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            THREE KINDS OF SIN.....                   "THREE KINDS OF SIN"

 

In the Old Testament, there is one interesting scripture that enlightens us when it comes to the meaning of the word sin.  It contains 3 different “sins” all in one paragraph!   These are in fact, the 3 different “categories” of sin that can be committed against God.  To help us understand those 3 categories…imagine in our modern world what the penalties would be if you:

    1.     Ran a stop light  (misdemeanor)

2.     Committed a murder  (capitol crime)

3.     Committed treason against your country  (treason)

Let's examine Exodus 34:7 closely, to see more clearly the differences between the words iniquity, transgression and sin, which are all used in one place here.

 “Keeping mercy for thousands, forgiving iniquity (5771) and transgression (6586) and sin, (2403) and that will by no means clear the guilty; visiting the iniquity of the fathers upon the children, and upon the children's children, unto the third and to the fourth generation.” KJV

 How exactly do these 3 words differ?

1.  Sin is from ----“chatta’ah,” meaning habitual sins of human frailty.  These are what we might even call misdemeanors.  It has to do with "missing the mark."  This Hebrew word Chait means an "error or mistake," but nothing that cannot be fixed.  To get the real feeling for the meaning of this word sin, read this short piece written by a Jewish Rabbi.  "Sin is Not What it Seems."  Just hit your back button when you have finished and come back to read about the other two VERY SERIOUS sins in this verse containing 3 kinds of sins.  

2.  The word Iniquity comes next and it is from “Avon,” meaning capitol sins or capitol crimes of perversity or evil…such as murder or idolatry.  There was a death penalty for these sins. 

3.  Transgression is from---- “Pesha,” This was the worst of all.  It also had a death penalty.  It meant to "break away from authority."  It is the sin of open and knowing revolt....against God and His governmental structure...

It is the sin of "rebellion against God," which at the end of the day, is really the worst sin of all because it is willful sin, which is never repented of...better known as the unpardonable sin of the New Testament.  This sin is not unpardonable because God refuses to forgive.  It is only unpardonable because it is based upon a deep spirit of willful permanent rebellion.

Anciently, the daily animal sacrifices only covered “chatta’ah” offences which were the "human frailty sins" or missing the mark sins that we all commit sometimes, but no way did they cover “Avon” or "Pesha" offences which were willful capitol crimes.

Most people don't realize it, but in the Old Testament, the animal sacrifices did not cover the more serious sin of iniquity on a daily type of basis. (Murder, adultery, etc...)  Nor did animal sacrifices cover the sin of rebellion on a daily basis.  These had a stronger penalty than an animal sacrifice.  This is why David, after he committed adultery with Bathsheba and murder said,  

“You did not desire sacrifice, else would I give it.” 

The iniquity of adultery and murder which David had committed were not something covered by animal sacrifice.  You could not take a dove down to the temple for murder!  There was a death penalty in ancient Israel for capitol offences such as these. 

But God had a greater purpose for David and when David confessed His sins to God and repented deeply…he was forgiven.  God still required that David pay for his sin with the loss of the baby he and Bathsheba had.  Here's the point, we don’t just get forgiveness from God and that be the end of it.  God's final goal is to get us to REPENT OF ALL SIN!  

Grace from God is not a free license to sin....otherwise how do we explain certain sins in Revelation 21:8 which are committed by those who are thrown in the Lake of Fire and experience the second death?  Also, Paul listed certain types of sins as being the ones which keep people out of the Kingdom of God.  He said,

Do you not know that the unrighteous will not inherit the kingdom of God?"  He continues to say, "Do not be deceived. Neither fornicators, nor idolaters, nor adulterers, nor homosexuals, nor sodomites, nor thieves, nor covetous, nor drunkards, nor revilers, nor extortioners will inherit the kingdom of God.” 1 Corinthians 6:8-10  

Our own situation with God concerning sin, is just like it was with David when he sinned.  Had David not repented, he would not have received forgiveness from God at all.  Forgiveness (grace) came BECAUSE He repented.  Even Paul himself had committed "murders."  It's true.  Before God called him, Paul was the reason that a lot of Christians were dragged off and executed.  The eloquent Stephen was one of the martyrs that Paul stood by and saw murdered at his behest.  He didn't kill him with his own bare hands, but those that killed Stephen laid their coats at Paul's feet.  A symbolic gesture indeed!  Yet, we know that Paul will be in the kingdom of God.  WHY???  Because, he repented.  Like David, He did not continue to repeat his old bad behavior and sins.

It is the repeat offenders that refuse to repent that are in big trouble, especially after they understand the truth.  People who are converted and have the Holy Spirit and continue to commit such sins as idolatry, fornication, adultery, homosexuality, and even chronic covetousness (the lust that drives all sins) are not OK with God just because they simply say, "I'm sorry" and then keep on doing those things!  We have to stop sinning before we can get grace or pardon. (forgiveness) 

Grace cannot save the chronic offender...otherwise all these sins Paul was talking about in the scripture above could not keep us out of the kingdom of God!  We know that Paul is talking about people being kept out of the kingdom of God because of chronic sins.  They won't stop murdering, they won't stop committing adultery, etc… from all this we see that grace does not apply to the chronic unrepentant rebellious sinner. 

Thus we see, that Christ's sacrifice does not cover these two worst kinds of sins (capitol crimes against God and rebellion) on a daily basis anymore than the daily animal sacrifices covered them in the Old Testament. In other words, don't be doing murder on a daily basis and expect forgiveness from God.

----Yet, there is an annual Atonement for physical Israelites where the blood of a sacrificial goat in ancient Israel could cover all 3 types of sins.  That didn't mean that they didn't have to pay for their crimes, but they did have forgiveness from God. 

For Christian's, or "Spiritual Jews" that annual day of Atonement when all our sins can be covered and we can receive grace for another year comes at Passover....  It is true that all sins can be forgiven by God if repented of, but the hard part is getting the sinner to repent first.  Thankfully, God is always ready to forgive us when we do repent.

Most importantly to remember is that grace is given to the humble.  It is not given to those who are deep down evil such as serial killers or those who are knowingly and blatantly rebellious against God.  Grace is given to those who want to repent and are struggling against their own human weakness, no matter what they have done in the past.  The writer of Hebrews gives us the correct view of sin and of grace.  The word grace is used 8 times in the book of Hebrews, so we know that the writer was very familiar with the subject.  Did you know that we can insult the “Spirit of Grace” by deliberately sinning???   Here's how.  The book of Hebrews says,

“If we deliberately keep on sinning after we have received the knowledge of the truth, no sacrifice for sins is left, (DELIBERATE SINNING REMOVES CHRIST'S SACRIFICE)  but only a fearful expectation of judgment and of raging fire that will consume the enemies of God. Anyone who rejected the law of Moses died without mercy on the testimony of two or three witnesses. How much more severely do you think a man deserves to be punished who has trampled the Son of God under foot, who has treated as an unholy thing the blood of the covenant that sanctified him, and who has insulted the Spirit of grace?" Hebrews 10:26-31

The writer says that willful or deliberate sinning insults the “Spirit of grace.”  How?   Because it treats Christ’s blood which was spilled to ratify the New Covenant as an unholy thing!  How does it do that? Purposeful rebellion is not covered by Christ's sacrifice nor can it receive grace...  Willful sin done with a rebellious attitude is tantamount to rebellion or treason against God. If willful sinners have full knowledge of God and what He requires of them and yet, they have a rebellious attitude---then they have entered the dangerous area called "the unpardonable sin."  It is unforgivable or unpardonable because it is unrepented of sin or better put---willful sin.   Can you reject God's law from your heart and rebel against Him and all His laws and still have a covenant with Him???  It is not possible. 

In Hebrews, chapter eight, God describes the New Covenant, which you must be under to receive eternal life.  The New Covenant is about repentance.  

 “...Behold, the days come, saith the Lord, when I will make a new covenant with the house of Israel and with the house of Judah: Not according to the covenant that I made with their fathers in the day when I took them by the hand to lead them out of the land of Egypt; because they continued not in my covenant, and I regarded them not, saith the Lord."  He continues to say,

"For this is the covenant that I will make with the house of Israel after those days, saith the Lord; I will put my laws into their mind, and write them in their hearts: and I will be to them a God, and they shall be to me a people:”  (This pictures repentance of sins and being connected to the true God.)

If we were to ask God for the most important thing that He could possibly give us, it would not be for a single incidence of grace but it would be for a repentant heart and that He write His law in our hearts and in our minds----because that my friend, is the New Covenant...and you cannot be saved without it. 

 

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