Some years ago an urgent Internet message was forwarded to me separately by two persons via e-mail. The message carried a warning about the alarming teachings being actively promoted by a popular female TV host.
One such alarming doctrine is that there is no such thing as “sin.” That means that whatever one does is OK — even if it hurts oneself or others; one doesn’t need to feel guilty about it.
And, since there is no such thing as sin, there is no need to repent. Nor is there anymore a need for a Savior to forgive us of sin because sin, according to this belief, does not exist anyway.
Nothing could be more demonic — Satanic!
To most people this should be obvious. But then, humankind has been divided over what constitutes sin or not. [See: Transgressions Under the First Covenant.]
From dim antiquity
From the very start of the human race and civilization, that evil “force” — Satan, God’s enemy [“Satan” means adversary] — has hoodwinked mankind (Revelation 12:9) into believing his big lie and ignoring the “present danger” which it brings. [See: “Your Eyes Will Be Opened!” and Where Did the Devil Come From?]
Masquerading as a wily serpent, Satan dangled before our first mother Eve the notion that there is no such thing as a “forbidden” fruit. In a word, Satan was presenting the idea that there is really no such thing as “sin” — nothing that is forbidden man. Man is free to think and do as he pleases — and, as such, he becomes like God (Genesis 3:5), determining for himself what is good and what is evil, what is right and what is wrong. And as some kind of “god” man would “not surely die,” promised Satan falsely (Genesis 3:4).
When God eventually caught up with Eve’s disobedience — with her husband Adam’s full and knowing consent — God pronounced a curse on the couple: hardship in bearing and raising children, problems in marriage relationship, painful toil in producing food, and finally death (Genesis 3:16-19). They were banished from the Garden of Eden and barred from partaking of the tree of life (Verses 22-24). And they did die, eventually, as God had warned them.
Adam and Eve have bequeathed these curses upon us their descendants — all human beings ever born since their first son Cain. All that because of our first parent’s single sin of doing the only thing (thus far) that God forbade them. “Through one man [Adam] sin entered the world, and death through sin, and thus death spread to all men, because all sinned” (Romans 5:12).
As human beings, we all grew up in some kind of family where our thoughts, behavior and habits are molded. But as a free moral agent, each individual person makes his own decisions, and each will be judged for every thought, word and deed — apart from that of others. Ezekiel 18:20 puts it plainly: “The soul who sins shall die. The son shall not bear the guilt of the father, nor the father bear the guilt of the son…”
Sin and law
The idea of “sin” is necessarily tied up with the concept of law. As the apostle Paul put it, “sin is not imputed when there is no law” (Romans 5:13). “Where there is no law there is no transgression” ((Romans 4:15). “…by the law is the knowledge of sin” (Romans 3:20). “I would not have known sin except through the law” (Romans 7:7). “…the strength [“sting,” KJV] of sin is the law” (1 Corinthians 15:56).
A law stipulates a limit to one’s thought, word, and action. Like God’s command to Adam and Eve to not eat of the forbidden tree, most laws are couched in the negative: “Thou shalt not…” — as nine of the Ten Commandments are mostly phrased (Exodus 20:3-17). “No parking,” “no jaywalking,” “no smoking,” “no pets,” “no fishing,” “no littering” are some of the common “laws” we see in our communities.
Where a community or nation has no law prohibiting certain acts, those acts would not be considered “criminal” or worthy of some penalty. Where necessary, people have formed bodies or appointed a person or persons to “lay down the law” to curb certain unacceptable behavior in order to maintain and promote peace and order. Many admit that there is so much chaos in society nowadays because many do not submit to the “rule of law.”
Chaos also results when people “take the law into their own hands,” instead of letting the duly constituted authorities execute justice when wrongs are done the people. As well, chaos results when — even within the same society or community — conflicting groups try to impose their own set of rules upon other groups. [See: The Great Wall.]
There is, however, one Supreme Lawgiver — our Creator God. In the ultimate analysis, it is His law that will judge every single human being on Judgment Day — whenever that will come for a person. [See: Predestination and The Divine Prerogatives.] Sadly, it is that very law which mankind has rejected! Like the children of Israel when there was no righteous judge or king to lead them, they departed from God’s law and did what was right in their own eyes (Judges 17:6; 21:25).
The carnal mind
The natural (Paul called it “carnal,” meaning fleshly) mind of man, as opposed to the spiritual, hates prohibitions. As our collective human history from the start has borne out, man particularly hates God’s prohibitions: “…the carnal mind is enmity against God; for it is not subject to the law of God, nor indeed can be” (Romans 8:7).
To reject the notion of sin, as the female TV host was promoting, is to reject the notion of law and the supreme God who, as Creator of all things, has the right to “lay down the law.” [See: No Walls, No Ceiling?]
In His infinite wisdom God has revealed His laws which He means for our good, because these laws reflect His mind and perfect character.
God is faithful. We can rely on His Word, because He “cannot lie” (Titus 1:2). Every curse He pronounced on Adam and Eve for their sin He has fulfilled. We can be pretty certain God will fulfill everything else He has ever promised in His Word, in His own time and way!
By contrast, Satan — who has passed on this fatal notion that there is no such thing as sin — is a big liar, and is the “father” of all liars (John 8:44). It is the notion of no sin = no law. Lawlessness!
This satanic deception has affected people even nowadays — even worse! — in such a way that sin and sinners don’t seem bad to them anymore. God tells us how this affects Him: “You have wearied the LORD with your words…in that you say ‘Everyone who does evil is good in the sight of the LORD, and He delights in them'” (Malachi 2:17). God also condemns our present society for our perverse and inverted view: “Woe to those who call evil good, and good evil; who put darkness for light, and light for darkness; who put bitter for sweet, and sweet for bitter” (Isaiah 5:20). [See: Switching Positive and Negative.]
How long will people weary God with such a stance on sin? Current events show that we are hurling ourselves at a frightening speed toward the day of reckoning! (Even that people also scoff at, as prophesied long ago, in 2 Peter 3:3-7.)
Satan is behind a conspiracy which Paul called “the mystery of lawlessness” that was already at work in his day (2 Thessalonians 2:7) — and has since been at work even till today. He warned about a coming “lawless one” — a great religious leader operating “according to the working of Satan, with all power, signs and lying wonders, and with all unrighteous deception” (verses 8-10). Such a leader will be consumed by the fire of God’s wrath at Jesus’ return (verse 8) — as will be all the wide swath of humanity that will follow that leader’s error (Revelation 19:19-21; Malachi 4:1; Isaiah 6:11-13; 24:1-6; 66:15-17).
Ultimate consequence of sin
In the final judgment, Jesus will cast out — exclude — from God’s kingdom all “who practice lawlessness [Greek anomian]” (Matthew 7:23). He will “send out His angels, and they will gather out of His kingdom all things that offend, and those who practice lawlessness, and will cast them into the furnace of fire” (Matthew 13:41-42). God’s Word makes it abundantly clear that the consequence of sin is death (Romans 6:23), from which we can be saved through Christ alone.
The apostle Peter told the crowd of Jews in Jerusalem on the Day of Pentecost: “Be saved from this perverse generation” (Acts 2:40).
How can we be saved? Peter had told them: “Repent, and let every one of you be baptized in the name of Jesus Christ for the remission of your sins; and you shall receive the gift of the Holy Spirit” (Acts 2:38).
God’s Word — which is truth (John 17:17) — affirms that there is sin that those whom God is calling in this age (Acts 2:39) need to repent and be forgiven of through Christ. Then they shall receive the gift of God’s Spirit. [See: Transgressions Under the First Covenant.]
An eternal inheritance
God’s Spirit is given us as some kind of “earnest” (KJV), “down- payment” or “guarantee” (NKJV) of our eternal inheritance — everlasting life — in God’s kingdom. That inheritance is what the gospel (“good news”) of Jesus Christ is all about!
Having known the limits to our behavior, we are now free to exercise our creativity without hurting God, ourselves, our fellow human beings, and this good earth of ours. Without the burden of sin and guilt to weigh us down, we have all the leeway to do whatever good thing we imagine. For “‘…nothing that they [humans] propose to do will be withheld from them,’ says the LORD” (Genesis 11:6). Obeying God does not mean a restricted, suffocating life that squelches the creativity and other potentials God has placed in man! [See: Freed From Bondage and “He Marveled.”]
That is why the coming kingdom of God, ruled by Christ and His glorified saints (Revelation 5:9-10; 20:6), will transform this earth into a world of peace, abundance, beauty and joy beyond our wildest dreams, when mankind will obey God’s laws at last! [See: World Peace — At Last!]
[For more about this wonderful future, click on this link: http://www.herbert-armstrong.org, click on ENTER HERE, choose “Books & Booklets” and scroll down to the booklet titled “The Wonderful World Tomorrow — What It Will Be Like” or the book titled Tomorrow — What It Will Be Like. You may also click on this link: http://www.tomorrowsworld.org/booklets and choose the booklet titled “The World Ahead: What Will It Be Like?”]
No such thing as sin? If you want to be saved, don’t ever believe this wicked lie! Rather, believe God’s Word — and be saved and enjoy the wonderful things God has prepared for those who love and obey Him!
Pedro R. Meléndez, Jr.