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  • Writer's pictureRob

The Hundred-Twelfth (Sin)

I hope your week went well! You know, it seems as though the world keeps chugging along despite the doom and gloom being pushed from almost every news outlet you can imagine. Keep in mind that one of the most effective means of control Satan has, and uses regularly, is fear. Whether it's the immediate fear of the newest crisis (oil, economy, nuclear war, etc.) or a more subtle, underlying, constant fear that the world is building up to something devastating and destructive, he works to influence and control people through these things. Don't let it happen to you!

Now, don't get me wrong, I do believe things are getting worse in the world. That much is obvious. Many people are blind to it, or at least the cause or purpose behind it, but we have God's word that lets us know it's happening and why. We have Yehovah's protection and strength (2 Thessalonians 3:3), but we have to be cognizant of what's going on in the world. This cognizance is important not only to understand what we're living in, but also what we need to fight and protect against.

While we have His protection, we still need to guard our heart (Proverbs 4:23), and this means from evil. What is evil? Let's take a look at a situation Joseph encountered to see what scripture says. When presented with a temptation, Joseph refused and called it a great wickedness, a sin against God (Genesis 39:9). This Hebrew word for wickedness is ra' and is the same word translated to evil in other verses.

So, evil is sin against the Father. Let's take a look at what that is. The word is chata in Hebrew, and it means to miss the mark (Judges 20:16). Or, to miss the target, if that phrase happens to make slightly more sense or has more meaning to you. In order for you to miss the target though, you have to be aiming for the target. Makes sense, right?

Let's explore that for a bit. In the case of missing the mark in that verse from Judges, the object being aimed at the target was a stone. In the case of missing the mark against God, the object being aimed at the target, so to speak, is us. To figure out what the target is, we are going to look at what the temptation was that Joseph called a sin against God.

It turns out the temptation was that his master's wife wanted to lay with him. Clearly, this was a line drawn where Joseph knew this was not acceptable to God. But how could he know that? The Law was given to Moses a few hundred years later (Exodus 20:3-17) and sin is a transgression of the law (1 John 3:4). In fact, the commandment Joseph was ultimately following was not given until even after the ten commandments given to Moses (Leviticus 18:20).

When you search for the word sin in the Old Testament, you might be interested to find it occurs seven times in Genesis, and three more times in Exodus before the ten commandments were given. Obviously, the ability to miss the mark, or sin, against Yehovah was present much prior to the Law. The first use of the word was God's conversation with Cain about the quality of his offering (Genesis 4:7).

God simply said if Cain does what is right he'll be accepted, but if not, sin is at the door desiring him. What course of action does Yehovah tell Cain to take? He says Cain has to mashal, or dominate, it (Genesis 4:7). Some translations say "rule over it," or "master it." Ultimately, Cain did not do this, and sin ended up mastering him (Genesis 4:8). Interesting how sin is spoken of as a being, isn't it?

But anyway, as you can see, sin was around at least since the time of Adam and Eve's children, Cain and Abel. Putting two and two together, if sin is transgression of the law and sin has been around since at least Cain and Abel, there was a law of some sort prior to when God's commandments were given. In fact, we also found from Joseph that this law included at least some of the laws given in Exodus and Leviticus. Obviously, we know from Cain's actions that murder was also against the laws present prior to Exodus.

The consequence for Cain's sin was exile and lack of fruitful harvest (Genesis 4:12). The consequence of missing the target of compliance with the Law was given at various times and recorded in various verses of scripture as well. And, of course, we know that the wages, or compensation, for sin is ultimately death (Romans 6:23). However, through the death of our Yeshua, we have received atonement for all sin (Romans 5:11).

We've looked at this before, but it bears repeating since we are on the topic of sin this week. Many look at the writings of Paul and have trouble reconciling some of the things he wrote with the rest of scripture. Specifically, when he writes things like being released from the law (Romans 7:6) but Jesus said to follow His commandments (John 14:15). In fact, there's a growing movement out there speaking against Paul and his writings, suggesting he was not who he said he was and he was not actually from God.

He even seems to contradict himself in his own writings when he writes about being released from the law and shortly thereafter writes that he serves the law of God! (Romans 7:25) It's very confusing! However, if you see all the verses in the New Testament stating that we must follow the law (especially the words of Jesus!), in order to reconcile some of Paul's statements you have to take his meaning as we are no longer subject to the wages of missing the target of God's commandment, not that we are not supposed to aim for it any longer.

To recap, we know that sin was present from the beginning in the garden with Adam and Eve, since they missed the target of following God's commandment and as a result they died. We also know that sin is still present today, after Yeshua's death and resurrection, since Paul was still struggling with doing evil when he wrote the letter to the Romans (Romans 7:19). And sin is defined as missing the target, with the target being following God's commandments (Romans 7:7).

So, if sin is wrong, and clearly it has been wrong since Adam and Eve, Jesus' death did not remove sin from the world or absolve us from the responsibility of not sinning. It did allow us the ability to receive the Holy Spirit, which will lead us and guide us down the path of righteousness though. Let Him guide you and convict you of any sinful things in your life so it can be cleansed and those things blocking you from coming closer to Him can be removed.

Shabbat shalom and God bless you!

-Rob and Sara Gene

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