Defining Sin

Saturday, October 20th, 2012

by Elizabeth Peter

If sin plays a crucial role in determining  one’s destiny  to heaven or not,  then none of us qualify to enter God’s kingdom.  Since all have sinned and are falling short of the honor and glory  which God bestows and receives. Romans 3:23.  If sin really does matter, then Jesus’ baptism, death  and resurrection will all be in vain.  Why did God allow His Son to endure such compounded suffering and pain?

For the wages which sin pays is death, but the [bountiful] free gift of God is eternal life through (in union with) Jesus Christ our Lord.  Romans 6:23

Without the shedding of  blood, sin cannot be paid for.  God knows that sinners can never enter His kingdom through their own efforts and deeds.   He made a Way for us by sending His One and only Son, Jesus Christ, having been born of a virgin to fulfill His righteousness  through His baptism at the River Jordan.   Matthew 3:15.

Prior to  Christ’s death,  Jesus baptism plays an important role.  

Then Jesus came from Galilee to the Jordan to John to be baptized by him. But John protested strenuously, having in mind to prevent Him, saying, It is I who have need to be baptized by You, and do You come to me?  But Jesus replied to him, Permit it just now; for this is the fitting way for [both of] us to fulfill all righteousness [that is, to perform completely whatever is right]. Then he permitted Him.  And, when Jesus was baptized, He went up at once out of the water; and behold, the heavens were opened, and he [John] saw the Spirit of God descending like a dove and alighting on Him. And behold, a voice from heaven said, This is My Son, My Beloved, in Whom I delight!  Matthew 3:13-17

This was where Christ took the sins of humanity.  In the Old Testament, the atonement of sin was carried out by the Aaronic priesthood. To pay for the sins of Israel, an animal had to be sacrificed.  An animal’s sacrifice was only a temporal ritual that could cover sin. It has no power to eradicate sin permanently for all time.   

Jesus Who is God in the human flesh came to this world to pay  for the sins of mankind  once and for all for all time.  With reference to the above underlined sentences , it  was all part of God’s plan.  John who comes from the Aaronic priesthood  was  qualified to represent  mankind  and to pass the sins of the world upon Jesus.  Luke 1:5    

When John laid his hands on Jesus, all the sins of the world were passed onto Jesus. Then, the Spirit of God descended like a dove and alighted on  Jesus and a voice from heaven said, “This is My Son, My Beloved, in Whom I delight!” God was  pleased  with the obedience and willingness of  Jesus to  be baptised and become our sin bearer and substitute.

The next day John saw Jesus coming to him and said, Look! There is the Lamb of God, Who takes away the sin of the world!  John 1:29  Notice that John says “takes” and not “will take”. Why?  Because Jesus already took the sins of the world upon Himself at the River Jordan through His baptism.  In the Old Testament, the animal took the sins of Israel upon itself after the laying of hands by the Aaronic priesthood.  Likewise, Jesus did the same as the Lamb of God Who takes away the sins of the world.

He then walked on this earth for three years to fulfil all righteousness of God.  He was persecuted and vilified because the sins of humanity were upon His body. Though He was sinless,  He was treated like a criminal  and humiliated by the very people He came to save.

Jesus answered, I assure you, most solemnly I tell you, unless a man is born of water and [even] the Spirit, he cannot [ever] enter the kingdom of God.  John 3:5.  Jesus’ baptism is an important element that determines our salvation in Christ.   Faith in His baptism saves us.  The word “water” speaks of Jesus’ baptism.

Now that we know how Christ took our sins, let’s see how He paid for it.

After this, Jesus, knowing that all was now finished (ended), said in fulfillment of the Scripture, I thirst. A vessel (jar) full of sour wine (vinegar) was placed there, so they put a sponge soaked in the sour wine on [a stalk, reed of] hyssop, and held it to [His] mouth. When Jesus had received the sour wine, He said, It is finished! And He bowed His head and gave up His spirit. John 19:28-30

When Jesus cried out  “It is finished“,  He meant  that  sin was already paid in full by Him.  He took our condemnation through death so that we will not feel condemned when we sin.  We are now dead to sin and alive to God.  Sin has no more dominion over us.  Jesus set us free from the bondages of sin.

He has no day by day necessity, as [do each of these other] high priests, to offer sacrifice first of all for his own [personal] sins and then for those of the people, because He [met all the requirements] once for all when He brought Himself [as a sacrifice] which He offered up.  Hebrews 7:27

For then would He often have had to suffer [over and over again] since the foundation of the world. But as it now is, He has once for all at the consummation and close of the ages appeared to put away and abolish sin by His sacrifice [of Himself]. Hebrews 9:26

And in accordance with this will [of God], we have been made holy (consecrated and sanctified) through the offering made once for all of the body of Jesus Christ (the Anointed One). Hebrews 10:10

For Christ [the Messiah Himself] died for sins once for all, the Righteous for the unrighteous (the Just for the unjust, the Innocent for the guilty), that He might bring us to God. In His human body He was put to death, but He was made alive in the spirit. 1 Peter 3:18

Because we know that Christ (the Anointed One), being once raised from the dead, will never die again; death no longer has power over Him. For by the death He died, He died to sin [ending His relation to it] once for all; and the life that He lives, He is living to God [in unbroken fellowship with Him].Even so consider yourselves also dead to sin and your relation to it broken, but alive to God [living in unbroken fellowship with Him] in Christ Jesus. Rom 6:9-11


Notice that in all the verses above, the phrase “once for all” is always mentioned?  Jesus died on that cross at Calvary two thousand years ago, once and for all. And notice in the last verse it says that “Christ (the Anointed One), being once raised from the dead, will never die again; death no longer has power over Him. For by the death He died, He died to sin [ending His relation to it] once for all”?  Christ will never die for sin again because He has already paid in full once and for all.   His death has already ended all relationships to sin once and for all.  By faith we have been baptized, died and raised with Him.  With this we ourselves are also dead to sin and no longer have any relations to it.  We are now alive to God, in Christ Jesus.  Sin no longer has power over us.  

What shall we say [to all this]? Are we to remain in sin in order that God’s grace (favor and mercy) may multiply and overflow? Certainly not! How can we who died to sin live in it any longer? Are you ignorant of the fact that all of us who have been baptized into Christ Jesus were baptized into His death? We were buried therefore with Him by the baptism into death, so that just as Christ was raised from the dead by the glorious [power] of the Father, so we too might [habitually] live and behave in newness of life. For if we have become one with Him by sharing a death like His, we shall also be [one with Him in sharing] His resurrection [by a new life lived for God].We know that our old (unrenewed) self was nailed to the cross with Him in order that [our] body [which is the instrument] of sin might be made ineffective and inactive for evil, that we might no longer be the slaves of sin. For when a man dies, he is freed (loosed, delivered) from [the power of] sin [among men].Now if we have died with Christ, we believe that we shall also live with Him, Because we know that Christ (the Anointed One), being once raised from the dead, will never die again; death no longer has power over Him. For by the death He died, He died to sin [ending His relation to it] once for all; and the life that He lives, He is living to God [in unbroken fellowship with Him].Even so consider yourselves also dead to sin and your relation to it broken, but alive to God [living in unbroken fellowship with Him] in Christ Jesus. Let not sin therefore rule as king in your mortal (short-lived, perishable) bodies, to make you yield to its cravings and be subject to its lusts and evil passions. Do not continue offering or yielding your bodily members [and faculties] to sin as instruments (tools) of wickedness. But offer and yield yourselves to God as though you have been raised from the dead to [perpetual] life, and your bodily members [and faculties] to God, presenting them as implements of righteousness. For sin shall not [any longer] exert dominion over you, since now you are not under Law [as slaves], but under grace [as subjects of God’s favor and mercy].  Romans 6:1-14

We sin all the time in our human flesh  in our words, thoughts and  actions.  The truth  is, we have died to sin with Christ and alive to God through his resurrection.  Sin has no power to deny our access to heaven. Now, it is no more about our shortcoming, doing or striving but Jesus’ absolute finished work that decides our destiny. Our faith in Christ’s baptism, death and resurrection has paved the way for us to enter heaven.  However, those who reject this free gift of salvation can never enter into the Kingdom of God. 

Now we know how and where  Christ took our sins, and why He died. Let us  see what role His  resurrection do pertaining to our sin.

Therefore, [there is] now no condemnation (no adjudging guilty of wrong) for those who are in Christ Jesus, who live [and] walk not after the dictates of the flesh, but after the dictates of the Spirit.  Romans 8:1

For it is impossible [to restore and bring again to repentance] those who have been once for all enlightened, who have consciously tasted the heavenly gift and have become sharers of the Holy Spirit,  Hebrews 6:4

The Spirit refers to Christ’s resurrection. When Jesus died, we died with Him, when he resurrected, we resurrected with Him. When we believe in the Gospel Truth of the water, blood and Spirit, not only will we receive the perfect remission of sins but  also  the gift of the Holy Spirit.  The gift of the Holy Spirit can be received only by faith through the grace of God. 

This is He Who came by (with) water and blood [His baptism and His death], Jesus Christ (the Messiah)—not by (in) the water only, but by (in) the water and the blood. And it is the [Holy] Spirit Who bears witness, because the [Holy] Spirit is the Truth. So there are three witnesses in heaven: the Father, the Word and the Holy Spirit, and these three are One; and there are three witnesses on the earth: the Spirit, the water, and the blood; and these three agree [are in unison; their testimony coincides]. 1 John 5:6-8

And Peter answered them, Repent (change your views and purpose to accept the will of God in your inner selves instead of rejecting it) and be baptized, every one of you, in the name of Jesus Christ for the forgiveness of and release from your sins; and you shall receive the gift of the Holy Spirit.- Acts 2:38

The word “repentance” that Peter speaks about is not the same as praying to God and asking Him for forgiveness incessantly knowing that we will sin again and again.  God wants us to come to Him acknowledging  that we are sinners.  God knows no matter what, we will always sin as long as we are in this human flesh.  True repentance is admitting and knowing that only through faith in Jesus’ baptism, death and resurrection can we be saved and made sinless and righteous. Every moment as we walk in this Truth,unconsciously we are in the state of repentance and conforming to the perfect will of God. Only faith in Jesus baptism, death and resurrection makes salvation a reality in our lives.

For just as by one man’s disobedience (failing to hear, heedlessness, and carelessness) the many were constituted sinners, so by one Man’s obedience the many will be constituted righteous (made acceptable to God, brought into right standing with Him). Romans 5:19

We were made sinners because of Adam’s disobedience to God.  However, by  Christ’s obedience to God, we are made righteous.  Sin can no longer stop us from receiving the gift of eternal life and the gift of the Holy Spirit.  We are no  longer slaves to sin.  Jesus  has already  been  atoned and propitiated for  our sins.

This privilege  of enjoying God’s unlimited grace must not be abused.  We  who are redeemed by His grace through faith must not  use this privilege as an excuse to sin habitually.   The Law of Moses was given to make us realize we are sinners and by faith in Christ’s  finished work , we are saved.  This is not by our own works but by faith in the baptism, death and resurrection of Jesus which made us sinless and righteous.

In conclusion, a proper understanding of sin is vital for one’s salvation.  Through God’s Word we have realized what matters most is our faith in Jesus finished work.  We must believe in the Gospel Truth of the water and the Spirit that constitutes God’s Righteousness beginning at the River Jordan .  Remember, you are nothing without Christ.

CHRIST I A N : Without CHRIST, I Am Nothing.

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