The time was when there was no sin in this world. At that time it was an Eden. By man transgressing God's holy law sin entered this world. "Wherefore, as by one man sin entered into the world, and death by sin; and so death passed upon all men, for that all have sinned." Rom.5:12. This is the origin of sin in this world and the awful consequence. God's design was that his creation be sinless and pure, but by disobedience sin has marred the scene of God's creative purity. The following texts will acquaint the reader with the characteristics or nature of sin.

1. Sin is defiling. "There is a generation that are pure in their own eyes, and yet is not washed from their filthiness." Prov.30:12. "Though your sins be as scarlet, they shall be as white as snow; though they be red like crimson, they shall be as wool." Isa.1:18. Here we see the defiling nature of sin. It stains the soul as with scarlet. White is the emblem of purity. The pure soul is spoken of as being clothed in "fine linen, clean and white." Sin stains those robes with crimson, or scarlet spots. Though you wash with niter, or with much soap, those deep-dyed marks of iniquity can not be thus cleansed away.

2. Sin is deceiving. "But exhort one another daily, while it is called to-day; lest any of you be hardened through the deceitfulness of sin." Heb.3:13. One sin has opened the gate or way to many more. There is a kind of opiate power in sin that renders its victim unconscious of its awful magnitude, thus its deceitfulness.

3. Sin is reproachful. "Righteousness exalteth a nation: but sin is a reproach to any people." Prov.14:34. We can not enable you to see that sin is a reproach in any better way than by placing two pictures before you. One picture is that of a community where all the citizens, old and young, love and fear God. They live together in peace and love; there are no quarrelings or contentions, envyings or unkindnesses among neighbors, neither in home life. There is no stealing, lying, cheating, swearing, drunkenness, fightings, backbitings, vulgarisms, unholy revelries, etc. Such manner of life exalts that community, and all good people are desirous of making their homes there.

The second picture is that of a community where neighbors are quarreling, hating and lawing with each other. In home life there are angry words and bitter feelings and estrangements. There are lewd revelries and wanton pleasures. There are stealings and lyings, cheatings, fightings, swearings, drinking, chewing and smoking, slang phrases, etc. Such is a reproach, and thus we learn how righteousness exalts a nation and sin becomes a reproach to any people.

4. Sin gives death its horror. "The sting of death is sin." 1 Cor.15:56. Many a thing in this world carries a sting by which it inflicts pain. Death and the thoughts of death are painful and cause a shudder and fear because death has a sting. It is sin.

5. Sin excludes the soul from heaven. "Then said Jesus again unto them, I go my way, and ye shall seek me, and shall die in your sins: whither I go, ye can not come." John 8:21. Heaven is a pure and holy place. No sin will ever enter there. If we die in our sins heaven is lost unto us forever.

What Is Sin?

Many people have become confused concerning a sinless life because they did not understand what sin was. A temptation or trial is not a sin, but it is the yielding to temptation that is a sin. "All unrighteousness is sin." 1 John 5:17. All that is wrong is sinful. There are but few people that will not confess that we should live right in this world. To live right in every way is the fruit of righteousness. James says, "Therefore to him that knoweth to do good, and doeth it not, to him it is sin." 4:17. To refuse to do a good thing known unto us when we have opportunity is wrong and displeasing to God. Solomon says, "The thought of foolishness is sin." "In a multitude of words there wanteth not sin." The apostle John clearly and positively defines sin in these words: "Whosoever committeth sin transgresseth also the law: for sin is the transgression of the law." 1 John 3:4.

To transgress or violate any known law of God is sin. This is clear and comprehensive. For instance, a man knows it is wrong to steal, therefore if he steals it is a sin. A man knows it is wrong to tell a falsehood, therefore if he speaks falsely he commits a sin. A man knows it is wrong to become intoxicated, and yet he does become so; he has violated a known law of right and wrong, and has therefore committed a sin. Who is the man of common sense that does not know it is wrong to lie, steal, swindle, defraud, curse, drink, get angry and cross; to refuse to help a needy neighbor when he can, to talk foolishly, to tell unseemly tales, to backbite, slander, commit adultery, hold enmity against another, or to be proud and vain, etc.?

All these, and many more, the Bible says are wrong, and man knows them to be wrong; therefore to do them is a sin. Sin brings man into bondage. John 8:34. Man is unable to liberate himself from sin, but God has sent a Deliverer. Praise his name! "If the Son therefore shall make you free, ye shall be free indeed." John 8:36. Of this glorious deliverance we shall speak in the following chapter.

chapter ii the holy scriptures
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