What Is Sin?

Why do people live a life of sin, that is, a life separated from God? Why is it that people ignore the wonderful gift of salvation that Jesus offers to us? There are many reasons for this. As Christians, we are puzzled as to why people would rather live a sinful life than accept the great gift that God offers us through Jesus. We need to realize that there are many reasons for this.

Sin is Tempting

Satan’s greatest and best tool is temptation. Satan tempts us through different ways. First, he tries to influence us by creating a hope or desire in us. He tries to show us how much better off we will be if we will only do a certain act. This, in itself, is not all bad. God uses this same method to help us to better ourselves. However, Satan uses it to get us to do things that are against God’s law, even if we do not realize it.

This is why we need to know what the Bible says, so we can distinguish between what Satan is tempting us to do and what God is leading us to do. God will never lead us to do something that is against what the Bible teaches.

However, Satan also tempts us in another way and that is to put the desire to have or do something that we know that we shouldn’t have or be doing. He tries to make us believe that our thinking is wrong and we would be better off having or doing what we now believe is wrong. This is how Satan tempted Eve.

Satan Temps Through “Trusted” Sources

But Satan also used another ploy that he often uses on us. He appeared to Eve in a form that she knew, trusted and was very familiar with. A snake was a very common and safe creature in the Garden of Eden.

Satan appeared to Eve in the form of a snake because she trusted snakes. He then tempted Eve by explaining that God’s demands were extreme and unreasonable. He then convinced Eve how harmless it was to indulge in what God had forbidden. Satan got Eve to begin thinking that maybe, just maybe, God was being unreasonable. Satan often begins by putting doubt into our minds.

God warns us to be very careful concerning sin because Satan is constantly trying to get us to sin. Remember I Peter 5:8 (Living Bible): Be careful–watch out for attacks from Satan, your great enemy. He prowls around like a hungry, roaring lion, looking for some victim to tear apart.”

Sin Is Fun, But Destructive

Satan is very deceitful in his temptations. No one would engage in a sinful act if it were not fun and enjoyable. Satan makes sure that every temptation is seen as enjoyable. He always appeals to us in ways that we see as enjoyable and fun.

The problem is that sin always starts out that way, but it never stays that way. It may take just a few minutes or many years, but sin always ends in destruction. It very often destroys our physical body. But more importantly, unless we repent, it will separate us for all eternity from God, Himself.

Three Sources Of Temptation

1 John 2:16 (NIV): “For everything in the world–the cravings of sinful man, the lust of his eyes and the boasting of what he has and does–comes not from the Father but from the world.”

God does not tempt us. However, Satan does tempt us in very sly ways. He tempts us to use what God intended for good in an evil way. God gave to us many wonderful things that make life here on this earth a wonderful experience. In fact, they are necessary for our survival.

There are many things in this world that are not inherently evil. They only become evil when we use them in the wrong way or for the wrong reason.

The Lust Of The Flesh

Eve’s sin was not because she ate something. We need to eat to survive. God had given Adam and Eve many different types of food that were good for them and tasted good. Then He told them that they were not to eat of one particular tree (Gen. 2:17). Eve’s sin was eating what God had forbidden them to eat. In other words, Satan used something that God meant for good (eating) and turned it into something evil (eating the wrong thing).

For instance, sex is a wonderful experience that God has given to us and it is not a sin when it is used within the confines of marriage. It becomes a sin only when it is used outside of marriage.

The Lust of The Eyes

God gave us eyes to see what is around us in this physical world. He also gave us the ability to “see” dreams and desires. This helps us to improve our surroundings, as well as ourselves. God designed in each of us the desire to seek the best that we can imagine.

However, Satan takes this wonderful desire and tempts us to use it in the wrong way. The second thing that tempted Eve to eat the forbidden fruit was that it “was pleasant to the eyes.” Her first thought was “This will make life better for me.” “God would not have made something that looks that good to be bad for me.”

Her sin was not looking at this fruit. Her sin was that she disobeyed Gods commandment about that particular fruit.

For instance, it is not a sin to look at a beautiful girl or a handsome man. But, remember words of Jesus in Matthew 5:28 (NIV): “But I tell you that anyone who looks at a woman lustfully has already committed adultery with her in his heart.” This includes women that look at a man in the same way.

Looking at something beautiful is a good and wonderful experience. However, wanting to take that beauty and possessing it for yourself, outside the boundaries that God has set is sin.

The Pride of Life

This was the downfall of Satan (who was originally called Lucifer). He was the most beautiful angel in heaven. He began to be proud of that fact and decided that because of his beauty, everyone should pay homage to him.

God has given each of us many wonderful traits. Each of can excel in at least one thing. At the same time, we need to remember one very basic fact. God created each one of us to be dependant upon Him. Even though we have many of the qualities of God, we are not God. We are dependent on Him for everything that we have.

When we become proud of what we possess, we began to think that we do not need anyone else, especially God. When we make this decision, that we can do it on our own, without God, then it becomes sin.

Satan Temps Us In Our Weaknesses

Satan always attacks us in our weakest area. Satan knows us better than we know ourselves. He knows where we are most vulnerable.

If you want to know the area(s) you need God to help you with, just be aware of the temptations that enter your life. If you are tempted to engage in certain activities that you know that are against God’s law, go to God in prayer about these. Otherwise, Satan will eventually get through to you and your temptations will become reality.

If you feel ashamed about approaching God with these temptations, remember two things. First, God already knows what is happening in your life. You can hold no secrets from God.

Second, Jesus understands our temptations because Hebrews 4:15 (NIV) tells us: “For we do not have a high priest [Jesus] who is unable to sympathize with our weaknesses, but we have one who has been tempted in every way, just as we are–yet was without sin.”

How To Overcome Temptation

Jesus teaches us how to overcome temptation through the illustration of His own temptation by Satan. Study Matthew 4:1-10. Jesus had just been fasting for 40 days in the desert. At the end of that time, Satan came and tempted Jesus to turn from His Father and serve him.

Notice how Jesus countered every temptation that Satan threw at Him. He kept saying “it is written.” He countered every temptation with Scripture. This is how we can also resist temptation. Know the Scriptures and refer to them every time we are tempted to sin.

You Can Know What Is Sin In Your Life

You can know what sin is in your own life simply by focusing on Jesus instead of focusing on the things of the world. This does not mean that you can not enjoy the things of the world. God placed them here for your enjoyment. However, remember that Satan will use those same wonderful things to lead you away from God, if he thinks he can.

Keep your mind centered on Jesus and keep the truths of the Bible in your mind and God will lead you in the paths of righteousness.


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