Guidance on Sin

From Journey the Word

Guidance and help for us sinners

The Bible gives us plenty of guidance about sin, however, many organizations do not teach people properly about sin. Nevertheless, please take a look at our guide to sin below and the guidance that the Bible provides us as we dive deeper in a relationship with GOD.

First, suffering

The truth is that not all suffering is caused by sin. But we only see this in a few examples in the Bible, such as Lazarus being raised from the dead in John 11:1-4 -- whereupon, it was the glorification of GOD and the Son of GOD. In verses 21-27, Jesus explains that He is the resurrection and the life, those that believe upon Him shall never die. (As the chapter goes on, it explains that Lazarus was successfully risen from the dead.) Nonetheless, GOD hopes for each of us to have a far more exceeding glory, even with the light affliction on Earth (2 Corinthians 4:17). However, we must too be aware that there are circumstances in which we are placed in that GOD will help us.

But the truth is also that the entry of sin into the world in the first humans brought suffering upon the world. Remember, in Genesis 3-4, the Fall of Man... Due to their falling into sin, woman must endure hard pregnancy and men must endure hard work in the field in order to eat and be here. The Bible teaches us that whatsoever we sow, that shall we reap. Sin was sowed into the world, therefore sin/suffering is what is reaped (Galatians 6:7, precluded in the Torah), and this will duplicate only after their own kind (like sowing seeds into a field reaps a harvest of the seeds sown)(Genesis 1:12).

Now, I want you to think about what you have asked. GOD does not react supernaturally to protect people from suffering penalties of their sins, for such breaking of GOD'S Laws is punishable. If GOD were to allow people to recover from doing sin all they want, this world would fast be seeped into wickedness, evil, and despair. Sin brings suffering and death. GOD warn(ed)(s) His people ahead of time to not sin, so that they will not suffer.

Ministers and teachers will be held to a higher level of discipline, this includes all Christians, because He does not want other Christians to have the idea that they can sin freely. The Lord told the early church leaders that those who sin should be rebuked in front of everyone so that others may fear, and stop sinning also (1 Timothy 5:20).

The devil wants sin to reign in this world, for he is the great tempter of all. That devil wants people to be just like himself, because he doesn't want to be the only one suffering because of sin. The devil is the one who tempts people, for GOD cannot be tempted with evil. Some believers view GOD as the one who had caused(es) people to suffer in the world, however that is a lie of the devil. It is the work of satan that sends afflictions onto people. The devil originated sin and all of its consequences were upon him - anyone who sins does the work of satan and shall suffer like satan (Reference James 1:13-15). It is also the devil, or satan that causes people to think that GOD is the originator of suffering that we face (Look into Luke 13:16; Acts 10:38).

The story of Job, especially noting Job 1:10, in which the reasons for why GOD does not directly protect only His people because it would look unjust on behalf of the creator, GOD. The accusation in Job 1:10 was that GOD placed a wall of protection around Job. However, in order to have fair justice, Job, like all other people, should be exposed to the devil's temptations as well, so the devil can trouble the saints, but then all accusations of injustice will be shown to be untrue in the end. So if GOD protected all of His people with a shield/hedge/wall, satan would accuse GOD of acting unjust.

However, also in the book of Job, when satan tried to make trial against Job, GOD made the sufferings work for good for Job's behalf. We are promised however that GOD will always rule that temptations must not be beyond what a person can handle, for He provides the means for escape and shows mercy when necessary. (1 Corinthians 10:13; Hebrews 2:18; Romans 8:28; 8:17; Psalms 119:67-71; Hebrews 12:11; even Joseph in Genesis 50:20).

We share in the Lord's sufferings, which will have begotten us an even greater glory (Romans 8:17-18).

His Power is made perfect in our weakness, so we should boast of our weaknesses that Christ's Power rests upon us (2 Corinthians 12:9-10).

Job 6:10 - a declaration: I would have this consolation, joy in the unrelenting pain... if I had not denied the words of the Holy One.

For a final reading on this, please read: Romans 8:17-22 and 1 Peter 2:19-23.

More FAQ about sin and suffering

Do all people dying in wars deserve it?

Jesus spoke and said to the people, '...for all who use the sword shall perish with the sword' (Matthew 26:52).

The devourer comes and is ready to take out whomever he can (1 Peter 5:8-9).

Why does GOD allow even the righteous to suffer and lose their lives?

As referenced above, GOD would be declared unjust if He should show favoritism or protect His people with a shield.

Why does He let the innocent children be abused and murdered?

It's sin. Sin comes in a few different ways... Sinning against yourself, sinning against others, and sinning against GOD. We are aware that GOD has warned against those who harm children (Mark 10:14-16). Parents are told to not sin in their anger (Ephesians 4:26-27; Proverb 29:22). Another command is to not embitter their children, so they will not be discouraged/depressed (Colossians 3:21 and Ephesians 4:15-19: speak the truth in love, not destruction).

Why does He preserve the judgment until people die? Why not here? Will we be judged according to what we have done while we were living? Does death mark an end to the period we would be judged?

The judgment of GOD is a process, those who are elect have been judged already and given the right to eternal life - eternal security. However, many people do not know the truth of GOD and/or do not accept it, for such as them the judgment process is still ongoing (Hebrews 8:8-12).

The judgment seat of Christ is where we were at the time of our Salvation, in which our old self was judged to die (the sinful self), and our new self in Christ Jesus has eternal life (1 Peter 4:17; 2 Timothy 4:8; John 3:16-21).

Do we go to Heaven or hell depending on our performance on Earth?

There is no absolutely definitive answer here, for the terms heaven and hell are ambiguous and described in different ways in the Bible. From what we can safely discern, heaven is eternal life of being with GOD. Those who are of the devil will stay with the devil, and the devil will be given final judgment and destroyed along with his staff/helpers/people, they will experience eternal separation from GOD.

Does it all come to life everlasting, even if people commit heinous acts?

This comes to a discussion on whether people are truly saved, if they continue to participate in willful sin. Such matters are of GOD'S Judgment alone, for only He shall decide if that person was truly saved or if it was a trick (such as a fake Christian). (See Hebrews 10 for the full explanation of what I have stated here).

Guidance and deliverance

  1. Do not misinterpret the freedom in Christ Jesus. God's Grace does not give us permission to sin intentionally. Galatians 5:13, Paul instructs, "For, brethren, ye have been called unto liberty; only use not liberty for an occasion to the flesh, but by love serve one another." Despite having been removed from sin's penalty, it does not reduce temptations through the spirit of man.
    1. Paul references the scripture in John 8:32-36 in what Jesus said: "And ye shall know the truth, and the truth shall make you free. They answered him, We be Abraham's seed, and were never in bondage to any man: how sayest thou, Ye shall be made free? Jesus answered them, Verily, verily, I say unto you, Whosoever committeth sin is the servant of sin. And the servant abideth not in the house for ever: but the Son abideth ever. If the Son therefore shall make you free, ye shall be free indeed."
  2. All sins are equal, as GOD sees them, because they are all considered a form of rebellion should they be intentional. However, it is of note that some sins have greater consequences than others. We read this is James 2:8-12, "If ye fulfil the royal law according to the scripture, Thou shalt love thy neighbour as thyself, ye do well: But if ye have respect to persons, ye commit sin, and are convinced of the law as transgressors. For whosoever shall keep the whole law, and yet offend in one point, he is guilty of all. For he that said, Do not commit adultery, said also, Do not kill. Now if thou commit no adultery, yet if thou kill, thou art become a transgressor of the law. So speak ye, and so do, as they that shall be judged by the law of liberty."
    1. James here was referencing Luke 10:27-37, when Jesus was talking about sins and sinners: "And he answering said, Thou shalt love the Lord thy God with all thy heart, and with all thy soul, and with all thy strength, and with all thy mind; and thy neighbour as thyself. And he said unto him, Thou hast answered right: this do, and thou shalt live. But he, willing to justify himself, said unto Jesus, And who is my neighbour? And Jesus answering said, A certain man went down from Jerusalem to Jericho, and fell among thieves, which stripped him of his raiment, and wounded him, and departed, leaving him half dead. And by chance there came down a certain priest that way: and when he saw him, he passed by on the other side. And likewise a Levite, when he was at the place, came and looked on him, and passed by on the other side. But a certain Samaritan, as he journeyed, came where he was: and when he saw him, he had compassion on him, And went to him, and bound up his wounds, pouring in oil and wine, and set him on his own beast, and brought him to an inn, and took care of him. And on the morrow when he departed, he took out two pence, and gave them to the host, and said unto him, Take care of him; and whatsoever thou spendest more, when I come again, I will repay thee. Which now of these three, thinkest thou, was neighbour unto him that fell among the thieves? And he said, He that shewed mercy on him. Then said Jesus unto him, Go, and do thou likewise." AND Matthew 5:18-28, where Jesus said: "For verily I say unto you, Till heaven and earth pass, one jot or one tittle shall in no wise pass from the law, till all be fulfilled. Whosoever therefore shall break one of these least commandments, and shall teach men so, he shall be called the least in the kingdom of heaven: but whosoever shall do and teach them, the same shall be called great in the kingdom of heaven. Ye have heard that it was said by them of old time, Thou shalt not kill; and whosoever shall kill shall be in danger of the judgment: But I say unto you, That whosoever is angry with his brother without a cause shall be in danger of the judgment: and whosoever shall say to his brother, Raca, shall be in danger of the council: but whosoever shall say, Thou fool, shall be in danger of hell fire. Therefore if thou bring thy gift to the altar, and there rememberest that thy brother hath ought against thee; Leave there thy gift before the altar, and go thy way; first be reconciled to thy brother, and then come and offer thy gift. Agree with thine adversary quickly, whiles thou art in the way with him; lest at any time the adversary deliver thee to the judge, and the judge deliver thee to the officer, and thou be cast into prison. Verily I say unto thee, Thou shalt by no means come out thence, till thou hast paid the uttermost farthing. Ye have heard that it was said by them of old time, Thou shalt not commit adultery: But I say unto you, That whosoever looketh on a woman to lust after her hath committed adultery with her already in his heart."
  3. Nobody is immune to temptation, including Christians. In 1 John 1:8, John tells us if we say that we don't have any sin, we deceive ourselves and don't know the truth. John was referencing Luke 11:4, where Jesus demonstrated the model prayer telling us to ask for forgiveness of our sins, "And forgive us our sins; for we also forgive every one that is indebted to us. And lead us not into temptation; but deliver us from evil." (Remember though, Jesus is sinless as we see in Luke 23:41 "And we indeed justly; for we receive the due reward of our deeds: but this man hath done nothing amiss.") Lastly, we were instructed of old that no man is without sin, in Ecclesiastes 7:20, "For there is not a just man upon earth, that doeth good, and sinneth not." Romans 3:23 tells us, "For all have sinned and fall short of GOD'S Glory".
    1. You are still a person, and a nonetheless useful person despite struggling with sin. It is a fact of life to struggle with sin. Even King David has sexual problems with his sin, but still King David was used for marvelous GOD'S Purposes. Sin does not disqualify you from GOD'S Kingdom. 2 Chronicles 7:14 says, "If my people who are called by my name will humble themselves and pray, seeking my face, and in full repentance from wicked ways, I will hear from heaven and deliver them from the hand of the enemy." Salvation does not automatically remove or reduce temptation. Salvation offers us the strength to overcome it. In Galatians 5:17, "The flesh desires what is contrary to the Spirit, and the Spirit desires what is contrary to the flesh". There is an inner war for our attention. (Remember Jesus saying that His Spirit is strong but His flesh is weak, even Jesus could not overcome what was about to happen to Him, Matthew 26:41, "Watch and pray, that ye enter not into temptation: the spirit indeed is willing, but the flesh is weak." Also see John 3:6, "That which is born of the flesh is flesh; and that which is born of the Spirit is spirit.")
  4. Don't take GOD'S Grace for granted. GOD does not give us permission to sin and do things that are not right. However, as we have read, GOD will forgive the genuinely repentant heart. John wrote in 1 John 1:9, "If we confess our sins, he is faithful and just to forgive us our sins, and to cleanse us from all unrighteousness."
    1. John referenced when Jesus had said in Matthew 12:31, "Wherefore I say unto you, All manner of sin and blasphemy shall be forgiven unto men: but the blasphemy against the Holy Ghost shall not be forgiven unto men."
  5. We are told how to overcome sinful struggle, that is to hunger and thirst for the righteousness of GOD, for you shall be filled, in Matthew 5:6 we read, "Blessed are they which do hunger and thirst after righteousness: for they shall be filled."
  6. Avoiding sin does not mean to isolate ourselves from other people (who are sinners). We are not to allow our light to be put out, not even with our own sinful struggles. We read in Mark 2:17, where Jesus was talking about the need for doctors, "When Jesus heard it, he saith unto them, They that are whole have no need of the physician, but they that are sick: I came not to call the righteous, but sinners to repentance." Jesus has only called us who are sinners. Those who consider themselves righteous are humbled, while those who are already humbled are exalted to doing the deeds of the LORD, as we see in "And whosoever shall exalt himself shall be abased; and he that shall humble himself shall be exalted."
  7. Sin is about the condition of someone's heart. You can tell the condition of your heart, mind, and emotions by noting what you are drawn into temptation with. If you reverse behaviors associated with the condition of your heart, you can control temptation and thus control sin even greater. If your heart is not after the things of GOD, you will crave sin and counterfeit things to fill in the gap that only GOD should have in your heart. We read from Jesus in Matthew 15:18, "But what comes out of the mouth comes from the heart, and this defiles a person." In Luke 6:40, "A good man out of the good treasure of his heart bringeth forth that which is good: and an evil man out of the evil treasure of his heart bringeth forth that which is evil: for of the abundance of the heart his mouth speaketh."
  8. Since there is no sinless person, the idea of being sinless to enter heaven is an impossibility. No one is sinless, however, through Christ's sacrifice for us, we are made righteous before GOD. We see in 2 Corinthians 5:21 that Paul says, "For he hath made him to be sin for us, who knew no sin; that we might be made the righteousness of God in him."
    1. We see Jesus said in Luke 22:37, "For I say unto you, that this that is written must yet be accomplished in me, And he was reckoned among the transgressors: for the things concerning me have an end." John 16:10, "Of righteousness, because I go to my Father, and ye see me no more."
  9. If you are only focused on bringing yourself pleasure, instead of being of pleasure (help and service) to others, you will not bear fruit in GOD. We read in Luke 8:14, "And that which fell among thorns are they, which, when they have heard, go forth, and are choked with cares and riches and pleasures of this life, and bring no fruit to perfection."
    1. See also Matthew 6:19-24 as Jesus instructs: "Lay not up for yourselves treasures upon earth, where moth and rust doth corrupt, and where thieves break through and steal: But lay up for yourselves treasures in heaven, where neither moth nor rust doth corrupt, and where thieves do not break through nor steal: For where your treasure is, there will your heart be also. The light of the body is the eye: if therefore thine eye be single, thy whole body shall be full of light. But if thine eye be evil, thy whole body shall be full of darkness. If therefore the light that is in thee be darkness, how great is that darkness! No man can serve two masters: for either he will hate the one, and love the other; or else he will hold to the one, and despise the other. Ye cannot serve God and mammon."

Other helpful tips

  1. Remember, as referenced above, Jesus said that there is not one who is perfect or without sin.
  2. Life needs balance, as we talked about above that you should not say you are sinless and become self-righteous, but also you should not try to sin. Intentional sin is considered rebellion to GOD. Unintentional sin will be easier to repent and recover from. Just remember repentance is always effective in removing sin, as Jesus told us He will forgive our sins 70x7 (unlimited times) in Matthew 18:21-22 says, "Then came Peter to him, and said, Lord, how oft shall my brother sin against me, and I forgive him? till seven times? Jesus saith unto him, I say not unto thee, Until seven times: but, Until seventy times seven."
    1. Therefore we should want to improve our lives dramatically by removing sin.