WHAT EXACTLY IS SIN?
QUESTIONS – Rotimi (UK): Thank you, Pastor, for this wonderful opportunity we have to hear the word of God from you every week. Sir, can you please explain what sin is according to the New Testament? I heard you say he that walks in love cannot sin at the same time, and then you said a brother cannot steal from someone to repay another because of love. [Yeah] Pastor what about the sin the Bible calls ‘sinning against his body’ (1 Corinthians 6:18). Please, Pastor, throw more light on what sin is in the New Testament. Thank you, sir.
ANSWER: Alright. Well, you’ve actually got two questions there. So, I will just run through them. 1 Corinthians Chapter 6, from verse 15: “Know ye not that your bodies are the members of Christ? Shall I then take the members of Christ, and make them the members of an harlot? God forbid.” Did you hear that? Then, it says, [verse 16-20]:“What? Know ye not that he which is joined to an harlot is one body? For two, saith he, shall be one flesh. But he that is joined unto the Lord is one spirit. Flee fornication. Every sin that a man doeth is without the body, but he that committeth fornication sinneth against his own body. What? know ye not that your body is the temple of the Holy Ghost which is in you, which ye have of God, and ye are not your own? For ye are bought with a price: therefore glorify God in your body, and in your spirit, which are God’s. [1 Corinthians 6:15-20]”
He says here, if you join yourself with a harlot, it means that you have joined yourself with several others, because a harlot is one who sells her body to others, and so, it says, joining yourself to a harlot makes you one with others. So, your body becomes part of whatever that harlot has contracted. So, he says, you sin against your body by doing this. So, that’s the explanation for sin against…he didn’t say sin against his body like the body [the Church], he says sin against your physical body –you, your body.
Then, secondly, “what is sin in the New Testament?” Sin in the New Testament is…I advise you to get our tape on the Concept of Sin; it helps you to understand all of these details. But first, I might first want to quickly give you a light on this. The parameters for judging sin are two things – two key things in the Bible. The first one is love, the second one is faith. Now, in Romans Chapter 13, reading to you from verse 8: “Owe no man any thing, but to love one another: for he that loveth another hath fulfilled the law.” Did you hear that? “He that loveth another hath fulfilled the law.” Then it goes on to say this,“For this, Thou shalt not commit adultery, Thou shalt not kill, Thou shalt not steal, Thou shalt not bear false witness, Thou shalt not covet; and if there be any other commandments, it is briefly comprehended in this saying, namely, Thou shalt love thy neighbour as thyself. Love worketh no ill to his neighbour: therefore love is the fulfilling of the law. [Romans 13:8-10]” That’s what the Bible says. So, anything that is outside love is sin. So, love is the fulfilling of the law. So, by walking in love, you walk in God.
Secondly, if you would go to Romans Chapter 14, verse number 23; let me read to you from verse 22, so you’ll get the right context: “Hast thou faith? have it to thyself before God. Happy is he that condemneth, not himself in that thing which he alloweth. [Romans 14:22]” Are you hearing that? So, in the New Testament, it says, it’s not whether “What is this? Or what is that? How do I define this, or how do I define that?” He says it’s got to do with something here that he gives us. I’ll read it again but you’ll have to read the whole chapter for yourself to get the whole picture. He says “Hast thou faith? have it to thyself before God” – let it be between you and God – “Happy is he that condemneth, not himself in that thing which he alloweth.[Verse 23] And he that doubteth is damned if he eats, because he eateth not of faith: for whatsoever is not of faith is sin.”
He’s telling you that in faith towards God and in faith towards the Word of God, whatever you do, with which you do not condemn yourself, like in this case where he was giving [for example] eating food offered to idols. He says, if you condemn yourself for it, then you have sinned. He says, “happy is he that condemns not himself in that thing which he allows” – which he ‘does’. The one who doubts is damned; he’s condemned if he goes ahead because he is not doing it out of faith, because “whatsoever is not of faith is sin”. So, you want to understand sin in the New Testament? That’s exactly it. Something, whatever is outside love or whatever is outside faith or whatever is outside both of them, because the Bible does say “Faith works by love. [Galatians 5:6]”
Then, two things are given to us as the causes of sin: the first one is selfishness and the second one is fear. Really, when you study the Bible, you’ll discover that selfishness is really the opposite of love and fear is the opposite of faith. See, why do people tell lies? Because they are afraid. They’re afraid of what might happen if they told the truth. That’s why. Why do people steal? Because they’re selfish and they have no faith in God being able to provide for them; they’re afraid that they may never have and they’re selfish. So, selfishness and fear are the causes of sin, and the parameters for judging sin are love and faith.