06 August 2010

Question of the Week:
What Kind of Sin is It?

by Anne Lang Bundy

What are the different kinds of sin? How are they overcome?

Last week's question addressed generational sin and the sources of temptation to sin: the devil, the world, our own desire.

The study of sin is as unpleasant as sin itself. After hours of studying dozens of words related to sin, I'm plenty sick of it. The types of sin might be narrowed down to the following categories:

Iniquity – general worthlessness and moral corruption within us
Ignorance – carelessly sinning or backsliding
Perversion – distorting God's ways
Betrayal / Transgression – knowingly crossing over to evil
Wickedness – deliberate, premeditated evil in rebellion against God
Miss the Mark – doing wrong simply because we fail to do right

One last word summed up everything: GUILTY.

For whoever shall keep the whole law, and yet stumble in one point, he is guilty of all.
~ James 2:10 (NKJV)

How many crimes must a person commit to become a criminal? Only one.

How many sins makes us guilty of being a sinner unfit for Heaven? Only one.

Sin needn't be exhaustively analyzed to understand that we're sinners without hope of overcoming apart from the power of God. We don't defeat sin by studying sin, but by fixing our eyes on God and understanding His righteousness.

To overcome the eternal death penalty of sin:

• acknowledge that God is allowed to make the rules for His creation, and it is wrong to violate His rules regardless of any explanation we'd offer;
• admit to being a sinner and ask God for His forgiveness through Jesus Christ;
• resolve to turn away from sin (repent of sin).

Among the many ways to overcome the power of sin are these:

• acknowledge that God is wise and knows what's good, that He loves us and wants us to have true joy, that goodness and joy cannot be obtained apart from Him—and resolve to do God's will;
• faithfully read the Bible without ever believing that you know God well enough;
• cultivate dependence on God by continually praying to Him;
• when you sense God's Holy Spirit prompting you to action, yield immediately to increase His power;
• develop spiritual discipline by saying "no" to self-indulgence (fasting helps!);
• spend time with people who follow Jesus to strengthen a bond with Him;
• use caution to avoid being conformed to worldly influences.

I plan to address this last point next week in response to a question about the difference between being in the world and of the world.

© 2010 Anne Lang Bundy
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  1. I've never seen a list like that for the types of sin. Hmmm. Guess no matter which one I fall into I'm thankful God did what needed to be done for me to get out of it.
    ~ Wendy

  2. my biggest problem in regards to sin is my religeous background. it's a monkey that keeps climbing on my back. then again, if i listen too closely to what others are saying and then listen/follow their advice...then once again, i'm back/just into another form of religeon. then the Word says:

    Romans 14:23
    But the man who has doubts is condemned if he eats, because his eating is not from faith; and everything that does not come from faith is sin.

    it's a struggle at times when you don't really know what your faith actually is. don't like others to dictate to me what they consider to be sin for themselves as being my own sin as well either....

    but like you say if the Holy Spirit is telling me to get in line, i better or else i am in sin.

    one sin.....unfit for heaven. and sin is sin. ouch

  3. I am a sinner whom is very grateful to be saved by His grace.

  4. I struggle with ll these points. It's impossible for me not to sin and perhaps quite literally so, but still, I find no solace in that fact. I am SO thankful for Christ's righteous blood.

    So I guess it's true then? A sin is a sin is a sin? I'm interested in that as well. Thanx Anne!

  5. Wendy ~

    God does give us what we need, to not just be saved but to overcome.

    But He gives us the choice of whether or not to engage with Him.

  6. Bud ~

    Believe that I have been guilty of putting on others the conviction God has given me. I have learned that there is a difference between the ways He leads me and others. He knows which sin (not which type) is most offensive in each of us. He knows where He wants to work. It's easy for well meaning Christians to rejoice in the freedom from oppressive sin which they've received—and then think each other person needs the same thing.

    My practice now is to try to be gentle (even if it's "toe to toe"), and most especially, LOVING, if I see in someone else an attitude that is clearly out of line with God's ways, and ask the Holy Spirit to use me to help steer their view toward the Lord.

    I remain quite fallible. If I've not said it publicly before, I'll say it now: accept nothing I say because I say it. I pray that I do nothing more than make the Word of God more clear to people, but that in doing so I lead you back to His Word, not mine.

    I pray that God will help all Christians to see when we push our own agendas instead of His, and that all Christians will be patient with one another as we all learn to do that.

  7. T ~

    I suppose my words might be taken to mean that one sin is like another. Not so.

    While all sin is sin in the sense that we need both salvation and deliverance from it, some are definitely more serious that others. Just as Jesus preached about there being different rewards in His Kingdom according to how we've used our gifts for Him, there appears to be various levels of punishment, though whether in this world or the next I'm not sure.

    Jesus taught:

    "And that servant who knew his master's will, and did not prepare himself or do according to his will, shall be beaten with many stripes. But he who did not know, yet committed things deserving of stripes, shall be beaten with few. For everyone to whom much is given, from him much will be required; and to whom much has been committed, of him they will ask the more."
    (Luke 12:47-48 NKJV)

  8. Denise ~

    I pray that we all live as debtors to the great Grace which has saved us. I love you, dear! Take care of yourself.