There seems to be a lot of confusion not only in the body of Christ, but in society at large regarding the nature of sin. Not having a proper understanding of sin and its consequences, however, will almost inevitably lead a person to becoming deceived by it.
I believe this ignorant perception of sin is one of the reasons Paul described sin as “utterly sinful,” in Romans 7. Look at what he says in verse 13;
“Nevertheless, in order that sin might be recognized as sin, it used what is good to bring about my death, so that through the commandment sin might become utterly sinful.”
In the original language this very emphatic term means, “superlatively,” or “beyond measure.” As the “chief of sinners,” Paul was fully acquainted with the slippery slope of sin, which causes people to not only participate in it, but also to be deceived by it often to the point of self destruction.
Notice the first comment Paul makes about sin, which is that without God’s commandments, sin is unrecognizable.
In fact, this is the most insidious characteristic of sin – its genesis stems from an unseen realm referred to as the “sin nature.” That realm stretches deeper than physical acts of sin, and reaches even beyond the contrary thoughts we have about God. Sin dwells in the part of man that is considered “dead in [his] transgressions,” until the Spirit of God is invited to supernaturally remove this nature from him.
Until a person embraces through revelation the death that reigns in a man’s inmost being, a person can never fully appreciate his need for a savior. If the thought of sin doesn’t immediately cause someone to think of death, loss, destruction and being cut off from God beyond the point for redemption, then that person is not seeing sin through God’s perspective.
Coming to terms with the depravity of the sin nature (and subsequently our inability to rid ourselves of this nature without the supernatural power of God,) mankind would forever attempt to quell the sin by our own self-effort. This concept is exactly what causes to sin to become “utterly sinful,” as Paul writes.
Without God, the cycle of sin goes something like this:
We sin. We begin suffering the consequences of sin, and feel bad about ourselves. We then put forth effort to try not to sin. But the harder we try, the worse off we become. If we never come to terms with what causes sin to happen in the first place, (mostly because we fail to recognize the root cause of our evil behavior exists in a spiritual dimension in which we have no human power to overcome), we eventually experience the “wage” of sin, which is eternal death.
Sin is very important to God. And when we understand sin the way it’s truly defined, we understand why God wants nothing more than to remove sin and its effects permanently from us.
In the original language sin means, “to forfeit by missing the mark.” When Adam and Eve sinned, they forfeited the life God intended for them to live, by submitting their will to the devil instead of to God.
This forfeiture of the life God intended for us to live, took place first and foremost in our spirit, where we were once united with God after he created us in his image.
For those who remain connected to this sinful nature, not accepting the free gift of salvation through Jesus Christ, the commandments cause sin to be in “excess,” or “beyond measure.” Why? Because the commandments were intended to expose the sin that exists in the unseen realm.
Remember, a primary reason Jesus died was to remove the bondage of sin completely from our lives. If God thought it important enough to sacrifice his own son to set us free from the “law of sin and death,” shouldn’t we as Christians treat it with same level of concern and importance as God did?
Embracing a laissez-faire mindset that treats sin as if it’s an issue that’s not very important to God, is to reject a fundamental truth about Jesus’ purpose here on earth.
Christians should be as concerned about sin as God is. But we also need to embrace his method for revealing the outcomes that sin produces, as well as the remedy only he can provide.