Sinful. In general, the underlying idea of sin is that of law and a lawgiver. The lawgiver is God. Hence, sin is everything in the disposition and purpose and conduct of God’s moral creatures that is contrary to the expressed will of God (Rom. 3:20; 4:15; 7:7; Jas. 4:12, 17). The sinfulness of sin lies in the fact that it is against God, even when the wrong we do is to others or ourselves (Gen. 39:9; Psa. 51:4).
There are nine different Greek words in the New Testament which present sin in its various aspects.
“hamartia” – means missing the divinely appointed goal or mark; a deviation from what is pleasing to God; doing what is opposed to God’s will; perversion of what is upright; a misdeed; a missing of the goal conformable to and fixed by God (i.e., Rom. 3:9; 6:6).
“hamartema” – an act of disobedience to a Divine law (i.e., Rom. 3:25; 1 Cor. 6:18).
“parakoe” – a failing to hear; a hearing amiss; active disobedience which follows on this inattentive or careless hearing, being super-induced upon the word. The sin is already committed in the failing to listen when God is speaking; inattentiveness or disobedience to a voice (i.e., Acts 7:57; Rom. 5:19).
“anomia” – the non-observance of a law; contempt or violation of the law; lawlessness; one who acts contrary to law (i.e., Rom. 4:7; 2 Thes. 2:7).
“paranomia” – refers to the act of one going beyond the limits which the law lays down (2 Pet. 2:16).
“parabasis” – to step on one side; violate; the over-passing or transgressing of a line; breaking of a law (i.e., Rom. 5:14; Ga1. 3:19).
“paraptoma” – a lapse or deviation from truth and uprightness; the falling alongside where one should have stood upright. A sin which is not on the person’s part a conscious disobedience of the will of God, but an unintentional one committed through the inability to prevent it entering the life (i.e., Rom. 4:25; Gal. 6:1).
“agnoema” – to sin through ignorance; the doing through ignorance of something wrong which one should have known about (Heb. 10:26; 1 Tim. 1:13).
“hettema” – coming short of one’s duty; a fault; defeat; or failure (i.e., Rom. 11:12; 1 Cor. 6:7).
There are various Hebrew words in the Old Testament which present sin in its various aspects.
“asham” – guilt; guilt offering (i.e., Prov. 14:9; Isa. 53:10).
“ashmal” – guilt; guilt offering (i.e., Lev. 4:3; Psa. 69:5).
“chet” – error; failure (i.e., Lev. 20:20; Psa. 51:5).
“chataah” – sin (i.e., Gen. 20:9; Psa. 32:1).
“chattaah” – sin (i.e., Ex. 34:7; Isa. 5:18).
“chattath” – sin; sin offering (i.e., Gen. 4:7; Psa. 25:7).
“chatai” – sin (i.e., Dan. 4:27).
“avon” – iniquity; wickedness; lawlessness; unjust (i.e., 1 Ki. 17:18).
“pesha” – trespass; transgression or the violation of that which God’s glory demands of us and is, therefore, in its essence the contradiction of God (i.e., Prov. 10:12; 28:13).
“Original sin” is a term used to denote the effect of Adam’s sin in the garden upon the moral life of his descendants (mankind). It is held that the sin of Adam was immediately imputed/attributed to the whole human family, so that not only is the whole human race depraved, but also actually guilty on account of this first sin. Adam was not only the natural, but also the representative or federal head of the human race. When Adam sinned, all of mankind was sinning in him (Rom. 5:12-19; 3:9, 23; 1 Cor. 15:22; Eph. 2:1-3; 1 Jn. 1:8; Matt. 15:19).
Gen. 3:1-13 What did Adam and Eve do that caused them to realize their nakedness and to hide from God (Gen. 3:3, 6)?
What did God ask them (Gen. 3:11)?
What was their response (Gen. 3:12-13)?
Do you ever pass the blame when you sin (disobey God)?
Rom. 5:12-21 What was the result of Adam’s disobedience (transgression) upon all mankind according to Romans 5:14, 16, 19?
[“antanaclasis” – is a figure of speech where the same word is repeated in a sentence or close area but with a different meaning.].
[“the many” – means a certain group of people. When used in reference with Adam, it indicates all of Adam’s descendants or the whole human race, except for Jesus because the sin nature is passed on through the male seed, and Jesus wasn’t born from an earthly father. When the phrase is used in reference with Christ, it indicates all God’s chosen-for-salvation ones or believers.].
How does that affect you, and why?
Gen. 6:5 After the civilization of mankind had grown and had become established, what did God see?
What did God think about the idea that mankind given enough time (since Adam) would become progressively better?
And how much of the intents of mankind’s thought-life (“heart” means “mind”) was evil?
How is your thought-life doing, and why?
Gen. 8:21 The intent (inclination, thoughts, and desire) of the mind (heart) of mankind is evil from when?
[“youth” or childhood is the Hebrew word “neurim”, which is the plural and expresses a state or condition; from the very time when mankind begins to act with consciousness. It is innate in mankind; it’s bred in his bone, he brought it into the world.].
Eccles. 7:20, 29 Though God made mankind upright (in character at creation), what did mankind do?
[“devices” are sins”].
Do you ever seek ways to become independent, or free from God, in order to gratify your own desires, and why?
Psa. 51:5 How does the Psalmist say that he was brought (born) into this world?
Or, in what moral condition was he conceived?
In what moral condition do you think you were brought (born) into this world, and why?
Psa. 58:3 From when do these who speak lies go astray?
And from where or when are the wicked estranged/removed?
[So babies are not innocent/pure as many people wrongly think.].
Isa. 53:6 In what way is mankind compared to sheep?
Have you ever gone your own way in life, trying to be independent from God?
Isa. 64:6 To what has all of mankind become like?
[“unclean” – legally unclean as a person overspread with a leprosy and was shut out of the camp/neighborhood.].
To what does God compare all of mankind’s righteous/good deeds?
Jer. 17:9 How does God view the heart of mankind?
[The “heart” or nature is the innermost center of the natural condition of mankind. It knows – Prov. 14:10; understands – Acts 16:14; and feels – Jn. 16:6. It is the center of the moral life – 2 Cor. 3:15-16; Rom. 1:21; 2:14-15; Psa. 73:26].
Do you think that your heart (nature you were born with) was or is any better, and why?
Matt. 23:13-39 What did Jesus say about the Jewish religious leaders of His day and even those before His day?
Do you think that the religious leaders of our day are any different, and why?
Matt. 12:24, 34-35 What question does Jesus ask the Pharisees (the Jewish religious leaders), who He calls a brood of vipers?
And how does Jesus answer His own question?
[From this, we see that our flesh or sin nature is incapable of doing good in terms of speaking anything good, with unselfish motives (Prov. 16:2), if a person has an evil heart, which we all have since conception, Psa. 58:3; 51:5.].
Did you ever or do you still think that a non-Christian can ever say anything good (with right motives, Prov. 16:2, since all a non-Christian has is an evil heart), and why?
Rom. 8:5-8 Why is the mind (thoughts, interests, affections, purpose, etc.) set (fixed, absorbed) on the flesh (the human nature as corrupted, directed, and controlled by sin and its desires) hostile toward God?
And what can’t those who are in the flesh (the sin nature or non-Christians) do?
[From this, we see that our flesh or sin nature is incapable of doing good or pleasing God.].
Did you ever or do you still think that a non-Christian can do anything good or please God?
Rom. 3:9-13, 23 How many people are righteous in and of themselves?
How many people understand or seek for God (on their own or of themselves)?
How many people (as non-Christians) do good?
[From this, we again see that no one in their natural state or condition as a non-Christian does any good.].
Did you ever or do you still think that a non-Christian could in and of himself be righteous or do good or seek for God, and why?
Rom. 7:18 What did Paul, the great apostle, missionary, and religious leader say about himself, regarding his flesh (human nature)?
Would you have said this about yourself, if you had Paul’s status in the religious world, and why?
Jn. 8:43, 47 What can’t the person who is not of God (not a born-again Christian) do?
[The Gk. word “akouo”, translated as “hear” when used in the accusative case (the case of the direct object, usually), means “understand”. This idea is seen in Matt. 13:1-3, 13-14.].
1 Cor. 2:14 What two things can’t the natural man (non-Christian) do, and why?
What is one thing that is of the Spirit of God, 2 Pet. 1:20-21?
[Since the Bible, God’s Word, is of the Spirit and since the natural person can’t understand the things of the Spirit; therefore, the non-Christian is incapable of understanding or accepting the spiritual truths of the Bible apart from God’s intervention (Lk. 24:31, 45; Acts 16:14).].
Since the gospel message and salvation are of the Spirit of God (Titus 3:5; Jn. 3:5), the non-Christian thinks they are foolishness (1 Cor. 1:18, 23) unless God intervenes (Jn. 6:44, 65).
Matt. 11:25-27; 16:16-17 Who cannot truly or experientially know God or Jesus Christ?
[So, as a non-Christian, you can’t choose to know God or Jesus unless Jesus and God choose you to know them.].
If you know (believe in) Jesus Christ as God’s Son and Savior, be thankful that God opened your eyes to that truth (Acts 16:14).
Jn. 15:16 Since Jesus is good (1 Jn. 2:1) and the natural person can’t say, do, think, or understand anything good, what did Jesus do in order to have disciples (followers)?
2 Thes. 2:13; Eph. 1:4 Why should we always give thanks to God?
Who chose who first?
How do you know?
[Since both salvation and Christ are good, we couldn’t even choose either, were it not for God first choosing us – Jn. 1:12-13; 6:44, 65; Acts 13:48; Eph. 1:3-5, 11 – because as a non-Christian, we can’t do anything good, Rom. 3:12.].
Did you ever or do you still think that you chose Christ as your personal Savior in order to have salvation before He first chose you and even gave you your very faith to believe in Him (Eph. 2:8; Acts 3:16, “faith” is God’s gift to certain people He chooses)?
If you did or still do, read John 6:44, 65. Now what do you think?
Gal. 5:19-21 What are the products/deeds of the flesh (the sinful, human nature)?
And what does God forewarn those who practice these things?
How can a person who has or is practicing these sins inherit the kingdom of God (Jn. 6:47; Col. 2:13-14; Acts 10:43; 15:9)?
Matt. 15:18-19; Mk. 7:21-23 What comes out of a person’s heart (sin nature) and mouth?
Do these things ever come out of your heart or mouth, and why?
Matt. 7:15-20 What does a rotten tree bear?
What can’t a rotten tree produce?
So, if a non-believer (a rotten tree) can only bear bad fruit and not good fruit (right-motivated actions and words), what can he/she only do?
Eph. 2:1-3 What are all people by nature?
[“children of” – means “destined to”]
[“sons of” – means “characterized by”].
How does the child of wrath (non-Christian) live?
What kind of mind does the unbelieving/non-Christian have, Rom. 1:28-32; 8:7-8; Titus 1:15; 2 Tim. 3:8; Eph. 4:17-18?
Is this how you lived or still live?
[After studying all of the above passages it should be clear by now that our human, natural natures cannot think, say, do, choose, or understand anything that is good, which includes the motive behind it, because it is incapable of doing so.].
Jas. 2:10-11 What does God say about the so-called “good, moral person”, who keeps the whole law and yet stumbles in one point?
Why do you think that this would be the case?
[The “Law” is an expression of the will of God rather than a series of isolated commands. When a person breaks one point, he is breaking the will of God. The will of God is not fragmented, but rather a whole and is directed by love. To break any law would make me a lawbreaker.].
Rom. 1:18-32; 2:14-16 How does God describe those who are without knowledge of His laws?
[We see then, that the primitive heathen as well as the moral person, who doesn’t have or know the Law, both stand as condemned as those who have God’s Law or have heard the gospel, but have rejected it.].
Did you ever do things that you felt were wrong, before you even knew that the Bible said that they were wrong, and why?
Eph. 4:17-19 Why are people excluded from the life of God?
What had they given themselves over to, and why?
[“futility” – here, means “the uselessness or inability to receive God’s truths”.].
Have you ever done this?
1 Jn. 1:8 How is the person who says that he has not sinned described?
Have you ever thought that you’ve “arrived” and don’t have any sin?
Jn. 3:19-20 Why do people love darkness?
Have you ever felt this way?
Jn. 7:7 Why does the world (the people in it) hate Jesus?
Does the world hate you?
Define or illustrate what sin is according to the following verses:
1 Jn. 3:4
1 Jn. 3:15
List what the results or effects of sin are according to the following verses (unless biblically dealt with):
Rom. 6:16, 23 (1 Tim. 5:6)