The word “sin” is found 336 times in the Old Testament in 299 verses.  It is found 112 times in the New Testament in 90 verses.  In the Old Testament the Hebrew word for sin is “chattath” which carries with it the meaning of “an offence or habitual sinner, one who violates the commands of the Lord.”  In the New Testament it is the Greek word “hamartia” which carries with it the meaning of “sin, sinfulness, or a sinful deed.”  Sin is a prevalent theme throughout the Bible because as we read in the section on man, that the fall in the Garden of Eden plunged the entire human race into sin.  Sin is a part of every person’s life.  Sin is what sent the Lord Jesus Christ to the cross as a sacrifice so he could redeem those He came to save.  And she shall bring forth a son, and thou shalt call his name JESUS: for he shall save his people from their sins. (Matthew 1:21, KJV)  The first mention of the word sin is found in Genesis 4:7 and the last mention of it is 1 John 5:17.


The plural word “sins” is found 86 times in 85 verses in the Old Testament and is found 86 times in 81 verses in the New Testament.  Since we have the sin nature in us, it follows that we will commit sins and as a result we are called sinners before salvation.  We must always keep in mind that we do not sin and become sinners, we commit sin because we are already sinners.  Even after we are saved, we receive our new resurrected souls but our flesh remains the same.  God has redeemed us in our soul existence but after our physical death, our flesh will go into the ground and the real us goes into the presence of the Lord.


A good definition of sin is found in 1 John 3:4 where it states: Whosoever committeth sin transgresseth also the law: for sin is the transgression of the law. (1 John 3:4, KJV)  Let us just narrow an example of the above verse.  Let us look at the Ten Commandments.  Thou shalt not steal. (Exodus 20:15, KJV)  How many of us have taken things which do not belong to us?  Took a pen from work? Stealing!  Took a paper clip from work? Stealing!  Whatever we took which is not ours is stealing.  Here is another one.  Thou shalt not commit adultery. (Exodus 20:14, KJV)  Oh but you say I have never done anything like that with anyone.  Well, what about in your mind?  But I say unto you, That whosoever looketh on a woman to lust after her hath committed adultery with her already in his heart. (Matthew 5:28, KJV)   The Lord Jesus widened the meaning of the commandment by stating that adultery does not have to be physical to be adultery but can be achieved in the mind without physical action.  That also applies to a woman who looks on a man and lusts after him.


During the Reformation in the 1500s, a teaching had surfaced called “Total Depravity.”  Now this does not mean that people cannot commit acts of kindness or have compassion on other people or even to do sacrificial things for people.  It simply means that whatever we do is tainted by sin which includes our actions, thoughts, desires, and even our outlook on life.  Sin is so embedded in the life of every human on earth that it is literally part of our entire life, from birth to death.  Here is what the Bible states about a new born baby:


3 The wicked are estranged from the womb: they go astray as soon as they be born, speaking lies. 4 Their poison is like the poison of a serpent: they are like the deaf adder that stoppeth her ear; 5 Which will not hearken to the voice of charmers, charming never so wisely. (Psalm 58:3-5, KJV)


Not a very pretty picture of the cute little baby asleep in the crib but it gives us insight into the very sinful nature of people and how deeply sin is imbedded in our lives right from the very beginning.  Do you have to teach a 5 year old how to lie or does it seem to come naturally?  Keep in mind the following were once babies: Hitler, Stalin, Mao Tse Tung, John Dillinger, Al Capone, Richard Speck, etc.  They all grew up committing horrific crimes against society and that is why God gives such a bleak picture of little babies because they eventually grow up to become dreadful sinners unless they become saved.


We are going to look at some of the phases of sin from the Bible and see how heinous sin is to a thrice Holy God.


The Origin of Sin

There was only one way that sin entered into the human race.  When Satan tempted Eve in the Garden of Eden, she made one major mistake and that is instead of rebuking him for trying to get her to disobey God, she instead held a conversation with him.  We find this scenario in Genesis 3:1-7.  Now we do not know how long Adam and Eve were alive before they committed their sin.  They may have been alive for quite a long time from the point where God told them not to eat of the Tree of Knowledge.  If this was only a short time from the time God warned them, then Eve would not have added to the words of God with the words “neither shall ye touch it” which is found in verse 3.  Satan waited until the time was right for his deception.  If Adam and Eve became complacent in the Garden, then that would have been the right time for Satan to make his move.  Once he did, Adam and Eve fell into sin and plunged the rest of the human race into sin.


The Extent of Sin in the World

Ever since Adam and Eve had sinned, sin had spread to the entire world.  With the sin nature now in every human being, no matter where a person is born or lives, the sin nature is present.


2 The LORD looked down from heaven upon the children of men, to see if there were any that did understand, and seek God. 3 They are all gone aside, they are all together become filthy: there is none that doeth good, no, not one. (Psalm 14:2-3, KJV)


10 As it is written, There is none righteous, no, not one: 11 There is none that understandeth, there is none that seeketh after God. 12 They are all gone out of the way, they are together become unprofitable; there is none that doeth good, no, not one. 13 Their throat is an open sepulchre; with their tongues they have used deceit; the poison of asps is under their lips: 14 Whose mouth is full of cursing and bitterness: 15 Their feet are swift to shed blood: 16 Destruction and misery are in their ways: 17 And the way of peace have they not known: 18 There is no fear of God before their eyes. (Romans 3:10-18, KJV)


Notice how the Bible emphasizes the fact of the worldwide extent of sin.  God tells us in both the Old and New Testaments that there is not one good person on earth.  Psalms and Romans were written about a thousand years apart which means nothing has changed.  There are over seven billion people alive on this earth at present which means there are over seven billion sin natures roaming planet earth. This includes both the reader and writer of this course but there is one difference, salvation in Jesus Christ can control that sin nature and bring it under subjection to the new nature.  Whereby are given unto us exceeding great and precious promises: that by these ye might be partakers of the divine nature, having escaped the corruption that is in the world through lust. (2 Peter 1:4, KJV)  Whenever we talk about sin we must include the fruits of sin which have been numerous among man’s history.  We can see the manifestation of man’s sinful nature just by some of his inventions which has caused many other pain and death such as the whip, the rack, burning people alive, dunking them in boiling oil, burying them alive, thumb screws, flaying, etc.  Only a person who has ignited their sinful nature would come up with tortures such as these and many others. 


Is Religion Sin?

The unsaved man is in rebellion against God and there is also a gentle side of rebellion which is just as heinous in the eyes of God and that is religious rebellion.  Now it sounds strange that religion is rebellion against God but religion is just as evil as those who subjugate others by means of torture.  Jesus saith unto him, I am the way, the truth, and the life: no man cometh unto the Father, but by me. (John 14:6, KJV)  Jesus stated that He is the only way of salvation and to the Father.  You became saved through the Lord Jesus Christ and no other way.  Let us look at some religions and how they subtly rebel against God:


Jehovah’s Witnesses – Reject Christ as the Savior

Mormons – They claim Jesus and Satan were brothers

Roman Catholicism – Intervention of Saints and elevation of Mary to deity

Judaism – Rejects the Lord Jesus Christ as Messiah

Hinduism – No good or bad, over 300 million gods

Buddhism – Rejects Christ and calls him a mere man who was lesser than Buddha

Islam – Rejects Christ as God in the flesh and teaches He is only a prophet

New Age – Rejects physical resurrection of Christ while teaching He rose to a higher spiritual plane

Christian Science – Jesus is the human man and Christ is the divine idea


As you can see, these few religions have taken the truth of God and have completely rewritten them according to their own desires.  All religions are of satanic origin because they tend to lead people astray from the truth about Christ and the only way of salvation.  I have just listed nine false religions but there are countless numbers of them which are all designed to lead people astray from the truth.  So you can easily see how religion can be rebellious to God because it contradicts His truth and replaces it with evil religion.  Religion is more dangerous than an atomic bomb because the atomic bomb has only a blast radius of a few miles while false religion has a radius of the entire earth.


Penalties of Sin

If there is one unifying aspect of sin, it is the penalties for sin.  It does not matter whether you commit a large sin or a small sin, in God’s eyes sin is sin and all you need is one sin to send you to an eternal hell.  Now there are penalties in this life for sins which we commit as we shall see in the following Biblical characters:


Adam and Eve – Banished from the Garden of Eden – Genesis 3:22-23

Miriam (sister of Moses) – became leprous for speaking against Moses – Numbers 12

Korah – Rebelled against Moses and was killed – Numbers 16:24-32

Moses – Sinned against the Lord and was not allowed to enter the Promised Land – Numbers 20:10-12; Deuteronomy 32:51-52

Nadab and Abihu – Offered strange fire before the Lord and were slain – Leviticus 10:1-2

Absalom – Rebelled against his father King David and was killed - 2 Samuel 18:14


These eight characters from the Bible show us that there are also temporal penalties for sins committed on this earth.  In addition to the earthly penalties, an unsaved person will have to answer for these sins again at the Judgment Seat of Christ on the last day.  Now we have seen biblical characters who faced temporal penalties or judgments for their sin but do we have those today?  The answer is yes and here are just a few for examples:


Excessive alcohol drinking - Cirrhosis of the liver

Sexually active outside marriage – Sexually transmitted diseases including AIDS

Using drugs – Addiction and even death on overdose

Driving drunk – Loss of license and maybe loss of life

Theft – Jail time


These few examples will convey the idea that no one gets away with anything, even a Christian if they commit a sin which is also against the laws of the state or country will face the same penalties as unbelievers.  Never think you are getting away with anything because the following Scripture teaches otherwise.  Woe unto them that seek deep to hide their counsel from the LORD, and their works are in the dark, and they say, Who seeth us? and who knoweth us? (Isaiah 29:15, KJV) 


Are all sins the same?

We tend to break sins down into categories.  The Roman Catholic Church has taken sin and put them into two categories, venial and mortal.  Mortal sins are not redeemable and therefore those who commit them are sent to eternal hell.  Venial sins are smaller sins from which a person can be redeemed.  These categories are not biblical and therefore are error.  Even the slightest sin will cause a person to be sentenced to hell and the reason for that is found in James 2:10.  For whosoever shall keep the whole law, and yet offend in one point, he is guilty of all. (James 2:10, KJV)  If a person commits one sin, they are guilty of the whole law and without a Savior, a person can expect eternal damnation.  There is a great deception that people use and they call it “white lies.”  The problem is that it is a lie and liars will be judged accordingly as with any other sin.  This is why salvation is so important and why we have to get the Gospel out to the world.


Final Penalty of Sin

We have already touched on this subject in the section on eternal damnation.  The final penalty for sin is eternal damnation for those who do not have salvation in Christ.  And whosoever was not found written in the book of life was cast into the lake of fire.  (Revelation 20:15, KJV) We have previously read that there are temporal penalties for committing sins but the final penalty is the most horrifying.  Those who think they can get away with committing all kinds of sin whether in private or out in public will have a rude awakening when they stand for their sins on Judgment Day.