DEFINITION AND NATURE OF SIN
WHAT is sin declared to be?
"Whosoever committeth sin transgresseth also the law: for sin is the transgression of the law." 1 John 3:4.
What precedes the manifestation of sin? "Then when lust hath conceived, it bringeth forth sin." James 1:15.
THE RESULTS OF SIN
What is the final result, or fruit, of sin?
"And sin, when it is finished, bringeth forth death." Same verse. "The wages of sin is death." Romans 6:23.
Upon how many of the human race did death pass as the result of Adam's transgression?
"By one man sin entered into the world, and death by sin; and so death passed upon all men, for that all have sinned." Romans 5:12. "In Adam all die." 1 Corinthians 15:22.
How was the earth itself affected by Adam's sin?
"Cursed is the ground for thy sake; in sorrow shalt thou eat of it all the days of thy life; thorns also and thistles shall it bring forth to thee." Genesis 3:17, 18.
What additional curse came as the result of the first murder?
"And the Lord said unto Cain, . . . And now art thou cursed from the earth, which bath opened her mouth to receive thy brother's blood from thy hand; when thou tillest the ground, it shall not henceforth yield unto thee her strength." Genesis 4:9-12.
What terrible judgment came in consequence of continued sin and transgression against God?
"And the Lord said, I will destroy man whom I have created from the face of the earth." "The end of all flesh is come before Me; for the earth is filled with violence." "And Noah was six hundred years old when the flood of waters was upon the earth." "The same day were all the fountains of the great deep broken up, and the win- dows of heaven were opened." Genesis 6:7, 13; 7:6, 11. After the Flood, what came in consequence of further apostasy from God? "And the Lord came down to see the city and the tower, which the children of men builded. And the Lord said, Behold, the people is one, and they have all one language; and this they begin to do: and now nothing will be restrained from them, which they have imagined to do. Go to, let us go down, and there confound their language, that they may not understand one another's speech. So the Lord scattered them abroad from thence upon the face of all the earth: and they left off to build the city." Genesis 11:5-8. Into what condition has sin brought the entire creation? "For ye know that the whole creation groaneth and travaileth in pain together until now." Romans 8:22.
GOD'S DELAY IN DESTROYING SIN
What explains God's apparent delay in dealing with sin?
"The Lord is not slack concerning His promise, as some men count slackness; but is longsugering to us-ward, not willing that any should perish, but that all should come to repentance." 2 Peter 3 :9.
What is God's attitude toward the sinner?
"For I have no pleasure in the death of him that dieth, saith the Lord God: wherefore turn yourselves, and live ye." Ezekiel 18:32.
Can man free himself from the dominion of sin?
"Can the Ethiopian change his skin, or the leopard his spots? then may ye also do good, that are accustomed to do evil." Jeremiah 13:23.
What place has the will in determining whether man shall have life?
"And the Spirit and the bride say, Come. And let him that hear- eth say, Come. And let him that is athirst come. And whosoever will, let him take the water of life freely." Revelation 22:17.
CHRIST, THE SINNER, AND SATAN
To what extent has Christ suffered for sinners?
"He was wounded for our transgressions, He was bruised for our iniquities: the chastisement of our peace was upon Him; and with His stripes we are healed." Isaiah 53:5. For what purpose was Christ manifested? "And ye know that He was manifested to take away our sins; and in Him is no sin. . . . He that committeth sin is of the devil; for the devil sinneth from the beginning. For this purpose the Son of God was manifested, that He might destroy the works of the devil." 1 John 3:5-8. What was one direct purpose of the incarnation of Christ? "Forasmuch then as the children are partakers of flesh and blood, He also Himself likewise took part of the same; that through death He might destroy him that had the power of death, that is, the devil." Hebrews 2:14.
THE END OF SIN AND SORROW
What triumphant chorus will mark the end of the reign of sin?
"And every creature which is in heaven, and on the earth, and under the earth, and such as are in the sea, and all that are in them, heard I saying, Blessing, and honour, and glory, and power, be unto Him that sitteth upon the throne, and unto the Lamb for ever and ever." Revelation 5:13. When and by what means will the effects of sin be removed? "But the day of the Lord will come as a thief in the night; in the which the heavens shall pass away with a great noise, and the ele- ments shall melt with fervent heat, the earth also, and the works that are therein shall be burned up." 2 Peter 3:10. How thoroughly will the effects of sin be removed? "And God shall wipe away all tears from their eyes; and there shall be no more death, neither sorrow, nor crying, neither shall there be any more pain: for the former things are passed away." Revelation 21:4. "And there shall be no more curse: but the throne of God and of the Lamb shall be in it [the holy city]; and His serv- ants shall serve Him." Revelation 22:3. Will sin and its evil results ever appear again? "What do ye imagine against the Lord? He will make an utter end: affliction shall not rise up the second time." Nahum 1:9. "There shall be no more death." "And there shall be no more curse." Reve- lation 21:4; 22:3.
THE POET WHO DECIDED TO DROWN HIMSELF
That sin exists none can deny. Why it was permitted has perplexed many minds. But He who can bring light out of darkness (2 Corinthians 4:6), make the wrath of man to praise Him (Psalms 76:10), and turn a curse into a blessing (Deuteronomy 23:5), can bring good out of evil, and turn mistakes and downfalls into steppingstones to higher ground. Heaven will be happier for the sorrows of earth. "Sorrows remembered sweeten present joy," says Robert Pollok, in "The Course of Time," book 1. In the final outcome it will be seen that all things have worked together for good to them that love God. (Romans 8:28.) Cowper, despondent and about to drown himself, was carried the wrong way by his driver, and went home to write the inspiring hymn below.
GOD moves in a mysterious way
His wonders to perform;
He plants His footsteps in the sea,
And rides upon the storm.
Deep in unfathomable mines
Of never-failing skill,
He treasures up His bright designs,
And works His sovereign will.
Ye fearful saints fresh courage take,
The clouds ye so much dread
Are big with mercy, and shall break
In blessings on your head.
Judge not the Lord by feeble sense,
But trust Him for His grace;
Behind a frowning providence
He hides a smiling face.
Blind unbelief is sure to err,
And scan His work in vain:
God is His own interpreter,
And He will make it plain.
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