Why Does Man Sin?


      Introduction:  There are multiple answers to our question. First of all, let us consider what sin is. "Every one that doeth sin doeth also lawlessness; and sin is lawlessness" (ASV, I Jn. 3: 4). Sin (hamartia) is basically missing the mark or not doing what God's word teaches. Hence, God's word is indispensable. Sin can be the matter of omission or going beyond (Jas. 4: 17; 2 Jn. 9). Many religious people will be lost because of lawlessness (anomia, Matt. 7: 21-23). Sin separates from God and brethren (Isa. 59: 2, 2 Thes. 3: 6). All, including Christians, sin but they must not practice sin (I Jn. 1: 7-10; 3: 8-10, sin must also be confessed, etc., I Jn. 1: 9). Sin is terrible, so why does man sin?

I. Man does not have to sin.

  A. Some mistakenly believe that man sins because he has no choice, "...choose you this day whom ye will serve...," urged Joshua of old (Josh. 24: 15).

  B. God did not create man a sinner with a propensity for sin which could not be overcome (Gen. 1: 26, 2: 15-17, 3: 1-6).

  C. Neither did God arrange for the inheritance of the Adamic sin to pass upon all men so they are sinners by unalterable "nature." (Ezek. 18: 10-18, see vs. 20, cp. Gen. 3: 16-19, explain Rom. 5: 19).

  D. Notice the expression "were by nature the children of wrath" (Eph. 2: 3). "Nature" is derived from the Greek phusis, which can mean habit or long practice (Thayer's Greek-English Lexicon, pg. 660).

II. Some sin through ignorance.

  A. Ignorance - not knowing God's word - is a common cause of sin (Acts 17: 23, 30, 31).

  B. Saul thought he should do many things contrary to Jesus' name (Acts 26: 9, 23: 1). Saul sinned ignorantly (I Tim. 1: 13). Even though Saul (later known as the apostle Paul) ignorantly sinned, he was lost (I Tim. 1: 13-15, Acts 22:16).

III. Some sin deliberately.

  A. Jesus said of some: "...men loved darkness rather than light, because their deeds were evil" (Jn. 3: 19). "For every one," he continues, "that doeth evil hateth the light" (vs. 20).

  B. Some sin willfully (Heb. 10: 26). Some are also "willfully ignorant" (2 Pet. 3: 5).

  C. Arrogant, defiant sin is what the Hebrew scriptures refer to as sinning presumptuously (Num. 15: 30 ff.).

  D. The process that results in sin: James 1: 13-16. Many times, always in the case of deliberate sin, man allows himself to sin (cp. Matt. 5: 28).

IV. Some specific reasons why man sins.

  A. Man often sins because he wants to (Jas. 1: 14, 15).

  B. He is not watchful (Prov. 22: 3, Gal. 6: 1).

  C. He lacks self-control (I Cor. 9: 27).

  D. By being a partaker of other's sins (I Tim. 5: 22, Rev. 2: 15, 16).

  E. He simply does not think (Prov. 22: 3).

  F. He does not control his thoughts (Prov. 15: 26, 24: 9, Phili. 4: 8).

  G. Does not resist the devil (Jas. 4: 7).

  H. Does not have the word hidden in his heart (Ps. 119: 11).

  I. Man sins because of selfishness (cp. Lk. 15: 12, 17).

V. Since man does not have to sin, man is totally responsible for his sin.

  A. Man's responsibility and guilt is seen many times in the scriptures (cf. Rom. 2: 6-9, 2 Thes. 1: 6-9).

  B. God has given us a book which we can basically understand and understand alike (Eph. 3: 4). By relying on the word, we are better able to see and resist sin (Matt. 4: 1-11)

     Conclusion:  Why does man sin? Man basically sins because he wants to (Heb. 11: 25, cp. 3: 13). Even in the case of sins of ignorance, we have, for the most part, chosen not to know (cp. Rom. 1: 28). Our goal should be to "sin not" (I Jn. 2: 1), even though all sin in general (Rom. 3: 23).