repugnant to the order of right reason. . . Since a voluntary act
and its disorder are of the essence
of sin, it is
impossible that sin should be a generic term in respect to original and
actual, mortal and venial sin.
1 John 3:4: Every one who commits sin is guilty of lawlessness; sin
Paul (Rom.14:23) . . .for whatever does not proceed from faith
Billy Graham: We
are all selfish, and the essence of
sin is selfishness. "Me," "I," "my," and, "If you don't let me
be the pitcher on the team, I won't play." Everything centered around
yourself. That is the essence of sin
-- self-love, self-will, self-seeking, self-pride.
an Anglican, John Stott in The Cross
of Christ: For the essence
of sin is man substituting himself for God, while the essence of
salvation is God substituting Himself for man.
a Baptist: I want you to understand that the essence of sin is selfishness.
What’s in it for me? That’s sin. You see, before sin entered into the
world, God was the center of this universe. But when sin came in, man
became the center of the universe, and “God, you stay out of our
affairs now. We run this, You stay out of our affairs.” And every sin
that’s ever committed is committed in the interest of self.
essence of anything is what remains when everything is stripped away
down to the very core such that, if anything else be removed, it is no
longer that thing. The essence of water, by this definition, is the
molecule, H2O. Remove anything from it
and it is no longer water. Such is the essence of sin. The statements
to the left specify the
essence of sin in different terms -- lawlessness, selfishness,
voluntary acts repugnant to the order of right reason, what is not of
faith, man substituting himself for God and so on. We can add others --
whatever offends God or whatever misses the mark. These are some of the
characteristics of sin,
but none of them state its essence. Strip any one away and sin remains.
Christian thinking begins with the first sin, that of Adam. He
(lawlessness). He wanted to be as God.
selfish, seeking to exalt himself.
His was a voluntary act with its
disorder. It was not from
faith. All true enough, but there was another
thing underlying Adam's sin that gets to its essence as none of these
do. For, in the day that you eat of
it, God told him, you shall
die (Gen. 2:17). The man was a living being; he then sinned and
he was dead. Life and death are somehow related to the essence of sin,
and no statement cited thus far says anything about either life or
death in defining the essence of sin. To learn the
truth of the matter, we must listen to Jesus. The tragedy of the
Christians is that they have not listened, are not listening, and
will not listen!
does not explicitly state the essence of sin. He does state the
essence of what excludes one from
life eternal, which is the same
thing. This is his Great
Principle that explains the essence of what kills or makes alive to
God. He says, He who loves his
life loses it, and he who hates his life in this world will keep it for
eternal life (Jn.12:25). Sin kills. Adam died. Sin excludes from
life eternal and this informs us of it's essence: the love of life in
this world. Like the molecule of water -- remove anything from
and you no longer have sin. The Parable of the Prodigal Son explains
it. The Prodigal committed many sins
in the far country. He
loved loose living and spent all on harlots, but that was not
his condemnation. He loved his life in the far country. That
condemned him, for on the day he hated that life and returned to his
fathers house, his father embraced him and rejoiced for ' this my son was dead and is alive.'
Yes, he repented of his 'sins,' but that was not what reconciled him
to his father, and his sins'
were not the essence of his sin.
was the love of his life in the far country. That, not his
harlotry, was his condemnation and his death. It is man's love of life
in the world that is the essence of his sin, for no repentance
restore one to life who yet loves the life in the world. The Lord
Jesus then showed us the way
by hating his life in the world and going
to his Father on the cross.