Maryville First Church of the Nazarene

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LIFE'S MOST IMPORTANT QUESTIONS!

III.    WHAT IS SIN?

A.   ORIGINAL SIN - or depravity, is that corruption of all the offspring of Adam by reason of which everyone is very far gone from the original righteousness or the pure state of our first parents at the time of their creation, is without spiritual life, and inclined to evil, and that continually.

B.   PERSONAL SIN -  THERE ARE TWO DEFINITIONS THAT SEEM WORLDS APART AT FIRST  GLANCE.

1. One definition states that SIN is ANYTHING that falls short of keeping EVERY aspect of the perfect law of God. This would include both sins willfully, intentional committed and "unknown" and "unintentional" Sins; as well as Sins of "not doing" the good you could have done, and the good that you should have done if you had the perfect understanding and perfect wisdom of God. Using this definition, every Christian sins every day in word, thought and deed.

2. The other definition states that SIN is a "Willful Transgression" of a "Know Law" of God.

Nazarenes use this second definition believing that God only holds us "ACCOUNTABLE" for what we know and understand. However, we do realize that in a technical sense, the first definition is correct. God, not man, determines what is good and what is sinful. Whether or not man "agrees" with God on what is O.K. to do, and what is sinful, does not change the fact that what God says is SIN is truly SIN. Even so, we believe that God is merciful, as well as just. God knows the heart of every man, and God knows the "true" limitations of each person's understanding. God knows the difference between "refusing to accept" God's laws and truly not knowing you have done wrong. So, while Sin is truly Sin, apart from any judgment or lack of understanding on man's part; Nazarenes believe that God only holds each man "accountable" for what he knows. If an individual becomes aware that he has done wrong he should correct his past mistakes if possible.

EXAMPLE:

(On one occasion I was helping to remove the personal belongings of a lady who had died in the nursing home. One of the items I took from the nursing home was a "walker" which I believed had belonged to the deceased. Several days after I had left the nursing home with the walker, someone told me that walker belonged to the nursing home and not to the lady who died. Taking things that don't belong to you, without the permission of the owner, is stealing! We believe that God would not have held me responsible for "stealing" the walker if I had never learned that the walker belonged to the nursing home. But, once I found out that the walker belonged to nursing home, I was obligated to return the walker. If I decided to keep the walker after I knew it should be returned, I would have been guilty of stealing the walker.)

 

 SCRIPTURE SHOWS A DIFFERENCE  IN MAN'S ACCOUNTABILITY FOR 

 WILLFUL SIN AND UNINTENTIONAL & UNKNOWN SIN

 

 

John 9:39 ¶ Jesus said, "For judgment I have come into this world, so that the blind will see and those who see will become blind."  40 Some Pharisees who were with him heard him say this and asked, "What? Are we blind too?"  41 Jesus said, "If you were blind, you would not be guilty of sin; but now that you claim you can see, your guilt remains.  (NIV)

John 15:22 If I had not come and spoken to them, they would not be guilty of sin. Now, however, they have no excuse for their sin.  (NIV)

Romans 4:13 It was not through law that Abraham and his offspring received the promise that he would be heir of the world, but through the righteousness that comes by faith.  14 For if those who live by law are heirs, faith has no value and the promise is worthless, 15 because law brings wrath. And where there is no law there is no transgression.  (NIV)

Romans 5:12 Therefore, just as sin entered the world through one man, and death through sin, and in this way death came to all men, because all sinned — 13 for before the law was given, sin was in the world. But sin is not taken into account when there is no law.  (NIV)

I Timothy 1:12 ¶ I thank Christ Jesus our Lord, who has given me strength, that he considered me faithful, appointing me to his service.  13 Even though I was once a blasphemer and a persecutor and a violent man, I was shown mercy because I acted in ignorance and unbelief.  (NIV)

FROM THE OLD TESTAMENT

Numbers 15:22 ¶ "‘Now if you unintentionally fail to keep any of these commands the LORD gave Moses — 23 any of the LORD’s commands to you through him, from the day the LORD gave them and continuing through the generations to come — 24 and if this is done unintentionally without the community being aware of it, then the whole community is to offer a young bull for a burnt offering as an aroma pleasing to the LORD, along with its prescribed grain offering and drink offering, and a male goat for a sin offering.  25 The priest is to make atonement for the whole Israelite community, and they will be forgiven, for it was not intentional and they have brought to the LORD for their wrong an offering made by fire and a sin offering.   26 The whole Israelite community and the aliens living among them will be forgiven, because all the people were involved in the unintentional wrong.  27 "‘But if just one person sins unintentionally, he must bring a year-old female goat for a sin offering.  28 The priest is to make atonement before the LORD for the one who erred by sinning unintentionally, and when atonement has been made for him, he will be forgiven.  29 One and the same law applies to everyone who sins unintentionally, whether he is a native-born Israelite or an alien.  30 ¶ "‘But anyone who sins defiantly, whether native-born or alien, blasphemes the LORD, and that person must be cut off from his people.  31 Because he has despised the LORD’s word and broken his commands, that person must surely be cut off; his guilt remains on him.’"  (NIV)