J. W. McGarvey once said, “I would esteem above every other gift that could be bestowed upon me as a preacher the power to adequately conceive what sin is and to adequately set it before the people.”

  1. Why was this ability so important to brother McGarvey?
  2. Because of the consequences of sin
  3. Isaiah 59:1-2
  4. Romans 6:23
  5. John 8:21… in our sins we cannot go to Jesus

It is my prayer in this lesson that I will have the ability today to convey to you what sin is, so that it may be avoided and also its consequences.



Sin is a violation of conscience

Romans 14:23

  1. The word “faith” in the context of this verse is not referring to a system of faith as it does in Galatians 1:23 and Jude 3.
    • It refers to faith in a subjective sense, the persuasion or confidence of an individual
    • Thus, this passage is teaching us that we must be fully persuaded that what we are doing is lawful; otherwise, to act, is to sin
    • Thus we also see that our actions are not to be based on what “the crowd thinks” or “what others do”
    • We must believe a thing to be right
  2. Our conscience is that moral nature about us that reacts favorably or unfavorably, sanctions or disapproves, as we react to the things we think, say or do.
    • Our conscience must be educated by God’s Word
    • Paul persecuted Christians in all good conscience (Acts 23;1; 24;16; 26:29)
    • The conscience is not an infallible guide… John 16:2
    • The conscience can be dulled
    • 1 Timothy 4:1-2
    • Ephesians 4:19
  3. Do you have any doubts about playing a certain game, going to a certain place, participating in a certain function, or involving yourself in a certain habit?
    • If so, refrain from doing it!
    • Instead of living by doubt, obey… Hebrews 10:22

Sin is knowing to do good, but doing it not

  1. James 4:17
  2. This verse emphasizes the fact that sin is not only wrong doing, it is a failure in doing right, failing to do good.
  3. We are not only to be innocent of doing bad, we are to be followers and doers of good
    • Galatians 6:10
    • Ephesians 2:10
    • The good Samaritan was a doer of good (Lk. 10:30-37)
    • Jesus went about doing good (Acts 10:38)
  4. James 4:17 presents unto us the sin of unused knowledge, the failure to do what we know is right, the sin of knowing how to live right and not doing it.
    • Yet how often do we hear……
    • “I know what’s right, but …”
    • “I know I should teach the lost, but …”
    • “I know that I should not forsake the worship assemblies, but …”
    • “I know what I should be doing, but …”
  5. Consider seriously… Luke 12:47-48

Sin is a violation of God’s law

  1. 1 John 3:4
  2. Sin is breaking God’s law
  3. For example:
    • God tells us not to lie (Eph. 4:25) – to lie is a sin
    • God’s law tells us not to forsake the assembly of the Saints (Heb. 10:25) – to do so is a sin
  4. 1 John 3:4 also teaches us there is a law
    • For where there is no law there is no sin (Rom. 4:15)
    • Because we have law, we cannot do as those mentioned in Judges 17:6
  5. 1 John 3:4 teaches that sin is a personal refusal to be governed by God

Sin is a failure to keep God’s commands

  1. 1 John 5:17
  2. God’s commands are righteousness (Psa. 119:172)
  3. Thus, those who obey God’s commands are righteous, but those who do not obey God’s commands are unrighteous
  4. For example…
    • We are to be baptized (Acts 2:38) – to fail is sin
    • We are to teach others so they in turn can teach others (2 Tim. 2:2) – a failure to do so is sin
  5. What is the difference between 1 John 3:4 and 1 John 5:17?
    • 1 John 3:4 discusses the matter positively – it speaks of flagrant sins – sins of co-mission
    • 1 John 5:17 discusses the matter negatively –  a failure to obey – sins of omission    


  1. Webster defines epithets as “a characterizing word or phrase accompanying or occurring in place of the name of a person or thing”
  2. One epithet for sin is “transgression
  3. Psalm 51:1, 3
    • Transgression” means to rebel or set one’s self against
    • Thus, sin is treason against the Most High
    • A sinner is a rebel
    • Sin is a clinched fist and its object is the face of God

Another epithet for sin is “iniquity

  1. Psalm 51:2, 5
  2. Iniquity” has reference to perversity or crooked dealings
  3. Thus, iniquity = that which is twisted/bent out of line
  4. God’s word draws a line, and it is our responsibility to walk along that line without bending it to the right or to the left
    • Deuteronomy 5:32
    • Joshua 1:7  


  1. Sin is pictured as a “putrefying” disease… Isaiah 1:6
  2. Sin is pictured as a “heavy” burden… Psalm 38:4-6
  3. Sin is pictured as “foolish” insanity… Numbers 12:11
  4. Sin is pictured as “defiling” filth… 2 Peter 2:20-22 ©
  5. Sin is pictured as a “binding” debt… Matthew 6:12
  6. Sin is pictured as a “blemishing” stain… James 1:27
  7. Sin is pictured as an “impenetrable” darkness… 2 Corinthians 6:14 ©


  1. Sin is no laughing matter
  2. Sin is:
    • Rebellion
    • Lawlessness,
    • Perversity
    • Failure
  3. Furthermore, sin is:
    • a disease needing curing,
    • a burden needing lifting,
    • insanity that needs curing,
    • filth that needs cleaning,
    • a debt that needs paying,
    • a stain that needs removing,
    • and darkness that needs light
  4. All this can be accomplished by the blood of Christ

***Outlined from Windell Winklers book “Studying Sin Seriously”

Tom Moore

About from the Preachers PC

Gospel Preacher for the Park Heights church of Christ in Hamilton, TX. I stand for and defend the truth of God's word. All other degrees and diplomas mean very little in comparison.
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