And the LORD God commanded the man, saying, “You may surely eat of every tree of the garden, but of the tree of the knowledge of good and evil you shall not eat, for in the day that you eat of it you shall surely die.”
Therefore, just as sin entered the world through one man, and death through sin, and in this way death came to all men, because all sinned...
(Romans 5:12 NIV)
Why is there so much evil in the world? This question is answered in Genesis chapter 3, where Adam and Eve disobeyed God, thereby bringing sin and death into the world. Everyone descended from Adam and Eve is affected. As scripture says:
If we say we have no sin, we deceive ourselves, and the truth is not in us. (1John 1:8)
If we say we have not sinned, we make him a liar, and his word is not in us. (1John 1:10)
...for all have sinned and fall short of the glory of God... (Romans 3:23)
Generally speaking, “sin” may be defined as any thought or action that violates God’s moral law. (Since God is God, he makes the rules; this should be self-evident.)
The main consequence of sin is death:
For the wages of sin is death… (Romans 6:23)
...death spread to all men because all sinned... (Romans 5:12)
I understand that the “death” referred to here has both a physical and a spiritual component. We physically die a natural death because of sin, and we are all spiritually dead prior to receiving new life through Christ. This spiritual death is referred to elsewhere in scripture, such as:
As for you, you were dead in your transgressions and sins… (Ephesians 2:1 NIV)
And you, who were dead in your trespasses and the uncircumcision of your flesh… (Colossians 2:13)
Moreover, because God is completely righteous and holy, our sin separates us from God:
...but your iniquities have made a separation between you and your God, and your sins have hidden his face from you so that he does not hear. (Isaiah 59:2)
We may try to justify ourselves by reasoning that our good deeds somehow compensate for our bad deeds, but that is not how scripture views it:
For whoever keeps the whole law and yet stumbles at just one point is guilty of breaking all of it. (James 2:10 NIV)
The prophet Isaiah said it well:
For our offenses are many in your sight, and our sins testify against us. Our offenses are ever with us, and we acknowledge our iniquities: rebellion and treachery against the LORD, turning our backs on our God, fomenting oppression and revolt, uttering lies our hearts have conceived. (Isaiah 59:12-13 NIV)
What about you? Do you claim that you have not sinned?
In what ways have you rebelled against God?
What are the consequences of your sins?
For Further Reflection
Genesis 3:1-24: The fall of man / the first sin.
Luke 18:9-14: The Pharisee and the tax collector.
Romans 3:9-20: There is no one righteous.
Psalm 51: King David’s confession of sin.
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