By Roland W. Keith
Today we are going to take a look at the five R’s of sin and salvation: the reality of sin, the reasons for sin, the results of sin, God’s remedy for sin, and how to receive God’s remedy. One need only look at man’s destructive behavior to know that evil or sin exists. Quoting Old Testament scripture Paul wrote, “as it is written: "None is righteous, no, not one; no one understands; no one seeks for God. All have turned aside; together they have become worthless; no one does good, not even one” (Romans 3:10-12). Isaiah wrote of mankind, “all our righteous deeds are like a polluted garment” (Isaiah 64:6-7). Even our good deeds are often impure in some sense or are less than what they should be. One thing is certain when we look at how man treats his fellow man and the world in general— we are not as good as we could be. The question is why?
Tradition says that the reason for the first sin, committed by Satan, was the sin of pride. Original sin on the other hand is used to describe man’s first sin of disobedience in the garden of Eden. The sin of rebellion fostered by deception and brought to fruition by desire (Genesis 3:1-7). According to the record of this event Adam and Eve’s eyes were opened. They had gained a knowledge of good and evil which resulted in them being barred from the tree of life, forever changing their own and their descendant’s natures. Because of their actions all of humanity has been made susceptible to physical and spiritual death through the spread of sin and wrath (Romans 5:12; see also Ephesians 2:3). The Psalmist wrote, “Behold, I was brought forth in iniquity, and in sin did my mother conceive me” (Psalm 51:5). We are not born guilty of original sin, but we are born to sinful parents into an environment awash in sin. Like a virus sin has infected the entire world. We are born into a diseased world, a disease for which there is no natural cure or immunity. Yet while there is no cure for the disease there is a remedy to prevent its terminal effect— the blood of Christ.
Without the blood of Christ, we cannot overcome the results of sin. Sin has made the whole of mankind desperately sick (Jeremiah 17:9). Though we may desire to do what is right it is common for man to find that he resorts to sin despite his best efforts (Romans 7:18). As Christ said, “For from within, out of the heart of man, come evil thoughts, sexual immorality, theft, murder, adultery, coveting, wickedness, deceit, sensuality, envy, slander, pride, foolishness. All these evil things come from within, and they defile a person” (Mark 7:21-23). It is this dueling nature within man, the battle between good and evil, that man by himself cannot win, Ultimately, he succumbs to sin and its requisite end— death, unless he turns to God (Romans 6:23). It is in Christ that the purity that is required to defeat sin, the purity that we knew as children, can be restored (Matthew 18:4; 10:15). It is in Christ that the defilement of our minds and actions are replaced with Godly purity (Titus 1:15).
The purity of the Christian is not personal perfection but relies on the perfection of Jesus Christ covering our shortcomings. It is evidenced in one who pursues righteousness, faith and the other godly attributes while one flees from sinful passions (II Timothy 2:22). The result of which is pure conduct (I Peter 3:12), self-control (Titus 3:5), and purity of heart Matthew 5:8).
In contrast, even among professed believers, there are those who are self-justified, but are not so in the eyes of God, such as the Pharisee who thanked God he was not like others (Luke 18:11-14). In this lesson, Jesus explained that it was the tax collector, lowly esteemed in Jewish society, who beat his chest and asked for mercy that was justified in God’s eyes. Nor are we justified because we have religious zeal, if that zeal is misplaced and not in accord with God’s word (Romans 10:1-3).
The remedy for sin is to place our faith in Jesus Christ, repent of our sins, and obey His gospel (Luke 13:3; Acts 17:30; Mark 16:15-16). Described by Paul as the ministry of reconciliation, it is through the gospel that we are restored to God (II Corinthians 5:18-20; I Peter 1:18-19). It is by the blood of Christ and our obedience to the truth that we are born again and have our souls purified (I Peter 1:18, 22-23).
In explaining salvation to his fellow Jews Paul compared the difference between the old covenant and the new. Using himself as an example, he wrote, “though I myself have reason for confidence in the flesh also. If anyone else thinks he has reason for confidence in the flesh, I have more: circumcised on the eighth day, of the people of Israel, of the tribe of Benjamin, a Hebrew of Hebrews; as to the law, a Pharisee; as to zeal, a persecutor of the church; as to righteousness under the law, blameless. But whatever gain I had, I counted as loss for the sake of Christ. Indeed, I count everything as loss because of the surpassing worth of knowing Christ Jesus my Lord. For His sake I have suffered the loss of all things and count them as rubbish, in order that I may gain Christ and be found in Him, not having a righteousness of my own that comes from the law, but that which comes through faith in Christ, the righteousness from God that depends on faith— that I may know Him and the power of His resurrection, and may share His sufferings, becoming like Him in his death, that by any means possible I may attain the resurrection from the dead” (Philippians 3:4-11).
The resurrection from the dead and the eternal joy of being in the presence of God can only be realized by faith in and obedience to the LORD and His Messiah (Acts 4:12). It is in Jesus that we are made righteous in the sight of God (Acts 2:37-41; I John 1:9). The only way to receive God’s cure for eternal death caused by sin is to turn from our sins in obedience to His son and allow His blood to wash away the effects of sin in our lives. Not only can we be cured, but we can become one of God’s children, free from death’s grasp. As John wrote, “But to all who did receive Him, who believed in His name, H). Like a virus sin has infected the entire world. e gave the right to become children of God, who were born, not of blood nor of the will of the flesh nor of the will of man, but of God” (John 1:12-13).
Hi! I'm Roland. I began writing after retiring from the Navy in 2015. I believe that we each should strive to learn from one another, by sharing our thoughts and ideas. As a writer my goal is to help other seekers of truth to find and grow in Christ.