Home > Topics
Click here to see a PowerPoint for this study.
This material is included in our published book about salvation. Click here for more information.
Have you ever bought a product only to be really disappointed in it? Karen and I once bought a used freezer. When we first examined it, it felt cold inside. But it was sitting in a garage in the wintertime. The man said it worked; but when we got it home, it did not work at all.
Commercials can make a product sound so good you are supposed to think you can’t live without it. But many of the products advertised are not good for you at all. Often the reality is entirely different from what is advertised.
Sin is transgression of God’s law (1 John 3:4). Pure and simple, sin is disobeying our Creator.
Some people try to convince us that sin is harmless, innocent, and even enjoyable.
Hebrews 11:25 refers to the “pleasures of sin.”
James 1:14,15 – Sin entices us by appealing to our desires. We may truly enjoy some aspects of sin temporarily. But despite the apparent advantages, the end result is tragic.
Genesis 2:16,17 – God created everything “very good.” But He warned the first man and woman about the consequences of sin. Nevertheless, Eve sinned and encouraged Adam to sin, and since then all people have sinned (Romans 3:23). Tragic consequences have resulted.
In this lesson we want to consider, not just what sin advertises and promises, but what it really delivers: the reality of sin. Consider what sin has done for you and all of the human race.
People like to convince themselves that sinners live “the good life.” They think God makes up rules to take away people’s fun, so to really enjoy life you have to ignore the rules. This is what sin advertises, but consider what sin really causes.
Genesis 3:16,19 – The world was free from suffering and death until Adam and Eve sinned. Their sin brought pain and death into the world. This includes disease, which causes death.
1 Corinthians 15:21,22,25,26 – Everyone dies as result of Adam’s sin. Death is an enemy, because it is a consequence of sin.
John 11:35 – Jesus wept at death of Lazarus. Death was sad, even to Jesus.
When a person dies, some people say, “It was the will of God.” But death is the consequence of sin, and it was never God’s will for man to sin. Death is God’s will only in the same sense that it is the will of a parent to punish a disobedient child. Neither the parent nor the child is glad the punishment must occur. But when a child does wrong, the parent must correct him.
* A man gets drunk and has a wreck.
* Smoking leads to cancer, drinking to cirrhosis, fornication to V.D.
* Anytime there is war, someone has been guilty of greed, anger, hatred, or a lust for power. There would be no war if everyone would live right.
But whenever a loved one suffers or dies, remember this is what sin has done for mankind.
2 Corinthians 12:7-10 – Paul prayed for God to remove his thorn in the flesh. It is right to pray for God to help us overcome sickness and suffering, but God chose to leave the problem for Paul’s good. God has not promised to remove all suffering from our lives on earth. Suffering reminds us that sin is tragic.
1 Corinthians 15:21-16 – In the end Christ will remove all death by raising the dead.
Genesis 3:17-19 – As a consequence of sin, man would face problems, hindrances, and difficulties in his work. Life is filled with thorns and thistles. People face many hardships in achieving goals.
Men work long hours and face conflicts on the job. Other workers may fail to do their job, supervisors may make poor decisions, equipment may fail, and the government requires red tape. Every man I know can talk for hours about the frustrations on his job.
Homemakers may think their work never gets caught up. As you do the laundry, the kids start to fight, the baby needs changed, a salesman knocks at the door, and the dinner burns.
We may think there should be no problems in the work of the church, but God’s word shows otherwise. We often struggle to find people who are willing to study God’s word. When we do find someone, some false teacher leads him astray. Some members become inactive or fall away, or members fuss among themselves. And there always seems to be some new doctrinal issue.
When these problems occur, we should remember that this is what sin has done for mankind. Why should we believe people who tell us that sin is better than God’s way?
Advertisements for bars and casinos show people having a wonderful social life. But how does sin really affect human relationships?
Genesis 4:3-8 – Sin alienated Adam and Eve’s sons. In the end, Cain became angry and killed Abel.
Genesis 27 – Jacob had to leave home because his deceit caused Esau to threaten to kill him.
Genesis 37 – Joseph’s brothers sold him as a slave because they were jealous.
Likewise, children today often fight and quarrel.
Many homes are often divided or end in divorce because of disobedience to God’s word.
Ephesians 5:22-25,28 – God teaches husbands to love their wives and wives to submit to their husbands. But sometimes husbands are selfish or wives rebel.
The happiness of a home may be destroyed by alcohol or drugs, gambling, adultery, etc.
God’s way is best, but again and again we hear of homes broken because of sin.
Luke 15:11-32 – The prodigal son rejected his father’s will and wasted his inheritance in immorality.
2 Samuel 15-18 – David fought a war with his own son Absalom.
Ephesians 6:1-4 – God says children should obey parents, and parents should discipline children in love for their good. But we often hear of parents becoming physically violent or even abandoning a child. Or children may rebel, reject God, or turn to drinking and drugs, sexual immorality, or crime.
How can anyone say that sin is better than God’s way?
People may be close friends for years but become alienated when one mistreats or takes advantage of the other.
2 Timothy 4:10 – Because he loved this world, Demas forsook Paul. Brethren who worked side-by-side for years, may be so alienated and bitter that they cannot even worship together.
Romans 12:18 – God teaches us how to avoid and resolve our differences. But this requires all parties to cooperate. Sometimes, no matter how we try, others refuse to be peaceable.
This is what sin has done for mankind! Why should anyone think sin is a better way to live than serving God?
Genesis 3:8 – They had been in God’s presence, but sin caused them to hide from God.
Genesis 2:16,17 – The “death” man received because of sin refers primarily to spiritual death: separation from God. Physical death is separation of body from spirit (James 2:26). Spiritual death is separation of man from God.
Isaiah 59:1,2 – Our sins and iniquities separate us from God.
Ephesians 2:1-3,12 – Sin makes us spiritually dead while physically alive. We are separated from Christ, without hope and without God.
Colossians 1:21-23 – In sin, we are enemies of God. The blessing of the gospel is that, through Christ, we can be forgiven of sin and be reconciled with God. Physical problems may or may not be removed in this life, but the problem of alienation from God can be completely solved through Christ.
God created man in His image (Genesis 1:26,27), so we could have fellowship and peace with God. Instead, sin so alienates us that He considers us His enemy. But by following God’s way, we can be friends of God again. So how can sin be better for man than God’s way?
(Ephesians 4:18; 5:6; Romans 5:10; 1:18; 2:5; James 4:4; Colossians 3:6)
People in sin are often pictured as carefree, just enjoying life to the full. But consider what problems the Bible says sinners have:
Genesis 3:10 – Adam hid from God because he knew he was naked.
Psalm 38:3-8 – David’s guilt caused pain, sorrow, and inward groaning. (51:1-3)
Matthew 27:3-5 – Judas killed himself because of his guilt.
Jonah 1,2 – Jonah tried to run and hide from God, but no one can hide from God.
God is willing to forgive us and remove the burden of guilt. Yet many people live in anguish year after year, knowing they are guilty. This is what sin has done for mankind.
Matthew 6:25-34 – Many people worry about how they will obtain what they want in life. But God promises to care for His servants.
Philippians 4:6,7 – Many people are anxious about life because they don’t serve God or don’t pray to Him in faith. But God promises peace that passes understanding if His faithful servants pray in faith.
Matthew 25:46 – Many fear death because they aren’t ready for judgment. But God promises eternal life to the righteous.
So these consequences of sin can definitely be solved by the power of God even in this life. So why continue to suffer in sin? How much better to serve God and let Him remove the burden of guilt!
Matthew 26:75 – Peter wept bitterly after he had denied Christ three times.
Psalm 32:1-5 – David groaned all day long because of sin, but when he confessed he was forgiven. Once again, the burden of guilt on our souls can be completely lifted through Jesus.
So why would anyone think that sin is better than God’s way? Does it make sense to continue in sin instead of serving God?
(Psalm 38:3-8; Proverbs 13:15)
So far we have described problems sin causes in this life. But some people seem to suffer little if any consequences of sin in this life. They may prosper and appear to live “the high life.” So some folks conclude that maybe sin is not all that bad.
The truth is that most people in sin do suffer many of the problems we have described in this life, whether they acknowledge it or not. But after this life will come problems that everyone will definitely suffer unless their sins are forgiven.
Consider how the Bible describes this punishment.
Matthew 25:41 – The wicked will go to eternal fire prepared for the Devil and his angels.
Revelation 20:10-15 – The second death is a lake of fire for all not found in book of life.
Physical death is the first death, and we have learned it is the consequence of sin. But that death is nothing compared to the second death: the lake of fire.
(Matthew 13:39-42; 18:8,9)
Revelation 20:10 – Those in the lake of fire were tormented day and night.
Luke 16:19-31 – The rich man died and was tormented in flame.
Matthew 8:12 – Imagine being tormented in flame, but you can’t see anything. You want to escape, but there is no way to escape.
There is not one passage that says anything good about the state of the wicked after death.
Matthew 25:41,46 – Eternal fire, everlasting punishment
2 Thessalonians 1:8,9 – Everlasting destruction (ruin)
This is the final result of what sin does for mankind. We will see that the gospel shows how to avoid this end. But why would anyone defend sin or present it as harmless and innocent?
Not only does sin lead to a horrible destiny, but it also causes us to miss a beautiful destiny. Notice how the gospel describes the destiny of those who are forgiven of sin.
Matthew 5:10-12 – Those who endure persecution receive a great reward in heaven.
1 Peter 1:3,4 – An inheritance incorruptible, undefiled, reserved in Heaven.
1 Thessalonians 4:17; 5:9,10 – We shall ever be with the Lord living with Him.
(Philippians 3:20,21; Revelation 21:3; 22:3,4)
Romans 2:6-10 – Glory, honor, and peace to all who work good
Revelation 21:3,4 – God will wipe away all tears, death, sorrow, crying, and pain.
When God first created man, everything was “very good” with no problems. But sin brought with it all the problems we have discussed. So now God has provided another place where these problems are not found. Why would anyone prefer the consequences of sin?
Matthew 25:46 – The righteous go into eternal life.
Romans 6:23 – The gift of God is eternal life through Jesus Christ.
Revelation 21:27 – Those who practice sin will not enter Heaven (verse 8).
Sin not only makes this life miserable and causes physical death, but after death it causes us to miss the joys of heaven. This is what sin has done for mankind.
(Romans 2:7; Galatians 6:8; Titus 1:2; 3:7; John 3:16; 20:31;)
Knowing the truth of God’s word, why should anyone want to defend sin as being innocent or harmless, let alone pleasant and desirable? Why would anyone continue practicing sin?
The gospel means “good news.” God seeks our good, not our harm. But no one will truly appreciate the good news till he first understands the bad news.
John 3:16 – Jesus can forgive sin so we can have eternal life, not eternal torment. (1 John 1:6,7; Romans 5:1,2)
Philippians 4:13 – I can do all things through Christ who strengthens me. He gives His people strength to endure and be faithful despite the hardships of life.
Serving God does not remove all problems from the lives of Christians. All people suffer in this life because sin is in the world. But God helps us avoid many of the problems in this life. Then after this life, we can go to a land where there are no problems at all.
Believe, repent, confess, and be baptized – Mark 16:16; Acts 2:38.
Live a faithful life – Revelation 2:10; 1 Corinthians 15:58.
If we sin again, repent and confess – 1 John 1:8-10; Acts 8:22.
Have you been forgiven, so you can escape the consequences of sin? Are you living a faithful life so you have assurance of eternal life with no problems when this life is over?
(c) Copyright David E. Pratte, 2019
Local churches and individuals may, within limits, distribute this Bible study guide for free, but not for sale. Web sites may link to this page but not reproduce it. Click here for more information about our copyright guidelines.
Return to our home page (the Gospel Way)
Follow us at:
Links from other web sites are welcome and encouraged:
www.gospelway.com The Gospel Way: Free Bible Study Online Materials & Guides
Scripture quotations are generally from the New King James Version (NKJV), copyright 1982, 1988 by Thomas Nelson, Inc. used by permission. All rights reserved.