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Doctrine of Sin: The Nature of Sin

June 6, 2021 Series: Great Doctrines of the Christian Faith

Scripture: Genesis 3

Scripture Reading -> 2 John


As we continue our discussion and investigation into the Doctrine of Sin, let’s quickly review what we discussed last week.

Do you remember the Larger Catechism Q. 24?

Q.24. What is sin?

A. Sin is any want of conformity unto, or transgression of, any law of God, given as a rule to the reasonable creature.

It would be beneficial if you were to begin committing some of these catechism questions to memory as they are useful in quickly recalling broad topics of Scripture.

Last week we spent time looking at the occasion of Man’s first sin.

Do you remember how the interactions began between the serpent and Eve?

First, the serpent, being used by Satan, was very subtil...

  • Poking around to see if there were any gaps in her Appearing to innocently engage in harmless discussion.

But such are the nature of traps....

Such was the nature of this trap....

We ended last week looking at God’s response to these events in Genesis 3:22

And the LORD God said, Behold, the man is become as one of us, to know good and evil: and now, lest he put forth his hand, and take also of the tree of life, and eat, and live for ever:

What did we see in these events?

  • Man acting on his own autonomy from God.
  • Man acting on his own independence from God.
  • Man communicating that he will not conform to the thoughts of God, to the commands of “And the LORD God said

Behold the man is become as one of us, to know good and evil"

Review – “the man is become like one of us”

What is meant in this statement?

  • This is not referring to the image of God or man as the image of
  • Man was already created in the image of God.

This is rather referring to man seeking to be independent. This is rather referring to man seeking to be autonomous.

  • This is rather referring to man determining between good and eviil.

Some this it is referring to the gaining of knowledge:

  • This is not referring to man gaining a knowledge of good and evil where before he did not have any such

Man already possessed a knowledge of God of what was required, of what was forbidden

The mere presence of tree afforded man with

  • a base knowledge of right and wrong; and
  • with the ability to perfectly fulfill those commands and walk in righteousness.

Q.17. How did God create man?

A. After God had made all other creatures, he created man male and female; formed the body of the man of the dust of the ground, and the woman of the rib of the man, endued them with living, reasonable, and immortal souls; made them after his own image, in knowledge, righteousness, and holiness; having the law of God written in their hearts, and power to fulfil it, and dominion over the creatures; yet subject to fall.

  • in knowledge
    • Col-03 > v10
  • righteousness and holiness
    • Ephes-04 > v24

No, there is something more here.

When God says "man is become one of us"

What we are to hear is irony, or sarcasm being expressed

You can imagine a set of virtual quotes being placed around the phrase "man is become one of us"

This not to be understood that man:

  • literally became like God.
    • but that man's desire was to elevate himself to be a god.
  • That man's desired the ability to throw off the apparent yoke that was holding him back
  • That man's desire was to be his own god, his arbiter of judging what is right and wrong.

Here, then, we begin to see the essential nature of sin. 

  • Adam and Eve sinned in the eating of the fruit.
  • The eating was
  • It was sinful because God had forbidden

The Essential Nature of the First And All Sin

It was not actually in the physical eating of the fruit.

  • Sin is not tied only to some physical action.
  • Sin is in the aspect that man in his own mind
  • determined he would establish the principles upon which he would govern his own

The true nature of Sin is:

  • an act of autonomy or independency from God;
  • an act of rebellion from God;
  • an intentional move to mishandle the word of God

to twist it to fit

  • one's
  • one's preference.
  • one's comfort.
  • one's

The true nature of sin is an act of willful rebellion.

The character of sin:

  • Rebellion
  • The attempt of man to be like God determining for himself good and

The Order of Temptation: Seeds of Doubt

First: Subtle Attack (Planting the Seeds of Doubt)

  • The Goodness of God must be disbelieved


  • Goodness is that perfection of God that prompts him to deal bounteously and kindly with all his

This is God's goodness in action which reveals itself doing well toward his creatures.

Instead of believing that God is good...

Man instead, decides to consider and entertain his own comfort and his own advice over God's commands.

The Order of Temptation: Fanning the Flames

Second, The Not-Subtle Attack (Fanning the Flames)

The questions next lead to the suitability of the Justice of God

  • Instead of being content to rest in the judgment of God
  • Man begins to believe that he, himself, is capable of deciding right from wrong.
  • Since man is already doubting the Goodness of God, he continues...
    • "how can a good God be able to properly determine what is just."

Similar to what the serpent said to Eve:

For God doth know that in the day ye eat thereof, then your eyes shall be opened, and ye shall be as gods, knowing good and evil.

The Order of Temptation: Fanning the Flames

  • "See!," says man in concert with the devil, "God wants to make me unhappy." "He wants to deny me freedom and self-expression"
  • "He wants to make my life difficult by "asking me" to honor the Sabbath
    • commands now become suggestions or options
  • "He wants me to lose my autonomy by not letting me make my own decisions!" Do you see the similarities?

Once you start doubting the Goodness of God, then you start doubting His ability to rightly divide right from wrong and since He is no longer able, you must "step in and do it the right way."

The Order of Temptation: Ascending to the Heavens

Lastly, The Outright Rebellion (Ascending to the Heavens)


  • The holiness of God is that quality of God that sets Him utterly apart from his world, especially in terms of his purity and sanctity.

It is that perfection of God in virtue. through which he eternally wills and maintains: His own moral excellence

  • An abhorrence of sin
  • His demand of purity to his moral creatures

The Order of Temptation: Ascending to the Heavens

In essence, God is no longer Holy if He isn't Good and Just...

Therefore, we say,

  • "I must be on the same level God as He isn't really any holier than I am"

Ok, so, none of us might say that out loud...

  • We might, instead, rephrase this as "God is Holy"
  • While in our mind we think and act like this:
  • He might be a little more holy than.
  • But He is not infinitely holy "I'm holy too"

And, so the trap has been laid and sprung.

The worse part is we went into the trap eager and willingly.


Follow this with me:

  1. We begin distrusting the Lord's commands because they might be inconvenient and restrict us in some way.
  2. Then we begin questioning the justice of God to allow us to decide which commands, really suggestions we will consider following.
  3. We finally question His holiness with phrases such as:
  • He isn't going to send me to hell for just this one infraction....
  • Or, he isn't that Holy that He is going to hold me to His
    • He'll understand my reasons & my arguments.

And so we end up putting ourselves in the place of God.

  • Oh, but like a good Christian,
    • we will recite verses
    • we will point to our past achievements
    • we will say all the right things
      • but our actions will betray us.

Wherefore the Lord said, Forasmuch as this people draw near me with their mouth, and with their lips do honour me, but have removed their heart far from me, and their fear toward me is taught by the precept of men: - Isaiah 29:13

This people draweth nigh unto me with their mouth, and honoureth me with their lips; but their heart is far from me.
Mattew 15:8

But when the Holy Spirit comes in and creates within man a new nature

  • when the Holy Spirit comes in and regenerates the soul of man causing him to be reborn

It is as if the scales of deception fall from our eyes as did Paul's in Damascus

And immediately there fell from his eyes as it had been scales: and he received sight forthwith, and arose, and was baptized. Acts 9:18

and we begin to see as if we have never seen before as the blind man

He answered and said, Whether he be a sinner or no, I know not: one thing I know, that, whereas I was blind, now I see. - John 9:25

We realize that God, that

  • He, indeed, is Good
  • He, indeed, is Just
  • He, indeed, is Holy
  • He, indeed, alone is God

We realize:

  • that what He requires of us is good for our souls
  • that what we once saw as limitations and infringements upon our liberties actually serves to make us

We realize that:

  • His yoke is indeed easy and His burden is
  • We realize that it was our pride our arrogance that beguiled us
  • We relizee the horribleness of our sin that led us to doubt our Most Holy

This rebirth does not mean our struggles with sin are over.

  • We will often fail and will sin

But we have a God that is faithful and just.

  • We repent of our sins and we start, once again, on the path of

And we remind ourselves:

Christ has given us all we need.

  • We have the We have the Spirit.
  • We have the
    • The Kingdom of His Grace
    • The Kingdom where he sheds His grace and His protections and His ordinances.
    • The Kingdom, over which, as Mediator, He reigns
    • And we never want to be outside of that Kingdom....
  • Finally, we have the sacraments to be refreshed and reminded of His grace and His love and His coming ...

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