The Golden Isles church of Christ

Weekly Bulletin

Volume 3, Number 9

March 2, 2003

What is Sin? - Part 2

by Mark J. Ward

(Continued from last week)


Now that we have a pretty good idea of the concepts of what sin is, let's look to some practical applications that might affect us today.

Sin in immorality

Most religious people would readily agree that murder, hatred, strife, adultery, fornication, homosexuality, idolatry, drunkedness, and the like, are sinful. Passages such as Galatians 5:19ff and I Corinthians 6:9ff point to the fact that immorality is wrong before God, thus sinful. People who at least try to live by what is commonly called "the golden rule" would not live in such a way to be overtly immoral.

But, we always need to guard against immorality and how it creeps into the thought processes of those trying to live godly lives. One only has to take a look at "what is popular" today among prime time television shows, movies, music lyrics, and what is being glamorized in the advertising world to see the continual influence of worldliness. The Christian needs to constantly be on guard, lest we invite the devil into our homes and allow the influence of media suggestiveness, for example, soften us up to the sins of the flesh. Be on guard!

Sin in worshipping God

Have you ever thought much about the possibility of sinning in a religious service to God? I am not even talking about (in this article) a religious service outside of what is commonly referred to as Christendom. I am talking about sin that is committed with the very best of intentions.

The Bible teaches that acceptable worship to God must be "in spirit and in truth" (See John 4:24). "In spirit" carries with it the idea of worship that is sincere, from the heart, devoted properly toward God. This is essential to acceptable worship or the worship is sinful! So, even if the practice being engaged in in worship unto God is authorized, if the individual's heart is not centered properly on the action of worship, sin is involved on the part of that person. Don't let your mind wander during worship activities to God! Keep your mind on things above!

We should also recognize that worship is to be "in truth". This means that our worship today is to be according to the Word of God, specifically, authorized by the law of Christ (the new covenant, the new testament). We could say that our worship is to be "by faith". Romans 10:17 says that faith comes by hearing and hearing by the word of God. Cain, an old testament example, worshipped God unacceptably...the Bible teaches that the worship of his brother Abel, was acceptable. What was the difference? God was still the proper object of the worship by the brothers. The Bible points out that due to Abel's worship being "by faith" (See Hebrews 11:4) it was acceptable before God. Abel did what God authorized, no more and no less. Likewise, we today must do everything in our worship according to the authority (permission/truth) of Jesus Christ (See Col. 3:16,17). 2 John 9 teaches that if we are not abiding (this would include our worship activities) in the doctrine of Christ (the new testament pattern) we don't have God...Another way of saying it is that we "sin" when we engage in worship for which we have no authority.

There are numerous folks who claim or think that they are truly Christians today who are worshipping God in vain. Matthew 15:9 says that vain worship includes teaching for doctrine the commandments of men, instead of the truth from God. Why are there so many conflicting practices in worship services today? Certainly we don't think they are ALL pleasing to God? How are we to determine what pleases God? Surely we know to read His Book and apply it. The problem is in the interpretation and in the application.

We can't devise worship activities that we "think" will please God without consulting His Word for authority; God has already told us what we should do today to worship Him acceptably. Let's continue in what is right (truth) with the proper frame of mind (spirit), but let's stop all worship activities for which there is no new testament authority! Only then can we be pleasing before God. Good intentions won't suffice.

Sin in teaching religious error

Matthew 15:9 has already been mentioned in the previous section with regards to vain worship including teaching other than God's will. Creed books written by uninspired men and women are being used by religious leaders in denominations that make them uniquely "Baptist", "Methodist", "Episcopalian", "Lutheran", etc. This system of religious division (we call it denominationalism) is an "attend the church of your choice" fragmentation approach to Christianity. God wants us to be Christians only and simply be members of the Lord's church (See Mt. 16:18; Acts 2:47; Acts 26:28; Rom. 16:16; Eph. 4:1-6; John 15:1-11). Why be a part of something that continues to endorse a splintering of what is perceived to be "Christians in denominations" when Christ only built one church? He purchased the church (His church) with His blood (Acts 20:28). Teachers will receive a heavy judgment (James 3:1). Don't believe what your "Pastor" says without searching the scriptures and studying for yourself (See Acts 17:11; 2 Tim. 2:15).

Sin in following religious error

While teachers will be sinning if they teach error; everyone sins who follows religious error. Notice that after discussing immorality, we are now looking at how people can actually be guilty of sin when they are engaged in seemingly "good", religious activities! Beware! Yes, the Bible is plain that if the blind lead the blind BOTH shall fall into the ditch. This principle illustrates well how that both the leaders (teachers) AND the followers (audience) of religious error are going to receive the same fate in the end.

There are many warnings throughout the Scriptures concerning not following the teachings of men without checking to be sure they are teachings of GOD. See I Cor. 11:1; Acts 17:11; Acts 17:28-31; 2 Tim. 4:1-5; 2 Peter 2:1-3. God's word is truth (John 17:17). We must rightly divide (properly interpret) and apply God's word to our lives so we are NOT in religious error.

SIN can be forgiven

As ugly as sin is, sin can be forgiven. Those who are not Christians need to hear the Word, believe it, be willing to repent of their sins, confess Christ as the Son of God and submit to water baptism for the remission of sins (Rom. 10:17; Acts 2:38; Rom. 10:9,10; Acts 22:16; Mark 16:16; Rom. 6:4; Gal. 3:26, 27). If we are already Christians and sin, we need to repent, confess the sins as widely as they are known and pray God for forgiveness (Acts 8:22; I John 1:6-9; James 5:16). Thanks be to God above that there IS a remedy for sin. The precious blood of Christ takes away our sins when we meet the aforementioned conditions outlined in God's Word. Thanks for reading. --mjw

* * * * * * * * *

Have we been reading the Bible lately?

God speaks to us today through His Word (Heb. 1:1ff)

God is talking...are we listening???

Click here to go to previous week's BULLETIN

Click here to go to next week's BULLETIN

Email the Editor at