The Doctrine of Sin

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The Doctrine of Sin

Wretched man that I am! Who will deliver me from this body of death? Thanks be to God through Jesus Christ our Lord!

(Romans 7:24–25 ESV)


In the evenings on the Lord’s Day we’ve been working our way through 1 & 2 Samuel and the life of David as it foreshadows the person and work of Christ.  Well, we come to 2 Samuel 11 this Sunday and it is a chapter in which David does not foreshadow Christ but rather one in which we see David as a sinner in need of Christ.  It is one of the most tragic stories in the Bible and it provides a good description of sin and teaches us to cling to Christ and to pray.  In his book, “The Doctrine of Sin”, Iain D. Campbell gives a comprehensive summary of the Bible’s teaching on sin…


“1. The world was originally good as created by God.  Sin was no part of God’s universe, and the result was that the world and everything in it was good, was holy, and was dedicated to God.  Perfection and stability grew out of a unique and a special relationship between Creator and creature.


2. Sin entered the human race, with consequences both for man and the creation, as a result of one act of disobedience.  The reason that act had such far-reaching consequences was that Adam acted not simply on his own behalf, but as a representative of humankind.  His sin is our sin because the whole human race was ‘in’ him, to be sprung from his loins; in the language of the older divines, Adam was a covenant or federal head.


3. The presence of sin immediately called forth a response from God.  This was in terms of divine judgment upon man for his sin, resulting in estrangement from God.  A state of war was declared, where hitherto there had been peace.


4. The word of grace woven into the divine judgment was the one hope extended to man, an indication of the fact that man’s deliverance from his own sin rested upon the grace and activity of God alone.  There could be no security, and no deliverance from the grip of sin, except the power of divine, sovereign, merciful grace.


5. With the ‘calling out’ of a people to serve Him in the world, the Lord gave laws to Moses for Israel, in which sin was codified by the commandments and prohibitions laid down in the decalogue.  There was now a measure given by which sin could be judged, and a standard by which guilt could be established…


6. The prophetic ministry of the Old Testament continued to apply the demands of God’s law to the chosen people, bringing home to them that in each stage of history the race stood under God’s condemnation, and the only hope of salvation rested upon God’s covenant mercy and grace.


7. The personal religion of the Psalms highlights individual need and responsibility.  There may be collective sin, and there may be universal sin, but for each individual there remains personal sin and debt before the holiness of God.  The psalmists are aware of their own, individual needs, and their own need particularly of cleansing and redemption.


8. The coming of Christ into the world represents the advent of the great prophet, the last prophet, onto the stage of human history.  He builds upon the foundation of law and prophets, declaring that he came to fulfill these and not to destroy them.  But the revelation advances, for He claims alone to have the power to forgive sin, and He has come to lay down His life in order to deal with sin.  He is the God against whom the race has transgressed, and His claim is that He alone can deal with that transgression.


9. The epistles of the New Testament are a commentary on the Gospel narrative, and bring home to the readers the universality  of sin and condemnation and death, and the hope that there is alone in Jesus Christ.  The New Testament letters deal with the need for individual and corporate repentance and reformation, and draw attention to the definitive work of Calvary in making atonement for the sins of the world.


10. The Book of Revelation, the great denouement of God’s designs of Providence and Grace, shows us the final outworking of the sin story.  There is at last a world with no sin, where the inhabitants are freed not only from the penalty and power of sin, but freed from its very presence.  The Judge has given final judgment, and sin is dealt a death blow.  There in now no more sin, death or curse.  Paradise is restored, never more to be lost.”


May the Lord hasten that great and glorious Day!  Till then, let us love and sing and wonder and tell of the Savior’s great name.  Let us eagerly watch and wait for Him, for we love His appearing and long for faith to be sight.


Your fellow sinner saved by grace,



By | 2012-09-19T04:00:00+00:00 September 19th, 2012|Uncategorized|0 Comments

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