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Sin and Iniquity

Sin and Iniquity

      For our benefit, man has been given a great gift from God.  He sent His Son to die on the cross and He sent His Spirit to bring His Word. One might wonder why such was needed. On the other hand, many take this for granted. God has a purpose for all He has done and will do. God is omniscient, meaning He knows everything. This includes what was yet to be revealed. For instance, we are told in Mark 13:32, that while He was on earth, there were some things which had not been yet revealed to the Christ. In context, this was speaking of the fall of Jerusalem, as Christ revealed in Mark 13:30 would occur in that generation.
     However, Christ knew and revealed to Zacchaeus, His purpose for coming to earth in Luke 19:10. Christ said: “For the Son of man is come to seek and to save that which was lost.But what makes one lost?    We all know the story of Zacchaeus, the publican, who was a ‘wee little man’ who climbed into the Sycamore tree to see the Christ Who was to pass that way. Notice what the crowd murmured in Luke 19:7. And when they saw it, they all murmured, saying, That he was gone to be guest with a man that is a sinner.”  From this we must all conclude that sin or iniquity makes one lost.
     This aligns perfectly with Isa. 59:2 which also shows that “lost” is separated from God, and that sin and iniquity produces such a condition. Incidentally, per this verse, if one has ‘unrepented’ sin or iniquity in their lives, God will not hear them (their prayers). But before we go on, let’s define sin and iniquity. The biblical definition of sin is found in 1John 3:4b: “for sin is the transgression of the law” (KJV).  To sin is to transgress, or break, the law of God. The Bible says a lot about sin. It tells us that all have sinned (Rom. 3:23) and that sin leads to death (Rom. 6:23).   Iniquity is a violation of the right or duty that mankind is under obligation to do.   An iniquity can also be a wicked act and immoral conduct or practice.    These are harmful or offensive to society and, especially to God.    In the bible, the terms, sin, and iniquity are often used interchangeably. Participation in either of these separates one from God.
      Sins and iniquities are usually equated with doing something contrary to what God has Commanded. Often to see if one has sinned, they look for a “thou shalt” or a “thou shalt not” such as was stated in the Old Testament.    But one can also sin against God by ‘not doing’, as Jas. 4:17 shows.   Therefore to him that knoweth to do good, and doeth it not, to him it is sin.    The breaking of God’s Law under either Testaments is sin, whether it is by doing what God said not to do, or if it is by not doing what God Commanded.    When one sins, they separate themselves from God and need to be ‘redeemed’ from those sins.
     In 1Cor. 15:3 we are informed that Christ died “for our sins according to the scriptures”.    Many have embraced the false idea that Christ’s Blood, which He shed willingly on Calvary’s Cross, automatically covers all man’s sins.     It is most likely they have misapplied verses such as 1John 2:2, which reads: “And he is the propitiation for our sins: and not for ours only, but also for the sins of the whole world.”   Couple this with John 3:16 (which most also often misapply), and some folks contend that Christ’s blood is accessed by simply believing, and then they are ‘saved’.    This is not what that verse says or means.
     Perhaps they haven’t ever read Rom. 3:25 which reads: “Whom God hath set forth to be a propitiation through faith in his blood, to declare his righteousness for the remission of sins that are past, through the forbearance of God; ”   Maybe they don’t fully understand what propitiation means. It means “the action of propitiating or appeasing God”.   The blood of Christ, if/when correctly applied, appeases the wrath of God.    Because of our sin, we all rightly should suffer eternal punishment as the psalmist penned in Psa. 103:10 as the Spirit directed: He hath not dealt with us after our sins; nor rewarded us according to our iniquities. God has truly been gracious to man.
      This brings up the question: “How do I properly access the Blood of Christ so my sins can be forgiven?”   It’s a great question and deserves a Bible answer.   There is not a single verse that answers this, nor is there a single act that brings one into contact with Christ’s blood.    The process is found in several verses and requires several steps.   (1) Hearing (the gospel) is required per Rom. 10:17.   (2) Belief is definitely a part of the process as Jesus taught in John 8:24.      (3) Then, one must repent (turn away from their sins) – Luke 13:3.    (4) Following this, one must confess Christ as the Son of GodRom. 10:9-10.    (5) Finally, as we read in Acts 16:22, 1Pet. 3:21, Acts 2:41 & 47, folks are baptized into Christ, and their sins are washed away; they become children of God, they are saved from their past sins and are added to the church for which Jesus died.   (6) From this point forward, the Christian is to remain faithful until death – Rev. 2:10 & 1Cor. 9:27.
     What about those who have done these things and became children of God and have sinned afterward? How can these sins be remitted? Acts 8:21-22 is where this is addressed. Simon (the former sorcerer) ‘fell’ (sinned) as he offered the apostles money to buy the power conferred upon the apostles by the Spirit. He was told his “heart is not right in the sight of God.”    He was told to repent, and to pray to God for forgiveness. In so doing, per 1John 1:7, he was accessing the blood of Christ following his conversion.
     Why would one not want to seek to have their sins and iniquities addressed in accordance with what God has given in the New Testament?    Failure to do so is to be lost, remain lost, and be eternally separated from God.     All should seek to have of God, what the Spirit had penned in Heb. 10:17. “ And their sins and iniquities will I remember no more.

Dennis Strickland – Mooresville church of Christ

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