After giving us a glimpse of the world being judged by “Him that sat upon the great white throne,” John concludes his narrative with this statement: “And whosoever was not found written in the book of life was cast into the lake of fire” (Rev. 20:11-15). Read Revelation 21:8 for a description of the “lake which burneth with fire and brimstone.” If not in the book of life then we are lost! Why? It is because of sin.
Many may not be aware that they are sinners. Just exactly what is sin? Sin means to “miss the mark.” This may be due to falling short or it may be due to going beyond (James 4:17; II John 9). In I John 3:4, John simply tells us that, “Whosoever committeth sin transgresseth also the law: for sin is the transgression of the law.” But perhaps these statements may be too general. Let's get more specific. How do we commit sin?
We commit sin when we reject the evidence God has given us. In Romans 1:18-21 Paul wrote, “For the wrath of God is revealed from heaven against all ungodliness and unrighteousness of men, who hold the truth in unrighteousness; Because that which may be known of God is manifest in them; for God hath shewed it unto them. For the invisible things of him from the creation of the world are clearly seen, being understood by the things that are made, even his eternal power and Godhead; so that they are without excuse: Because that, when they knew God, they glorified him not as God, neither were thankful; but became vain in their imaginations, and their foolish heart was darkened.” Paul plainly shows that the Gentiles had no excuse for rejecting the evidence that God had given of His own existence. We also commit sin when we deny the evidence He has given us of man's origin (Psalm 139:14-16). Clearly our origin is of God and not by evolution. We sin when we deny the evidence God has given us about the inspiration of the Bible (I Cor. 2:11-13; II Tim. 3:16-17; Eph. 3:1-5). We sin when we reject the evidence God has given us concerning Jesus Christ being His Son (Matt. 17:5; John 8:24). We sin when we neglect God's plan of salvation. God wants “all men to be saved” (I Tim. 2:4). He has provided the way. It includes faith (Heb. 11:6), repentance (Acts 17:30-31), confession (Rom. 10:9-10) and baptism “for the remission of sins” (Acts 2:38). All who reject this plan, all who reject any part of this plan, commit sin.
We commit sin when we do what God has told us not to do. Read Matthew 5:27-28, Galatians 5:19-21, Ephesians 4:25, 28, 29, Ephesians 5:4, and I Corinthians 6:9-10. These verses do not contain everything that God has forbidden, but they do give a big list of some of the things God tells us not to do. They include lying, adultery, murder, filthy speech, stealing, drunkenness, envy, fornication, lasciviousness, wrath, strife, revellings, and the list goes on and on. Paul even says “and such like” (Gal. 5:21). Any time we do any of these things we commit sin.
(To be continued)
Paul M. Wilmoth