Misconceptions about Sin
Text: Romans 6:1-23
I. A young man was trying to formulate arguments why he thought “once saved, always saved” was a biblical truth
A. “Once a person is saved, however, and God writes his name in the book of life and gives him the Spirit, he won't erase their name from the book of life.”
B. “In the animal sacrifices, which God commands of Israel, the man was to place his hand on the lamb's head, signifying that his sin was being passed to the lamb, then the lamb would be killed in place of the man. If one can lose their salvation, the image might be reversed to be a man kneeling with his head bowed and a lamb with his paw on the man's head passing the sin back to the man. John the Baptist makes the connection of Christ with this image when he says, "Behold the Lamb of God, which taketh away the sin of the world" (John 1:29). Notice that John says nothing about him giving the sin back to the world, once he takes it away, he does not return it.”
C. As I considered how to respond, I realized that there are misconceptions about what sin is.
II. Seeing sin as an object that can be passed
A. Let’s look at the animal sacrifices - Leviticus 1:2-4
1. There is no mention of sins being passed to the animal
2. It doesn’t say that the animal carries the person’s sins away
3. Only that the animal dies on behalf of the person to atone for his sins.
a. Atonement is being reconciled with God
b. It satisfies the requirement that sin requires a death
4. But animals sacrifices cannot remove sin - Hebrews 10:4
B. Sins cannot be passed - Ezekiel 18:20
C. Sin is a state of being
1. Sin is the state you are in when you break the law - I John 3:4
2. Sin cannot exist without a law to be broken - Romans 4:15
D. A person can be restored to a right relationship with God by the forgiveness of his sins through the blood of Jesus - I John 1:6-7
E. Jesus came to take away the sin of the world - John 1:29
1. Notice this is about the world and not an individual
2. Notice that John said “sin” and not “sins”
3. It is an allusion back to the Day of Atonement - Leviticus 16:15-16
a. The sacrifice of the goat was to atone for Israel’s sins
b. Jesus’ death was not for just Israel, it was for the entire world
4. By using the singular “sin,” John is emphasizing that this one death would deal with the entire problem of sin
III. Seeing the removal of sin as a permanent, one time event
A. Atoning for sin doesn’t prevent a person from breaking the law again and returning to the state of sin.
1. That is why sin is compared to slavery - Romans 6:17-18
2. A person set free from slavery ought not to return to slavery, but it is possible
3. Stay free - Galatians 4:9; 5:1
B. The Book of Life
1. When Israel sinned while Moses was on Mount Sinai, Moses was so upset that he broke that tablets containing the Ten Commandments.
a. However, he approached God to ask Him to forgive Israel, and if God would not, Moses asked that he not be saved either - Exodus 32:31-32
b. God refused - Exodus 32:33
(1) God did not say no one can be removed
(2) God said only sinners are removed
2. The Christians at Sardis - Revelation 3:1-5
a. Their deeds were not complete
b. If they overcame this problem, Jesus would not erase their names
c. But that means those who did not overcome would be erased.
IV. Seeing sin as co-existing with good
A. Some go so far as seeing sin (and Satan) as a god that co-exists with God
1. I believe it is the influence of eastern religions
2. “God and the Devil can be compared with good and evil. Good cannot exist without evil, so God cannot exist without the devil, if so, God would be pointless, at least in Christian religion. So, in a way, they are interdependent.” [found in a discussion on the Internet]
B. Remember that sin cannot exist without law because sin is the breaking of law
1. Sin doesn’t exist on its own, it is the way we describe good being broken
2. Only God is eternal and God is good - I Timothy 1:17; Luke 18:19
a. Therefore, good has always existed, but not so with sin
b. God doesn’t need sin to exist
V. “The least misinformation or misconception leads to some wrong conclusion, and an error believed becomes the progenitor of others.” [Thomas Payne]
A. Deeply rooted misconceptions can prevent a person from seeing the truth.
1. If I drop a leaf and a rock, you know the rock will hit the ground first. But if you conclude that it is because the rock is heavier, you would be wrong and miss the fact that it is about the resistence of the air.
2. Once we think we know the answer, we stop looking for alternatives or better solutions
B. How false doctrines becomes so deeply rooted in religion is sometimes caused by a misconception that ends up coloring everything a person reads
C. Be like the Bereans and check - Acts 17:10-11