Sin is a violation or transgression of the divine law and standards of God as revealed in His Word. The sinfulness of a wrongdoing lies in the fact that it is done against God even when it is an offense done to others, or to ourselves. A known sin is a transgression, or a violation of divine law. Since God’s character and standards are perfect, anything that violates them is defined in the Bible as sin. Therefore, sin is an act of volition against God. Sin is a thought, a motive, or an act of wrongdoing that results in a state of alienation from God. It is also a failure to do what is commanded in God’s Word (sins of omission).
Sin originated in the Garden of Eden when Adam violated a direct command of God. As a result, Adam became spiritually dead, and took on a sin nature. We, as the progeny of Adam, are born with his sin nature, in other words, his original sin is imputed to us. However, as a result of this condemnation we become eligible for the greatest position that man could attain; Salvation through faith in the Lord Jesus Christ, and all of the resulting blessings.
Spiritual death means we are born in a state of total depravity, and entirely helpless to do anything about it. Because of this status into which we are born, we are already prone to sin. It is interesting to note that the imputation of Adam’s original sin was imputed to each member of the human race at birth. We are spiritually dead before we commit our first sin, this is the result of our position in Adam. Sinning is the resultof our spiritual depravity; we do not become spiritually dead as result of sinning, we are born spiritually dead.
There are two categories of sin that come from human volition:
1. Sins of Cognizance. A known sin is a transgression involving human perception and knowledge. An individual, recognizing the temptation to sin, acquiesces and succumbs to the temptation. In this case, the sinner knows what he is doing; in fact he wants to do it, and he does it.
2. Sins of Ignorance. In this case the person is not aware that what his sin nature is tempting him to do is sinful. However, that is not the issue; the issue is volition. The person desires to do a sinful act and does it; even though it is an unknown sin, it is still a sin. It is an act that is a sinful violation, even though it is committed without human perception or knowledge.
In both of these situations, believers are equally guilty, and God does not excuse them. Because all sin is based on the function of human volition, the believer is responsible for
both categories of sin in life. Volition is involved in both known and unknown sins, for volition is the issue in the angelic conflict1.
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