Every sin earns death. Every sin makes the sinner guilty before God (Romans 6:23).
However, the Bible does describe different types of sin. Some theologians have divided these types of sins into involuntary and voluntary sins. An involuntary sin is a sin that we commit because of the weakness of our flesh or because we are ignorant of a law that we are breaking. In other words, these sins are not done deliberately. On the other hand, voluntary sin is done by those who know what they are doing is wrong, but they do it anyway. This type of sin is done intentionally.
Read Matthew 11:21-24; John 19:11; 1 Timothy 1:13; Hebrews 10:26.
Now answer the following question: Agree/disagree: All sins are equal. Explain your answer.
Involuntary sins: weakness or ignorance
Since we all have a sinful nature, every action we take is tainted with sin. Isaiah said, “All our righteous acts are like filthy rags” (Isaiah 64:6). We often sin without realizing it. The psalmist says, “Who can discern their own errors? Forgive my hidden faults” (Psalm 19:12). Through our own weakness or ignorance of God’s law, we fall into this type of sin daily. Praise God that he rescues us by forgiving us through Jesus!
Read Romans 7:15-25.
Here the apostle Paul talks about how he struggled with this type of sin.
List examples of sins of weakness or ignorance.
What steps can a Christian take to avoid sins of weakness or ignorance?
Dangers of deliberate sin
To know something is wrong and to do it anyway is dangerous, spiritually. The apostle Paul says, “If you live according to the flesh, you will die; but if by the Spirit you put to death the misdeeds of the body, you will live” (Romans 8:13).
In an attempt to justify sinful behavior, some will say, “God hates the sin but loves the sinner.” Unfortunately, this is a confusion of law and gospel. The law says that God hates sin and the sinner (Psalm 5:5). I need to hear this message to lead me to repentance. The gospel says that God loves the world and me because of Jesus (John 3:16). I need to hear this message when the law has done its work in my heart and convicted me of sin.
Read Psalm 32:5 and Hebrews 10:26-31.
Of what truths would you remind someone who says, “God hates the sin but loves the sinner”?
Author: David Scharf
Volume 108, Number 3
Issue: March 2021