What Does the Bible Say About Sin and Evil?

Posted by Worldview Warriors On Monday, July 23, 2018 0 comments

by Katie Erickson

Wouldn’t it be great if there were no sin and no evil in this world? That’s the way God created it (Genesis 1:31), but He also created humans with free will, and the first humans used that free will to disobey God (Genesis 3), thus bringing sin and evil into the world. Because of original sin, the disobedience of those first humans has been passed on to everyone who has been born since then. While we are on this earth, we’ll have to deal with sin and evil. So, what else does the Bible say about sin and evil?

Google defines sin as “an immoral act considered to be a transgression against divine law.” So, sin is anytime we disobey God, based on the rules He has given us in the Bible. Evil is defined by Google as “profound immorality, wickedness, and depravity, especially when regarded as a supernatural force.” Evil is basically the manifestation of sin.

I already discussed how sin came into the world, but what is the consequence of that regarding our relationship with God? Isaiah 59:2 spells it out: “But your iniquities have separated you from your God; your sins have hidden his face from you, so that he will not hear.” God is holy, so He cannot be in the presence of sin, so when we disobey Him and sin, we’re separated from God.

We know that everyone falls short and sins against God (Romans 3:23). If we say we don’t sin, we’re liars (1 John 1:8-10). There is no one who never sins (Ecclesiastes 7:20).

In case you don’t know what sin is, the Bible provides some helpful lists, such as the Ten Commandments (Exodus 20:1-17). Jesus gives us a list of sins in Mark 7:20-23: “He went on: ‘What comes out of a person is what defiles them. For it is from within, out of a person’s heart, that evil thoughts come—sexual immorality, theft, murder, adultery, greed, malice, deceit, lewdness, envy, slander, arrogance and folly. All these evils come from inside and defile a person.’” Another list of sins is in Galatians 5:19-21: “The acts of the flesh are obvious: sexual immorality, impurity and debauchery; idolatry and witchcraft; hatred, discord, jealousy, fits of rage, selfish ambition, dissensions, factions and envy; drunkenness, orgies, and the like. I warn you, as I did before, that those who live like this will not inherit the kingdom of God.”

John gives us an explanation of those who are of God versus those who are of the devil in 1 John 3:6-10: “No one who lives in him keeps on sinning. No one who continues to sin has either seen him or known him. Dear children, do not let anyone lead you astray. The one who does what is right is righteous, just as he is righteous. The one who does what is sinful is of the devil, because the devil has been sinning from the beginning. The reason the Son of God appeared was to destroy the devil’s work. No one who is born of God will continue to sin, because God’s seed remains in them; they cannot go on sinning, because they have been born of God. This is how we know who the children of God are and who the children of the devil are: Anyone who does not do what is right is not God’s child, nor is anyone who does not love their brother and sister.”

This explanation from John may be confusing, however, because even when we are children of God, we do continue to mess up and disobey Him. But when we have been born of God, our desire is to sin no longer; this is in contrast to those who are not born of God, who don’t really care if they sin or not. So it’s really all about our intentions. Hebrews 10:26 says, “If we deliberately keep on sinning after we have received the knowledge of the truth, no sacrifice for sins is left.” We need to try our best for our sin to not be deliberate or intentional, once we know that we are in fact sinning.

The apostle Paul struggled with this as well in Romans 7:15-20: “I do not understand what I do. For what I want to do I do not do, but what I hate I do. And if I do what I do not want to do, I agree that the law is good. As it is, it is no longer I myself who do it, but it is sin living in me. For I know that good itself does not dwell in me, that is, in my sinful nature. For I have the desire to do what is good, but I cannot carry it out. For I do not do the good I want to do, but the evil I do not want to do—this I keep on doing. Now if I do what I do not want to do, it is no longer I who do it, but it is sin living in me that does it.” We all go through this same struggle of knowing what is right and not being able to do it.

You may be wondering why a loving God would allow sin and evil to enter His perfect creation. God allows humans to have the choice to love Him or not, rather than just blindly loving Him without having another option. That way our love for Him is genuine. The theological word for the problem of why a loving God allows evil is “theodicy,” and you can read more about that here and here.

We know that the punishment for sinning is death (Romans 6:23), but the second half of that verse is the remedy for sin - that God gives us eternal life through Jesus. 1 Peter 2:24 reminds us of this: “‘He himself bore our sins’ in his body on the cross, so that we might die to sins and live for righteousness; ‘by his wounds you have been healed.’”

Paul discusses more about how Jesus’ sacrifice saves us from our sins in Romans 5:12-21, and I encourage you to read more about that passage here. Verses 18-19 are the key point: “Consequently, just as one trespass resulted in condemnation for all people, so also one righteous act resulted in justification and life for all people. For just as through the disobedience of the one man the many were made sinners, so also through the obedience of the one man the many will be made righteous.” All sin entered the world through Adam (and Eve), and we all have the opportunity to be saved from that sin through faith in the death and resurrection of Jesus Christ.

Do you have that faith? Please contact us at Worldview Warriors if you’d like to discuss that more, and we’d love to help guide you to that saving faith, so you too can have a restored relationship and eternal life with God.

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