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Is sin so bad?

Our entire social system is changing. The past is now old-fashioned — out-of-date!
New moral standards prevail. Sin is "in."
Everybody sins! And why not? What is so bad about sin?


SIN. It used to be a bad word. People once tried to avoid it. But today — well, "get with it, baby," times have changed.

"Sin? Great! That means fun. Where do I find it? I hope I can get there quick. How much will it cost? I hope I can afford a lot of it," seems to be the common response.


The Paradox of Sin

Sin is a paradox. The word itself is thought to be an antique remnant of the pseudo-sanctimonious emotionalism so characteristic of "primitive" religions. Yet all the while sin makes people miserable, disrupts families, shatters communities, paralyzes cities, wrecks nations and threatens the very survival of mankind.

Sin is real. It exists. It exacts its toll. People don't have to "believe in" sin to be hurt by it. A baby bird doesn't have to "believe in" the law of gravity to be injured when it falls out of a tree.

What is sin? As with everything else, human beings go to equally absurd extremes in trying to neatly categorize it into their own mental filing systems. On the one hand, today's "intellectually liberated elite" think that previous generations were superstitiously fooled into taking sin too seriously. "That old-fashioned make-believe God was unfair in hating sin. He took all the fun out of life just to make men bend and obey Him. Why He was nothing more than a sadistic drill sergeant who enjoyed whipping green recruits into line."

On the other hand, religionists of this world exult in spewing out vicious invective about their mixed-up conception of sin. They gloat in painting a terrifying picture with their pronouncements on "sinners." But do people stop sinning? No. Religion, to most people, is out of touch with reality. And in this case "most people" are right!

We've all heard about sin. But "sin" evokes a different reaction in every human being. Some recoil in self-righteous horror. Some shake their heads in utter condemnation of the sins of others. Some smack their lips in the eager anticipation of personally getting involved in sin themselves. Some think it's all a big joke. Some relegate sin to an archaic moral system with a papier-mâché God and super-strict laws. And some simply couldn't care less.

Everybody has his own opinion — and you have yours. But what good are "opinions"? We want TRUTH. So what's the truth about sin? You should know.


We're Different

We don't believe in boring people with fuzzy philosophies and vague generalities. We don't use "scare tactics" either. In plain point of fact, we don't obey the dictates of this world. We seek the Way of Truth — we teach the Way of God. Therefore, we're not going to shout, rant and rave about sin. And we are surely not going to harangue you with the shrill proclamations of bloodthirsty tormenters and their typical dire predictions of eternal damnation in an ever-burning hellfire for sinners.

What are we going to do? Be down-to-earth — literally. Deal with practical living — the day-in-day-out life experience of you, your family, your nation and your world. So what about sin? What does it have to do with real life? How does it concern you? Is sin so bad?


Our Purpose

Why are we so interested in sin? Because we care about you. We want you to enjoy a scintillating life, brimming with success and overflowing with happiness. We want you to look forward to getting up each morning — as crazy as that may sound now.

Why are we so interested in making your life throb with excitement? Because the Eternal God of Heaven and Earth has created you to live an abundant (John 10:10) and prosperous life (III John 2). And He's our Boss, our LORD! He's running this Work! What He wants, we do. And He wants you to live a joyous life — now, today, in this physical life. So it's our responsibility to show you how.

Look at the lives of God's most holy men of old — Abraham, Moses, Joseph, David, Daniel. Their day-to-day activities sparkled with variety, challenge and enthusiasm. They all loved life. They were all fiercely determined men. They all understood ultimate Truth. They all occupied prestigious positions on earth. They were all famous. They all wielded governmental authority. They all enjoyed the pinnacle of physical comforts — and yes, the peak of the pleasant use of their senses also. And they all obeyed God's Law — they all strove to avoid sin. Here were Godly men — living life to the full.

We have all been conditioned to associate Godliness with weak meekness and failure, obedience with boredom, and righteousness with abstinence. You can be absolutely certain that neither Abraham nor Moses nor Joseph nor David nor Daniel would have been considered "religious" by this world's "holier than thou," hypocritically pious, mealy-mouthed standards of "Godliness." Incredibly ironic as it may sound, this world's soft, effeminate caricature of true religion is part and parcel of the same sin-laden system which produces prostitution, drug addiction and murder.

Sin ruins the abundant life. That's why God requires that we tell you about it. Because when you avoid sin, your life undergoes a dramatic transformation. You become a man (or a woman) of God — with all the blessings of a prince (or a princess). Sin holds you back. Sin destroys, sin discourages, sin creates misery, sin breaks up families, sin ruins a person's position, sin decreases financial rewards, sin makes people sick, sin makes people hate life, sin cuts life short. Your God hates sin because your God fervently wants the very best life for you.


What Is Sin?

The world defines sin as anything "fun." As usual that's precisely the opposite from the Truth. God defines sin as that which will wreck man's opportunity to enjoy life.

God defines sin as the transgression of His Law (I John 3:4). God's Law is not a strict collection of do's and don'ts expressly designed to throttle, inhibit and frustrate man! Most people have been trained to categorically equate obeying God's Law with walking a slippery tightrope suspended over burning coals. This is wholly untrue.

The English word "law," as used in the Bible, has unfortunately come to mean a cold edict which demands instant obedience, and an impersonal dictate which exacts a severe penalty. Nothing could be further from the Truth. The Hebrew word "torah" — from which "law" is derived — has a much wider and extraordinarily more compassionate meaning. It literally means a "course of instruction" or an "order of teaching."

In other words, God's Law is the "course of instruction" which the Eternal has developed for the purpose of instructing man in the way to a zestfully thrilling existence. God's Law can be likened to a "lesson plan" or "curriculum" which a teacher prepares to enumerate and set forth the most effective methods and procedures to teach his students algebra, history, Spanish, etc. In the same manner, the Law of God is an "order (or a system) of teaching" through which our Creator enumerates and sets forth the most effective methods and procedures to teach His students — all mankind — how to live a thoroughly rewarding life.

God's "course of instruction" (Law) is based on the two foundational concepts of love toward God and love toward neighbor (Matt. 22:37-40). These are expanded into the Ten Commandments. Next are the statutes and judgments. Finally all the Biblical examples amplify the expanding scope of God's "order of teaching" (Law). Naturally, all of this is magnified and clarified by the pure revelation of Jesus Christ (Isaiah 42:21 and Matt. 5:17).

Obedience to God's Law produces the abundant life. Sin is the breaking of God's Law. Therefore Sin destroys the abundant life.

No one likes to be hurt! This is the modern criterion for morals today. "If it hurts me, I'm against it." Fine. We agree — if it hurts you we're against it too. That's why we're against sin. Because sin packs a devastating wallop. Sin will fill your life with pain, disease, discouragement and despondency. All of your troubles have been caused by the breaking of God's "course of instruction" for human behavior. All your troubles have been caused by sin.

We accept the modern criterion for morals. "If it hurts me. I'm against it." Does sin hurt? Is it really as destructive and damaging to mankind as God claims? Is sin really bad for a non-religious person? Let's find out.


Learn by History

Can history help prove our point? It can — if the sins of past generations terminated in chaos and destruction.

Consider the days of Noah. What type of a world was it? It was "normal." That's what Jesus Christ — the very God who spoke to Noah — tells us in Luke 17:27. People acted as if nothing unusual was occurring. "They did eat, they drank, they married wives, they were given in marriage. . . ." On the surface, everything sounds quite placid and tranquil — that is "until the day that Noah entered into the ark, and the flood came and destroyed them all."

God destroyed that whole generation! Why? Observe what it really was like back then.

"And God saw that the wickedness [sinfulness) of man was great in the earth, and that every imagination of the thoughts of his heart was ONLY EVIL CONTINUALLY" (Gen. 6:5). What a prodigious glut of depravity! And more. "The earth also was CORRUPT before God, and the earth was filled with VIOLENCE" (verse 11).

What was wrong with Noah's day? It was an era of corruption! What is corruption? It is the perverse use of what God created for the right use. In Noah's time humanity twisted and debased the right use of everything. Sure people ate — but too often, too much, the wrong foods and, incredibly, even each other! They married — but not at the right time, not in the right way, and not to the right person. Every proper human relationship was corrupted. It was a world seething with anarchy. Sin was treated lightly! And as a direct consequence, sin dominated man's actions. Did it hurt? It sure did! It resulted in VIOLENCE! (Gen. 6:11.)

Archaeology attests to the unbelievable mound of personal cruelty in the pre-Flood world. The broken skulls and shattered limbs of women and children bear a silent but tragic witness to the merciless mutilation which barbarically blossomed into the worldwide sport. These multitudes of corrupt, violence-ridden, pathetic people had to be mercifully put out of their misery by a compassionate Father who had so lovingly created them.

It's interesting that the Hebrew word translated "corrupt" is precisely the same word translated "destroy." In other words, God considers the concepts "corrupt" and "destroy" as one and the same. In English, of course, there is a vast difference between the meanings of "corrupt" and "destroy." This is understandable since in man's hideous world corruption flourishes and the good is destroyed. Not so with God. He equates the concepts "corruption" and "destruction," Why? Because to God, anything corrupt must be destroyed — and anything destroyed had to have been corrupt. The pre-Flood world was indeed corrupt — and so that generation was utterly destroyed.

The human beings in the pre-Flood world thought they were "happy." "Things" seemed pretty normal. People enjoyed a measure of pleasure. Good news was mixed with the bad — and daily activities continued just as they always had. This all probably sounds a lot like your life. Our routine concern about family, food, friends and fortune pretty much coincides with Noah's day.

Now remember, God asserts that in Noah's time, mankind was uncontrollable, ungovernable with no restraints. Sound familiar? Noah's generation was destined for total self-annihilation. Sound even more familiar? You bet — just like our "bouncy" little world today. A coincidence? Read on.

Jesus warned us that history would repeat itself just before His return. "And as it was in the days of Noah, so shall it be also in the days of the Son of man" (Luke 17:26). The pre-Flood society considered sin obsolete — just like our society does today. Yes, sin did hurt mankind during Noah's day — just as it is fomenting and generating the same noxious results in our "modern" day.

Does sin hurt you personally? That question affects your entire life. Should you keep from sinning? It's your decision. All we ask is for you to consider the direct physical effects of sin.