Carl’s Cogitations: Understanding Sin


For there is no difference; for all have sinned and fall short of the glory of God…” (Romans 3:22b-23)

The first step in truly understanding sin is to come to accept the fact that each and every one of us is guilty of it. While most acknowledge this fact on the surface, we tend to fall into the worldly way of rating sin like we rate everything else…after all, isn’t murder worse than telling a little white lie? This leads to the second step to truly comprehend sin, all sin is equal in the eyes of God for any sin committed boils down to an act of disobedience against Him. Pause for a moment from reading this article and read what Paul wrote in Romans 1:18-32.

Paul makes it clear that the wrath of God is against all ungodliness and unrighteousness that we commit. Note that when Paul starts to actually compile a list, although it is not all-inclusive and no list would ever be, it has sins we mortals consider severe, like murder and hating God, down to things that in our human manner would rate lower such as pride and envy…note that the act of disobeying one’s parents made Paul’s list here…one I am certain we are all guilty of. Now focus on the last verse of chapter one of Romans; “who, knowing the righteous judgment of God, that those who practice such things are deserving of death, not only do the same but also approve of those who practice them.”

‘Such things’ in this verse is everything listed with no option to pick and just to which the righteous judgment of God applies. Thus, even disobeying one’s parents comes with a death sentence. Not only that but if you patted your buddy on the back in approval for disobeying their parents, that approval of sin comes with a death sentence. Therefore, no matter what sin we have committed or whatever sin we are currently practicing, we are all equally guilty, and all face the same sentence, for there is only one punishment for sin: death.

What then? Are we better than they? Not at all. For we have previously charged both Jews and Greeks that they are all under sin.” (Romans 3:9)

With the first two steps behind us and clasping to the knowledge that each of us is equally guilty and thus none of us is any better than anyone else we move forward to the third step in understanding our relationship with sin. For this step turn in your Bible to 1 John 1:5-10 and read what the inspired writer John penned there. First not that even those of us that are striving to walk in the light of God still commit sin and are thus guilty; to say otherwise is to declare God to be a liar according to verse 10, deceive ourselves and do not have the truth dwelling in us according to verse 8. The key in this section of scripture is in our relationship with God through Christ. “But if we walk in the light as He is in the light, we have fellowship with one another, and the blood of Jesus Christ His Son cleanses us from all sin.” This statement in verse 7 makes clear that those walking in the light, that is to saying striving with all good intention to live according to God’s will, have access to the blood of Christ for the purpose of cleansing sins that might be committed. It should be noted here also that the fellowship we must share in as one of the conditions is with ‘one another’ that is to say the Church. For all sanctified believers that have entered the covenant relationship with God through Christ are added by God to the one and only Church. (This has been covered at length in previous articles and on the Cogitations radio program.)

Now this cleansing is not automatic as can be seen in verse 9, “If we confess our sins, He is faithful and just to forgive us our sins and to cleanse us from all unrighteousness.” Thus, for those actively striving to maintain their daily walk in the light, when they do sin must own up to that sin and seek the forgiveness and cleanse that Jesus will faithfully provide.

In conclusion, I hope you walk away from reading this article understanding that we are all guilty of sin and therefore none of us are any better than anybody else. I pray that you meditate deeply on the fact that only if we submit to a dedication of entering the covenant relationship with God and walking in His light can our sins be cleansed. Lastly, this message is for everyone for all need the continuous cleansing that only Jesus can provide…so share it with others.

(Carl Hartman is the Minister at Main Street Church of Christ in Lockney)

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