1 John 3:8, "He who sins is of the devil, for the devil has sinned from the beginning." Sin’s enormity is seen in what it has done to man: it has completely ruined his nature and brought him under the curse of God. Sin is the source of all our miseries; all unrighteousness and wretchedness are its fruits. There is no distress of the mind, no anguish of the heart, no pain of the body, but is due to sin. All the miseries which mankind groans under are to be ascribed to sin. It is the cause of all penalty: Jeremiah 4:18, "Your ways and your doings have procured these things for you. This is your wickedness, because it is bitter, " ... know therefore and see that it is an evil and bitter thing ... " because it reaches to your heart."
Men regard sin as an infirmity, and refer to it as a human frailty or an hereditary weakness. Others measure sin by the pricking of their conscience, by the measure of the guilt they feel and in this they perceive so little criminality in sin that they persuade themselves that a few good works will make full reparation for it or imagine that a few tears will wash away its stain.
Sin is sin, Rom. 7:13. "That sin ... might become exceeding sinful" is a very forcible expression, denoting the want for a comparison, expressing the need for a name greater in intensity than its own name and unable to find any Paul joins a strong epithet to the word sin, calling it " ... exceedingly sinful." In like manner the doubling of an expression is used in Hosea" ... because of the evil of your evil" (Hos. 10:15, literal trans.) implying that there is no greater way of stating the darkness of their hearts than to use the term twice. We can say nothing more evil of sin than to term it what it is; "sin, that it might appear sin".
There are four great evils in sin: the total absence of the moral image of God, the transgression of His just law, obnoxiousness to His holiness, and separation from Him -
The odious appearance of sin is seen in the description given in James 1:21, " ... all filthiness and overflow of wickedness, ... " which is an allusion to the stream which provided for the removal of the temple waste. In the absence of a moral image of God, God's hatefulness of sin is seen in His curse upon the very creatures who hold the greatest of favour, " ... for the indescribable sufferings which divine vengeance will then inflict upon them are sin’s rightful wages."
"Sin is a malignant spirit of independence." "Its language is "I am. I am my own, and therefore I have the right to live unto myself." Thornwell pointed this out, "Considered as the renunciation of dependence upon God, it may be called unbelief; as the exaltation of itself to the place of God, it may be called pride; as the transferring to another object the homage due to the Supreme, it may be called idolatry; but in all these aspects the central principle is one and the same."
" ... there is none that seeks after God’.’ (Rom. 3:11), it follows that there is none with any practical sense of His excellence or His claims. The natural man has no desire for communion with God, for he places his happiness in the creature. He prefers everything before Him, and glorifies everything above Him. He loves his own pleasures more than God. His wisdom being "earthly, sensual, devilish" (James 3:15), means the celestial and divine are outside his consideration. This appears in man’s works, for actions speak louder than words. Our hearts are to be gauged by what we do, not by what we say. Our tongues may be great liars, but our deeds tell the truth, showing what we really are. How little recognized and realized is the fact that all outward impieties are the manifestations of an inward atheism!"
"If, " ... by the fear of the LORD men depart from evil" (Pro. 16:6), it clearly follows that in the absence of any awe of Him they rush into evil. Every sin is an invading of the rights of God. When we transgress His laws we repudiate His sovereignty. When we lean on our own understanding and set up reason as the guide of our actions, we despise His wisdom. When we seek happiness in gratifying our lusts, we slight His excellence and consider His goodness insufficient to satisfy our hearts. When we commit those sins in secret which we would be ashamed to do in public, we virtually deny both His omniscience and omnipresence. When we lean on the arm of flesh or put our trust in some device, we disbelieve His power. Sin is turning the back upon God (Jer. 32:33), kicking against Him (Deu. 32:15), treating Him with the utmost contempt."
"Stephen Charnock rightly pointed out, "Those therefore, are more deserving of being termed atheists who acknowledge a God and walk as if there were none, than those that deny God, and walk as if there were one."
"He who disowns the authority of God disowns His divinity. It is the unquestionable prerogative of the Most High to have dominion over His creatures, to make His will known to them, and to demand their subjection. But their breaking of His bands and their casting away of His cords (Psa. 2:3, "Let us break Their bonds in pieces and cast away Their cords from us.") are a practical rejection of His rule over them." Sin consists of utter contempt of God, conducting ourselves as though there were none infinitely above us who has an absolute right to govern us, to whom we must give a full account of all that we have done and left undone, and who will then pronounce sentence of eternal judgment upon us."
"Sin, as an operative principle in the soul, is virtually the assertion of self-sufficiency and self-supremacy; thus it produces opposition to God. Sin is not only the negation but the contrary of holiness, therefore it breeds antagonism to the holy One. He who affirms and asserts himself must deny and resist God. The divine claims are regarded as those of a rival. God is looked upon as an enemy-the carnal mind is enmity against Him—and enmity is not simply the absence of love, a condition of mere indifference, but a principle of repugnance and virulent resistance."
"Sin brings us into God’s debt, and this produces aversion of Him."
Whether we comprehend this state or not, it is into this quagmire of inveterate and entrenched opposition and repugnance of God that we are born. We see in the world a corporate heart indisposed to all holy duties, finding those duties; denial of our lusts; denial of our wants; denial of the claims of God; the absence of love; indifference to the plight of our neighbour; the pursuit of possession, pleasure and prestige; the denial of Divine providence; subjection to - and a right appraisal of the Sovereignty of a Holy God; the acknowledgement of the purity of the Divine will in relation to our impure heart; these things and others which are detestable and vexing ... "Since the palate of man is corrupted, divine things are unsavory to him, and forever remain so until his taste is restored by divine grace..." are irksome and burdensome; we see the hatred of God’s law and the rejection of His Christ. We see a lack of recognition of His mercies, and the despising of the riches of His goodness and long-suffering. The world mocks His messengers, resists His Spirit, flouts His Word, and persecutes those who bear His image. Proverbs 1:25, " ... because you disdained all my counsel, and would have none of my rebuke, ..."
Instead of meekly submitting to God’s will and adoring His righteousness, men declare Him an unjust Governor, demand that His wisdom be guided by their folly, and malign Him rather than themselves! This too is sin.
Psalm 51:2-3, "Wash me thoroughly from my iniquity, and cleanse me from my sin. For I acknowledge my transgressions, and my sin is always before me."
Exodus 13:18, "So God led the people around by way of the wilderness ... and the children went up harnessed ..."