Purpose, meaning, a reason for living--these are all things we desire and search for in life. Despite steps each one of us takes to find purpose and meaning in life, we still feel empty, unfulfilled. That is because there is a spiritual emptiness in each of our lives. We each have a hole in our heart, a spiritual vacuum deep within our soul--a "God shaped blank". Possessions won't fill this hole, nor will success. Relationships alone cannot satisfy this emptiness, and morality, in and of itself, falls miserably short of occupying this space. In fact, even religion cannot fill the void in our heart.
The Problem: Sin
The Bible clearly identifies our serious problem as sin. Sin is not just an act, but also the actual nature of our being. In other words, we are not sinners because we sin. Rather, we sin because we are sinners! We are born with a nature to do wrong. King David, the Old Testament Israelite ruler, wrote, For I was born a sinneryes, from the moment my mother conceived meE(Psalm 51:5). Because we are born sinners, sinning comes to all of us naturally. That is why it is futile to think that the answer to all lifes problems comes from within.EAccording to the Bible, the problem is within! Scripture tells us, The human heart is most deceitful and desperately wicked. Who really knows how bad it is?E(Jeremiah 17:9).
We are not basically goodwe are basically sinful. This sinfulness spills out into everything we do. Every problem we experience in our society today can be traced back to our refusal to live Gods way. Clear back to the Garden of Eden, Adam made his choice, and he suffered the consequence of it, setting the pattern that all humanity would follow. The Bible explains, When Adam sinned, sin entered the entire human race. Adams sin brought death, so death spread to everyone, for everyone sinnedE Yes, Adams one sin brought condemnation on everyoneE(Romans 5:12, 18).
"Thats not fair!" you may protest. Why should we suffer because of what someone else has done? Yet, given the opportunity, each one of us would have done the same thing as Adam. In fact, not a single day passes that we do no face the same test that was set before Adam. God has given us the freedom to choose between two different paths: the path that leads to life and the path that leads to death. The Bible says, Today, I have given you the choice between life and death, between blessings and curses. I call on Heaven and Earth to witness the choice you make. Oh, that you would choose life, that you and your descendants might live!E(Deuteronomy 30:19)
Without a leg to stand on
Someone may say, But I live a good life. I try to be kind and considerate to others. I live by the Ten Commandments.EBut the truth of the matter is that the Ten Commandments, or the law, as they are called in the Bible, were not given to make us good, but to show us how bad we are. The Bible tells us, No one can ever be made right in Gods sight by doing what his law commands. For the more we know Gods law, the clearer it becomes that we arent obeying itE(Romans 3:20). The purpose of the law is to make us realize how sinful we are. You might say that Gods law was given to shut our mouthsEand show us that we desperately need his help and forgiveness for our terminal condition as sinners.
Look at the passages below to get a better understanding of the nature and seriousness of sin.
1. We Have All Missed the Mark.(see Romans 3:23)
Romans 3:23 says, we have all sinned. For those that would claim to be the sole exception to this eternal truth, verse 10 of this chapter plainly says, No one is goodnot even oneE(Romans 3:10). Another word for good is righteous. The word righteous means, One who is as he or she ought to be.EWhen the Bible says that no one is righteous, or good, it is not so much referring to behavior but to inner character.
What exactly is Gods glorious idealEthat Romans 3:23 says we have failed to meet? Gods glorious idealEis absolute perfection. Jesus said, But you ought to be perfect, even as your Father in Heaven is perfectE(Matthew 5:48). In other words, anyone who is not as good as God is not acceptable to him.
One definition of sin, derived from the Greek word hamartia, is to miss the mark.EAs far as the mark of perfection goes, we miss it by a mile. Although our sinful nature makes it impossible for us to live up to Gods standard, we cannot blame sin on our nature alone. Sin is also a desirable act.
2. Sin is a Deliberate Act (see Ephesians 2:1-3)
Another word for sins in Ephesians 2:1 is transgressions or trespasses. This word speaks of a lapse or deviation from truth. In contrast to simply missing the mark,Ethis is a deliberate action. Because sin is a deliberate action, we cannot blame our sin on our society or our environment or our mental or physical state. Everyone has chosen to do what was wrong. If we protest this point, we are only fooling ourselves and refusing to accept the truthE(1 John 1:8)
3. The Ultimate Penalty for Sin Is Death (see Romans 6:23)
According to the Bible, we have offended a Holy God. We have not done this once or twice, but so many times that we are unable to keep count. Romans 6:23 says, The wages of sin is deathE Wages are something that you are paid for work rendered. In other words, you earn your wages. Because we have all repeatedly sinned, we have earned the penalty of death, which is eternal torment and punishment in a place called hell.
Amid all this talk about sin and death, there is some good news. God has given us a way to escape the penalty of our sin. He has made it possible for us to have a relationship with him and enjoy the hope of eternal life without punishment.