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God created man so He could share His life with him, so that He could have a relationship with him, and love and bless him. As a created being, man was not designed to live independent of God. God's intent was to rule in the heart of man, for man's good, and for His own enjoyment. Man needs God, and was to live in (and enjoy!) total submission to Him. God is no 'tyrant', His demand for our submission is for our good.
God placed a tree in the garden and told Adam and Eve not to eat of it or they would die. This tree was called the tree of the knowledge of good and evil. Adam and Eve lived in fellowship with God until they chose to rebel by eating the forbidden fruit. God had designed them so they would rely and trust Him for all wisdom and knowledge.
The serpent told Eve that God had lied and she would not die. He also told her that her eyes would be opened and she would be like God, knowing good and evil. Eve saw that the fruit was good for food, pleasing to the eye and desirable for gaining wisdom, so she took it and ate it. She gave some to Adam and then he also ate it.
When Adam and Eve ate this fruit they turned away from God's rulership. The life-sustaining relationship with God was broken. They cut themselves off from God and His wisdom, blessings, life, power, love and light. They decided to live for self, and for the purpose of self-gratification, rather than for fellowship with, and in obedience to, God. They kicked God out of His rightful place on the throne of the heart and replaced Him with self. Adam and Eve's spirit did not die, nor was it annihilated when they sinned. Adam and Eve died to God and became alive to self. Instead of receiving only what God had to offer, they received only what selfishness could offer. Sinners are dead in trespasses and sins but their spirit is still alive.
All of us have sinned in this way. We have turned away from God and to self and self-gratification. We have placed ourselves above God and our fellow man. In doing so, we become the voluntary but real slave of lust, appetite and desires. We freely choose it and that is why we are totally responsible for it and why God can justly send us to hell.
God created man to be His dwelling place. He made everyone with a desire for Him. Man can only find satisfaction in Him. Everyone has turned away from the true God to the god of self. Sin and darkness are the result of the sinner choosing self and rejecting God. We have all fallen from God into ourselves and into a government and activity under our own powers broken off from God. The reason that people remain in the darkness of sin is they reject Christ by holding on to their selfishness.
True sin is the aim and intent of the heart to totally disregard God and His love. It is the aim and the intent of the heart that determines if a person is holy or not. The sinner can aim and hit the true target but he refuses to do so.
It is not a criminal act to aim at a target and miss. People do not go to hell for simply missing. A sinner goes to hell because he is a criminal. The reason why the sinner is a criminal is because he has the ability to aim at the right target but he purposely aims in the opposite direction. He deliberately and defiantly has aimed his heart in total opposition to God. He is so stubborn and rebellious that even though he can turn around (repent) and aim in the right direction, he never will without the grace of God. This stubborn refusal is what sends the sinner to hell.
Every sinner has committed two evils. These are, forsaking God and building a system that tries to quench their spiritual thirst and desire. The sinner has not only refused God's right to rule over him but he has replaced the only true God with a false god.
Jer. 2:13 "For my people have committed two evils; they have forsaken me the fountain of living waters, and hewed them out cisterns, broken cisterns, that can hold no water."
1 John 3:4 "Sin is lawlessness" i.e., breaking the law, a WILLFUL act.
Sin is a CHOICE to disregard God and go ones own way.
Isa. 53:6a "All we like sheep have gone astray; we have turned every one to his own way."
God would never command or require repentance if man was truly unable to turn to Him.
Acts 17:30 "And the times of this ignorance God winked at; but now commandeth all men every where to repent."
The sinner's REAL problem is his REFUSAL to come to God when He attempts to draw him near.
Matthew 23:37 "O Jerusalem, Jerusalem, thou that killest the prophets, and stonest them which are sent unto thee, how often would I have gathered thy children together, even as a hen gathereth her chickens under her wings, and ye would not!"
Every person has received light from Jesus Christ and no one has ANY EXCUSE for rejecting God.
John 1:9 "That was the true Light, which lighteth every man that cometh into the world."
Romans 1:20 "For the invisible things of him from the creation of the world are clearly seen, being understood by the things that are made, even his eternal power and Godhead; so that they are without excuse:"
The Word of God does not describe sin as a simple miss or weakness but as rebellion. When you look at the entire Bible you will see a history of many stubborn, rebellious, defiant, prideful, arrogant and disobedient people. None of these people were born this way. They had the ability to follow God and do things pleasing in His sight, but they freely chose to spit in God's face.
A sinner instead of having true life in God is selfish. This selfishness is the result of his choosing self over the will and instruction of God. The sinner has cut himself off from the life of God. He tries to find life and fulfillment without Him. This is never possible because there is no true life or satisfaction outside God. Many build their own religious system to comfort them and bring themselves pleasure.
The two aspects of sin are:
1. The choice to live supremely for oneself.
2. The refusal and unwillingness to turn to God and let go of selfishness.
A sinner is a criminal and a rebel because he can turn to God, but refuses to do so. He refuses to let go of his selfishness and self-serving. Selfishness is the root, the trunk, and the branches of all the destructive evil and sin of man's rebellious state. Self-esteem, self-love, and self-seeking are the very essence and life of pride. Pride rules in the heart of man and daily worships the idol of self.
Man's ego, pride, and selfishness raises up in his heart and self exalts itself above God. Pride takes over God's place in His temple. Self shows and declares himself to be God. This is the spirit of the antichrist that is already at work in the hearts of all sinful men. The sinner's self-exaltation is the ruling power of his life and the cause of all sin.
Each sinner has a carnal mind and walks after the flesh. The carnal mind is the choice to live entirely for oneself. This choice shuts out God's life, presence and control. It is a state of complete rebellion against God and His character. The carnal mind is a total enemy of God. It hates God and is totally hostile to Him. The carnal mind is not subject to the law of God, neither can it be. Obedience is impossible in this state. When a person chooses to have self as king instead of God in his heart, he violates God's original design and purpose. He decides to pursue and to gratify self. The carnal mind is not the mind itself, but a voluntary choice and preference of the mind. It is not a part of man's body, soul or spirit.
Sin is supreme selfishness. It is the choice of self-gratification and self-indulgence in direct opposition to God and one's own reason. Sin is the choice to live supremely to please oneself disregarding God's higher and more important interests. Sin is the wrong aim or intention of the heart. It is the heart of man aimed at and intending to get personal pleasure and satisfaction at all cost. Sin puts self with its pleasure first. We sin when we consent to gratify a desire that violates God's law, to bring ourselves pleasure. All sin is the misuse of what God has given us.
It is for self gratification and self pleasure that the sinner lives, moves and has his being. His entire purpose in life is seeking after his own pleasure. He fulfills all acts for only one reason: to promote his own gratification. He regards nothing else worthy of choice except as it applies to self for self-gratification.
The sinner demands his own rights to such a degree that they are more important to him than all other interests, including God's. He is the king of his own realm and wants, God and all other interests to bow to him. He makes himself a god and tramples underfoot the law of God and his own reason and intelligence. He becomes lawless and full of iniquity. He becomes the voluntary but real slave of lust, appetite and desire.
Sin is a voluntary committal of the will in a state of seeking its own gratification and using all the methods it can to achieve this goal. The sinner is the king or ruler of his own realm.
Here is a list of things sin is not.
1. Not just a slip.
2. Not just a mistake.
3. Not unavoidable nor accidental.
4. Not 'only human'.
5. Not something we are forced to do.
6. Not something in which we are helpless victims.
7. Not something that is natural or normal.
8. Not a weakness of the flesh.
9. Not a sickness nor disease. Disease or sickness is never the cause of sin. If sin was a sickness, man could cure it medically. Christ's life, death on the cross and His resurrection would be in vain.
Sin is completely unreasonable and a crime worthy of eternal punishment. Sin is the intent to live supremely for oneself at all cost. It is a premeditated, calculated, voluntary, choice to live contrary to God's original design. No one is born a sinner. There can never be any excuse for sin. Sin is original because each sinner creates it. Sin is a crime and sinners are rebels and not a subject of pity or sympathy. Sinners truly deserve the punishment of hell for their crimes because they are monsters of iniquity.
There is no proof in the Bible that sin is anything else than a wrong moral choice. The meaning of the original Greek and Hebrew words used in the Scriptures to describe sin are:
1. To act perversely, to twist and distort.
2. To be stubbornly disobedient.
3. To refuse to serve God.
4. To act treacherously and disobey.
5. To be rebellious and refuse to do right.
6. To be lawless and to refuse to reform.
7. To be obstinate or noncompliant.
8. To deviate from the right.
9. To be ungodly and to be unjust.
The following passages point out the sinner's rebellion and refusal to obey God. The sinner's real problem is pure rebellion. He can turn to God but instead he defiantly and boldly refuses to even listen to God. All sin is disobedience and rebellion.
Romans 6:16 "Know ye not, that to whom ye yield yourselves servants to obey, his servants ye are to whom ye obey; whether of sin unto death, or of obedience unto righteousness."
James 5:17 "Therefore to him that knows to do good, and does it not, to him it is sin."
Isaiah 65:2 "I have spread out my hands all the day unto a rebellious people, which walks in a way that was not good, after their own thoughts."
Isaiah 1:19-20 "If ye be willing and obedient, ye shall eat the good of the land: But if ye refuse and rebel, ye shall be devoured with the sword: for the mouth of the Lord has spoken."
Psalms 81:11 "But my people would not hearken to my voice; and Israel would have none of me."
1 Samual 12:15 "But if ye will not obey the voice of the Lord, but rebel against the commandment of the Lord, then shall the hand of the Lord be against you, as it was against your fathers."
Isaiah 42:24b "For they would not walk in His ways, neither were they obedient unto His law."
Psalms 78:10 "They kept not the covenant of God, and refused to walk in his law."
Ezekiel 20:21a "They rebelled against me: they walked not in my statutes, neither kept my judgements to do them, which if a man do, he shall even live in them."
Matt. 23:24b "How often would I have gathered thy children together, even as a hen gathers her chickens under her wings, and ye would not!"
Romans 10:21 "But to Israel he saith, All day long I have stretched forth my hands unto a disobedient and gainsaying people."
Joshua 24:15 "And if it seem evil unto you to serve the Lord, choose you this day whom ye will serve; whether the gods which your fathers served that were on the other side of the flood, or the gods of the Amorites, in whose land ye dwell: but as for me and my house, we will serve the Lord."
The only real and true source for all sin is one's own free moral will. The carnal mind is the result of the free moral choice to rebel against God's righteous authority. This choice shuts out God's life, presence and control. It is a totally voluntary state where the sinner chooses to live in complete rebellion against God and His character. The carnal mind is the total enemy of God. It hates God and is totally hostile to Him. The carnal mind refuses to be subject to the law of God. As long as a sinner stays in this chosen state he will never be obedient to God or His laws. The sinner totally rejects God's true authority and makes himself the king and ruler of his own life. He violates God's original design and purpose. He decides to reject God to pursue self-gratification. The carnal mind is not the mind itself, but a voluntary choice and preference of the mind. It exists only as a result of a free moral choice. It is not a part of man's body, soul or spirit.
The sinner must see his sin as a crime worthy of eternal punishment in hell. Sin is not an inescapable slip of a helpless victim. Sin is rebellion against God. The sinner when truly convicted will beg for mercy because he knows that he is a criminal that truly deserves hell. Unless a sinner turns from sin and bows to Jesus Christ as Lord, he cannot have eternal life.
No one can truly repent if they do not believe that they are responsible for their sin. As long as a person blames his parents, Adam, his physical condition, God, the devil, or whatever, he will never truly repent. A person must see and realize that his sin is the result of his rebellion. The sinner must realize that he has chosen to rebel and refused God's righteous authority over him. He has willingly set his heart against God to live entirely and only for himself. This is the true condition of the sinner. Sinners do not deserve any pity or sympathy at all! They are chosen criminals fighting against God. Would God punish sinners with everlasting hell if they did not truly deserve it?