Summary: In our society, sin has become a "bad word." In the name of tolorance, Christians are excusing their own sin and the sins of others. This sermon deals with the reality of Sin based on God's Inspired Word.
Psychologist Karl Menninger asked this most significant question:
WHATEVER HAPPENED TO SIN?
This is a haunting question. It lingers with us, and must be addressed from the perspective of Holy Scripture, and with undaunting courage.
* - TODAY, we want safe sex, so people in our society, including a number of top political leaders advocate the extensive distribution of condoms to reduce the dreaded results of unsafe sex. Why don’t we just say “sex outside of legal marriage is sin!” or why don’t we promote abstinence until marriage?
* - TODAY, we want safe abortions, so people in our society, including a number of leading political leaders plead for pro-choice laws to rid our nation of back-alley, dirty abortion centers, in order to protect the health of promiscuous young women. Is no one willing to stand and say “abortion except for serious medical reasons is murder?”
* - TODAY, we want safe suicides, so people in our society, supported by some vocal political leaders call for the medical profession to stand by so that the horrific act will not be a self-inflicted, messy failure. Where is the trumpet to sound out the truth that in a rational, thinking mind, “suicide is murder?”
Theologian A.H. Strong states: “Sin is lack of conformity to the moral law of God, either in act, disposition, or state.”
John Wesley said: “Sin is the voluntary transgression of a known law of God.”
But theological definitions, though based upon, and in conformity with God’s Word, and though satisfying to our searching minds, must always be subordinate to the clear definition of sin found in the Holy Scriptures.
THEREFORE it is essential to discover the Biblical DEFINITION of sin, how sin DISPLAYS itself, and how sin is DEALT WITH by Divine power.
 SIN DEFINED. [1 John 3:4b]
ἡ ἁμαρτία ἐστὶν ἡ ἀνομία.
The Authorized Version of the Bible, The King James Version, translates this verse: “Sin is the transgression of the law.”
The New King James Version of the Bible translates the verse: “Sin is lawlessness.” This translation is more accurate. Why? Because one can transgress the law without being lawless! HOW?
[A] Through Ignorance: For example, you may be driving through a State where the driving laws are different from that of your home state. Ignorance of the law is no excuse, to be sure, and a violation may be costly. However, the violation of the law does not in-dicate a spirit of lawlessness.
[B] Through Thoughtlessness: For example, you may be driving in England. In an emergency, or crisis, or just not thinking, you may momentarily forget what you know about the driving laws in England. There is no spirit of lawlessness involved.
[C] Through accident: For example, two mission-aries in Africa went hunting for a lion that had mauled and killed a national helper. The lion jumped the man who was in the lead. The other man hurriedly aimed his gun and fired, but hit his friend. A second shot killed the lion, but his missionary friend later died. He killed his friend, but was he guilty of murder? No, for there was no spirit of lawlessness.
SO, what is lawlessness? In other words, how may sin be defined Biblically? It is a spirit within a person, a force that is impelling, that rises up under certain provocation and places one’s self as the final arbiter of life’s decisions. In effect then, lawlessness is a spirit within that declares: “No one is going to tell me what to do; I am the master of my own destiny, and I will do just as I please.”
ENTER: Romans 8:7:
Διότι τὸ φρόνημα τῆς σαρκὸς ἔχθρα εἰς Θεόν, τῷ γὰρ νόμῳ τοῦ Θεοῦ οὐχ ὑποτάσσεται, οὐδὲ γὰρ δύναται.
Here are new words, but with the same meaning! Here is “uncontrollable lawlessness.” God cannot control the sin nature. It is not subject to His law. He must do something else with it. It must be killed, destroyed, or removed from within the heart of a person.
But sin is a set of the soul, not some material object which when removed is forever extinct or annihilated. It is an evil force that has invaded our God-designed human nature, and made it totally incapable of doing that which pleases God. The Bible even states clearly:
πᾶν δὲ ὃ οὐκ ἐκ πίστεως ἁμαρτία ἐστίν.
Therefore when God deals radically with the spirit of lawlessness, the nature of sin, the sin principle by removing it from within, it is destroyed so far as it affects the heart of the person. However, it is very much alive outside that person. One only needs recall that sin as a force, a power, a principle, was OUTSIDE Adam and Eve until THEY opened the door and true to its very nature, it moved to the inside of their lives.