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Chapte 17

 

Sin and forgiveness

 

The first sin occurred, not on earth, but in the heavenly realms when about one third of the angelic population rebelled and were cast down to earth by God. In some ways this can be seen as heralding the first sin on earth, discussed in the last chapter. Both were devastating in their effect, both in the heavenlies and on the earth. What then is sin and how does it continue to effect people on this earth?

The greatest sin. Today, the greatest sin is the failure of any person to believe in Jesus Christ. Most people will not readily admit to being guilty of sin, although they may acknowledge vices, lies, crimes, theft or self-centredness, all of which are good examples of sin against cod and others. All sin is against God, whether the sin itself is against others, or just a wrong act by an individual and not particularly against any other person. Remember, all sin is against God and has the effect of separating the sinner from him. However, God still loves the sinner.

Ever since the first sin on earth by the first man and woman on earth, man has had that sin nature bred into him. This is the woe of mankind discussed in Chapter 13. Today, as they have throughout all history, men and women consistently sin against each other. This sin is based mainly on selfishness, greed and fear. It leads to poverty, domination, control and manipulation. In the final outcome, when these methods do not work, physical harm, war and murder can eventuate.

The effects of sin.

The effect of sin began when the first man and woman on earth sinned against God. Prior to that, they had perfection on earth in every way. Not only could they have deep communion faith God as their father and friend, but their every need was met without too much effort on their part. This changed dramatically after the first sin of mankind.

Firstly, they lost the fullness of the Holy Spirit of God from their beings, thus losing the position of power and trust they had with God. Ever since then, women have had great pain in childbirth. Moreover, God told Eve that her husband would now rule over her. God told the husband that he would have great difficulty in scratching out a living from the earth because the ground was now cursed and thorns would affect his crops. Doesn't it explain a lot about the difficulties of today's world? Moreover, instead of living forever, they would now both physically die at some point in time and return to the ground from where they came.

Mankind being tested.

God's punishments at that time long ago, are still effecting the way we live, and will continue to do so until Jesus Christ returns. ( See Chapter 16.) One way of looking at the period of time between then and now, is that God has used it as a testing time for all men, to see if they will trust him to provide for their every need. The Bible makes it very clear that only those who have trusted God with their lives, will be the ones whom he will save to be with him in his heavenly kingdom. Have you been trusting God? You can begin at any time. Go to Chapter 25 for details of how to begin that process.

Sin separates.

Sinful actions, sinful attitudes or sinful thoughts by man, are the things that separate man from God. The only thing that can restore the relationship is for man to turn away from committing those sins and to ask God's forgiveness. Forgiveness by God towards man, activates a powerful spiritual force that frees man from the grip of sin. Read that last sentence again. It is very important.

However, God will only forgive when man comes to him in humility and asks for his forgiveness. Moreover, if that sin has been against another person, then generally, forgiveness must also be sought from that person too. ( A good relationship with God is dependent on good relationships with other people.) after that, God can then be asked for forgiveness from that sin. This is the only way that people can be really set free!

Forgiveness and freedom possible.

This act of forgiveness is only possible because of Jesus' death on the cross and that he took the punishment that was due to us. This is the measure of the love of Jesus; that he was willing to suffer in that way, firstly because God the father asked him to, and secondly, because he loved us just so much. If you need to, go back to the explanation of this in chapter 16.

The holiness of God.

A feature of a study of the character of God in the Bible is his holy nature. It is of a purity that we, as common people, cannot fully understand. It is quite beyond any concept we might have about perfection, spotlessness or holiness. However, it is this idea of holiness that shows us why God wants us all to be forgiven, so that we too, can become better people, not only while we are here on earth, but as preparation for our coming time in heaven. Becoming better is mainly a work of God, not by our own efforts, but with our cooperation.

This aspect of God's holiness is particularly important, as God, because he is holy, cannot and will not be associated with any sort of evil or uncleanness. This is why no one will ever get to heaven if they have not had their lives cleansed by Jesus Christ. This can only be achieved by repenting and believing in him here on earth before we die. That is what Chapter 25 is all about.

Good news!

So the woe of man expressed in Chapter 13 can be overcome! What great news! In fact, it's the best news that modern man could ever have. Sin can be overcome! No more guilt! Forgiveness from God is available to all who will come to him, confess and believe in him. It is not by man's own efforts that he is saved, but by man deciding to believe in Jesus and what he has done for him.

One of the most wonderful things Jesus ever said, was that he had come so that we could have fullness of life here on earth. That promise is available to you right now! Finally, the best thing about it all, is that we can live forever with him in heaven. Another life after this is really available. Believe it because the bible says so!

What this Chapter has said.

  1. The first sin occurred in the heavenly realms and was followed by the sin of Adam and Eve, thus alienating them from God.
  2. The greatest sin of men and women today is a failure to believe in Jesus Christ and what he has done for all men and women.
  3. Sin separates us from God. God is forever holy.
  4. Forgiveness from sin and guilt is possible by believing in, and acting on all that Jesus says to do.
  5. It is not by man's own efforts that he is set free, but by what Jesus has already achieved for him. It only has to be accepted.