Repentance (4)

If we are to fully appreciate the meaning of repentance, we must know what it is that we need to repent from. "Repentance from dead works" or "from acts that lead to death" is the first of the "First Principles" listed for us in Hebrews 6:1, 2. To go wrong here is to endanger the whole "foundation". "Acts that lead to death" are the deeds and actions of a life that is lived apart from the "living God". They may be religious works, gross deeds, or the hypocritical actions and attitudes of the self-righteous moralist. "All acts of a man in himself, separated from God,are ’acts that lead to death'."

These acts are variously referred to in the Bible. "SIN" is the word most often used. However, there are other words to describe the different aspects of man's sinful condition. The essential principle of sin is SELFISHNESS. It is the love of self or my own way as opposed to the love of God and His way. This love of self may express itself in many ways, but each of these ways is "our own way", not His way.

Isa. 53:6 - "We all, like sheep, have gone astray, each of us has turned to his own way; and the LORD has laid on him the iniquity of us all."

2 Cor. 5:15 - "And he died for all, that those who live should no longer live for themselves but for him who died for them and was raised again."


a. SIN (hamartia) - "To miss a mark; to be in error."

Matt. 1:21 - "She will give birth to a son, and you are to give him the name Jesus, because he will save his people from their sins."

This is the most common word for sin in the New Testament. It was not originally an ethical word at all. It was, in fact, a word derived from shooting arrows; and it meant a missing of the target or falling short - not reaching the target. Sin is the failure to hit the target." It is failing to be what we should be; it is falling short of God’s glorious desire for us. It is "missing the mark, doing or going wrong." "for all have sinned and fall short of the glory of God." (Rom. 3:23).

b. EVIL (Kakos) - "Bad, of a bad quality or disposition, worthless, corrupt, depraved, wicked, criminal, morally bad."

Mark 7:21 - "For from within, out of men's hearts, come evil thoughts, . . . "

In the parable of the servants (Matt. 24:42-51), the "evil servant" (vs. 48), is contrasted with the "faithful and wise servant". (vs. 45)

c. WICKEDNESS (Poneria) - "Evil disposition of mind, mischief, malignity."

Matt. 13:49 - "This is how it will be at the end of the age. The angels will come and separate the wicked from the righteous."

This indicates a "mental disregard for justice, righteousness, truth, honor, virtue; evil in thought and life; depravity; sinfulness; criminality." On one occasion the Pharisees "took counsel how they might entangle Him in His talk," and then proceeded to present to Him a "loaded question". But Jesus perceived their WICKEDNESS, and said, "You hypocrites, why are you trying to trap me?" (Matt. 22:15-18)

d. TRANSGRESSION (parabasis) - "A stepping by the side, deviation, violation of law."

Gal 3:19 - "What, then, was the purpose of the law? It was added because of transgressions . . . "

This word`"literally means a STEPPING ACROSS". The picture is of a man stepping across a line across which he has no right to step, of a man invading forbidden territory, and crossing the bounds of that which is right. This is the sin of deliberately crossing the fence between right and wrong."

e. UNRIGHTEOUSNESS (adikia) - "Injustice, wrong, iniquity, falsehood, deceitfulness."

1 John 5:17 - "All wrongdoing is sin, (hamartia). . . "

"Unrighteousness is the failure to give to God and to man what is their due. The unrighteous man fails to give God his love and obedience, and fails to give man his charity and his service."

f. UNGODLINESS (asebeia) — "Impiety; improbity (dishonesty), wickedness."

Rom. 1:18 - "The wrath of God is being revealed from heaven against all the godlessness."

"Sin is godless; it is the total disregard of God; it is treating God as if He did not exist. lt is not atheism, for atheism does not believe that there is a God. Godlessness knows that there is a God and totally disregards Him."

g. INIOUITY (anomia) - "Without law, not subject to law, violating law, lawless."

Matt. 7:23 - ".... depart from Me, you who practice lawlessness!"

"Nomos means law; and the sinner is the man who disobeys God’s law. This word stresses the deliberation of sin; it describes the man who well knows the right, and who yet does the wrong."

h. DISOBEDIENCE (parakoe) - "An erroneous or imperfect hearing; disobedience; a deviation from obedience."

Rom. 5:12 - "By one man’s disobedience many were made sinners . . . "

The verb form of this word originally meant "to mishear or to fail to hear. It could be used of the man who did not catch something that someone else said, because it was indistinctly spoken, or because he himself was deaf. Then it came to mean DELIBERATELY NOT TO HEAR, as it were, to close the ears to. Sin means CLOSING THE EARS TO GOD IN ORDER TO LISTEN TO ONE’S SELF."

i. TRESPASS (paraptoma) - "A falling aside, deviation from the right path."

Eph. 2:1 - "And you hath He quickened, who were dead in trespasses and sins (hamartia)."

This word "describes the slip which a man may make when he is off guard, when he is not looking where he is going, when he takes his eye off the goal. It is the failure in concentration, the failure in self-control through which a man is swept or slips into sin."



Rom. 5: 12 - "By one man SIN entered into the worId." (Gen. 3)


James 1:14, 15 - "EVERY MAN is tempted, when he is drawn away by HIS OWN LUST, and enticed. Then, when lust has conceived, it brings forth SIN: and sin, when it is finished, results in death."


Rom. 3:23 - "ALL have sinned!" 
Rom. 3:9 - "Both Jews and Gentiles . . . they are ALL under sin."
Rom. 3:10 - "There is NONE righteous, no, not one."
Rom. 3:12 - "They are ALL gone out of the way . . . there is NONE that doeth good, no, not one."
Rom. 3:19 - "ALL THE WORLD . . . guilty before God."
Rom. 5:12 - "All have sinned!"
Gal. 3:22 - "The scripture hath concluded ALL under sin."


  1. Seven which come from the natural heart and defile (Matt. 15:18-20)
  2. Thirteen which come from the natural heart and defile (Mark 7:21-23)
  3. Twenty-three which bring the judgment of God (Rom. 1:29-32)
  4. Seven which Christians must not do. (Rom. 13:13, 14)
  5. Six with which Christians must not associate (1 Cor. 5:9-11)
  6. Ten which bar us from the kingdom of God (1 Cor. 6:9, 10)
  7. Eleven from which Christians must turn away. (2 Cor. 12:20-21)
  8. Seventeen which bar from the kingdom of God (Gal. 5:19-21)
  9. Nine in which the unsaved live and in which Christians must not live. (Eph. 4:17-19)
  10. Six which must not be named as existing among Christians (Eph. 5:3, 4)
  11. Nine which Christians must put away (Eph. 4:25, 28, 29, 31)
  12. Four which bar from the kingdom of God and of Christ and which bring the wrath of God (Eph. 5:5,6)
  13. Six which Christians must mortify, and which bring the wrath of God (Col. 3:5, 6)
  14. Six which Christians must put off (Col. 3:8, 9)
  15. Fourteen for which the law was given. (1 Tim. 1:9,10)
  16. Nineteen from which Christians must turn away (2 Tim. 3:1-5)
  17. Nine from which Christians are saved (Tit. 3:3-5)
  18. Five which Christians must lay aside (1 Peter 2:1)
  19. Seven sins of the flesh in which Christians used to live (1 Peter 4:2-4)
  20. Eight which condemn to the lake of fire (Rev. 21 :8)
  21. Six which bar from the tree of life and the holy city (Rev. 22:14-15)

These 21 lists enumerate a total of 202 sins. Some are repeated in more than one list, but there are 103 unique sins mentioned.

Study Questions for Lesson No. 5

  1. What is the essential principle of sin?
  2. What is the most common word for sin in the New Testament?
  3. List four other words used for sin in the New Testament.
  4. According to the Bible, what is the historical origin of sin?
  5. How does the Bible describe the individual act of sin?
  6. How many of the Human Race are sinners?
  7. How many sins are listed in the New Testament?

Additional thought:

From the lessons thus far it is easy to become disillusioned or guilt ridden. Another response is to grit our teeth and try to "pull ourselves up by our boot laces" - trying to practice better discipline. Neither response provides the correct method of dealing with this. The how is shown to us by Paul in Romans 12:2 Do not conform any longer to the pattern of this world, but be transformed by the renewing of your mind. Then you will be able to test and approve what God’s will is—his good, pleasing and perfect will.

So God's method is for our minds to be renewed (made anew). The mind is a part of our soul or heart comprising the mind, will and emotions. This is not trying in our own strength to control our thoughts by quoting scriptures or rugged self discipline (both are things we can use to help) but we need to allow the activity of God's Spirit (living in all those who have asked Him into their lives) to impact us and change our character and nature as we abide in Him - John 15.


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