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July 3, 2016
My Sin, My Action
There are some things in which all adults who have the capacity for accountability are alike—they all are sinners. “For all have sinned and fall short of the glory of God” (Romans 3:23). John was writing to Christians, when by inspiration he said, “If we say that we have no sin, we are deceiving ourselves and the truth is not in us. If we confess our sins, He is faithful and righteous to forgive us our sins and to cleanse us from all unrighteousness. If we say that we have not sinned, we make Him a liar and His word is not in us” (1John 1:8-10). However, all accountable people are not alike in their action toward sin.
No one should be ignorant of sin, because God has defined sin. One side of sin, simply stated, is doing what God has said not to do. “Everyone who practices sin also practices lawlessness; and sin is lawlessness” (1John 3:4). Then, there is failing to do what God has said to do, which is sin. “All unrighteousness is sin …” (1John 5:17). All of God's commandments are righteousness (Psalm 119:172), so when we fail to keep his righteous commandments, we are guilty of sin.
God has not only defined sin, he has also given specifics of sin and the consequences. “Or do you not know that the unrighteous will not inherit the kingdom of God? Do not be deceived; neither fornicators, nor idolaters, nor adulterers, nor effeminate, nor homosexuals, nor thieves, nor the covetous, nor drunkards, nor revilers, nor swindlers, will inherit the kingdom of God” (1Corinthians 6:9-10). Scripture makes various references to sin specifically over a hundred times.
Some may be ignorant of sins, but that is no excuse. “Therefore having overlooked the times of ignorance, God is now declaring to men that all people everywhere should repent, because He has fixed a day in which He will judge the world in righteousness through a Man whom He has appointed, having furnished proof to all men by raising Him from the dead” (Acts 17:30-31). As long as people remain ignorant of their sins, they will be doing nothing to seek forgiveness for their sins and there is no relief from the dreadful consequences.
Hosea said concerning Ephraim, “Strangers devour his strength, Yet he does not know it; Gray hairs also are sprinkled on him, Yet he does not know it” (Hosea 7:9). Ephraim had closed their eyes—they were purposefully blind to their true condition. David grew up under the law of Moses and knew the commandments, but when he committed his multiplies sins in regard to Bathsheba, he seemed blind to his guilt. The first evidence of any remorse experienced was not until Nathan the prophet came and let him know that he was guilty of great sin and that he would suffer the consequences of his transgressions (2Samuel 11:12).
Just because we may close our eyes to our true spiritual condition and refuse to recognize our sins, this does not mean that they are not there and that God does not see them, either. Anyone who refuses to see his sins will do nothing to seek forgiveness from those sins.
Some think there is no such thing as sin. This would be the opinion of weak, helpless man as opposed to God's word, which shows clearly that there is such a thing as sin, and that it will condemn one to eternal condemnation and suffering (Ezekiel 18:4; Matthew 25:46). Jesus told of a Pharisee who prayed to himself showing a denial of sin: “The Pharisee stood and was praying this to himself: ‘God, I thank You that I am not like other people: swindlers, unjust, adulterers, or even like this tax collector” (Luke 18:11). He showed no recognition of any sin in his life. Even when people are guilty, and know it, they still may deny it, just like King Saul as he returned from the battle with the Amalekites. Even though he knew that he had not done what God told him to do, he was in denial. He said to Samuel, “Blessed are you of the LORD! I have carried out the command of the LORD” (1Samuel 15:13). When Samuel let him know that his kingdom would be taken from him because of his sin, he said, “I have sinned; I have indeed transgressed the command of the LORD and your words, because I feared the people and listened to their voice” (1Samuel 15:24). He still blamed someone else. People who deny their sins will do nothing to seek forgiveness.
Admit, but not Repent
Many have the attitude of, “All right, I have sinned—so what—I’ll probably do it again.” There is no remorse of conscience, no fear of God. Since punishment for sin may not immediately follow the of sin itself, the unrepentant may feel that there is no consequence to be feared. The wise preacher said, “Because the sentence against an evil deed is not executed quickly, therefore the hearts of the sons of men among them are given fully to do evil” (Ecclesiastes 8:11). The time of reckoning will inevitably come—“and be sure your sin will find you out” (Numbers 32:23). “Do not be deceived, God is not mocked; for whatever a man sows, this he will also reap” (Galatians 6:7). One who has no regret and is unrepentant will do nothing to seek forgiveness.
Sorry, but Worldly Sorrow
Many sorrow, not because of sin, but because of the exposure of the sinner. A thief may not be sorry that he stole but that he was caught stealing. There may be embarrassment, but no remorse. “For the sorrow that is according to the will of God produces a repentance without regret, leading to salvation, but the sorrow of the world produces death” (2Corinthians 7:10). One who experiences only a worldly sorrow will do nothing to seek forgiveness.
Repentance Without Regret
Repentance without regret means that we have been brought by godly sorrow to a change of mind and to a change of conduct. We will no longer engage in the practice of sin.
If someone who has never obeyed the gospel has this heart, they will seek forgiveness through their faith in Christ, through their repentance, through confession of faith in Christ, and through baptism into Christ for the remission of their sins. (John 8:24; Luke 13:3; Matthew 10:32,33; Mark 16:16). If any are erring children of God, they will seek forgiveness through repentance and prayer (Acts 8:22). In regard to MY sin, what is MY action?
—S. Scott Richardson Sr.