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THEOLOGY > Sin > The Character of Sin > Pervasiveness of Sin 


Sin is not in some places, sin is in all places; sin is not in some people, sin is in all people; sin is not a part of some actions, sin is a part of all actions; sin is not a problem some of the time, sin is a problem all of the time. Sin is pervasive. Note the following verses that speak of the pervasiveness of sin:

There is no one who does not sin (I Kings 8:46);

Behold, I was brought forth in iniquity, and in sin did my mother conceive me (Ps. 51:5);

the heart of the children of man is fully set to do evil (Eccles. 8:11);

the hearts of the children of man are full of evil (Eccles. 9:3);

The whole head is sick, and the whole heart faint. From the sole of the foot even to the head, there is no soundness in it (Isa. 1:5);

But we are all like an unclean thing, and all our righteousnesses are as filthy rags (Isa. 64:6);

None is righteous, no, not one; no one understands; no one seeks for God. All have turned aside (Rom. 3:10-12);

For all have sinned and fall short of the glory of God (Rom. 3:23);

For I know that in me (that is, in my flesh) nothing good dwells (Rom. 7:18).

All about me is sinful and everything within me is sinful. Those around me are constantly doing sinful things, and my every thought and deed are both sinful. Sin cannot be escaped; there is no respite from it. It cannot be turned off; it hounds each individual every second of every day, not only by temptations from without but from the musings and plotting of an evil nature within. “O wretched man that I am” (Rom. 7:24).

Sin is so dominating that even my good is sinful; the good that I do cannot be separated from the sin that colors it and conditions it.  This is most graphic, especially for the believer, in that he needs to repent of his repentance which means that so-called sincere repentance is still sinful repentance—there is no totally good deed that is devoid of evil. This is to affirm that there is no totally good deed that is devoid of evil. Even the supposed good things that are done are not independently and uniquely good; their doing is sinful doing because the children of Adam are involved, and the world is cursed.

When I pray, my praying is not without flaw, without selfishness, without vindictiveness, without justification of individual actions; my prayer is not totally with faith and devoid of doubt. This affirms that my praying is sinful praying; I cannot pray and the prayer be pure in the absolute sense of the word. I pray and in my sinful praying I ask the Father to teach me how to pray; I pray and in my deplorable praying I beseech the Father to hear my prayer in spite of the character of my prayer; I pray and in my sinful inadequacy I depend on the Spirit to assist me by offering my prayer in an acceptable mode before the Father. I pray because of my sin, but my sin is part and parcel of my prayer. Sin is all-encompassing.

The world system is sinful; evil is the principle that dominates the world system regardless of which aspect of it is being discussed, the political, social, economic, or religious. Apart from believers who are citizens of another world, the City of God, all of the rest of mankind is part of the City of Man, in fact, the world is the City of Man. And the ruler of this world is the Devil (Jo. 12:31; 14:30: 16:11). So the world in which man lives is cursed because of sin, and the organizational structure and the individuals that are a part of the structure are sinners and continually do  sinful things. “Friendship with the world is enmity with God” (Jas. 4:4); thinking like the world and living like the world means that one is the enemy of God. Being an enemy is encouraged because of the enveloping nature of sin.

Pervasiveness of sin necessitates civil government. The State is “God’s minister, an avenger to execute wrath on him who practices evil” (Rom. 13:4). The “governing authorities” are necessary because sin is a reality. Because sin is pervasive and man is constantly succumbing to its temptations, God has set in place hindrances to the outbreak of sinful deeds, or at least a means by which the perpetrators of the deeds are punished. If sin did not exist then the State would not be necessary.  

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