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Doctrine of Repentance Unto Life: The Dangers of Sin to Others

May 8, 2022 Series: Great Doctrines of the Christian Faith

Scripture: Ezekiel 3:16–21

Quote: T. M. Lindsay

It is an evangelical truth that if a man is sorry for his sins he will show sorrow in some way or other – true repentance will make itself seen.


Today we complete part two of the Dangers of Sin.

Last week, we discussed the first part of this by looking at the dangers of sin to ourselves.

Recognizing this danger is difficult because we are naturally inclined to ignore our sins.

  • We make excuses for our sins.
  • We rationalize away our sins.
  • We refuse to recognize the existence of sin.

This is primarily because we do not understand the very real danger of sin. If we did, we would spend more time in self-examination and searching out the teachings found in Scripture.

The first danger we spoke about was that sin brings death.

  • It brings temporal death
  • It brings temporal suffering
  • It brings eternal death and torment

Today, we are going to look at the dangers that sin brings to those around us

  • To our families
  • To our friends
  • To our church


Larger Catechism #76

Repentance unto life is a saving grace, wrought in the heart of a sinner by the Spirit and word of God, whereby, out of the sight and sense, not only of the danger, but also of the filthiness and odiousness of his sins, and upon the apprehension of God’s mercy in Christ to such as are penitent, he so grieves for and hates his sins, as that he turns from them all to God, purposing and endeavoring constantly to walk with him in all the ways of new obedience.

Remember that phrase from last week?

  • Out of the sight and sense, not only of the danger
  • But also, of the filthiness and odiousness of his sins

Repentance unto Life is not, as we have seen, mere sorrow or confession of sin.

It also includes the staying out of sin and the appearance of sin.

Danger of Sin to Others

Danger to Family and Community (Joshua 7)

  • This comes at the end of the great victory of Jericho
    • Where the silver, gold, brass, and iron in the city was completely dedicated to God
    • And yet Achan did not obey
    • And his whole family was killed
    • The whole family ended up being stoned
    • Also, 36 men died that day (in the battle at Ai), because of one man's sin.

Sometimes the Lord is kind, gracious, merciful to us.

  • And when we sin, it does not affect those around us
    • but sometimes it does.

Think through this for a moment.

  • Do we have the ability, whether we can say or not infallibly, that the sin we have committed did not in some way affect those around us?
    • The answer that question is no.
    • We cannot know the extent of the consequences and effects of our sin upon others.
  • All we know is that the Bible tells us that often
    • Consequences/ peril come upon others for sin
  • In the proclamation of the 10 commandments
    • the Lord visits the iniquity of the fathers on the children to the 3rd and 4th generation
  • While our children do not suffer the guilt of our sins
    • they may suffer the consequences of our sin
  • What happens to the children when the father refuses to work?
  • What happens to the children when parents divorce?
  • What are you teaching your children when you are lax about the Sabbath?
  • What are you teaching your children when you refuse to submit your authorities?
  • What are you teaching your brothers and sisters about commitment when you are too tired or too busy to attend upon worship at your church?

Can the Lord overturn these bad influences on the children?

  • Sure, He can.

But we ought not to presume that He always will.

  • The consequences of sin reach far and wide
  • The danger of sin is not only a personal danger, but it is a contagious, infectious danger
Sin is dangerous
  • It affects those around us
  • It affects our fellow church members.
  • It affects our families
  • It affects our fri

Danger to Family and Community (Leviticus 20.1-5)

The danger here is that the man draws his entire family into sin and temptation

Sin Damages Others (Deuteronomy 13.6-10)

Consider the psychological difficulty that others are being put in by the sinner.

My loyalty here to my God is being tested that must choose God or my own family member.

  • Leading others, influencing others to sin is a great danger.
  • Not only the direct consequences of our sins
    • But the damage that we do to others by drawing them into complicity with us.

Sin Can Affect Future Generations (Num 13.31-33)

Think of those children

What did their parents say Kadesh Barnea? (14.3)

  • Instead of tender, fresh little ones growing up under the blessings of the Lord in the land, they grew up wandering in the wilderness.

Sphere of Influence

Fathers, mothers

  • when we sin, we draw our families into danger


  • When the church tolerates false teaching from the Word of God or tolerate and indulge sinful behavior
    • we draw the entire congregation into peril.

Sin is a danger, not just to us personally.

  • It is a danger to our loved ones
  • It is a danger to our friends
  • It is a danger to our families
  • It is a danger to our society

Over and over again, the Bible teaches us this principle that we might learn the dangers of sin.


  • Sin is contrary to the Holiness of God
  • It is a danger because only in righteousness is their safety.


Recognize the Filth of Sin

We speak of repentance unto life, as a saving grace:

  • it speaks of a complete change of the mind
  • it speaks of a complete change of heart
  • it speaks of a complete change of attitude
  • it speaks of a complete overhauling of your mind
  • it speaks of a complete change in your attitude towards sin.

To the natural man, it is worth the danger

  • to the spiritual man
    • it is filthy
    • it is odious
    • it is hateful.
    • it is something that we must separate from ourselves

How do we grow in the understanding of the true nature of sin?

  • We learn through the gracious regeneration of God.
  • We learn to flee from the temptations and the occasions and the appearances of it.

This is what we mean when we talk about repentance unto life

  • It must be more than simply the danger of sin
  • It is through the Spirit of God as He comes and gives us a new heart.
  • We come to understand that sin is an affront to the thrice Holy God
    • whom we love more than our lives

That is the full and proper attitude of repentance unto life.

  • The natural man entertains those dangers
  • The natural man loves his sin that he downplays/ deceives himself of the consequences.

The man who possesses the grace of repentance unto life

  • looks upon his sin as odious
  • looks upon his sin as filthy
  • looks upon his sin as utterly distasteful and abhorrent

He begins to respond in this fashion:

  • I cannot believe we fell again.
  • I was deceived.
  • I was tricked.
  • I was ignorant.
  • I was inattentive.
  • I am responsible.

Sin is odious, hateful, maximally distasteful to God Himself

  • And so, it is also to us
  • And the sense of the odious nature of sin fills us with shame and self-abhorrence.

That is the full and proper attitude of repentance unto life.

  • And it is nothing short of that.

Sin is Disgusting (Job 42)

We finally come to Job's repentance.

  • Notice how deeply the search light has gone into Job's life.
  • "Who is he that hideth counsel without knowledge?"
    • That is a rhetorical question. The answer is Job.
  • Therefore, I have uttered that which I understood not, things to wonderful for me. I will demand of thee and declare thou unto me.

This is a play on words.

  • Listen to what he says.
    • He says, I have been yapping. I have been running off at the mouth. I have been accusing you. I only have one more thing to say. Just one more thing.
  • Are you ready?..... 
    • Please speak to me. That is the only thing I have left to say
    • No more excuse
    • No more accusing you
    • No more accusing my friends
  • One more demand to make
    • Oh God, please do not shut your mouth
    • Speak
  • I have heard of the by the hearing of the ear. But now mine I see my sin, the wherefore I abhor myself and repent in dust and ashes
    • no more as a focusing on consequences
    • he is recognizing how abhorrent his sins are to God and now to himself
  • He says I disgust myself and repent in dust and ashes.

Ezekiel 36.25-31

  • In the days of Job's self-righteousness, he was ready to talk.
  • Under the regenerating hand of God, Job was ready to listen.
  • The chapter begins with I will give you a new heart and ends with you will loathe yourself
  • anyone can fear the danger of sin
  • But the right sense of self-loathing over sin is the fruit of regenerations

Have you come to that place where you are looking on your own sin, see it as disgusting before God?


We have seen a full and proper attitude of repentance unto life.

  • We repent not only because sin is dangerous.
  • But because sin is an affront, it is a grief, it is a burden.

This is why it is a saving grace

  • The Lord hates evil and sin.
  • It is a grief to him
  • How shall them those who profess to belong to the Lord, be pleased or complacent with sin?

The scriptures also tell us that the same displeasure extends to the sins of others, not just our own sin

  • This might be a difficult thing to open your heart
  • There is so much and were it not for the mercy of God in Christ Jesus, it would be an overwhelming thing.
  • And because it is difficult, we draw back from doing from dealing with sin

Let me encourage you against that practice.

  • The spiritual man cannot live happily with his sin

Repentance unto life brings with it the realization not only of the danger, but of the filthiness and odiousness of sin

  • that we cannot any longer go on lightly in sin

Our chief desire is to forsake sin and to turn to God.

  • Those who have received repentance unto life truly only need to be reminded of these things, for it is already the desire of their heart
  • If a full and proper repentance unto sin is not the desire of your heart, then you have reason to examine your profession to see if it is real


First -> Examine your own hearts and see what your mind towards him is.

  • What is your response when you are confronted?
    • Do you excuse and accuse others?
    • Do you wiggle out from under the guilt? Or with David, do you say, I have sinned?

That is an indicator of where your mind is fixed...

Second -> pray for a greater and growing hatred for and grief over sin.

  • This is the mark of a Christian that he does not easily, or habitually, or willfully sin against his Lord.
  • While there is no perfection in this life, let us pray that our mind towards sin would become more and more conformed to Christ.

Third -> Examine your confession of sin

  • How often and how full and how free is it?
  • Those who imbibe in repentance unto life
    • make a full and free confession of sin
    • repent of particular sins and are not afraid to dig

Fourth -> there is no sin so great as it can ever cause you to fall from grace

  • If you have repentance unto life
    • you will always have a hearing with your father
    • He will always hear your cries for mercy
    • He will always hear your persistence to open your heart
      • That He might reveal greater and more damaging sins to you that you may turn from them also
    • He will always hear you, there is no sense of danger that you can send yourself out of his grace.

So, then you have nothing to fear in coming to Him

  • He already knows and in Christ, he already accepts.
  • In Christ, He invites you to come to receive grace and help in time of need.

There is only one remedy

There is only one remedy that will deliver us from our sinfulness (Acts 4:12)

There is only one remedy that will give us forgiveness for our sins (1 John 1:9)

There is only one remedy that will take us to the path to resist any and all temptations of sin (1 Corinthians 10:13, Romans 8:14)

We must recognize the danger that we put ourselves and others in.

We are insensitive to that danger today.

  • We are insensitive to it naturally
  • So, we must keep our eyes fixed on Christ and continue to seek the truth as given in Scripture.

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