What is sin and what does it do?
The laundry list of sins is found in Romans 1:28-31. The passage starts off with the reason we get into sin, the reprobate mind that chooses to rebel and exchange God's wonderful truth for the cheap lies of our mind and flesh. Thus, God burns with anger, just as a loving parent gets angry when his child disobeys. This is especially evident when the child is in danger, the parent knows it, and the child refuses to acknowledge, listen, or change his mind and ways. If God did not care or love, why would He be angry?
God is not some kind of killjoy who has a perverse since of humor, desiring to see us suffer. He does not just come up with a list of rules and regulations that we could not possibly follow just to amuse Himself. No, God is pure, just, and loving. We, as humans, chose to fall away from God and His perfection. God desires us to live the best way possible, and experience the most out of life with happiness and joy.
The laundry list of sins: (From the Greek words as they appear in their English forms in the KJV, NKJV and NIV)
Verse 28: The Theme is pagan activities. We must be willing to look to God, He is worthwhile for us to know and follow in faith and in practice. If not, our lives and relationships will have dire consequences. Who are the models and heroes we look up too will say a lot of who we are and who we want to be! As the Greek and Roman god's in the myth stories were petty and often behaved as amoral or immoral beings who were mean and connived with no regard to truth or consequence. As people worshiped them, they too would act as they did; the god's were the examples of people's wicked behaviors. Paul's point is, do not act as the pagans did or their corrupt god's, but act as Christ modeled for us to act.
· Reprobate, debased, or depraved mind: This means being a degenerate, which is just "plain ole' good-for-nothing" to God or to those around them. It is the direct opposite of being pure and holy. The "heathen" is a term from the Greek to exchange a truth for a lie and means people who are vile and so corrupted they have no hope. It means people who refuse to believe or bow to God, even though they do, in fact, know who God is. It is written in their hearts and revealed by creation, but they do not wish to uphold that knowledge of who God is, and who they are NOT, which is, God. Consequently, God also gave them up to sin. It represents a mind that is blinded by pride and arrogance, so they choose not to recognize the difference between their will and what God reveals, or between their presumptions and the facts. This is why there are so many opinions by individuals and even in science, which is supposed to be fact! This is the effect of the separation from God because of the Fall, and their punishment is to "let them be." This passage clearly demonstrates that all that remains of morality and virtue between God and humanity is the Holy Spirit, who restrains and sets boundaries. Still, our choices prevailing will produce consequences, and will accumulate with us as well as all those around us. When God gives people up, the Holy Spirit will even force their perversity, just as God did with Pharaoh, to make a point for others as a sign post: Do not sin!
· Not convenient, not fitting, or ought not to be done: This is the "my will or else" mentality! This word means what is suitable to the nature of humanity as a rational and moral being (secular humanism). "I will not move my will!" "Do not bother me with the facts, for I have already made up my mind," or "I will not summit to man or God!" To do things that are not convenient is not allowing anyone or anything to upset my comfort zone, such as anything contrary and opposite to my thinking, even in the light of logic and reason.
Verse 29: If our view of God ad His character is distorted, so will the virtue and morality in which we engage in. How we see God will dramatically influence how we live our lives. The character to which we look too in others will be the character in which we conduct ourselves to others.
· Being filled: This means that the sin(s) are uncontrolled and are dwelling in the heart and mind so there is no room for anything else, such as "good." This mentality then overflows to everyone else (peer pressure, dares, thinking solely what's good for me, extreme excess and my pleasures, and how can I infect others).
· Unrighteousness, or every kind of wickedness: This word in the original Greek implies injustice, but not just injustice. It is often used for general wickedness and disorder (1:18). This is a general word, which sets a tone to include all the various sins that follow in this laundry list such as evil, greed, envy, depravity, strife, deceit, and malice (NIV). However, in the context of this passage, it indicates judicial injustice. This was the popular crime of the Roman government, who built their empire on jealously and pride.
· Fornication, or sexual immorality: (this is one of the few places that the NIV translation messes up and omits this word Fornication - a key sin! The publisher's response to why it is omitted is because it is interned (assumed) to be tied with the term every kind of wickedness.) This is any kind of sexual function outside of a husband and wife. The world sees this as "un-blamable," an obsession to be freely and universally allowed and practiced. Today we make excuses saying it is genetics and in the ancient world creative excuses were fathomed too, "I was made that way." I guess the genetics excuse is nothing new! This is the violation of the seventh commandment.
· Wickedness: This refers to the general inclination to do evil and be happy and glad in it. This person will take enjoyment from the cruel and nasty actions they do to others. They seek to destroy what is good and what would last, from buildings, to people, to God Himself if they were able.
· Covetousness: The Greek word strictly signifies taking advantage of a situation is the motive for evil's sake. It can be going too far in bargaining in a market to having more than what is just in any dealings with others. This is common from rich to poor, taking advantage, not seeking to get a good deal. Taken too far, it hurts and takes advantage of the weaker, less fortunate person.
· Maliciousness, or Malice represents the character of malice, which is to injure others out of spite, meanness, or revenge.
· Full of envy is the usual vice of the villages, towns, and cities of the ancient world and is alive and well today. It is jealousy in action and the desire to take what is not ours from others (the 10th commandment!).
· Murder is nothing new. In this context, it mainly refers not just to murder in general, but how slave owners treated their slaves, as they were put to death for the slightest of offenses. Now it is how we treat others. Murder is the viperous offence in our treatment to others!
· Debate, or strife: This is not the debate of a good challenge of logic or rhetoric, but how we use words for vainglory, to deliberately slander, malign, and not to seek the truth.
· Deceit is dishonest treachery that embodies our conduct and conversations (Romans 3:13).
· Malignity, or evil-minded means slander, as custom or disposition. It is the desire to hurt others without any other reason other than to get pleasure from doing evil to others, and causing their sufferings in the worst sense.
· Whisperer or gossiper signifies people who secretly speak evil of others when they are present: GOSSIP! This evil is in the same category as murder and sexual immorality, so take heed of this! It is called whispering, not because of the tone of the voice, but from the secrecy that gossip breeds. It refers to sowing divisions, injury, calamity, and slander. The whisperer thinks because their voice is low and the person cannot defend himself, they escape prosecution and harm. Wrong!
Did you notice that sin is disorderly, reckless, seeks to destroy, and is hard to point out because people do not want to be reminded they have it. They are too busy using it! God's revelation is clear; it is filled with our best in mind, powered by His Love and desire to see us saved. Let us turn from our evil ways, lest we end up given up to our desires that may be "fun" for a short while, but then brings everlasting regret and torment. (More lists of sin: Mark 7:20-23; Gal. 5:19-21; 1 Tim. 1:9-10; 2 Tim. 3:2-5)
1. What is sin and what does it do?
2. Did you ever have a period in your life where you went wild, like college youth on spring break? If so, did you ever see God as a "killjoy" to your fun? Why?
3. Why do some people see God as one who gives us rules because He has a perverse since of humor and desires to see us suffer?
4. Did you see any of your faults/sins listed? If so, how did you feel?
5. Were there any surprise sins that you never considered heinous?
6. What is the reason we get into sin?
7. We live in a world totally corrupted by sin. Why then are most people unable to see it?
8. Go through each of this laundry list of sins and ask yourself:
· Have I done this? If so, how, and why?
· Can I see myself doing this? If so, what would cause me to?
· What can I do to prevent such thoughts and actions from encroaching upon me?
Remember, we do not deserve His love and grace, yet He gives it to us anyway.
©1998, 2002, Rev. Richard J. Krejcir, Discipleship Tools www.discipleshiptools.org