“Well then, should we conclude that we Jews are better than others? No, not at all, for we have already shown that all people, whether Jews or Gentiles, are under the power of sin.” (Romans 3:9 NLT)
The only appropriate response to the glory of God is worship. Anything less is blasphemy!
That’s why Ray Comfort wrote: “Once we catch a glimpse of the holiness of God, the existence of hell becomes a most necessary conclusion. If God is good, He must be angry at evil and He must have a place of punishment for those who do evil.”
For years I have wrongly believed that the unsaved people with whom I’ve shared the Gospel understood what sin is and that they are sinners. But the Apostle Paul in Romans 3 explains that “No one is truly wise (no one understands the position sin has put them in); no one is seeking God.”
John writes in chapter 3:18: “There is no judgment against anyone who believes in Him. But anyone who does not believe in Him has already been judged for not believing in God’s one and only Son.” Then in the next verse John explains the basis for God’s judgment: “And the judgment is based on this fact: God’s light came into the world, but people loved the darkness more than the light, for their actions were evil.”
To try to explain holiness and heaven to a sinner is like trying to explain to a four-year-old why green beans are better for them than candy bars. They want what they like, they don’t have the wisdom to understand the long-term effects of unhealthy eating. Neither do people who are walking in darkness have the capacity to understand the long-term effects of “ungodly” living.
So, how do we help people to desire the light? How can we explain what sin is to someone who doesn’t really care? We start with the 10 Commandments.
Paul wrote in Romans 7:7: “I would never have known that coveting is wrong if the law had not said, ‘You must not covet.’” And in Romans 3:20 Paul wrote: “For no one can ever be made right with God by doing what the law commands. The law simply shows us how sinful we are.”
Sin literally means “to miss the mark.” But what’s the “mark?” Think of a bullseye on a target. God’s law is boiled down into two commandments: Love God and love others. But without any knowledge of what love is, we can draw many wrong conclusions. It’s like saying to your seven-year-old son, “You’re a good basketball player” because he made a layup. He may be showing promise, but he’s not “good” yet.
Unless lost people understand that they have broken God’s laws, they can’t understand why He would punish them. It’s great news for us as believers to understand that we had a penalty for our sin-debt that we couldn’t pay, but Jesus paid it for us. He took our place and assumed the punishment we deserved.
But if someone doesn’t understand they have a sin-debt they can’t pay; it won’t make any sense that Jesus, or anyone else, has paid it. They must understand the wrath that awaits them is because they have broken God’s laws, and there’s a “wage” to be earned. “The wages of sin is death.” (Romans 3:23)
We so water down sin as believers, how can we expect unbelievers to understand or even care that they’re sin is separating them from God. But if we help them to see that they’ve lied, stolen, taken God’s holy name in vain, have lusted and committed adultery in their heart, and the penalty for those, and many other sins, is death, then we have a framework within which they can understand why their sin is subject to judgment. Then the fact someone has paid their “debt” begins to resonate and their heart can open to the truth of who Jesus is and what He’s done for them.
If you want to learn more about this vital topic and how to more effectively share the Gospel with those you love, please check out this free book by Ray Comfort, below: Free Wonderful Book
Blessings, Ed 😊
2 thoughts on “Understanding the Nature of Sin”
Brother Ed, thanks for this share! I recently had a conversation with a neighbor, and, as you shared, he liked what he liked and believed what he believed. And, as I wasn’t trying to convince him of anything, I asked a few questions. However, framing a conversation as you discussed could allow a different and better transition to share the gospel, and ask the questions I did. Always appreciate the sharing and insight Ed!
I’m glad it was helpful. All glory to the Lord. Thank you for reading my posts and for caring for your neighbors and lost friends. The Lord is still teaching us and every insight He gives will hopefully help us be more effective in sharing Him with others. Blessings, my friend.