A faulty conception of what sin is, is the source of much of the superficial and erroneous theology of the day. What is sin? It is “lawlessness.” Now that is clearly a serious thing when God is in question.
To be lawless means that I disregard authority; that I assert my own will and trample under foot the commands of my Superior.
Sin is disobedience to the will of God; it is rebellion against His throne.
In some cases His will may not be known; there may be lands in spiritual darkness where the light of His Word has never shone. In such a case the stripes may be few. But sin is ever lawlessness, and God must maintain, though in much patience and long-suffering, the supreme authority of His throne.
How serious, then, is sin, which, entering the world by one man, has brought every one of the race under its sway. We have inherited, as a fatal heirloom, that carnal mind which is enmity against God, and is not subject to the law of God, nor can be!
It may express itself in a thousand different ways, from a mere thought of foolishness or a proud look to crimes of deepest dye; from eating the forbidden fruit in Eden, to crucifying the Lord of Glory; but the evil thing is there, in the hearts of all. Hence, said Paul, “in me, that is, in my flesh, dwells no good thing.”
Now the statement of this may be rejected, and God’s revelation of it utterly refused by the very heart which sin has rendered deceitful; but the fact remains, and finds abundant proof on all hands. What is bred in the bone comes out in the flesh, and sin, self-will, enmity against God, is the underlying principle of our fallen nature. We are both sinful and guilty.
If, then, sin is so sinful, and its demerit so infinite, a sacrifice of infinite value is needed to make atonement, if, indeed, atonement is to be made at all, or sinners redeemed from their lost condition. What then has happened? Let me quote a wonderful passage of Scripture: “. . . God, our Saviour, Who will have all men to be saved, and to come unto the knowledge of the truth. For there is one God, and one Mediator between God and men, the man Christ Jesus; Who gave Himself a ransom for all” (1 Tim. 2:3-6).
Here we find, first, the desire of God for our blessing; and, secondly, the ransom furnished in the Man Christ Jesus, Who gave Himself as such. It is by the blood of the cross of Him in Whom all fullness was pleased to dwell that the subsequent work of reconciliation should be fully accomplished.
Three things are thus established:
1. The infinite demerit of sin.
2. The infinite glory of the Redeemer.
3. The infinite value of His atonement.
Nothing but the blood of Jesus Christ, God’s Son, could cleanse from sin; but, thank God, sin—all sin—is cleansed by that blood. It meets every claim of the eternal throne, and calms the conscience of the poor troubled sinner who confides in it.
Ah! but what of those who reject it or who tread under foot the Son of God? Here we have another infinitude, a “sorer punishment” than “death without mercy” awaits them. That, for the lawbreaker, was bad indeed; this, for the despiser of grace, is worse! It is “eternal judgment.”