The Nature of Sin


The biggest problem in the body of Christ today is ignorance, and that is most unfortunate. My people are destroyed from lack of knowledge, God said. (Hosea 4:6). Without enlightenment lives are wasted, potentials decimated, destinies altered and men fall short of God’s glory. It is amazing but sometimes people are willfully ignorant. They cling to the traditions of men, even after realization those traditions traduce scriptures. They seek accommodation. Traditions of men have the capacity to make the word of God of no effect. Jesus said so. (Mark.7:13). Some insist on clinging to inaccuracy because they don’t want to let go of strongly held erroneous beliefs of many years. And some insist on cleaving to positions opposed to scriptures to maintain false elevation and worship by men. The Bible enjoins us to be like the Bereans, to search the scriptures, to STUDY the word of God. (Acts 17:11, 2 Timothy 2:15). We can’t afford to be irresponsible with our faith. We must take responsibility for our lives. We must search scriptures.

It is not the job of your pastor to take decisions for you. His job is to empower you with knowledge. You can’t turn your pastor into an effigy of an African deity, abdicating responsibility over your life to him. God will hold you accountable for your life, even if you followed the advice of a man of God. God has made his Word available to us at zero cost over the internet. You have access to the Word free. Study! Stop relying on 3rd parties to give you jaundiced interpretations of scriptures. Read the Bible yourself. Much of the prejudice expressed by Christians is as a result of ignorance. We are saved by grace, not because of anything good in us or about us. It’s all grace! Self-righteousness is a sin of pride – and a disturbing manifestation of ignorance.

Some Christians are so full of prejudice towards the world the prejudice bothers on hatred. Yet you can’t hate whom God loves dearly. John 3:16 says God soooo loved the world he even sacrificed his Son! God loves the sinner! He never gives up on the sinner. Some Christians have imbued themselves with a strange superiority complex. They think they’re better than everyone. They are the most vociferous in prejudice – so obstreperous they have almost come to define Christianity. And those who know better vacate the areopagus, cowering to these religious bullies afraid of being labeled carnal. Yet they do so much damage to the message of Christ, and misrepresent the personage and love of God. The understanding of something as basic as sin eludes them. They think sin is only what you do. But the definition of sin in scriptures is so wide it becomes obvious God is saying to us it has to be by grace. Anything not done in faith is sin, for example. (Romans 14:23),

Under this definition of sin in Romans 14:23, even crossing the road in fear will qualify as sin. But more significantly, God’s definition of sin encompasses thoughts. There is thought crime. Jesus said if you look at a woman with lustful intent, you have committed adultery with her in your heart. (Matthew 5:28). In other words, the sin of lustful imagination is as real as the very act itself. Same guilt applies. When a sinner sits in judgment over a sinner you have an irony of hyperbolic proportions. “If we say we have no sin we deceive ourselves and the truth is not in us.” (1John 1:8).

The second mistake these people make about sin is that they think sin is a civil liability. They think they can atone for their sin by doing good. But the Bible says that sin is a criminal offence. Carries capital punishment. The wages of sin is death. (Romans 6:23). And that is why Jesus died a criminal’s death on the cross. He was executed as a criminal. We should have been the ones on that cross but he took our place. We are deserving of death. Thank God for Jesus. The cross was a place of shame. All our shame and nakedness Jesus took upon himself on that cross. There is no amount of doing good that can atone for sin. Atonement is a judicial maneuver for capital punishment. Sin must be judged. God judged and killed his Son in our place. What love!

Because Jesus was our substitutionary sacrifice, the principle of double jeopardy applies. We cannot be tried for the same offence again because Jesus already paid the price. We cannot be judged twice. Those who don’t believe in eternal salvation are in effect saying Christ died in vain, that he didn’t die for us. The only atonement for sin is blood. Someone must die. It’s why Jesus died. He didn’t offer to do good in place of death. And so when we give our lives to Christ, God sees us through rose tinted spectacles of the blood of Jesus. God can’t abide sin. But there is a subsisting blood sacrifice that covers us. It’s why we can approach God. And God is not judging the world. He said so himself. (John 3:17). Stop judging people! God wants EVERYONE to come to the saving knowledge of his grace. No sinner is unworthy of his grace. No matter how far gone you are, no matter the grievousness of your sin, God will forgive. Just come to him. Sin is sin to God. There are no degrees of sin. In fact under the Law you break one law you break all. (James 2:10).

Those who condemn and judge others often stand on the pedestal of legalism. Yet there are two approaches to the administration of the laws of God: There is the legalistic approach favoured by the Pharisees. And then the compassionate approach favoured by Jesus. When the Pharisees demanded that the woman caught in adultery be stoned to death, Jesus saved her life. Were Jesus alive today some will of course accuse him of condoning and encouraging adultery! They will excommunicate their own Lord and Saviour, blacklist him for saving the adulterer.  But they miss the point. Jesus didn’t say she didn’t sin. Instead he gave her life, gave her love, a second chance. And he gives us all a second chance every day. And a third and a fourth, ad infinitum. Unless of course you never sin! The God who commands us to forgive those who sin against us 70×7 times a day swallows his own pill.

God wants you to come to him as you are. He wants to save you. You can’t save yourself. Please pray this prayer: Father, I come to you as I am – a sinner – in the name of Jesus. Please forgive me. I believe in my heart Jesus died for me, that you raised him from the dead. I confess with my mouth that Jesus Christ is my Lord and my Saviour. I am now born again. Amen.”

© Leke Alder |