultural relativism? (And there are no headhunters in Brazil…)
    2. NO ONE with any credibility (and who isn’t a totalitarian leader) has said that we should just let mass murder and genocide occur to correct the population. That is ludicrous. To be ECO friendly, we need to be aware of our own environmental impact, like most of the undeveloped world already is, and limit our pollution and impact.
    3. Read the Communist Manifesto and some of Engels (and not just the anti-religious part). Both men are consistently given an undeserved short end of the stick.
    4. Talk about someone other than Dawkins.

    For your sake, I certainly hope that English is not your first language. If it is, I highly suggest rethinking this blogging thing.

    PET

  2. Hi PET

    Here is a short answer to your question. (As short as I can as you raise few issues here)

    1.Yes I am for cultural diversity, but no I don’t think crime, murder or sin is acceptable in any country or culture. Relativism and advice to contextualise everything is the buzz word amongst modern people today but this does not make it right.

    2. There are issues higher than just population control here; I appreciate that we can not run down our resources until we bring destruction upon ourselves. However I think it totally hypocritical to talk about it if you are based in the west where vast country like America has less than 400 Mil people, there are much smaller countries and much more densely populated that are coping better than fine. You have heard of 20 / 80 statistics I’m guessing; i.e. that 20 percent of the western world is using 80 percent of the world’s resources. Sound familiar?

    3. I do as it happen know much about Communism, both from its authors and it’s practical teachings. I have also had an opportunity to visit number of socialist countries, and this is what I often advise students to do before they commit themselves to the socialist philosophy. So no need to for any lessons here just yet, but thanks for the offer. This may also say to you something about my background, that I may prefer to keep private, or does being Christian strips me of that right?

    4. As for the use of English, who known maybe I’m not native to this country (Just a possibility) or I could be dyslexic. Either way does this negate my right to use “your” language and ideas that I’m attempting to introduce here? This tends to be constant escape route that people take when they don’t have the correct answer to the question that is being asked. It seams to me that attacking personal traits is the thing to be done if at all possible to hurt proponents of the idea that is not in agreement with our own ideology and all this in order to deflect from the real issue.

    I didn’t say Marx was always wrong only that sometimes he was catastrophically wrong. And that is all the difference in the world one needs to stop following the fallacies that one is pushing. We sometimes tend to represent these things in far too positive light by our western gullible and ideologically unprepared society and our incomplete world views which results in a significant misunderstanding of it. As for the head hunters in Brazil, these are historical events (Which you can google before you make such comments, I would suggest) that are hypothetically used in this post. I thought this was clear or are you just trying to find any bone to pick here?

    My Best Regards

    Defend the word.

  3. P.E.T says:

    Defend,

    No, I’m not trying to pick bones here. What worries me is that you malign cultural relativism in one breath and then bring up incorrect ethnographic evidence in another…it makes me think you don’t know what you’re talking about.

    As far as human population, you and I are in agreement that the US uses much more than its fair share of resources and that much of the rest of the world is doing a better job, but that’s a far cry from your original statement claiming that UN think tanks, elitist thinkers and environmentalists actually want people to die! My goodness, polar opposites!

    If something in your personal past makes you not want to discuss Communism, that’s fine, but it’s you who brought it up and vastly misconstrues some of its implications. Don’t take me wrong, I’m not for communism, but the philosophy shouldn’t be confused for the practice; don’t blame Marx for Stalin.

    In general, one’s ability to use language correlates well with one’s ability to construe a rational argument using that language. It isn’t a personal attack to let you know that your arguments lack rational logic and tend to ramble with no particular point or conclusion…this is an objective statement regarding your post.

    PET

  4. Hi PET

    Thanks for your reply; you make statements that are very hard to defend against. I think I was much more specific with my statements than you about my lack of “logic”. As for the evidence I’m guessing you deliberately choosing to ignore my previous reply. If you google about anything I said you will find that these are not made up or incorrect. I don’t mean to be nasty but you should check what you say before you commit yourself to any views and comments. This however does not mean you have to agree with me we both live in free country. As for the communism and philosophy of Marx I have first hand experience of it. So yes we could go on indefinitely here who is right and who is wrong but unless we have some concrete and specific information it is easy to just make sweeping statement.

    So I would appreciate that you provide me with more information as that is only fair. Otherwise without specifics I can neither agree nor disagree with you.

    Regards

    Defend the word

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