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Sin came into the world as a result of the disobedience of Adam and Eve (Genesis 3). Since then, all people become sinners when they too disobey God's law (Romans 3:23). Sin is a universal problem, and the solution to the problem of sin constitutes the theme of the Bible.
The purpose of this study is to examine what the Scriptures teach about the nature of sin and about God's plan to provide forgiveness of sins through the death of Jesus Christ.
As we study, we will ask personal application questions to help each of us evaluate whether or not we personally are guilty of sin and whether or not we have been forgiven by the blood of Jesus. Please give honest consideration to these questions throughout the studies.
What is sin, and how does a person become a sinner? Some churches teach that people inherit guilt from Adam through their parents. They conclude that little babies are born guilty of sin. What does Jesus teach in the Bible?
>>> Please read 1 John 3:4. <<<
*1* What is sin? Answer: Sin is __________ .
*2* Is sin something a person: (a) commits (practices), or (b) inherits? Answer: ____.
>>> Please read Romans 6:16. <<<
*3* How do people become slaves (servants) of sin? Answer: They present themselves to __________ sin.
>>> Please read John 8:34. <<<
*4* Who is a slave to sin? Answer: Whoever __________ sin is a slave of sin.
We may sin in word, deed, or thought, but our own conduct is what makes us sinners.
>>> Please read Ezekiel 18:20. <<<
*5* Who bears the guilt of a person's sins? Answer: The wickedness of the wicked will be upon __________ .
*6* What sins are we guilty of? (a) just the ones we commit, (b) our father's, (c) Adam's, (d) all the preceding. Answer: ____.
Note that Jesus was a descendant of Adam, born of woman (Luke 3:38; Galatians 4:4). He shared in flesh and blood, being made in all things like us (Hebrews 2:14,17). If people inherit Adam's sin, then Jesus must have been guilty of sin. Yet in Him there was no sin, because He did no sin (1 Peter 2:22; 2 Corinthians 5:21; 1 John 3:5; Hebrews 4:15). Jesus was made like us in all things but He did not inherit guilt; therefore guilt is not inherited.
Sin is doing, practicing, committing things that are not in harmony with God's will. Guilt cannot be inherited through our parents. None of Adam's descendants bear the guilt of his sin. Adam's sin is upon Adam alone. If you are guilty of sin, it is because of what you have done.
[See also Mark 7:20-23; Romans 3:9-18,23; 1 Timothy 6:10; James 1:14,15; 2:10,11.]
Each person's eternal destiny is determined by his/her own conduct. It is determined individually. Each person is held accountable for what he did, not for what his ancestors did.
>>> Please read Romans 2:6-10. <<<
*7* To receive eternal life, what must we do (vv 7,10)? Answer: We must patiently continue in doing (working) that which is __________ .
*8* Who will receive punishment (vv 8,9)? Answer: Tribulation and anguish will be upon everyone who does __________ .
Note that, at judgment, each will be rewarded according to his works or deeds (v6).
>>> Please read 2 Corinthians 5:10. <<<
*9* How many people will be judged? Answer: We must __________ appear before Jesus' judgment seat.
*10* On what basis will each one be judged? (a) what his parents did, (b) what he has done in the body, (c) what Adam did. Answer: ____.
[See also Matthew 7:21,23; Rom. 1:32; 14:12; Matt. 16:27; Rev. 20:12,13; 22:12.]
Note again that the above passages all show that sin is something a person does, works, or practices. Jesus taught that man is active both in sin and in salvation. He becomes a sinner because of what he does; and we will see that what he does also determines whether or not He receives God's offer of salvation.
No passage of Scripture anywhere teaches that little children are born sinners. Sin is not inherited. God does not hold children accountable for their conduct till they are old enough to understand His will and accept the responsibility to serve Him. Then they become sinners when they themselves participate in sinful conduct.
Have you disobeyed God's laws? If so, and if you are old enough to understand God's teachings about sin and salvation, then you need to learn and understand God's will about how to be forgiven of sin.
[Read Psalm 106:37,38; Hebrews 12:9; Matthew 18:3 & 19:14.]
For further information about original sin and the doctrine of inherited sin, please see the links at the end of this lesson.
The gospel contains many specific lists of sins. Of course, these lists are not intended to be complete catalogs of every imaginable kind of sin; but they do illustrate the kinds of things that constitute sin.
>>> Please read Galatians 5:19-21. <<<
*11* What happens to those who practice works of the flesh such as are listed here? Answer: They will not inherit the __________ .
>>> Please read Revelation 21:8. <<<
*12* What will be the destiny of those who commit these sins? Answer: They will have their part in the lake that burns with __________ .
>>> Please read 2 Timothy 3:1-5. <<<
*13* What are some sins that Paul warned about here: (a) lovers of self, (b) lovers of money, (c) proud, (d) disobedient to parents, (e) unthankful, (f) all the preceding. Answer: ____.
>>> Please read Galatians 1:8,9. <<<
*14* God's curse (anathema) also comes on those who do what? Answer: Those who teach a different __________ .
>>> Please read James 4:17. <<<
*15* Who is guilty of sin according to this verse? Answer: Those who know to do __________ and do not do it.
Think carefully: Have you been guilty of any of these sins? If so, which ones? Have the sins you committed been forgiven? How do you know?
[See also Matthew 15:18-20; Romans 1:29-32]
Consider now how many people are guilty of sin.
>>> Please read Romans 3:10-17. <<<
*16* How many people are righteous and good because they have lived without sin? Answer: __________ .
>>> Please read Romans 3:23. <<<
*17* How many people commit sin? Answer: __________ have sinned and come short of God's glory.
>>> Please read 1 John 1:8,10. <<<
*18* What is our case if we say we have no sin? Answer: The __________ is not in us.
All people eventually disobey God and become guilty of sin. This is a universal problem.
What about you? What is your condition before God? If you are accountable before God, then you have committed sin. Have your sins been forgiven?
Even before the first sin, God had warned Adam and Eve of the consequences of sin (Gen. 2:16,17). Throughout history, as people have continued to sin, sin has continued to have consequences in this life and in eternity.
>>> Please read Isaiah 59:1,2. <<<
*19* What consequence does sin have? Answer: Your sins (iniquities) have __________ you from God.
>>> Please read Colossians 3:6. <<<
*20* What does disobedience bring upon us? Answer: The __________ of God comes on those who disobey.
James 4:4 adds that whoever wants to be a friend of the world makes himself an enemy to God.
>>> Please read Matthew 25:41,46. <<<
*21* Where will the wicked go after the judgment day? Answer: The wicked will go into __________ .
Please note that, not only will the wicked be eternally lost, but they will also miss eternal life.
>>> Please read 2 Thessalonians 1:8,9. <<<
*22* What is the destiny of those who do not obey the gospel? Answer: They will be punished with __________ from the presence of the Lord.
The righteous will receive eternal life and will be with God forever in heaven (1 Peter 1:3,4). But the wicked will miss this great joy.
So all of us eventually sin. If those sins are not forgiven, we are separated from God in this life and in eternity. His wrath is upon us and He views us as His enemies, so that we suffer everlasting punishment in the lake of fire (Revelation 20:11-15).
Knowledge of the consequences of sin causes great fear and guilt (Psalms 38:4-6). The guilty have every reason to fear their eternal destiny. God views sin as something horrible, and we should do the same.
Sin is a universal problem, but God did not want the people He created to be lost eternally. Let us consider the provision God has made to deal with our sin problem.
Consider the following passages about God's grace and mercy. (When the lesson asks for a definition, please look the term up in your dictionary.)
>>> Please read Ephesians 1:7. <<<
*23* What has the grace of God made available to us? Answer: We have redemption through Jesus' blood, the __________ of sins, according to the riches of His grace.
*24* What definition of "redeem" would best fit the Bible meaning? (a) to condemn eternally, (b) to pay a purchase price to recover something, (c) to neglect or overlook, (d) all the preceding. Answer: ____.
Sinners are slaves of sin, condemned to be punished for our guilt. God's grace led Him to desire to forgive us and pay the price to recover us from guilt and condemnation.
>>> Please read Romans 5:1,2 <<<
*25* What can God's grace do for us? Answer: (a) we are justified by faith, (b) we have peace with God, (c) we rejoice in hope of glory, (d) all the preceding. Answer: ____
*26* What definition best fits the Bible meaning of "justify"? (a) to deny or hide our guilt, (b) to find a psychologist or preacher who will excuse our guilt, (c) to absolve or forgive ones guilt so that they stand right or just, (d) all the preceding. Answer: ____.
>>> Please read Titus 2:11-14. <<<
*27* To how many people has the grace of God appeared? Answer: The grace that brings salvation has appeared to __________ .
>>> Please read Hebrews 2:9. <<<
*28* What did Jesus do for us by the grace of God? Answer: By the grace of God he tasted __________ for everyone.
>>> Please read 1 Peter 1:3,4; Acts 20:32. <<<
*29,30* To what has God's mercy begotten us? Answer: We are begotten to a living hope, to an __________ incorruptible and undefiled, reserved in __________ for us.
*31* What definition of "grace" best fits the Bible meaning? (a) unmerited or undeserved favor from God, (b) goodness inherent within people, (c) ability to hide guilt so no one else knows, (d) all the preceding. Answer: ____.
All of us, at some point in our lives, sin against God and deserve to be punished. We then bear the burden of guilt and will receive everlasting punishment in hell if our sins are not forgiven.
God does not want this to happen, so He chose to offer us forgiveness, redemption, justification, and the hope of eternal life with him in heaven. Since sinners do not deserve such favor, by definition it constitutes "grace." Every one of us should be forever grateful to God for offering us such a hope.
[See also Acts 15:7-11; 20:24; Romans 4:4-7; 5:1,2; 2 Corinthians 9:8; Ephesians 1:5-11; 2:5-10; 1 Timothy 1:13-16; 2 Timothy 1:8-10; Titus 3:3-7.]
Grace motivated God to determine a means to offer us forgiveness despite our sins. But this offer expressed itself in a specific, practical form, which required God's Son to come to earth in the form of a man.
>>> Please read Luke 19:10; Matthew 20:28. <<<
*32,33* For what purpose did Jesus come to earth? Answer: He came to seek and save that which was __________ and to give His life as a __________ for many.
>>> Please read Matthew 26:28. <<<
*34* Why did He have to die? Answer: He shed (poured out) His __________ for many for remission of sins.
>>> Please read Romans 5:6-9. <<<
*35* How did God demonstrate His love for us? Answer: While we were still sinners Christ __________ for us.
As a result, we can be justified by His blood (death) and saved from God's wrath.
>>> Please read 1 Peter 2:24; Hebrews 2:9. <<<
*36,37* What is the relationship between our sins and Jesus' death? Answer: He bore our __________ in His body on the tree. By the grace of God, He tasted __________ for everyone.
By His stripes we are healed. This means that He was punished so that we do not need to be punished. He suffered so we could be forgiven and counted righteous (justified) despite our sins.
As stated in Ephesians 1:7, Jesus' blood was the means by which God's grace made redemption and forgiveness available to sinners. His blood was the purchase price that redeemed us from our sins (1 Peter 1:18,19).
>>> Please read Acts 4:12; John 14:6. <<<
*38* How important is Jesus' death to us? Answer: There is salvation in no one else. No one can come to the __________ except through Jesus.
Throughout the Bible, the penalty of sin is referred to as "death" (Ezekiel 18:20; Romans 6:23). Ultimately, this death requires eternal punishment separated from God, in contrast to eternal life (cf. Matthew 7:13,14).
Since He lived a sinless life, Jesus did not deserve to die for His sins. Yet God allowed Him to be slain, even though He was innocent, so that we who are guilty might not have to suffer for our sins. His death satisfied the demands of God's justice, making it possible for us to be forgiven of our sins. But we must properly come to Jesus to be forgiven by His sacrificial death.
It follows that every one of us will be eternally punished for our sins, unless we receive forgiveness through Jesus' death. There is no other way of salvation, no other way to be made right with God, and no other way to receive eternal life.
Do you feel guilty and fearful about your sins? __________
Which of the following words would you use to describe yourself right now in your relationship to God: sinner, Christian, saved, lost, guilty, forgiven, pleasing to God, displeasing to God? __________
If you were to die right now, what eternal reward would you receive? __________
Have you received forgiveness through His blood? How do you know? ________________________________________
(C) Copyright David E. Pratte, 2004 (click for copyright information)
Sin (Inherited Depravity)
Why Do We Need Forgiveness of Sins?
Individual Responsibility in Salvation
Is Jesus Really Your Lord?
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