The Good News - Home

What is Sin?

by David A. DePra

     Christians are people who have been saved by grace, through

faith, unto good works, by Jesus Christ. We have placed our faith

and have surrendered our life to HIM.

     Now, all of that is quite elementary. It is the foundation of our

faith. It is what being a Christian means. But how many of us, while

believing we are saved, realize what we are saved FROM? How

many of us, despite the fact that we do trust in Christ, fully grasp

what He did for us? Or more importantly -- WHY He had to do it?

     Jesus Christ died for our sin.  That -- and only that -- is why God

is able to forgive us. But unless we truly understand what sin is, we

cannot fully appreciate what Christ did. Indeed, we cannot really

grasp what grace really is, and why it was necessary for God to

save us by His grace.

Missing the Mark

     What is sin? The word "sin," in scripture, is most often translated

from the Greek word, "hamartia." This word originally meant,

"missing the mark." Later, it became "missing the mark" in the

MORAL sense. This is the NT meaning.

     Of course, this leads to an obvious question: Missing WHAT

mark? What "mark" is there which we are supposed to hit, but are

continually "missing" -- such that it is called "sin?"

     Many of us might assume that the "mark" we are supposed to hit

is God's law. After all, when we "miss" that "mark" aren't we sinning?

Sure. But the law is NOT the "mark." Something else, something

much greater, is the real "mark."

     We find the answer as to the goal or "mark" which all of us "miss"

in two scriptures:

Whether therefore ye eat, or drink, or whatsoever ye do, do all to the

glory of God. (I Cor. 10:31)

For all have sinned, and come short of the glory of God. (Rom. 3:23)

     Here we see that it is the "glory of God" which is the GOAL or

MARK of our lives. It is the goal which we MISS. When we do,

THAT is sin. That is why Paul is able to say, "All have SINNED" ---

HOW? "By coming short of the glory of God."

     Now, of course, within the fact that we come short of the glory of

God we have our inability to keep God's law, and everything else

which is sin. But in order to really grasp the meaning of sin, we must

go back to where it all started.

Loss Through Sin

     Sin existed before the creation of Adam. But when God was

finished creating this world in Genesis 1, sin did not exist in IT. We

know this because Genesis says, "And God saw everything that He

had made, and behold it was very good." (Gen. 1:31) Furthermore,

we are told by Paul WHEN sin entered the world. He says, "By one

man sin entered into the world." (Rom. 5:12) So we see that it was

only when Adam sinned that sin entered the world, and was

therefore NOT in the world before that point in time.

     Now, it is important to understand that there was a time when

there was no sin in the world. Sin entered when Adam sinned. We

have to see this because we need a perspective on things. We

need to understand that something went WRONG with what God

created, and with what God had declared was very good. SIN had

entered into this world and it CHANGED things. It threw them into a

condition which was different -- and infinitely worse -- than the "very

good" creation which God had made.

     You see, many of us still can't get it through our heads that we are

ABNORMAL -- I mean, morally and spiritually, by nature, in Adam.

We still think we are NORMAL and that God is trying to make us

SUPER. This is not so. We are born abnormal, ruined, and

damaged. God is simply trying to restore us back to what He

originally intended.

     The story of Genesis is a story of LOSS. Adam sinned, and as a

result, LOST everything God had given him. This loss not only

included possessions and a realm in which to live, but it included

a loss of God Himself -- of Adam's ability to be one with God. Adam

was responsible for bringing this entire earth, and everything on it,

down into the realm of darkness. He was responsible for human

beings coming into ruin, and of course, death. Because of Adam,

we are all born abnormal. We are NOT born as God intended

human beings to be.

     We think we are normal, and that this world is normal, because it

is all we have ever known. So we use our experience as the

gauge. But once we understand that the real test for "normal" is

the glory of God, then our perspective must change. It is then that

we realize that we are NOT normal, but abnormal. We are born

dead in sin, in need of deliverance.

     There was an episode of the old "Twilight Zone" series from the

1960's that can be used to illustrate this issue of perspective. In this

episode, there was a girl who had been in a terrible accident. She

had plastic surgery to repair a damaged face. The whole episode

found her face wrapped tightly with bandages. The tension built as

the time approached when the bandages would be undone, and

the results of the surgery would be revealed.

     There was, however, something else about this episode which

immediately made you suspicious of the ending. No once in the

entire show were we able to see anyone else's face. Not once.

All of the doctors and nurses attending this girl had their faces

hidden, off camera. As you watch this episode, it doesn't take long

before you realize what is probably going to happen at the end.

     The time comes when the bandages are taken off. The girl's

face is beautiful. But then you hear gasps of horror from those

witnessing this unveiling. The girl is given a mirror. She cries out,

terrified at her horrible face! Then, in an instant, the cameras shift

to the faces of the doctors and nurses. They are all grotesque, and

totally abnormal. They look almost like aliens from outer space.

     The message is obvious. What is normal for us is what we are

used to. Even if it is ugly. In fact, we may be so used to "ugly as

normal," that real beauty, to us, may seem ugly and strange. IT

may seem abnormal. We may, in fact, have no frame of reference

for real normality and beauty.

     This is generally how it works with us morally and spiritually. We

think we are normal because we, and those around us, are all we

have known. But we are not. The "bar" -- as it were -- has been

lowered. We just don't realize it. So we think that because we are

all getting over the bar and making the grade of this low standard

that things are normal. Surely, we reason, things cannot be that bad.

     They are that bad. In fact, infinitely worse than we can imagine.

No human being ever born on this planet (Adam and Eve were both

created) has ever been born normal. We have all been born

abnormal and in a condition far lower than we can imagine -- as

compared to what God originally intended. This was the result of

sin. It was the result of Adam choosing to walk away from God.

     Part of realizing our need for Christ is to realize what has been

lost. Then we will realize our NEED. We will realize that on our

best day -- in Adam -- we are a walking spiritual corpse, on a

collision course with physical death.

The Source of Life

And the LORD God formed man of the dust of the ground, and

breathed into his nostrils the breath of life; and man became a living

soul. (Genesis 2:7)

     In this verse, several things are established. First, we find that

the source of man's life is God. God formed the man out of the dust

of the ground. But at that point, he was not alive. Just a body. It was

only when God "breathed" into him the "breath of life" that the man

BECAME a living soul.

     If you want to know that the "intangible" thing is which keeps us all

alive, we find it here. The breath of God. Machines can artificially

keep the body going. But only God can supply that which

constitutes life.

     From the beginning, the life of man is unalterably welded to the

source of all life -- God Himself. God not only created man, but put

a part of Himself in man -- the breath of life. That is the only reason

man has life.

     It is here that we must post a vital principle -- and one which is

essential to understand if we are to define the nature of sin. That

principle is this: God does not allow for life outside of Himself. In

fact, God does not allow for life outside of Himself being FIRST.

Anything outside of God being first is not life. It is death.

    Now we might ask: Why? Why doesn't God allow for life outside

of Himself? The answer is more simple than we can possibly

imagine: There IS no life outside of God. Period.

     Life -- by definition -- is of God. That is what life IS. So when we

talk about life OUTSIDE of God we are not talking about something

which can exist. It is about as absurd as trying to talk about water

which isn't wet. If it is water, it is wet! You cannot divorce life -- any

life -- from God. Life and God are inseparable.

     Let's make this clearer. We are not saying that if someone or

something decides to move outside of God, that God is going to

be intolerant of this and punish them with death. No. We are saying,

pure and simple, that there IS NO LIFE outside of God. God IS life.

He is the Source of ALL life. If it is alive, it got life from God.

     Some of us still don't get this. We still think that there is life in God

AND outside of Him, but that God commands us to find life in Him --

but if we don't, well, then there is punishment. That is error. It is not

the Truth. There is no life except in God. And that is precisely why,

if we reject God, we are going to die.

     This brings us to one of those silly questions about God. People

ask, "Can God do everything? If so, then let's see God create a

rock He cannot lift!" The fact, is God cannot do everything. God

cannot lie. He cannot be tempted with evil. He cannot sin. He

cannot create life outside of Himself.

     Why? Why can't God do those things? Because He is God! In

other words, God has to be who He is. He cannot be what He is

NOT. He has to be who He is, and that carries with it certain

absolutes -- certain things which, by definition, MUST be.

     For instance, the rock question. God cannot create a rock He

cannot lift, because the rock would be greater than God. How can

the infinite God create something greater than infinite? He cannot.

But that is not because He is weak or limited. It is because when

you are infinite, and all powerful, and without limits to your greatness,

by definition, it is impossible to create something greater than

yourself. So the question is nonsense and self-contradictory.

     Thus it is with this question of LIFE. There is no life outside of

God, and God cannot create life outside of Himself. Why? Because

God IS life. He is the Source of all life. Therefore, if God tried to

create life outside of Himself, it would not be life. It would be like

trying to create water which isn't wet.

     All life is from God. All life is found in Him. And when God

created Adam, He was the Source of Adam's life. But more. God

did not just give Adam life and send him on his way. No. All life is

not only created by God, but is maintained by God. In other words,

the moment God created Adam, Adam was eternally linked to God.

As long as he stayed "in God" he would live.

     Now here is where we see another principle. Because there is

no life outside of God, independence of God must result in death.

It has to. Likewise, because all life is in God, dependence upon

God results in life. These are absolute Truths. There are no gray

areas in them.


     When God created man it was for a reason. God didn't merely

breathe into this new man the breath of life, pat him on the shoulder,

and send him on his own way. No. Right from the beginning we see

that God had an intimate relationship with Adam. This was, in fact,

the reason God created Adam. He wanted that relationship.

     God had said, "Let us make man in our image, after our likeness."

Of course, God was speaking of a moral and spiritual likeness.

Man was formed from the dust of the ground. God is spirit. So the

physical is not the likeness spoken of. It was the moral and spirit

nature put within man which God wanted to create after HIS image

and likeness.

     God made Adam and immediately began to deal with Him. God

planted to garden and the trees therein. God gave Adam dominion

over every living thing on earth. God even brought Adam every one

of them for the purpose of examining them and naming them. And

then God made the woman out of one of Adam's ribs.

     Now, it is here that we must remember something. God had

made Adam perfect. At this point, all Adam knew was God. There

was nothing between him and God. Talking to God, face to face,

was normal. There was no sin nature -- nor any of the damage

which sin did to man. No emotional malfunction. No intellectual

deficiencies. No physical disease or sickness. Adam was

perfect emotionally, intellectually, and physically. To God, this

was normal. A perfect man with a face to face relationship with

God was NORMAL.

     The reason we must grasp this is that it is easy to try to put

ourselves in Adam's place and try to imagine how it was,

especially when it came to the sin. But we cannot imagine it. THAT

was lost. We have little frame of reference for it. Perhaps on our

best day, in our most wonderful experience of Jesus Christ, we can

get just a hint of it. But Adam had all of God, and nothing but God,

all the time. There was no flesh to deal with. No sin to overcome.

     Adam had a relationship with God that must have certainly been

like that of a child to a Father. God taught him and slowly gave him

responsibility. Chief among these was the dominion over the

things on this earth, and of course, the responsibility of tending to

the garden.

The Trees

     God had planted all the trees in the garden. There were

probably thousands of them. But two in particular are noted by

God: The tree of life, which was in the midst of the garden. And

the tree of the knowledge of good and evil.

     God gave specific instructions about these trees:

And the LORD God commanded the man, saying, "Of every tree of

of the garden you may freely eat. But of the tree of the knowledge

of good and evil, thou shalt not eat of it: for in the day that you eat

thereof, you shall surely die." (Gen. 2:16-17)

     If there were no such thing as right and wrong, this verse would

not be in the Bible. If Adam did not have a free will, this verse would

not be in the Bible -- for it contains instructions for Adam to follow by

choice. And if God was not concerned about Adam forming

righteous character, then again, this verse would not be in the Bible.

But this verse IS in the Bible. Thus, all of those things are part of

what God was doing.

     Immediately, God reveals, through the planting of the forbidden

tree, that there is right and there is wrong. But right and wrong is not

found in the tree. Note that. God never said, "This is a bad tree. If

you eat of it, it will kill you." No. Right and wrong were defined, not

by the tree itself -- for it was a tree God created -- but by what Adam

would choose to do about the tree. God has said, "Leave this tree

alone. Period." If Adam obeyed, he would be doing right. If he

disobeyed, he would be doing wrong.

     Now note: WHAT defined right and wrong with reference to these

trees? God did. If God had never told Adam to leave the forbidden

tree alone, Adam could have eaten of if without sin. It was just a

tree! It was the fact that God said NOT to eat of it, and the fact that

Adam disobeyed, that made doing so wrong.

     But eating of the forbidden tree was wrong, not merely because

Adam was doing something God said not to do. No. This was no

mere violation of a rule. Eating of the forbidden tree was really a

choice to decide for oneself what was right or wrong. It was, in

effect, a choice to reject God AS God, and to establish oneself as


     Here we see the ROOT of the matter. Here we see that eating of

the forbidden tree was only the outward manifestation of an inner,

deeper, choice. It goes back to what we saw about all life. All life

is created in God only, and there is no life outside of Him. Thus, to

reject God -- which is what sin IS -- is a rejection of Life Himself. Sin

is a refusal of God Himself. It therefore MUST result in death.

     If my son disobeys me, it is against ME that his choice is made,

not merely against what I said. You cannot separate disobedience

of a command from disobedience of the One who gave it. God

was giving Adam commands. But behind those commands stood

the relationship which Adam had with God.

     God was placing before Adam the essence of two ways. The

tree of life represented fellowship and oneness with God. The

forbidden tree represented independence from God. That's

because if you ate of this tree you had to first make the choice to

step outside of God's love, care, provision, and Lordship. You had

to say, "God told me what to do, but I'm going to decide for myself

what to do." Thus, eating of the forbidden tree was equal to

proclaiming oneself as one's own god.

     Myself as god -- owning oneself -- that is the root of sin. It is what

sin is, when all is said and done. It is the disposition that stands

behind every act of sin and every attitude of sin. And it MUST

result in death. If sin does not result in death, then there is life without

God. And if there is life outside of God, then God isn't really God.

He is one of many other options.

Free Will

     Now back to these trees. We must ask: Why plant them? Why

did God bother planting this forbidden tree to begin with? Why even

create the possibility for sin?

     God had to plant it. God had to create the possibility for sin.

Really? Why?

     Because God gave Adam a free will. This meant that God HAD

to make it possible for Adam to choose wrong and sin. If there

were no choice for wrong possible, then all of Adam's choices for

obedience would have been meaningless, and merely the actions

of a moral robot.

     This is where we come back to definitions and absolute truth

once again. We already saw that God cannot allow for life outside

of Himself because there is no life outside of Himself. Life, by

definition, is in God. It is the same with the issue of free will. By

definition, free will must have the power to choose BOTH right and

wrong. If BOTH are not possible, there is no free will. Indeed, if

I have no power to choose wrong, I cannot have the power to

choose right.

     There is more. Just as there is no life outside of God, there is

no right outside of God. Thus, when we speak of choosing right,

we are talking about choosing God -- whether it be through

obedience, surrender, or faith. Right and wrong, good and evil,

life and death -- all of these get their definition by whether they are

in God and of Him. Or are not. Once again, God Himself is the

source of right, good, and life. All that is outside of Him is wrong,

bad, and death.

     God gave Adam free will. By definition, this meant Adam had

to choose either right or wrong -- which equalled choosing either

God or himself.

     Note the phase "Adam HAD to choose." Yes, he HAD to

choose. Why? Because if you have a free will you MUST choose.

You WILL choose. You ARE choosing. There is no such thing as

an inoperative free will. Even if you are a slave who has everyone

else's will imposed upon you, you still make choice as to what to

do about even that -- whether to obey or disobey, and how to react.

     Free will is ALWAYS working -- even if the choice I make is not to

choose. The choice to not choose is a choice in and of itself.

So God had to give Adam choices because God gave Adam a

free will. And God had to allow for the possibility of evil, or the

choice for good would have been impossible and meaningless.

But because God loved Adam, He also told him the right thing to do,

and the wrong thing to avoid. These possibilities were carried in

the trees.

     In the final analysis, there is no such thing as a moral choice for a

human being which is not a choice either FOR or AGAINST God.

We must see this. We may not even be thinking of our choices in

those terms, but it is a fact: Everything I do and everything I am, is

reflective of my relationship with God. It is to HIM that I am forever

accountable. It is for HIM that I am made. We make moral choices

over many things. But in the end, we are making them either FOR or

AGAINST the God who made us.

Righteous Character

     We have seen that free will, by definition, must have the options

of right and wrong. Also, free will is not static. We are always in the

process of choosing between some right and wrong issues. And

further, we have seen that right and wrong is defined by God

Himself. If you want to know right, look at God. If you want to know

good, look at God. You won't find it anywhere else. But you and I

do have to choose -- we ARE choosing on some level continually.

We are choosing either for, or against, God AS God.

     But unto what end are all of these choices? If I have a free will,

and continue to exercise it, does this not have an effect upon me?

Of course. It must. The fact is, the more I choose under the power

of my free will, the more I BECOME in accordance with my choices.

     It is one thing to talk about the outward consequences of my

choices. But what about the inward? If I choose evil, I am siding

with evil. I am, to a degree, entering into a moral union with it. The

same goes for good. The moment I cross the line and decide to

choose, I am -- in my will -- adjusting myself to a moral position. I

am adjusting my free will to my choice.

     This is vital to see. Free will isn't just a matter of me sitting back

and choosing this or that. Any real moral choice is really a matter

of ME adjusting myself morally in accordance with my choice.

     For instance, if I choose to steal some money, in order to make

that choice, I have to cross a moral line, push down moral barriers,

and embrace the wrong. I may think I'm the same after I do this,

but I am NOT the same. For I have altered myself morally through

the power of my free will.

     The choices I make in life are evidenced in the outward. I DO

things based on choices. But the real choice -- and the real effect --

is inward. I am really choosing to BECOME. My real choice is

that -- even if I think it is toward something "out here." For through

my choice I am adjusting myself morally, and making myself one

with either right or wrong.

     Behind this Truth is God's purpose for Adam. God had created

Adam perfect. But Adam hadn't done anything yet. He had made

no choices. God gave Adam the choice between the trees so that

Adam could, in making the right choice, adjust himself in alignment

with the will of God, and more and more become mature in the

image and likeness of God.

     The Truth is, human beings are MORAL by design. That is what

a free will is all about -- moral choices. Right vs. wrong. And it was

all originally designed for God as the way in which we were to grow

to develope righteous character after His will and purpose.

     Righteous character is the desire to choose right because it IS

right -- as defined by God. You cannot do this without a free will.

And you cannot do this unless you exercise your free will by

choosing right and by choosing life -- both of which are found only

in God. Thus, the choice is simple: Either choose God or myself.

The Sin

     The moment you have a self -- you can put self first. The moment

you have a free will -- you can sin.

     A human being, in essence, is a moral creature. And there is no

such thing as a moral creature unless he has a free will. The two go

together -- by definition. Unless I have a free will, and am capable

of making moral choices, I am not a human being. I am not made in

the likeness of God.

     Man not only has a SELF, but a moral self. Thus, he is capable

of putting self first -- being his own god. Or he is capable of putting

God first. The path he chooses will determine what he BECOMES.

     Moral creatures with free will are capable of developing moral

and righteous character through the power of that free will. But

again, because OF free will, they are likewise capable of becoming

amoral. They are capable of turning away from God.

     Thus, the moment Adam was created, he had a "self." And he

had a free will. The possibility then existed that he put self first. But

God did not leave him on his own. God planted the trees, and gave

him clear instructions as to how to choose.

     Now, we do have to keep in mind that at this point in time, Adam

was still NORMAL. God was first -- ahead of "self." To us, this is

difficult, and almost seems abnormal. But it is not. It is the way God

created us to be.

     The reason this is important to keep in mind is that we dare not

think of Adam as being like us. WE are operating from a position of

abnormality, coming back to normality through Christ. But Adam

was created normal, and had no hinderence in him of anything

that was abnormal. Adam had no flesh, no damage, no spiritual

warfare, and nothing clouding his knowledge of God. In effect,

everything we take a lifetime to discover in Christ, was already

Adam's to lose. And he did. That's why we aren't born with it.

     What this should do is give us at least a hint of how totally in

need we are without Christ. Adam had everything and gave it away.

It takes a miracle of God's grace for us to begin the redemptive

journey back.

     Adam decided to put self first. He decided to declare his

independence from God. And what happened was exactly what

God said would happen: Death. Of course. There is no life outside

of God. And Adam stepped outside of God. He rejected God as

God and did it with the full realization of his choice.

     Now, to some of us, what happened to Adam might seem a bit

harsh. Especially when you figure that the entire human race

shares the consequences. Did the consequences of Adam's sin

really fit the crime?

     Once you realize the crime; the sin. Again, we have little frame

of reference for what Adam was, and where he had been. Adam

was the only human being who ever lived, with Eve, who had the

relationship with God which God intended. Save Jesus Christ. And

the possessions of light and truth that went with that are beyond us.

This is what Adam rejected.

     If it seems harsh as to what came upon Adam because of ONE

sin, we must remember that Adam walked with God. He was one

with God. And the closer you are to God, the more sensitive you

are to sin. Thus, it was a incredibly evil and deliberate choice

which Adam made to reject God. We can hardly imagine it.

     If you want to know the magnitude of the sin of Adam, look only

at the magnitude of the consequences. There is a cause and

effect relationship. Adam died and brought down everything with

him. This was not only JUST, but it was indicative of the breakage

Adam wrought between himself and God.

     Of course, Adam could not have grasped the consequences that

would come upon him because of sin. There had been no death

in the world on any level. Thus, when God said, "you will surely

die," Adam had no frame of reference. Of course, it is reasonable

to assume that God explained much about what death was to Adam.

But that is not the same as seeing it happen.

     Now, we might think that because Adam could not know the

consequences for sin that this, at least in part, excuses his sin. But

not knowing what sin will release is never an excuse for sinning. It

was not then, and is not now. The fact is, we NEVER know the full

consequences for sin until we sin. And then we are knowing what

God never intended us to know.

      Ask: Why is God just in allowing consequences we never

suspected to come upon us if we sin? Because we know to do

right. We are not called to experience evil so that we might agree

to avoid it. We are called to do right and leave the evil alone.

     The Bible never says that Adam was deceived. It fact, it says

he wasn't. (see I Tim. 2:14) But rather than an approval of Adam,

this shows his guilt all the more. For if Adam was NOT deceived,

yet sinned, we are left with only one possibility: When he sinned,

he knew exactly what he was doing. There was no confusion, no

ambiguity. It was a deliberate refusal of God, for he did know

what God had said.

     Adam had never known sin or death. But he HAD known God.

And he knew what God had said about the forbidden tree. All God

ever said was to leave the forbidden tree alone. Thus, when Adam

ate of that tree, he was knowingly and deliberately refusing God,

and was making a clear choice to decide for himself. This is, as

mentioned, the root of sin.

     What we see here is that the sin of Adam was not that of eating

a piece of fruit. Eating the fruit was merely the working out of the

real choice to sin. Adam's sin was to decide for himself to "know

good and evil," and to "be like god," that is, be his own god. That

was all wrapped up in this one choice.

What Adam Became

     Earlier we saw that when I exercise my free will and make a

choice, there is a moral adjustment which occurs within me. But we

must be clear about this. The "moral adjustment" is not so much

something which merely happens to me because of my choice.

Rather, the moral adjustment IS the choice. I am, by choosing,

really choosing to BECOME something. That is what free will IS.

It is a choice to BECOME. The things "out here" over which we

choose are only the vehicles we use TO become.

     For a Christian, we are choosing to either become like Christ,

or to become more like Adam -- after the fall. But for us, we START

from the condition of being like Adam. Adam did not start there.

He started from the condition of being like God.

     This is why it is error to feel sorry for Adam, or to imagine that

God was unfair with him. Adam had a perfect knowledge of God.

That was ALL he had. To this point, NOTHING had entered into the

picture to cast a shadow over that. There was no "body of sin" or

"old man of flesh" to drag Adam down. There were no lies and

theories to sort through. There was no suffering to contend with.

There was no death, error, or darkness. Adam had a face to face

relationship with God. To him, this was NORMAL.

     Adam was NOT deceived. (see I Tim. 2:14) Eve was deceived.

Notice what that means. If Adam were not deceived we are left

with a deliberate, knowing sin, aren't we? Sure. If you are not

deceived, then, by definition, this means you know what you are

doing. Exactly what you are doing. Of course, it does not mean you

realize fully what the consequences are going to be for your actions.

But Adam knew what God had said. And he made the choice to

decide for himself. There was no ambiguity about it. Adam knew

exactly what it was that he was choosing.

     What happened to Adam because of his sin verifies that he knew

what he was doing. Adam died. He died because he had, in the

light of a perfect and unhindered knowledge of God, rejected God.

The judgment of God upon Adam was to give Adam exactly what

Adam chose. Adam wanted independence from God. God gave it

to him. Adam therefore lost his LIFE and became captive to the

realm of death and darkness. He became a mere shadow of the

man God had originally created.

     The "sin nature" was now in place. The sin nature is the result of

the creature God created choosing to reject God. It is the result of

putting self first. It is the result of what man is, becoming subject to

the lower realm of darkness. A realm controlled by Satan.

     This damage was permanent. The damage was permanent

because the sin was so deliberate and great. In fact, the death

into which Adam fell was so overwhelming that even those who

were born of Adam and Eve were born into death. We are all born

ruined, abnormal, and in the realm of darkness. THAT is what we

are in Adam.

     Lest we think Adam was repentant, we need only read the

aftermath of the sin. We do not find a shred of repentance in Adam.

Not once do we find Adam or Eve trying to find God, or in the least

crying out for help. Instead we find them hiding; trying to cover

their sin. And we find Eve blaming the serpent, and Adam blaming


     Of course, there was a third party involved here, too, wasn't there?

Yep. Satan. And we dare not forget this. When Adam ate of the

fruit, he was not merely walking away from God and sort of stepping

out on his own. No. He was selling himself into slavery. He was

now subject to the dark forces of the spiritual realm.

     The realm of darkness was already in place by the time Adam

was created. It really consisted of everything outside of God. So

when Adam walked away from God into death, it was into the

clutches of Satan that he fell.

Death is the Result of Sin

     Adam died because he put self ahead of God, and in doing so,

rejected God -- the only Source of life. Now, contrast this to the

notion that Adam died because God got mad and punished him

with death. We read that nowhere in the Bible. Death is NOT the

punishment of God upon the human race for Adam's sin. Rather,

death is the WAGES of sin -- it is what happens to us when we

reject the only Source of life. (Rom. 6:23)

     Perhaps, however, this sounds almost like God is a casual

observer to sin -- almost like death was something Adam did to

himself. But no. Not once we go back to the fact that there is no

life outside of God. And not once we remember that God created

man to live with Him forever. The fact is, sin results in death

BECAUSE sin is against God. Sin results in death because, by

definition, sin is a rejection of Life Himself.

     If God created man to live with Him forever, and if God is the

only Source of life there is, then when we reject God, how could it

NOT result in death? It had BETTER result in death! Because if

sin does not result in death, unless God sort of "adds" death as

a punishment, then sin isn't all that bad is it? It would carry nothing

of death at all. God would have to bring death and add it in as the

consequence of sin.

     This just isn't so. All sin is against God, and that is precisely

why it always results in death. You cannot reject Life Himself and


     This takes us back to what we saw about life outside of God.

There isn't any. Sin is a choice to declare independence of God,

and be my own god -- outside of him. No wonder it results in death.

You see, the judgment of God for sin is a living judgment. With

God, justice is living. It is simply not possible to sin against God

and live. It is not possible because there is no life outside of God,

and sin is a choice to reject God.

     Now we need to clear about the fact that death is NOT a

punishment from God for sin. We need to be clear about it, not

only because of the implications of it, but because most of us have

been taught otherwise. We have likely been taught that when Adam

sinned, God got mad, and enforced the punishment of death.

Let's look at a couple of scriptures which clearly explain the Truth

about this.

Genesis 2:17

"For in the day that you eat of it, you shall surely" --- what?

Be punished with death?


You shall surely DIE.

Romans 5:12

"By one man, sin entered into the world, and death by sin; and so

death passed upon all men."

How did death enter into the world?

Through God's punishment for sin?


By one man's SIN.

Romans 6:23

"For the wages of sin is death; but the gift of God is eternal life

through Jesus Christ our Lord."

What is the "wages" of sin? Punishment from God?



     There are other proofs, too. For instance, if Adam's death was

not the result of HIS sin, but rather, the result of God's punishment

upon him FOR sin, then this makes God Himself the author of

everything that is wrong with man. In this case, the sin nature itself

is the punishment of God.

     Such a thing is nonsense. Adam walked away from God. God

did not walk away from Adam. Adam sinned against God and the

result was DEATH. Death was not the punishment of God upon

Adam. Everything which is wrong with man is because of Adam.

It is not the result of some punishment of God.

     It is simply not possible to sin against God and live. This is

not because God is sitting in heaven eager to punish us for every

sin. It is because at the root of sin lies the rejection of God, and

therefore, the rejection of Life. Sin must result in death. There is no

other possibility.


     Judgment comes upon us, not because we are born in Adam.

No. Judgment comes when we see the way out of sin and refuse it.

We read in John:

And THIS is the condemnation, that light is come into the world, and

men loved darkness rather than light, because their deeds were

evil. (John 3:19)

     Herein we see that condemnation or judgment is the result of

seeing the light, and nevertheless choosing darkness. It is, in fact,

if taken to it's extreme, the unpardonable sin. God cannot forgive

the refusal of His forgiveness!

The Sin-Bearer

     Jesus Christ died for our sin. John the Baptist announced Him

by saying, "Behold the Lamb of God, who takes away the sin of the

world." (John 1:29) What does this mean?

     First, we must see the distinction between sin, and "acts of sin."

Sin is a nature. It is a condition of bondage to death and darkness.

It is what I AM in Adam. "Acts of sin," on the other hand, are the

things I do which stem from the sin nature. Acts of sin are violations

of God's moral law.

     So what we have is the sin nature -- sin itself -- and then all of the

conduct which it produces: Things I DO. The acts come from the

nature. A bad tree must produce bad fruit, as Jesus says.

     This is important to see because it shows us that unless God

deals with the SIN NATURE, the sin question is not resolved. I

mean, what good would it be for Jesus to merely die for "acts of sin,"

only to leave the sin nature -- the cause -- fully in tact? What good

would it be for God to satisfy the legal requirement for sin -- through

the death of His Son -- only to leave human beings themselves

in subject to the fallen condition of Adam? No. Jesus did die for

acts of sin. But His death accomplished more. In Him, Adam died.

Therefore, in Christ, the very nature of sin was put to death.

     Many of us have been taught error on this matter. We have been

told that because Jesus died, we don't have to die. We've been

taught that when Jesus died, it gave God just cause for lifting from

us the death pealty. Thus, we define "forgiveness" as "God lifting

from us the penalty for sin, i.e., death."

     If this were true, however, we would have a terrible situation. It

would mean that we are "forgiven" for sin, but remain unchanged

from the very nature which produces sin. It would mean that we

really do not become new creations through the resurrection. We

are the SAME creatures -- with sin nature in tact -- but only now

"forgiven." In effect, this kind of false redemption would be the

worst thing imaginable: Forgiveness without change. And God

would be the author of it.

     But no. The Truth is, our old man in Adam DIES in Christ. The

death penalty is NEVER removed. And if we die in Christ, we are

raised with Him as NEW creatures -- free of our bondage to the sin


     What all of this means in simple terms is that God does NOT

forgive us for being born in Adam. He can't. Rather, God delivers

us from the Adamic nature -- through the death of Christ -- and births

us with a new nature. This is CHANGE.

     The sin nature is not in the category of needing forgiveness. We

didn't decide to be born in Adam. It is in the category of needing


     How does God deliver us from our Adamic nature? Adam died

in Christ. And when we receive Christ, we enter into that death, and

then into resurrection unto newness of life.

      When God says that Jesus bore our sin on the Cross, He means

exactly that. Everything that Adam became through sin is what

Christ became, and bore, on the Cross. Note the words of Paul the


For he hath made him to be sin for us, who knew no sin; that we

might be made the righteousness of God in him. (II Cor. 5:21)

      Christ BECAME sin. He didn't merely die FOR sin -- although

He did die FOR "acts of sin." He became what Adam became,

and died. Thus, what God said in the beginning, was actually

brought to pass in Christ. God said, "In the day that you eat thereof,

you shall surely die." Adam did die. On the Cross, in Christ.

     Now note something: If Adam died in Christ, then God didn't

"life the death penalty" off of Adam because Christ paid it. No.

Rather, Adam MEETS the death penalty IN Christ.

     This applies to us. We do not escape death because Jesus

died. We MEET death in Christ. But because we meet it in HIM

we are also raised to newness of life.

     The fact that there is a NEW birth proves that the old is passed

away -- in death. This likewise proves that God does not "forgive"

the old creation! No. The old creation dies in Christ because of

sin! Not likely if God forgives it!

     So we see that Jesus Christ did not bear the "punishment" of the

world. He bore the sin of the world! He bore everything that spoke

of sin in His body and it died. That is the only reason you and I can

be free of sin. The only reason. Christ did not die to set us free from

God's so-called punishment. He died to set us free from SIN.

     The gospel, which is the GOOD NEWS of Jesus Christ, is not the

proclamation that Jesus saved us from the wrath of God; from God's

punishment. It is the proclamation that God saved us from sin and


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