Some crops of believers teach that sin no longer exist since Jesus destroyed sin on the cross by paying the ultimate price. Some people teach that what we call sin these days are simply wrongdoing as there is no sin the world anymore.
I think the problem is usually semantics. People try to choose the word that resonates better with their doctrine. But we need to talk about it, is sin dead? Does sin still exist? Is it wrong to say that stealing, cheating, rape and other crimes are sin? Or do we just say they are wrongdoing?
“Because through Christ Jesus the law of the Spirit who gives life has set you free from the law of sin and death.” – Romans 8:2 NIV
Talking about the law will help us to some extent in understanding this.
“Are we still under the law?”
The first thing to ask is “which law?” Not some generic law! Let’s make it simple, the law condemned Gentiles as those without God, the law condemned Jews as people who couldn’t keep God’s ordinances.
Whichever way, somehow, the law had a thing on both the Jews and Gentiles. Jesus set us free entirely from the law; The Law of Moses.
I mean, the Law of Moses, not the law of your country, the laws guiding your workplace, the natural laws of sowing and reaping and all that.
To use certain apps, be in certain places or operate certain businesses, you’ll still have to agree to it’s guiding laws. That’s not the law Jesus set us free from. Those laws however do not and cannot have eternal consequences.
So, when someone commits a crime, he may end up in prison and cannot say “well, Jesus paid the price for me, I shouldn’t be in prison”. When someone commits a statutory offence, he would pay damages and cannot argue that Jesus paid the price in the law court.
Concerning crimes and being subject to constituted authorities and it’s laws, Paul wrote
“For he is God’s servant to you for good. But if you do wrong, [you should] be afraid; for he does not carry the [executioner’s] sword for nothing. He is God’s servant, an avenger who brings punishment on the wrongdoer. Therefore one must be subject [to civil authorities], not only to escape the punishment [that comes with wrongdoing], but also as a matter of principle [knowing what is right before God].” – Romans 13:4-5 AMP
To argue that a believer in Christ Jesus is not subject to laws of a country and other applicable laws is lame. I had to point this out because it will help us greatly in understanding the subject matter.
When the law of a country sentences someone to death by hanging for an offence, while the person may eventually die, he will still spend eternity with God if he is a believer in Christ Jesus. This is because, while we have been set free from the law of sin and death which brings about spiritual condemnation, we are still bound by constitutions of where we live which can have earthly consequences.
Is sin dead?
Is sin dead? It depends on the sin you are talking about or what you mean by sin. Let’s read a portion of the Bible
“In the same way, count yourselves dead to sin but alive to God in Christ Jesus.” – Romans 6:11 NIV
Paul writes here that we are dead to sin which means that we do not exist or have any connection with sin. Yet it seems Paul contradicts himself in the next chapter
“Therefore do not let sin reign in your mortal body so that you obey its evil desires.” – Romans 6:12 NIV
Well, it is not a contradiction. In John 1:29, Jesus is called the lamb of God which takes the sins of the world away. By the virtue of what Jesus did on the cross, he destroyed the power of sin entirely which is the law. The law declares that the soul that sin shall die (eternal death) but now we know that we have received life which is a gift from God.
New Living Translation gives us a better view of Romans 6:11 “So you also should consider yourselves to be dead to the power of sin and alive to God through Christ Jesus.”
In a later verse, we see how Jesus delivered us entirely from the power of sin, let’s read:
“Sin is no longer your master, for you no longer live under the requirements of the law. Instead, you live under the freedom of God’s grace.” – Romans 6:14 NLT
The law is what gives power to an offence. By setting us free from the requirements of the law, we were set free from the bondage of sin. That is how we are dead to sin.
Let’s say that sin is a man, he doesn’t know we exist anymore and cannot hold a thing against us in eternity because the law by which it condemns us has been repealed. Now, does that mean that sin is dead?
Just like we talked about the law previously, sin is a broad term. The English Oxford dictionary defines sin as
- An immoral act considered to be a transgression against divine law.
- 1 An act regarded as a serious or regrettable fault, offence, or omission.
Wrongdoing is the nearest synonym of sin, other words include: act of evil, act of wickedness, transgression, crime, offence, misdeed, misdemeanour, error, lapse, etc”
From the position of the Bible, God has dealt with sin once and for all and the sin the Bible talks about in this context is the nature of sin; that which separated us from God before the coming of Jesus.
What separated us from God wasn’t fornication, adultery, stealing and so on. It was the nature of sin, the very nature of the devil which became manifest in man when man yielded to him rather than obeying God. It was this nature of sin that Jesus dealt with!
This nature of sin gave birth to all the abnormalities in the world today and even though the power of sin has been destroyed, the tools by which sin finds expression in the world is still there. This is why Paul wrote to believers saying
“Since you have been raised to new life with Christ, set your sights on the realities of heaven, where Christ sits in the place of honour at God’s right hand… So put to death the sinful, earthly things lurking within you. Have nothing to do with sexual immorality, impurity, lust, and evil desires. Don’t be greedy, for a greedy person is an idolater, worshiping the things of this world.” – Colossians 3:1, 5 NLT
Although we have been set free from the powers of sin, we are still in the flesh in this present world that has been badly stained by sin. The ideas and memories of wrongdoings are still there and we must be deliberate to act out God’s righteousness by setting our sight on the realities of Christ and who we have become in him.
An offence against a brother, sexual immorality, lust, greed and evil desires are still sinful. Some people argue that what people call sin these days is simply wrongdoing because Jesus has destroyed sin but it is like saying that we aren’t bound by any law anywhere because Jesus has set us free from the law.
Sin is wrongdoing, sin is reprehensible actions! It is in this regard that Paul wrote: “do not let sin reign in your mortal bodies!” Yes, the fall of man brought about the nature of sin which made the actions manifest! These actions are still there, these actions are sin and it hurt people, it destroys relationships, it breaks people’s hearts and it does a lot of damage!
Yes, Jesus dealt with the nature of sin once and for all by setting us free from its power which is the law. Paul wrote
“For sin is the sting that results in death, and the law gives sin its power.” – 1 Corinthians 15:56 NLT
Paul was talking about the nature of sin, not sinful actions. The law was its power, the law brought definition to sin, not merely that the Law called it sin. The law exposed why and how it is sinful, it also pronounced judgement for it.
How JesUS dealt with sin
Understanding how Jesus dealt with sin is very important. It simplifies the whole thing and makes it easier for you to understand the rest of other things Jesus did.
Jesus did not destroy sin by fighting Satan, there was no physical combat between Jesus and Satan. We will be belittling God when we think about it that way! Jesus also didn’t destroy sin by literally fighting sin!
The nature of sin as it concerns our relationship with God was destroyed simply by ripping off its power which is the law! The law was what gave power to sin, the law declared death on any soul that sins and sin brought death using the law! To deal with the nature of sin once and for all, Jesus died our death, terminating our ties with the law of sin and death which made it ultimately powerless!
What Jesus came to do was to unite us with God. He took our place and gave us his place so that by the virtue of his righteousness, we become the righteousness of God. The Bible tells us
“For he hath made him to be sin for us, who knew no sin; that we might be made the righteousness of God in him.” – 2 Corinthians 5:21 KJV
It is this way that we were set free from sin forever. We have been united with God forever and saved once and for all.
In summary, whether you say it is wrongdoing or sin, we are saying the same thing. If wrongdoing still exist, then obviously, sin exist! Wrongdoing is another word for sin after all!
The beautiful thing is that Jesus has set us free from the law of sin and death and has empowered us to live for his praise and glory.