The way to act and live that gives those who dare to do it increased pleasure, fun, good time, enjoyment. The "forbidden fruit" that is sweeter, more desirable. The concept, though unrealized, is that God is unjust and unfair, forbidding us really to enjoy life. As a consequence, sin is the desirable way forbidden, or at least frowned on, by respectable society under religious influence. If sin is to be enjoyed, it must be in secret unless one is to defy society or be branded with disgrace — or so it used to be, though society today is becoming broader minded, more tolerant of sin, permitting more and more what previous generations forbade. This concept was aptly illustrated by the death-bed confession of an atheist. His daughter came to his bed-side and asked: "Father, now that you know you are going to die, tell me the truth. Which do you now think is best — your atheism or Mother's Christianity?" "Well daughter," the dying man replied. "I still believe my way is the best way to live by, but I'll have to confess at last that your mother's religion is the best to die in." There's the common conception. People unthinkingly have a picture of a God who is unfair — who expects people to give up the worth-while things of life, deny one's self enjoying life, and live a life of unhappiness in order to be "saved." And according to this view the way to cheat God is to live in sin and enjoy life, then squeeze through at the last minute by a death-bed confession! This concept is Satan's masterpiece delusion, fastened on an unthinking world! It pictures the god of Herbert Spencer's distorted imagination — a monster, who "saves" people through FEAR of penalties unless they forsake more desirable ways for his narrow and unhappy way. It hides God's love, turns God's law of love into an evil thing, cheats human beings of the happiness, peace, success and joy that could be theirs through a discernment of the TRUE values!
II. The Bible Definition.
"Sin," defines the Bible, "is the transgression of the law." (I John 3:4). "The law is spiritual," Rom. 7:14). "The law is holy, just, and good." (Rom. 7:12), "LOVE is the fulfilling of the law." (Rom. 13:10). What is righteousness? "All thy commandments are righteousness." (Ps. 119:172). Sin is the transgressing of LIVING LAWS God has set in motion. Those laws are ALIVE. They are eternal, immutable, inexorable! (Ps. 111:7-8). When we transgress them, there is a penalty. There is NO ESCAPE from the penalty! That is why God gave His only Son to pay that penalty for all who will accept it, in our stead. The LAW has been set in motion, and it is the most powerful, irresistible thing in all the universe! Relentlessly, it moves on, always claiming its penalty without fail! That law is SO STRONG — so irresistible — so immutable — it took even the life of Jesus, the very Son of the living GOD! It was STRONGER than He! It claimed His life, when HE took on Himself your sins and mine! When those sins of ours were upon Him those "sweet" but forbidden fruits! He came under the penalty in our stead; and then not even the life of Jesus Christ was strong enough to prevent that inexorable law from claiming its penalty — DEATH! Jesus did not do away with the law. The law did away with HIM — with His physical, earthly life! It is only because God raised Him from the dead by a resurrection that He now lives! He didn't end the LAW — no, the law ended His life! And the law will end yours, unless your sins are all on Jesus! The law is eternal, immutable — it moves irresistibly! Yet, the law of God is not evil, but GOOD! It is LOVE! It is the way to peace, to happiness, to joy! Keep it, and you are happy. Break it, and you suffer! It is God's greatest gift to mankind given to make man happy, to lead him into the full, abundant life, to protect his happiness and give him eternal life! Yes, eternal life comes through keeping the law! But you and I have broken the law — sinned — and death is the penalty. The blood of Jesus pays the penalty takes away the past sin, reconciles us to God. Then God gives us His HOLY SPIRIT — the Spirit of LOVE — the "love of God shed abroad in our hearts by the Holy Ghost." And this is the spiritual love, in us, which alone can fulfill, or keep, God's law! It is only those who keep the law — through the indwelling of the Holy Spirit — who can be saved — inherit eternal life! All others are sinners, and the penalty is death! It is only those thus keeping the law who know peace, happiness, JOY! Finally, the Bible reveals sin as the way that seems RIGHT to men! The way that appears attractive, enjoyable desirable! But it's a snare and a delusion! Humans seek fun, pleasure, enjoyment. Sin usually gives a temporary sensation of pleasure, or exhilaration. But it's false as hell itself! Because always there's a kick-back! Sometimes it's the headache of the "morning after." It exacts an exorbitant PRICE always collected later — but it's a relentless collector! And its final price is DEATH! It's a mighty poor bargain! Do most so-called Christians really repent of sin? How can they, when today's religion teaches God's law is done away — teaches sin is merely the transgression of human conscience! One's conscience troubles him only when he does what he believes is wrong! As long as he believes God's law is harsh, unjust, and abolished in Christ — as long as he believes the way that seems right is right — as long as he believes the world's definition of sin, HOW CAN HE REPENT OF REAL SIN — THE TRANSGRESSION OF GOD'S LAW? How can he repent of what looks RIGHT to him — of that which appears attractive, alluring? Ancient Israel did what THEY thought was right. They continually did that which was evil in the sight of the Eternal, but it seemed right to them. And so the world continues today. Deceived as to right and wrong, it does wrong, and then wonders why it is so unhappy — why there's so much suffering in the world today! GOD HELP US TO DISCERN THE TRUE VALUES FROM THE FALSE! God has revealed the right and the TRUE way! David loved that way, meditated upon it all the day! Paul said it was spiritual, holy, just and good! You'll find that way in God's LAW, It's the only way that will lead to peace, justice, success, happiness, joy — and life eternal!