In reading scripture it is important to be accurate. Notice the difference between "sin" and "sins", where both are nouns. The first refers to the principle, to lawlessness; the second refers to transgressions. Notice that in the early part of John's gospel, the Baptist says: Behold the Lamb of God who takes away the sin of the world. Some have read this carelessly, and assume "sins", then teach that all will be saved as a consequence.

Scripture tells me that God has condemned sin in the flesh. God can righteously forgive sins; sin, the principle, never. The Epistle to the Romans sets out the difference in a remarkable way. From chapter 1 until chapter 5:11, the writer deals with "sins"; from there until the end of chapter 8, he deals with "sin".

The answer to our sins is found in Christ's death for us; the answer to sin is found in our death with Christ. The Lord’s Supper is the symbol of the first; baptism is the symbol of the second. Read what Paul says in Romans 6 about being dead to sin, the principle, and see how much easier it is to understand the message.

Then Romans 7 describes weakness rather than wickedness; deliverance is described at the end of the chapter, and into chapter 8.

In Romans 8:1, “There is then no condemnation to those in Christ Jesus”. Again, more great certainties in verse 30: “But whom he has predestinated, these also he has called; and whom he has called, these also he has justified; but whom he has justified, these also he has glorified”.

MM 5 April 2004