Where is Sin?

 “Sin” and words with “sin” as their root (such as “sinful”) are used 780 times in the Bible.  This total does not take into account synonyms such as “iniquity”, “wicked-ness”, “evil”, which would put references to “sin” easily into the thousands!

   In 1 Jn 3:4, John provides us with a plain definition of “sin”. “Sin is lawlessness”.  The Bible presents its moral principles as the LAWS OF GOD.  Therefore, these laws serve as an absolute standard of behavior.  In the Bible, the actions of men and women are pronounced “right” if they are within the boundaries of God’s law and “wrong” if they violate God’s law or are done without the permission of God’s law.

   Our society has gotten away from thinking that there is an absolute standard of “right” and “wrong”.  Why?  Most Americans (76% according to one poll) believe that the Bible is not the literal word of God.  Since men do not recognize God’s law, they no longer recognize “sin” (Rom 4:15b). So, each man does “what is right in his own eyes” (Jgs 17:6) and “sin” has disappeared!

What the Bible calls “sin” is openly practiced without shame.  Profanity, unkind and abusive speech, murder, lying, lewd dancing, nudity /near nudity, premarital sex, adultery, homosexuality, drunkenness, pride, jealousy, greed, theft, etc. are not just found on T.V. and in the movies, but in real life and all over the internet and social media.

As society bathes in sin, many things once called “sin” are labeled “disorders”, if they are frowned upon at all.  Those with “disorders” are sent to counselors to find out what was done to them in their childhood to make them act that way.  And, what is heard from the pulpit?  Certainly not much about sin!  Preaching on sin does not fill the pews!  “Salvation from sin” is left to accepting that Jesus is your personal Savior and repeating a 30-second prayer!

  The Bait of Sin

Why do we sin?  James 1:14 tells us that we sin because we are carried away and enticed by our own lusts (desires).  The words that James used to describe our giving in to sin were used in N.T. times to describe the catching of fish or birds. Those who hunt game use the allure of attractive bait in order to capture their game.  So, Satan stirs our desires until we are overcome by them- until we have disobeyed God and cannot escape the consequences.

   Satan is the great fisherman for our souls.  He seeks to deceive us so that we might be in hell with him (Rev 12:9; 20:10, 15).  How does he get us to take the bait?

1)  Satan makes sin look good, as he did with Eve (Gen 3:5-6).  He presents it to us as something enjoyable or something that would be to our advantage to participate in. In fact, he paints God as the bad guy who KNOWS we would benefit by doing what He has forbidden!  His line is that “God just loves to make restrictions! - He wants to keep you from having fun!!”

2)  The Deceiver takes advantage of our ignorance.  He has an upper hand with many of us since we do not have a knowledge of God’s law (Hos 4:6).  Since we don’t know that what he tempts us to do is against God, we don’t know enough to resist.  We are easy targets.  We are not able to brace ourselves against his assaults with Scripture as Jesus did when He refused each of the  Devil’s appeals with a  firm  “It is written” (Mt 4:4,7,10).  He is able to destroy us without us even knowing it has happened.

3) The Devil promotes the idea that there is no absolute right and wrong.  Yes, he is the originator of our society’s thinking!  He says, “There is not a “black and a white- all is gray!!”  Jesus tells us that God’s Word is truth (Jn 17:17).  Yet the Tempter urges us to violate God’s Word.  He scoffs as he repeats the words of Pilate, “What is truth?!!”(Jn 18:38)  “Go ahead, do as you please, he entices, there is no standard”!

4) Satan tells us that sometimes it is alright to sin in certain situations.  For, example, he says if two people love each other, they can have sex before marriage.  Our Enemy does not want us to read Gen 12:11-20 where Abraham tried “situation ethics” and saw God’s strong judgment!

5) The Deceiver tries to get us to think for a moment that what most people think or do is right.  He whispers, “Everybody else is doing it, why can’t you!”  He tells us to ignore God’s warning, “You shall not follow a multitude in doing evil.” (Ex 23:2)

6) And, finally, if nothing else succeeds, the Devil says, “Why not do it this once?  What would be the harm?”  He knows that one sin can damn us (Acts 8:18-24) and that sin is like Lays potato chips.  It is hard to stop with just one.  And, as we repeat a sin, the moral alarm of our conscience will become as useless as car alarms that go off so much that no one pays any attention to them anymore.  If Satan can just get us started, he will soon be able to trap us in a sinful habit and we will feel no guilt or shame for it (Heb 3:13).

The Hook of Death

Every successful fisherman knows that to catch fish you must cover up the hook with the bait.  The hope is that the fish will take the bait, “hook, line, and sinker”.  How many times will a fish nibble at a bare, bait-less hook?  We know that if our nibbles stop, we better reel in the line because, most likely, our bait has been stolen.

   Even so, Satan must keep the consequences of sin out of our sight as he is temp-ting us with sin.  He allures us with the “bait”, as described on the opposite page, all the while trying to keep our minds off of the hook of death beneath it.  Yes, the wages of sin is death, eternal separation from God in the torment of hell (Rom 6:23).  For at least the moment Satan must get us to believe that God will not punish, we will not surely die (Gen 3:4).  To do so, the Fisherman uses the following lines:

1) God Will Not See.  The Devil runs the thought through our mind, “Who will know if I do this?”  To promote sin, he gets us thinking, “God has forgotten; He has hidden His face; He will never see it.” (Ps 10:11).  He tries to keep from us for an instant that we cannot escape God’s knowledge and presence (Ps 139:1-12).

2) God Will Not Require It.  If the Deceiver cannot get us to believe that God will not see our sin, then he causes us to say to God, “You will not require it.” (Ps 10:13).  He tricks us into believing that God is too loving to punish sinners, especially for eternity in hell.  He attempts to wipe from our memory that “the unrighteous will not inherit the kingdom of God” (1 Cor 6:9) and  “whatever a man sows, this will he also reap.” (Gal 6:7)

3) God Will Require It, But Later.  If Satan cannot get us to overlook the hook, he emphasizes that “a worm now” is what we should think about, not “the frying pan on down the line”.  He advocates the “Felix” approach of putting off any consideration of the soul to another day (Acts 24:25).  The longer he can get us to play with the bait of sin, the better chance of hooking us with death, as our once tender heart hardens to the sin we decided to do “just ‘til tomorrow” (Heb 3:13).  Or it may be that the Fisherman can reel us on in because death has found us unrepentant (Lk 12:20) or the Lord has come and found us ashamed (1 Jn 2:28).

   At various times, we all have taken Satan’s bait (Rom 3:23).  But the good news is- we can get off the hook!  God has made provision for our forgiveness through Jesus’ death on the Cross.  Because of God’s love, sin does not have to separate us from God, now or in eternity (Jn 3:16; 2 Cor 5:18-21).  But, getting off the hook requires “belief” on our part, a “belief” which is equal to obedience (compare Jn 3:16 and Heb 5:9).

   Our “belief” must cause us to confess Jesus with our mouth and repent of our sins and be baptized (Rom 10:9-10; Acts 2:38).  From then on, we must confess our sins to God, in order to free ourselves once again from the hook of death through the blood of Christ (1 Jn 1:9).  Will you wait for Satan to reel you in or will you jump off the hook?  If we can help you escape through a study of Jesus’ gospel, let us know!! 

Seriousness of Our Sin

   In 1937, John Griffith, the controller of a great railroad drawbridge spanning the Mississippi River, took his 8-year-old son, Greg, with him to work.  At noon, John put the bridge up for some on-coming ships and led Greg to the observation deck to eat lunch.  Suddenly, John remembered the 1:07 express from Memphis.  He raced back to the control tower.  Just as he was about to pull the lever to close the bridge, he saw that Greg had fallen from the observation deck into the great gears that operated the bridge!

   There was no time to free his son and return to the control tower.  If John pulled the lever, he would crush his son between four tons of grinding steel!  But, if he did not, 400 people on the train would perish!

   John pulled the lever.  The Memphis Ex-press thundered across the bridge.  With teary eyes, John looked into the train windows.  Men were reading newspapers; ladies were sipping coffee, while children ate ice cream.  In agony, John cried out, “I sacrificed my son for you!  Don’t you even care?!”  Nobody heard.  The train rushed by.

   This true story can help us to see the seriousness of our sin.  God so loved us that He gave His only Son so that we might live. (Jn 3:16) Have we even begun to grasp the price that God paid for our sins so that we could be saved from His wrath?  Are we living like the passengers on the train- like the great sacrifice never happened?  Do we sin without thought like “sin is no big deal”?  May the Cross draw us to Jesus (Jn 12:32-33) - to repentance, to salvation, and to righteous living.



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Teleconference of Sunday worship & Wednesday AM and PM Bible study

Dial-in number is 1-917-900-1022; Conference ID is 748- 7068#



Woodland Hills church of Christ

2718 N. Wabash Avenue

Marion, IN  46952


Schedule of Services:


Bible Study   9:30  AM

Worship  Livestream/phone available 10:30 AM




Bible Study  phone available 10:00 AM

Bible Study  Livestream/phone available 7:00 PM

Phone:  (765) 662-3304