The Knowledge of Sin

Romans 3:11-20 There is none that understand, there is none that seek after God. They are all gone out of the way, they are together become unprofitable; there is none that do good, no, not one. Their throat is an open sepulchre; with their tongues they have used deceit; the poison of asps is under their lips: Whose mouth is full of cursing and bitterness: Their feet are swift to shed blood: Destruction and misery are in their ways: And the way of peace have they not known: There is no fear of God before their eyes. Now we know that what things soever the law said, it said to them who are under the law: that every mouth may be stopped, and all the world may become guilty before God. Therefore by the deeds of the law there shall no flesh be justified in his sight: for by the law is the knowledge of sin. 

‘They are all gone out of the way, they are together become unprofitable; there is none that does good, no, not one’ This is true of all people (Isa. 53:6; Rom. 1:21-32; 3:23; 5:12-21).

‘Unprofitable’ [Greek: achreioo] to make useless. The whole mass of mankind is as a slain, putrid mass thrown together in heaps.

‘Open sepulchre’ by malicious and cutting words they kill and bury the reputation of people. As a tomb is opened and the stench of putrefaction is unbearable, so their throats spue forth poison (3:13-14).

‘Asps’ [Greek: aspis] adder (Ps. 140:3; Deut. 32:33; Job 20:14-16; Isa. 11:8).

‘No fear of God before their eyes’ the same as in Romans 1:32. Not one charge is listed here but what can be traced in case histories of both Jews and Gentiles.

‘To them who are under the law: that every mouth may be stopped, and all the world may become guilty before God’ For fear the Jews might think Romans 3:10-18 do not apply to them, Paul here says that they apply to all under the law that every mouth might be stopped and the whole world becomes guilty before God. ‘By the deeds of the law there shall no flesh be justified in his sight: for by the law is the knowledge of sin’ even if the Jews had not broken the law, they could not be justified. The law could only condemn, not justify (3:21-31; 7:7-25).

Forsaken the Right Way

2Peter 2:15-19 Which have forsaken the right way, and are gone astray, following the way of Balaam the son of Bosor, who loved the wages of unrighteousness; But was rebuked for his iniquity: the dumb ass speaking with man’s voice forbad the madness of the prophet. These are wells without water, clouds that are carried with a tempest; to whom the mist of darkness is reserved for ever. For when they speak great swelling words of vanity, they allure through the lusts of the flesh, through much wantonness, those that were clean escaped from them who live in error. While they promise them liberty, they themselves are the servants of corruption: for of whom a man is overcome, of the same is he brought in bondage. 

‘Have forsaken the right way’ three great sins of Balaam are noted (Numbers 22:1-24:25): The way of Balaam (2:15). This was the love of the wages of unrighteousness and coveting the gifts of Balak (Num. 22:7, 17, 37; 24:11). The error of Balaam (Jude 1:11). This was accepting the wages of unrighteousness for his services in giving the secret of how to get God to curse Israel (Jude 1:11; Num. 31:8, 16). The doctrine of Balaam (Rev. 2:14). This was to teach Balak that if he would give his most beautiful women to the Israelite men and cause them to commit idolatry and adultery that God Himself would curse Israel (Num. 25:1-9; 21:8, 16).

‘Rebuked for his iniquity; the dumb donkey which spoke with a man’s voice forbad the madness of the prophet’ we see from Numbers 22:22-35 the story of Balaam’s iniquity which can be summarized as follows: His disrespect for God’s word and integrity when he was forbidden to go and curse Israel (Num. 22:12-20) which he wanted to do because of his covetousness for reward (Num. 22:7, 17, 37; 24:11). We see his hypocrisy in trying to persuade God to let him go (Num. 22:19) and we see his seeming desire and attempt to curse Israel (Num. 22:14; Deut. 23:4-5; Jos. 24:10). Then there is his stubbornness about going in spite of God’s command (Num. 22:19-35) and his lack of desire to do God’s perfect will (Num. 22:12-22). We see his perverseness (Num. 22:32) and his refusal to wait until the men called for him, and arising early to go with the enemies of Israel (Num. 22:20). He tries to persuade God to cooperate with him, through repeated sacrifices, so he could get the reward (Num. 22:19; 23:1-3, 14-15; 24:1) and his tiresome willingness to use every means in seeking to get the reward like most false prophets/teachers today (Num. 22:8, 19; 24:1; 2Pet. 2:15-16; Jude 1:11; Rev. 2:14). God foresaw the backsliding of His prophet through covetousness, and how the destruction of many people would ultimately result from the doctrine of Balaam.

‘Wells without water, clouds that are carried with a tempest; to whom the mist of darkness is reserved for ever’ two symbols of false prophets/teachers: Wells without water and clouds without rain. In the desert it is distressing to find wells without water and clouds that dissipate without rain. So are false teachers who are as unprofitable as an empty well and as a dissipated cloud. We are warned in Matthew 7:15 to stay away from false prophets/teachers. There are seven ways false prophets are known: By their outward general conduct (Matt. 5:20; 6:1-24; 7:15; 23:1-33; 2Tim. 3:5); by inward their state (Matt. 5:22, 28; 7:15; 23:25-28; Mark 7:21-23); by the kind of fruit in works produced (Matt. 7:16-20; 23:1-24; 2Cor. 11:13-15; Php. 1:15-17; 3:3, 17-19); by the kind of fruit in doctrine taught (Matt. 7:16-20; 12:33-37; 15:1-9; 16:12; 23:1-33; 1Tim. 4:1-6; 6:3-5; 2Tim. 3:1-8; 4:1-4; 2Pet. 2:1-22); by professing to do, but not doing the will of God (Matt. 5:20; 7:21; 23:1-33); by satanic backing usually drawing huge crowds and popularity (Matt. 7:22; 24:24; Acts 8:9-13; 13:6-13; 16:16-24; 2Cor. 11:13-15; 2Thess. 2:8-12; Rev. 13:1-18; 16:13-16; 19:20); professing to come in the name of the Lord, but they use their own names to promote themselves and their ministries (John 5:43; 1Tim. 6:3-6).

‘For when they speak great swelling words of vanity, they allure through the lusts of the flesh’ false teachers cannot give the water of life, but they can damn souls by the methods used in this verse (1Tim. 1:3-4; 4:7; 2Tim. 2:15-17; 4:3-4).

‘Wantonness’ [Greek: aselgeia] licentiousness and lustfulness. Lasciviousness is the promoting or partaking of that which tends to produce lewd emotions, anything tending to foster sexual sin and lust. That is why many worldly pleasures have to be avoided by Christians – so that lasciviousness may not be committed.

‘In error’ this error refers to the vile affections of the homosexual sins, as is clear here and in Romans 1:27.

‘While they promise them liberty, they themselves are the servants of corruption’ false teachers promise liberty from the condemnation of sinful lusts, but they themselves are not free.

‘For of whom a man is overcome, of the same is he brought in bondage.’ This verse states clearly that whatever rule over us (overcome) we brought us in bondage, thus we will serve it (Rom. 6:15-23). That’s why it is important to forsake all (Matt. 10:37-39) so that you can serve the one and only true God that will never put you in bondage (Rom. 8:15-17).

The Fall and Sin of Man

John 9:1-5 And as Jesus passed by, he saw a man which was blind from his birth. And his disciples asked him, saying, Master, who did sin, this man, or his parents, that he was born blind? Jesus answered, Neither has this man sinned, nor his parents: but that the works of God should be made manifest in him. I must work the works of him that sent me, while it is day: the night cometh, when no man can work. As long as I am in the world, I am the light of the world. 

‘Who did sin, this man, or his parents, that he was born blind?’ Jews believed that pious souls were reincarnated as a reward, not punishment; and that the wicked were put into eternal prisons to be tormented forever (Josephus, Antiquities, Book 18, and War, Book 2). Some Asiatic nations and some Jews believed souls came back into bodies as a penalty for sins committed in a preexistent state. Controversies raged over whether some physical infirmity was the result of one’s sins before birth, even in the womb, or sins by the parents. They held that marks on the body proved sin in the soul. Some false religions identified the sins of a previous life with afflictions of the present. For example, headaches were for irreverence to parents; epilepsy for poisoning someone; pain in the eyes for coveting another man’s wife; blindness for murder of mother; etc.

‘Neither has this man sinned, nor his parents’ Neither: all the theories of reincarnation, preexistent sins, physical infirmities proving personal sin is involved, and all fallacies that go with such paganism are unscriptural. Personal and immediate sin is not necessarily involved in the imperfection of reproduction. Mental, moral, and physical wrecks are caused by the fall and sin of man, by satanic powers (Eph. 2:1-3; Luke 13:16; Acts 10:38), by continued depravities and sin, by imperfect and undeveloped cells, and by overwork, worry, accidents, and violation of natural laws.

‘But that the works of God should be made manifest in him’ this was not the cause of his blindness, but a simple declaration that the works of God were to be manifest regardless of the cause. Jesus answered their question as to whether the man or his parents had sinned. He did not state the cause, but it is certain God was not the cause. God was the healer and satan was back of the cause (Matt. 12:22; Acts 10:38; John 10:10; 1Jn. 3:8).

Being Convicted

John 8:3-11 And the scribes and Pharisees brought unto him a woman taken in adultery; and when they had set her in the midst, They say unto him, Master, this woman was taken in adultery, in the very act. Now Moses in the law commanded us, that such should be stoned: but what say thou? This they said, tempting him, that they might have to accuse him. But Jesus stooped down, and with his finger wrote on the ground, as though he heard them not. So when they continued asking him, he lifted up himself, and said unto them, He that is without sin among you, let him first cast a stone at her. And again he stooped down, and wrote on the ground. And they which heard it, being convicted by their own conscience, went out one by one, beginning at the eldest, even unto the last: and Jesus was left alone, and the woman standing in the midst. When Jesus had lifted up himself, and saw none but the woman, he said unto her, Woman, where are those thine accusers? hath no man condemned thee? She said, No man, Lord. And Jesus said unto her, Neither do I condemn thee: go, and sin no more. 

The scribes and Pharisees attempted, yet again, to snare Jesus to arrest Him by bringing a woman that was taken in adultery. Had He contradicted Moses (Lev. 20:10; Deut. 22:22-24), He would have been condemned as a false prophet. Had He condemned the woman to death He would have been accused to the Romans as usurping authority, so He merely wrote on the ground as if He did not hear them. When they continued to ask, He told them that the sinless ones should first cast a stone. It is not recorded what He wrote on the ground.

Capital punishment by stoning was lawful (Ex. 19:13; Deut. 13:10; 17:5; 22:21). The Jewish method of execution was to cast the criminal from a 10 or 12 feet scaffold half-naked, with hands tied in the back. The witnesses did the pushing with great force and if this did not kill him a witness then would take a large stone and dash it upon the breast. On occasions where mobs stoned a man no scaffold was used, but certain accusers threw the first stones and then all could throw until the victim was dead (Num. 15:36; Jos. 7:25; 1Kings 21:13; Acts 7:58-59; 14:19; 2Cor. 11:25).

Conscience is a wonderful thing. It is the faculty that decides the lawfulness of our actions as to right and wrong (Rom. 2:12-16). The causes of their conviction was their own evil designs against Him, not so much against her; their failure to include the man who was guilty with the woman; what Christ wrote on the ground; the challenge to start throwing if they were sinless themselves; their hypocrisy which was known to Christ and others present; and their guilt of committing the same sin (Rom. 2:1).

As they were convicted by their own consciences, they, her accusers, started to depart, leaving the woman in the midst of the disciples and others who were present.

Jesus did not say He did not condemn adultery as a sin. He simply forgave the woman, as He had done others who were sinful (Matt. 9:1-8; Luke 7:37-50). He was not a magistrate and since no man of her accusers stayed to condemn, He was not going to pass sentence on the woman, taking it upon Himself to execute the law of Moses. He had to avoid the Jews accusing Him of taking magisterial authority in His own hands. Then, too, Christ came to save men, not to destroy them, so forgiveness of her sin was as much His obligation then as it still is when anyone repents and turns from sin (Matt. 12:31-32; 1Jn. 1:9). He frankly told her to sin no more, proving He did condemn adultery as a sin. He did so elsewhere (Matt. 5:27-32; 19:9, 18-19).

Confess Your Faults

James 5:16 Confess your faults one to another, and pray one for another, that you may be healed. The effectual fervent prayer of a righteous man avail much. 

There is a twofold secret of bodily healing: Confess your faults one to another – admit what you have done wrong; Pray one for another, that you may be healed (Mat. 21:22; Mar. 11:24). The Greek word for faults is paraptoma which means a falling aside when one should have stood upright; a transgression; a moral fall.

A couple of Biblical facts about Sickness and Healing: Both death and sickness originated with sin and are now being propagated by satan (Job 2:6-7; Luke 13:16; John 10:10; Acts 10:38; Rom. 5:12-21). The first prophecy and promise of redemption included healing (Isa. 53:5; Mat. 8:16-17; 1Pet. 2:24). Healing was promised on condition of obedience (Psa. 91:1-16; Isa. 58:1-14; Jas. 5:14-15). God permits (allows ) satan to afflict sinners and even His own people when they go astray, to bring them to repentance (Job 33:12-30; Psa. 38:1-22; 103:3; 1Cor. 5:1-5; 2Cor. 2:6-11). Health, as well as healing, was promised when men met certain conditions (Pro. 3:1-8; 12:18; 18:21; Isa. 58:1-14; 1Pet. 3:10-11; 3Jn. 1:2). Christ came to redeem from both sin and sickness (Isa. 53:1-12; 61:1-2; Mat. 8:17; 1Jn. 3:8). The Holy Spirit was sent into the world to carry on the healing ministry (Acts 2:33; 1Cor. 12:9; Heb. 2:3-4). Healing is provided as part of Christ’s atonement (Isa. 53:4-5; Mat. 13:14-15; John 3:14; 10:10; Rom. 8:11; 1Cor. 11:23-32). Healing is on the same basis as forgiveness of sins – prayer and faith (Mat. 9:1-7; 13:15; 21:22; Acts 28:27; Jas. 1:4-8; 5:14-16; Heb. 11:6). God has provided all necessary means of healing and complete defeat of satanic powers (2Cor. 10:4-5; Eph. 6:10-18; John 14:12-15; Jas. 4:7; 5:14-16; 1Pet. 2:24; 5:7-9, 18). Healing is always the will of God for His people who may: “ask what ye will” (John 15:7); “whatsoever” (Mat. 21:22; John 14:12-15; 15:16); “anything” (John 14:14); “what things soever you desire” (Mar. 11:22-24); and “much more” than earthly parents would or could give their children (Mat. 7:7-11).

Thus, it is clear in Scripture that physical healing is provided for in the Old and New Testaments. The New Testament is based upon better promises than the Old Testament (Heb. 8:6).

The Parable of the Unmerciful Servant

Therefore is the kingdom of heaven likened unto a certain king, which would take account of his servants. And when he had begun to reckon, one was brought unto him, which owed him ten thousand talents. But forasmuch as he had not to pay, his lord commanded him to be sold, and his wife, and children, and all that he had, and payment to be made. The servant therefore fell down, and worshipped him, saying, Lord, have patience with me, and I will pay thee all. Then the lord of that servant was moved with compassion, and loosed him, and forgave him the debt. But the same servant went out, and found one of his fellowservants, which owed him an hundred pence: and he laid hands on him, and took him by the throat, saying, Pay me that thou owest. And his fellowservant fell down at his feet, and besought him, saying, Have patience with me, and I will pay thee all.  And he would not: but went and cast him into prison, till he should pay the debt. So when his fellowservants saw what was done, they were very sorry, and came and told unto their lord all that was done. Then his lord, after that he had called him, said unto him, O thou wicked servant, I forgave thee all that debt, because thou desiredst me: Shouldest not thou also have had compassion on thy fellowservant, even as I had pity on thee? And his lord was wroth, and delivered him to the tormentors, till he should pay all that was due unto him.  Mat. 18:23-34 KJV

This parable deals with the conduct of the members of the kingdom of Heaven in relation to one another. The purpose of the parable is to answer Peter’s question of verse 21, “How oft shall my brother sin against me, and I forgive him? till seven times?” Jesus answered, “I say not unto thee, Until seven times: but, Until seventy times seven.” Then He gave the illustration of the king and his servant to teach Peter that all members of the kingdom of Heaven must be merciful and forgiving or they would not be forgiven. “Seventy times seven” is 490 times a day, twenty times an hour or once every three minutes that we must forgive those who sin against us and ask our forgiveness. If the disciples said, “Lord, increase our faith,” when Christ told them that they would have to forgive their brother seven times a day, Lk. 17:3-5 what might they have said on this occasion when He told them they must forgive 490 times a day?

So likewise shall my heavenly Father do also unto you, if ye from your hearts forgive not every one his brother their trespasses. Mat. 18:35 KJV

The story illustrates what God would do if a child of His would not from his heart forgive his brother. This verse is the sole truth being illustrated by the example of this particular king and his servant. Just as this king did not have mercy on his servant whom he had forgiven a debt of 10,000 talents ($19.2 million in silver – $290.85 million in gold), after the same servant would not forgive his fellow servant a debt of one hundred pence (about $17.00), so God will not have mercy on those in the kingdom of Heaven who will not forgive men from their hearts.

The application of this illustration is as follows:

  1. God cancels all the debt for penitent sinners as this king did for his servant Mt. 18:23-27,35; Mt. 12:31-32; 1Jn. 1:9
  2. God demands fair treatment between Christians Mt. 18:26-30,35; 5:38-48; 7:12; Rom. 12:9-21; 1Cor. 13
  3. God will not forgive unless man forgives his brother Mt. 18:35; 6:14-15; Mk. 11:25-26; Eph. 4:32
  4. All issues of sin and righteousness come “from the heart”. Mt. 15:18-19; Mk. 7:21-23; Acts 8:37; Rom. 10:6-10; 2Tim. 2:22; Heb. 4:12

I choose to forgive those who have wronged me so that I can always receive my Father’s forgiveness and be in right standing with God.

For if ye forgive men their trespasses, your heavenly Father will also forgive you: But if ye forgive not men their trespasses, neither will your Father forgive your trespasses.  Mat. 6:14-15 KJV

Works of the Flesh

Now the works of the flesh are manifest, ….. they which do such things shall not inherit the kingdom of God.  Gal. 5:19a … 21b

No man who commits the sins mentioned in Galatians 5:19-21 will ever inherit the kingdom of God unless he confesses and puts them out of his life.  These are called the works of the flesh and are given in contrast of the fruit of the Spirit that we receive as we are washed, sanctified and are justified in the name of the Lord Jesus, and by the Spirit of our God.

These sins can be classified in four divisions, the four sins of lust: adultery, fornication, uncleanness and lasciviousness, Gal. 5:19 the two sins of impiety and superstition: idolatry and witchcraft, Gal. 5:20 the nine sins of temper: hatred, variance, emulations, wrath, strife, seditions, heresies, envyings and murders, Gal. 5:20-21 and the two sins of the appetite: drunkenness and revellings. Gal. 5:21 Let’s have a look at them:

  1. Greek: moicheia (GSN-<G3430>), unlawful sexual relations between men and women, single or married. Mt. 15:19; Mk. 7:21; Jn. 8:3 Note the related Greek: verbs, moichao (GSN-<G3429>) Mt. 5:32, 19:9; Mk. 10:11-12 and moicheuo (GSN-<G3431>). Mt. 5:27-28; 19:18; Mk. 10:19; Lk. 16:18; 18:20; Jn. 8:4; Rom. 2:22; 13:9; Jas. 2:11; Rev. 2:22
  2. Greek: porneia (GSN-<G4202>), same as adultery above besides all manner of other unlawful relations.
  3. Greek: akatharsia (GSN-<G167>), whatever is opposite of purity; including sodomy, homosexuality, lesbianism, pederasty, bestiality, and all other forms of sexual perversion Mt. 23:27; Rom. 1:21-32; 6:19; 2Cor. 12:21; Eph. 4:19; 5:3; Col. 3:5; 1Th. 2:3; 4:7; 2Pet. 2
  4. Greek: aselgeia (GSN-<G766>), licentiousness, lustfulness, unchastity, and lewdness. Translated “lasciviousness” Mk. 7:22; 2Cor. 12:21; Eph. 4:19; 1Pet. 4:3; Jude 1:4 “wantonness” Rom. 13:13; 2Pet 2:18 and “filthy”. 2Pet. 2:7 Lasciviousness is the promoting or partaking of that which tends to produce lewd emotions, anything tending to foster sex sin and lust. That is why many worldly pleasures have to be avoided by Christians, so that lasciviousness may not be committed.
  5. Greek: eidololatreia (GSN-<G1495>), image-worship. 1Cor. 10:14; Col. 3:5; 1Pet. 4:3 Idolatry includes anything on which affections are passionately set; extravagant admiration of the heart. Eph. 5:5; Col. 3:5
  6. Greek: pharmakeia (GSN-<G5331>), sorcery, practice of dealing with evil spirits; magical incantations and casting spells and charms upon one by means of drugs and potions of various kinds. Rev. 9:21; 18:23 Enchantments were used to inflict evil, pains, hatred, sufferings, and death, or to bring good, health, love and other blessings.
  7. Greek: echthra (GSN-<G2189>), enmity Lk. 23:12; Rom. 8:7; Eph. 2:15-16; Jas. 4:4 and hatred. Bitter dislike, abhorrence, malice and ill will against anyone; tendency to hold grudges against or be angry at someone.
  8. Greek: eris (GSN-<G2054>). Rom. 1:29 Dissensions, discord, quarreling, debating; and disputes.
  9. Greek: zeloi (GSN-<G2205>), envies, jealousies; striving to excel at the expense of another; seeking to surpass and out do others; uncurbed rivalry spirit in religion, business, society, and other fields of endeavor. Translated “zeal” Jn. 2:17; Rom. 10:2; 2Cor. 7:11; 9:2; Php. 3:6; Col. 4:13 “fervent mind” 2Cor. 7:7 “envy” Acts 13:45; Rom. 13:13; 1Cor. 3:3; 2Cor. 12:20; Jas. 3:14-15 “jealousy” 2Cor. 11:2 “indignation” Acts 5:17; Heb. 10:27 and “emulation”.
  10. Greek: thumos (GSN-<G2372>), “wrath” Lk. 4:28; Acts 19:28; 2Cor. 12:20; Eph. 4:31; Col. 3:8; Heb. 11:27; Rev. 12:12; 14:8,10,19; 15:1,7; 16:1; 18:3 “indignation” Rom. 2:8 and “fierceness”. Rev. 16:19; 19:15 Turbulent passions; domestic and civil turmoil; rage; determined and lasting anger.
  11. Greek: eritheia (GSN-<G2052>), “strife” 2Cor. 12:20; Php. 2:3; Jas. 3:14,16 “contention”. Php. 1:16; Rom. 2:8 Disputations; jangling; strife about words; angry contentions; contest for superiority or advantage; strenuous endeavor to equal or pay back in kind the wrongs done to one.
  12. Greek: dichostasia (GSN-<G1370>), “divisions” Rom. 16:17; 1Cor. 3:3 “seditions, parties, and factions”. Popular disorder; stirring up strife in religion, government, home, or any other place.
  13. Greek: hairesis (GSN-<G139>), a choosing, hence, a sect Acts 5:17; 15:5; 24:5; 26:5; 28:22 and heresy. Acts 24:14; 1Cor. 11:19; Gal. 5:20; 2Pet. 2:1
  14. Greek: phthonoi (GSN-<G5355>) Mt. 27:18; Mk. 15:10; Rom. 1:29; Php. 1:15; 1Tim. 6:4; Tit. 3:3; Jas. 4:5; 1Pet. 2:1 Pain, ill will, and jealousy at the good fortune or blessings of another; the most base of all degrading and disgraceful passions.
  15. Greek: phonoi (GSN-<G5408>) Mt. 15:18 to kill; to spoil or mar the happiness of another; hatred. 1Jn. 3:15
  16. Greek: methai (GSN-<G3178>) Lk. 21:34; Rom. 13:13 Drinking, living intoxicated; a slave to drink; drinking bouts.
  17. Greek: komoi (GSN-<G2970>) 1Pet. 4:3 rioting. Rom. 13:13 Lascivious and boisterous feastings, with obscene music, and other sinful activities; pleasures; carousing.

Know you not that the unrighteous shall not inherit the kingdom of God? Be not deceived: neither fornicators, nor idolaters, nor adulterers, nor effeminate, nor abusers of themselves with mankind, Nor thieves, nor covetous, nor drunkards, nor revilers, nor extortioners, shall inherit the kingdom of God. And such were some of you: but you are washed, but you are sanctified, but you are justified in the name of the Lord Jesus, and by the Spirit of our God. 1Cor. 6:9-11 KJV

I choose to live a life wherein I die to the self and the works of the flesh and I choose to live in the Spirit and in Truth and not to give in to worldly or fleshly lusts. I choose to serve Christ Jesus! Amen