If I Sin Am I a Sinner?
The understanding of what exactly sin is may not be as simple as you might at first suppose. There is no doubt that sin is our great enemy, but what exactly is it?
Consider the blameless, observe the upright; there is a future for the man of peace. 38 But all sinners will be destroyed; the future of the wicked will be cut off. (NIV84)
Who are the Sinners?
Good people go to heaven, and all sinners are rejected—got it, but who are the sinners?
The Lord looks down from heaven on the sons of men to see if there are any who understand, any who seek God. 3 All have turned aside, they have together become corrupt; there is no one who does good, not even one. (NIV84)
What’s this? Not even one good person? Not even one person meets the qualifications for heaven? What is the point of life if we are all sinners and end up in Hell? We need to look a little deeper into this.
“Why do you call me good?” Jesus answered. “No one is good—except God alone. (NIV84)
Wow! What a statement this is! What can Jesus possibly mean by saying that he is not good? What about the holy angels in heaven, are they not good as well? Evidently not; Jesus said that only God alone is good. Yikes! And double, yikes! What does this mean?
A Deeper Look
There is something in this word good that is very valuable for us to understand. Words in the Bible don’t necessarily mean what we think they mean, they mean what God thinks they mean. My definition of a good person is evidently different than God’s definition. We need to examine things, just as I have been doing in this article so that, in the end, we can understand what the Bible means. We can act like a lawyer and use the Bible as a law book, or we can submit ourselves to God and grow in our knowledge and understanding of him and of his ways.
What I see in the Bible is the fact that God can’t sin, and that impossibility makes only God good. Everyone else might be good at the moment, but they might not be good down the road, but God is good now, and he will be eternally good forever, which is why we should put our eternal faith in him, and in him alone.
Is Jesus Worthy of Worship?
Now, where does that leave Jesus Christ? If he is not good, as he said, then why should I put my faith in him? Some people have come to this conclusion and so have bypassed Jesus and worship only God the Father. Are those people correct in their thinking? This is a pretty important question. This question is probably more important to you than any other that you can think of. It’s huge. The answer is that yes, you should worship and obey Jesus Christ just like we would the Father because he has the Father’s backing. In a way, when we worship Jesus Christ, we are worshiping God the Father through him.
It is not to angels that he has subjected the world to come, about which we are speaking. 6 But there is a place where someone has testified:
“What is man that you are mindful of him, the son of man that you care for him? 7 You made him a little lower than the angels; you crowned him with glory and honor 8 and put everything under his feet.”
In putting everything under him, God left nothing that is not subject to him. Yet at present we do not see everything subject to him. 9 But we see Jesus, who was made a little lower than the angels, now crowned with glory and honor because he suffered death, so that by the grace of God he might taste death for everyone. (NIV84)
While Jesus Christ was a man, he was made “a little lower than the angels,” but because of his perfect obedience, he was declared to be worthy. It works like this: As long as Jesus had the potential to sin, he was not good after the manner that God is good, but after his resurrection, he returned to his divine state and is now good. While Jesus was a man, the Bible says that he could be tempted, but God cannot be tempted.
In a loud voice they sang: “Worthy is the Lamb, who was slain, to receive power and wealth and wisdom and strength and honor and glory and praise!” (NIV84)
It could be argued that before the resurrection, Jesus was not worthy, but even that argument would fall apart in the presence of God. The reason is that everything concerning Christ, and what he would do, was already in the Scriptures. What is written is just as true as what has already happened. God’s word cannot fail.
The Lord said to me, “You have seen correctly, for I am watching to see that my word is fulfilled.” (NIV84)
As the rain and the snow come down from heaven, and do not return to it without watering the earth and making it bud and flourish, so that it yields seed for the sower and bread for the eater, 11 so is my word that goes out from my mouth: It will not return to me empty, but will accomplish what I desire and achieve the purpose for which I sent it. (NIV84)
I tell you the truth, until heaven and earth disappear, not the smallest letter, not the least stroke of a pen, will by any means disappear from the Law until everything is accomplished. (NIV84)
If a thing is written in the Bible, it cannot fail to happen. If you have faith in God, then you must also have faith in what the Bible says, because it is backed by God. You can have the exact same amount of faith in the Bible as you do in God, and also the same amount in Jesus Christ because he also has God’s one hundred percent backing. To believe in God is to believe in the Bible is to believe in the Son. All three are the same. If the Bible were to fail then, God would be proven a liar, and the Bible tells us that it is impossible for God to lie (see Hebrews 6:18).
Now, that being said, does the same apply to you? Are you one hundred percent incapable of sinning? Does the Bible declare that you, personally, are saved and perfect before God? No, it doesn’t. The Bible doesn’t have my name anywhere in it. It speaks of God and of Jesus Christ and my potential, but not of my established fact. If Jesus was not good, then I am certainly not. I am reminded daily of my failure to always be good. If I have to be a good person to get into heaven, then things don’t look too good for me. My track record doesn’t indicate to me that I will be arriving at good anytime soon.
That is what the above Scripture means when it says that God doesn’t see any good people. There aren’t any for him to see. If there were one, then God would certainly know that person and would pal around with them always, but there are none.
Then Jesus came from Galilee to the Jordan to be baptized by John. 14 But John tried to deter him, saying, “I need to be baptized by you, and do you come to me?”
15 Jesus replied, “Let it be so now; it is proper for us to do this to fulfill all righteousness.” Then John consented.
16 As soon as Jesus was baptized, he went up out of the water. At that moment heaven was opened, and he saw the Spirit of God descending like a dove and lighting on him. 17 And a voice from heaven said, “This is my Son, whom I love; with him I am well pleased.” (NIV84)
Why was Jesus baptized?
Why did the Spirit of God wait until he was baptized by John before he descended on him? Things occurred this way because Jesus was not good. He was human. He couldn’t be one hundred percent perfect like God. I am not saying that Jesus was guilty of sin, but that doesn’t mean that he was perfect either. Jesus was perfect as is humanly possible, but that doesn’t mean that he was as perfect as God the Father. What I am trying to say is very subtle. Let us look at another Scripture.
Jesus, full of the Holy Spirit, returned from the Jordan and was led by the Spirit in the desert, 2 where for forty days he was tempted by the devil. He ate nothing during those days, and at the end of them he was hungry. (NIV84)
Why Did Jesus Fast for Forty Days
Why did Jesus Christ remove himself from the people and fast for forty days? If you want to understand the Bible fully, then you have to ask these sorts of questions. Every single thing Jesus said and did was for a reason. That is a big part of what makes him so worthy of our following him. He is the perfect example of a child of God walking the walk in the world. Jesus fasted because he needed to. He needed to get control over his body before he began his all-important ministry. There was no room for error in his actions and in his words. But even then, he still had to eat and sleep. He had to take care of his body. His body was holding him back from perfection, just like yours does to you. As long as you live in a human body, the body will put demands upon you that require that you do things for it. God, the Father in heaven, doesn’t have that requirement. God is one hundred percent good. Every single thing that God does is for the good of all. That cannot be said for any human, including Jesus Christ, while he lived as a man. He had to pray and ask for strength and for courage and for wisdom and such. Jesus had to walk the walk. Now, the difference between Jesus and you and I, is that he did walk the walk. Me? I try, but I fall short every single day. Compared to Jesus, I am a complete boob, a complete failure, but it is unwise to compare yourself to anyone. It is impossible to accurately compare yourself to anyone, including Jesus Christ. Only God is capable of making such comparisons. Only he knows everything.
Who Can Enter Heaven?
So, what is sin? The Bible says that no sinners get into heaven and that all people are not good and commit sin. What is going on?
1 John 1:8
If we claim to be without sin, we deceive ourselves and the truth is not in us. (NIV84)
The Bible says that all sinners will be destroyed and cut off and that we are all guilty of sin. How then can anyone be saved from destruction?
This is How!
1 John 1:5–7
This is the message we have heard from him and declare to you: God is light; in him there is no darkness at all. 6 If we claim to have fellowship with him yet walk in the darkness, we lie and do not live by the truth. 7 But if we walk in the light, as he is in the light, we have fellowship with one another, and the blood of Jesus, his Son, purifies us from all sin. (NIV84)
This Scripture tells us what we need to know. Sin relates to faith. Animals cannot sin. They may kill one another, and even eat animals of their own species, even their own children, and it is not sinful. Sin is a violation of what we believe to be right and wrong in our spiritual nature, that is, within our soul. It is not a sin for soldiers to kill enemy combatants in war. One soldier can kill an enemy and not be guilty of sin. And another, right next to him, does the exact same thing and is guilty of sin. It is not what you do that is sinful, it is the doing of what you believe to be wrong. Sin is purely a moral issue.
But the man who has doubts is condemned if he eats, because his eating is not from faith; and everything that does not come from faith is sin. (NIV84)
Faith is what Saves Us
The above Scripture (1 John 1:5-7) informs us that we must walk in the light and that God is light. What this means is that we must study to know God, and then to obey him. Any violation of what we know or believe that God wants us to do is sin. The key here is not the sin that we may or may not do, but rather the walking in the light. What that means is that we are living by faith in God through Jesus Christ, his Son. Even though we sin, we are maintained pure in God’s sight through our active faith in Jesus Christ. Now, this is a subtle thing that I am talking about here. We are by no means given a license to sin. It might sound like we are, but we most definitely are not. Our hearts, our souls, our subconscious minds if you prefer, must be in Christ. I am not talking about our human brains. A huge percentage of so-called believers believe in their minds but not in their hearts. They say all of the Jesus stuff and carry their Bibles around and are active members of their church, but they do not believe in Jesus Christ within their hearts. They are, in reality, no different than the Pharisees who condemned the Lord Jesus Christ. The thing is, these so-called Christians may be more obedient on the outside than most of the true children of God, but on the inside, they are still faithless.
What is Faith?
Faith is a spiritual thing. Human beings, by nature, are pack animals. We work in groups of humans. The dynamics that hold a pack of humans together have nothing to do with faith. It might look like faith, but it is not faith. Humans work together because it is a genetic thing, part of our natural instincts. It is just like a pack of dogs. Dogs, like humans, work together, but it is not spiritual. Dogs cannot commit sin. They are unspiritual animals. They were not created in the image and likeness of God himself. Dogs cannot walk in the light as God is in the light, because they do not have spiritual eyes and ears with which they might see and hear spiritual things. Human beings are not just very smart animals. Genetics and evolution cannot explain what humans are today. Our bodies came from the earth, just like the other animals’ bodies, but our spiritual natures, our souls, came directly from God. When God breathed into the nostrils of the man (Adam) and the man became a living being, that was when God transformed the animal man into a spirit indwelled son of God. The difference in mankind before and after the spiritual transformation is monumentally huge. It is almost like the difference between God himself and a dog.
Complete Sinlessness is Impossible for Man
It is impossible for a human being not to sin. We have animal bodies that just scream to be self-centered. Our bodies are always yelling that they want food, sleep, sex, and comfort. Our animal instincts are loud and demanding. It is impossible for us to completely control our bodies. We are beings of love, and yet we get hungry and sleepy and suddenly snap at some person or other. We may have impure thoughts when a beautiful woman comes in to view. We may get frightened and tell a quick little lie to escape embarrassment. There are a million things that we might do that are unfaithful.
Be perfect, therefore, as your heavenly Father is perfect. (NIV84)
Do you think that you can be perfect? You don’t even know all of the things you should be doing. How can you be perfect? The point here is that you can’t. No one can be perfect. Why then did Jesus tell us to be perfect? He told us that to make it clear to ourselves, within ourselves, that we need him to keep us holy and pure. Any honest person that reads the above Scripture will see their need for cleansing. They will see their need for forgiveness. They will see their need to come to God and be ceremonially cleansed in the waters of John’s baptism to wash away their sin. John preached the Word, and the Word can make us clean. The key to understanding John’s baptism is in understanding faith. I may be a stupid head, but I believe in God. I believe that God wants me and that he will continue to keep me in him as I keep seeking to please and know him. I don’t believe in myself. Myself I know to be weak and in need of constant support, but that is the whole point here. The whole point is that I know that I need God every second of every moment for as long as I exist. That is the point. That is why Jesus told me to be perfect, knowing that I couldn’t. I need him.
Now let us look into the Scriptures to see how spiritual death came about.
Satan’s name before his death can be found in Isaiah 14:12 and is translated as Lucifer in the King James Version of the Bible, which literally means Morning Star. The idea behind his name is that he was (possibly) one of the brightest of the angles. You can think of a very dark night, and you can’t really see much of anything, but then as morning is coming, you see Venus rising, and this brightest of all “stars” is Lucifer (before his fall).
Ezekiel 28:12, 17
You were the model of perfection, full of wisdom and perfect in beauty.
17 Your heart became proud on account of your beauty, and you corrupted your wisdom because of your splendor. (NIV84)
How you have fallen from heaven, O morning star, son of the dawn! You have been cast down to the earth, you who once laid low the nations! 13 You said in your heart, “I will ascend to heaven; I will raise my throne above the stars of God; I will sit enthroned on the mount of assembly, on the utmost heights of the sacred mountain. 14 I will ascend above the tops of the clouds; I will make myself like the Most High.” (NIV84)
Satan saw himself as being important in his own right, that is, he saw himself as being himself, a person who didn’t need God to keep him holy. Because of his beauty and splendor, he became proud and wanted self-recognition. Many years ago, the philosopher and mathematician, Rene Descartes, coined the phrase, I think, therefore I am, and I think that expresses Satan’s downfall pretty well. Satan saw himself as being an I am (see Exodus 3:14) that was independent of God, and this self-realization severed the faith that had connected him to God. Instead of believing in God, he came to believe himself. This was the origin of Sin.
O morning star, son of the dawn, became One that speaks against another, a complainant, and a Slanderer, but to put his transformation into biblical words, Lucifer became Satan the Devil. He who was the model of perfection, full of wisdom and perfect in beauty, broke faith with God and became infected with sin and became the first sinner. In simplest terms, we can say that he, who was once with God and his people, became a being that was for himself, and in his mind, everyone else was subordinate to him. To put that in biblical terms, we can say that he was once a being of Love and became a being of Self.
Satan committed a sin that was unto death.
1 John 5:17
All wrongdoing is sin, and there is sin that does not lead to death. (NIV84)
There is only one sin that leads to death, and that is the sin of rebellion against God. To fail in your obedience is one thing; to see no need for obedience is altogether a whole different thing. Most people, and a great many so-called Christians, see no need to walk with God one hundred percent of the time. They think that they are okay and that everything is fine. In their hearts, they have no living faith. On the other hand, those people who see their need for God and humbly seek him and ask for mercy and patience can be received by God because of their true faith.
Not Everyone is a Sinner
Every living human is guilty of sin, but not everyone is a sinner. Sinners are unrepentant. They, in their hearts, believe that they are their own person. The sinners seek what they want in life. They believe that they are right. They think that they deserve good things and recognition. Satan said in his heart, I think, therefore I am and broke faith with God. I bow before the living God and implore, ‘have mercy on me, a sinner.‘
Check out this from A.W. Tozer – A Man of God