Bible Study Guides – Sin

September 29, 2001 – October 5, 2001

“Human minds vary. The minds of different education and thought receive different impressions of the same words, and it is difficult for one mind to give to one of a different temperament, education, and habits of thought, by language exactly the same idea as that which is clear and distinct in his own mind. Yet to honest men, right-minded men, he can be so simple and plain as to convey his meaning for all practical purposes. If the man he communicates with is not honest and will not want to see and understand the truth, he will turn his words and language in everything to suit his own purposes. He will misconstrue his words, play upon his imagination, wrest them from their true meaning, and then entrench himself in unbelief, claiming that the sentiments are all wrong.” Selected Messages, Book 1, 19.

“Ministers need to have a more clear, simple manner in presenting the truth as it is in Jesus. Their own minds need to comprehend the great plan of salvation more fully. Then they can carry the minds of the hearers away from earthly things to the spiritual and eternal. There are many who want to know what they must do to be saved. They want a plain and clear explanation of the steps requisite in conversion, and there should not a sermon be given unless a portion of that discourse is to especially make plain the way that sinners may come to Christ and be saved. They should point them to Christ, as did John, and with touching simplicity, their hearts aglow with the love of Christ, say, ‘Behold the Lamb of God, which taketh away the sin of the world.’ Strong and earnest appeals should be made to the sinner to repent and be converted.” Ibid., 157.

“Our publications have a most sacred work to do in making clear, simple, and plain the spiritual basis of our faith. Everywhere the people are taking sides; all are ranging themselves either under the banner of truth and righteousness or under the banner of the apostate powers that are contending for the supremacy. At this time God’s message to the world is to be given with such prominence and power that the people will be brought face to face, mind to mind, heart to heart, with truth. They must be brought to see its superiority over the multitudinous errors that are pushing their way into notice, to supplant, if possible, the word of God for this solemn time.” Testimonies, vol. 7, 150.

“The Transgression of the Law”

Memory Verse: “Whosoever committeth sin transgresseth also the law: for sin is the transgression of the law.” 1 John 3:4.

Study Help: Confrontation, 75.

Thought to Remember: “Sin is the Transgression of the Law.”


“If ministers who preach the gospel would do their duty, and would also be ensamples to the flock of God, their voices would be lifted up like a trumpet to show the people their transgressions and the house of Israel their sins. Ministers who exhort sinners to be converted should distinctly define what sin is and what conversion from sin is. Sin is the transgression of the law. The convicted sinner must exercise repentance toward God for the transgression of His law, and faith toward our Lord Jesus Christ.” Ibid, 75.

“Sin Bringeth Forth Death”

1 What is the only definition of sin found in the Bible? 1 John 3:4.

NOTE: “The apostle gives us the true definition of sin. ‘Sin is the transgression of the law.’ The largest class of Christ’s professed ambassadors are blind guides. They lead the people away from the path of safety by representing the requirements and prohibitions of the ancient law of Jehovah as arbitrary and severe. They give the sinner license to overstep the limits of God’s law. In this they are like the great adversary of souls, opening before them a life of freedom in violation of God’s commandments. With this lawless freedom the basis of moral responsibility is gone.” Confrontation, 75.

2 What has God given man to help him recognize what is sin? Romans 7:7; 3:20, last part.

note: “The first step in reconciliation to God is the conviction of sin… ‘By the law is the knowledge of sin’ (Romans 3:20). In order to see his guilt, the sinner must test his character by God’s great standard of righteousness. It is a mirror which shows the perfection of a righteous character and enables him to discern the defects of his own. The law reveals to man his sin… It declares that death is the portion of the transgressor.” God’s Amazing Grace, 20.

“To those who urged that ‘the preaching of the gospel answers all the ends of the law,’ Wesley replied: ‘This we utterly deny. It does not answer the very first end of the law, namely, the convincing men of sin, the awakening those who are still asleep on the brink of hell.’ The apostle Paul declares that ‘by the law is the knowledge of sin;’ “and not until man is convicted of sin, will he truly feel his need of the atoning blood of Christ.… “They that be whole,” as our Lord Himself observes, “need not a physician, but they that are sick.” It is absurd, therefore, to offer a physician to them that are whole, or that at least imagine themselves so to be. You are first to convince them that they are sick; otherwise they will not thank you for your labor. It is equally absurd to offer Christ to them whose heart is whole, having never yet been broken.’” The Great Controversy, 264.

“Thou Shalt Surely Die”

3 What law was given to Adam and Eve and what was the penalty for transgression? Genesis 2:16–17.

(See: Patriarchs and Prophets, 52, 53)

4 How did the tempter attempt to undermine God’s law? Genesis 3:1–5.

note: “Satan represented to the holy pair that they would be gainers by breaking the law of God. Do we not today hear similar reasoning? Many talk of the narrowness of those who obey God’s commandments, while they themselves claim to have broader ideas and to enjoy greater liberty. What is this but an echo of the voice from Eden, ‘In the day ye eat thereof’—transgress the divine requirement—‘ye shall be as gods’? Satan claimed to have received great good by eating of the forbidden fruit, but he did not let it appear that by transgression he had become an outcast from heaven. Though he had found sin to result in infinite loss, he concealed his own misery in order to draw others into the same position. So now the transgressor seeks to disguise his true character; he may claim to be holy; but his exalted profession only makes him the more dangerous as a deceiver. He is on the side of Satan, trampling upon the law of God, and leading others to do the same, to their eternal ruin.” Ibid., 55.

(See also: The Great Controversy, 533)

“All have sinned”

5 How many of the human race have transgressed God’s law? Romans 3:23. Compare Galatians 3:22; Romans 3:9, 10.

note: “The human family have all transgressed the law of God, and as transgressors of the law, man is hopelessly ruined; for he is the enemy of God, without strength to do any good thing. ‘The carnal mind is enmity against God: for it is not subject to the law of God, neither indeed can be’ (Romans 8:7). Looking into the moral mirror—God’s holy law—man sees himself a sinner, and is convicted of his state of evil, his hopeless doom under the just penalty of the law.” Selected Messages, Book 1, 321.

6 How does Paul describe the effect of sinning upon the human mind? Romans 8:7.

note: “Few believe that humanity has sunk so low as it has or that it is so thoroughly bad, so desperately opposed to God, as it is. ‘The carnal mind is enmity against God: for it is not subject to the law of God, neither indeed can be’ (Romans 8:7). When the mind is not under the direct influence of the Spirit of God, Satan can mold it as he chooses. All the rational powers which he controls he will carnalize. He is directly opposed to God in his tastes, views, preferences, likes and dislikes, choice of things and pursuits; there is no relish for what God loves or approves, but a delight in those things which He despises; therefore a course is maintained which is offensive to Him. This leads to controversy with those who are trying to walk in the way of the Lord. They [those who oppose truth] will call light darkness, and darkness light; good evil, and evil good. Satan has been working at the wheel, turning it until he has the control of all the human minds who have received the lies with which he deceived Eve and then used her as his agent to entice Adam into sin. Satan has kept up his specious working upon human minds from that day to this.” Mind, Character, and Personality, vol. 1, 22.

“As in Adam All Die”

7 What was the effect of Adam’s sin upon mankind? Romans 5:12.

note: “Exhibit A [for the doctrine of original sin] has been Romans 5:12 ‘Wherefore, as by one man sin entered into the world, and death by sin; and so death passed upon all men…’ Let us observe that at this point we have a statement of fact with no explanation offered. The explanation comes in the next clause: ‘…for that all have sinned.’ ‘For that’ means because. The verse does not say because all have inherited guilt from Adam. It says because all have sinned. They therefore have guilt of their own and have no need to borrow any from Adam.” Dr. Ralph Larson: The Word Was Made Flesh, Cherrystone Press, Cherry Valley, CA, 1986, 336.

“Immortality, promised to man on condition of obedience, had been forfeited by transgression. Adam could not transmit to his posterity that which he did not possess; and there could have been no hope for the fallen race had not God, by the sacrifice of His Son, brought immortality within their reach.” The Great Controversy, 533.

“The wickedness that fills our world is the result of Adam’s refusal to take God’s word as supreme. He disobeyed, and fell under the temptation of the enemy. ‘Sin entered into the world, and death by sin; and so death passed upon all men, for that all have sinned.’ God declared, ‘The soul that sinneth, it shall die.’ And, apart from the plan of redemption, human beings are doomed to death. ‘All have sinned, and come short of the glory of God.’” Second Advent Review and Sabbath Herald, March 15, 1906.

8 Did David teach the doctrine of original sin? Psalm 51:5. Compare Psalm 71:5, 6. Hebrews 13:4.

note: “There are two possible readings of this verse, the one based on facts, the other based on assumptions. The first says that this verse, written by David, refers to his mother and himself. The second assumes that it applies to all men. The first notes that David is speaking about his own conception. The second applies this verse to the conception of all men. The first notes that David speaks of his conception as taking place in sin. The second assumes that all conceptions are done in sin. The first notes that David speaks of the sin of his mother. The second assumes that all mothers sin in conception. The first notes that we are not told the precise nature of David’s mother’s sin. The second assumes that this is referring to original sin. The first notes that we know nothing of David’s mother, nor the circumstances of his conception. The second assumes that she was the lawful wife of Jesse and that the sin referred to was original sin. Whatever the nature of the sin referred to in this verse, it should be clear that David is speaking of his mother’s sin and not his own. But a careful reading of this psalm will show that David does not use his mother’s sin as an excuse for his own adultery with Bathsheba and murder of Uriah.” Larson, 337-339.

9 Does this mean that God holds each of us guilty of Adam’s sin? Ezekiel 18:20.

note:“There are many who in their hearts murmur against God. They say, ‘We inherit the fallen nature of Adam, and are not responsible for our natural imperfections.’ They find fault with God’s requirements, and complain that He demands what they have no power to give. Satan made the same complaint in heaven, but such thoughts dishonor God.” Signs of the Times, August 29, 1892.

“Do you mean to cast reproach upon God? Well, you say, It was Adam’s sin. You say, I am not guilty of that, and I am not responsible for his guilt and fall. Here all these natural tendencies are in me, and I am not to blame if I act out these natural tendencies. Who is to blame? Is God? Why did God let Satan have this power over human nature? These are accusations against the God of heaven, and He will give you an opportunity, if you want it, of finally bringing your accusations against Him. Then He will bring His accusations against you when you are brought into His court of judgement.” Selected Messages, Book 3, 179.

“Let Not Sin Reign”

10 Is it inevitable that we will sin? 1 John 2:1, first part. Compare Romans 6:1, 2; 12–16.

note: “‘The prince of this world cometh,’ said Jesus, ‘and hath nothing in Me.’ John 14:30. There was in Him nothing that responded to Satan’s sophistry. He did not consent to sin. Not even by a thought did He yield to temptation. So it may be with us. Christ’s humanity was united with divinity; He was fitted for the conflict by the indwelling of the Holy Spirit. And He came to make us partakers of the divine nature. So long as we are united to Him by faith, sin has no more dominion over us. God reaches for the hand of faith in us to direct it to lay fast hold upon the divinity of Christ, that we may attain to perfection of character.” The Desire of Ages, 123. {Emphasis Supplied].

11 What remedy is provided for those who do sin? 1 John 2:1, 2 last part.

note: “From these scriptures it is evident that it is not God’s will that you should be distrustful and torture your soul with the fear that God will not accept you because you are sinful and unworthy. ‘Draw nigh to God, and He will draw nigh to you’ (James 4:8). Present your case before Him, pleading the merits of the blood shed for you upon Calvary’s cross. Satan will accuse you of being a great sinner, and you must admit this, but you can say: ‘I know I am a sinner, and that is the reason I need a Saviour. Jesus came into the world to save sinners. “The blood of Jesus Christ His Son cleanseth us from all sin” 1 John 1:7. “If we confess our sins, He is faithful and just to forgive us our sins, and to cleanse us from all unrighteousness’” (verse 9). I have no merit or goodness whereby I may claim salvation, but I present before God the all-atoning blood of the spotless Lamb of God, which taketh away the sin of the world. This is my only plea. The name of Jesus gives me access to the Father. His ear, His heart, is open to my faintest pleading, and He supplies my deepest necessities.’” Faith and Works, 105.

12 How are the children of God distinguishable from the children of the devil? 1 John 3:7–10.

note: “Christ’s righteousness will not cover the unrighteousness of anyone. ‘All unrighteousness is sin,’ and ‘sin is the transgression of the law,’ therefore, those who are breaking the law of God and teaching others to break it, will not be covered with the garments of Christ’s righteousness. He came not to save men in their sins; but from their sins.” Second Advent Review and Sabbath Herald, July 24, 1888.

“Every character must be brought to the test of this measurement; but it has been the determined purpose of Satan to tear down the standard of the law of God, and erect in its stead a lower standard, a finite measure by which men may measure themselves among themselves; and thus their ideas as to what constitutes righteousness have become lowered and confused. This is the reason that so large a number who profess to be followers of Christ, claim to be perfect and sanctified when they are sinners in the sight of God.” Signs of the Times, January 9, 1896.