S50 - Unbelief
‘And he did not do many mighty works there because of their unbelief.’
Jesus came into his hometown of Bethlehem but could not do many mighty works there because these people saw him as the son of Joseph and did not accorded him the status of the Son of God. Unbelief limited Jesus’ ability to perform miracles.
Heb 3:19 says,
‘So we see that they were unable to enter (their rest) because of unbelief.’
The children of Israel that came out of Egypt bar two (Joshua and Caleb) were unable to enter the Promised Land because of their unbelief. Unbelief is an obstacle preventing the release of God’s power. Believe in God, on the other hand, is equated with ‘righteousness’ (James 2:23).
Unbelief limits God’s ability to operate and flow. Unbelief, not trusting God, is a major sin.
S51 - Unforgiveness
Unforgiveness – Mark 11:26 reads,
‘Whenever you stand praying, forgive, if you have anything against anyone, so that your Father also who is in heaven may forgive you your trepasses.’
Unforgiveness is a major sin because Jesus made it clear that if we don’t forgive others, our Father in heaven might not forgive us. Regardless of whatever has had happened to us in the past, our mandate is to forgive.
The reason why we forgive is because we have been forgiven. Almost all of us will fall back into sin on occasions. Yet, when we return and repent before God, he forgives us, not once but over and over again. In Matt 18:22 (NLT), Jesus exclaimed that forgiveness is given ‘not seven times but seventy times seven.’ If God can forgive us each time we sin, then we should also forgive others.
In war situations, some of the atrocities are beyond description. Yet, God’s mandate for us is to forgive because it is a forceful emotional release mechanism for us personally. Truly, there is power in forgiveness and it is within our prerogative to do so.
Do not harbor unforgiveness as it is a grave sin. Choose to forgive because we have been forgiven.
S52 - Unholy
S53 - Unloving
S54 - Unmerciful (Lack Compassion)
The word used for ‘unmerciful’ is aneleemonas in Greek as found in Rom 1:31. It is also the same as ‘without natural affection’ or ‘without compassion’.
Jesus related the story of the Sabbath and asked,
‘Which of you, having a son or an ox that has fallen into a well on a Sabbath Day, will not immediately pull him out?’ (Luke 14:5).
He asked this question because the Pharisees were upset that he healed a man who had dropsy.
When we could have taken on and done something good but chose not to do so, then our heart might be in the wrong place. You will notice repeatedly in the Bible that Jesus did miracles out of compassion. His heart could be moved and so must ours. God could forgive our sins via Jesus because he chose mercy rather than judgement. Hence, we must forgive others who might have harmed us.
‘For I was hungry, and you gave Me nothing to eat; I was thirsty, and you gave Me nothing to drink; I was a stranger, and you did not invite Me in; naked, and you did not clothe Me; sick, and in prison, and you did not visit Me.’ “Then they themselves also will answer, ‘Lord, when did we see You hungry, or thirsty, or a stranger, or naked, or sick, or in prison, and did not take care of You?’’
Being unmerciful (or lacking compassion) is a grave sin.
How do we react to those who are hungry, thirsty, naked, sick, and in prison?
S55 - Unbelieving
The criteria for being saved or ‘having everlasting life’ as defined in the all-time favorite John 3:16 is ‘believing in the Lord Jesus’. The Greek word is pisteuo and is the same as ‘having faith in’ or ‘putting our trust in’.
Not believing in Jesus Christ is the same as ‘Rejection of Jesus’ found under unpardonable sins.
S56 - Untrustworthy
The Greek word for ‘untrustworthy’ as found in Rom 1:31 is asunthetos or ‘untrue to an agreement’ or ‘treacherous’. The Bible does not uphold deception as a means of getting things done. It is an abomination. The devil, whom the Bible identifies as the father of lies (John 8:44), is also called the deceiver of the whole world (Rev 12:9).
Deception, lies, and untrustworthiness are the linchpin of the devil. Believers who practice these behaviors are committing serious sins.
See also S10, Godlessness – Deceitfulness.
S57 - Heartless
The Greek word for ‘heartless’ as found in Rom 1:31 is astorgos or ‘unloving’, ‘devoid of affection’.
In other words, a person who cannot feel. Jesus expressed his emotions while on earth. The shortest verse in the Bible in John 11:35 when Jesus visited Lazarus’ tomb was,
It is a sin and possibly the first sign of someone with a ‘hardness of heart’.
S58 - Hardness of heart 1
What is hardness of heart?
The word ‘hardness’ as found in Mark 3:5 and spoken by Jesus referred to the Greek word, porosis or obtuseness or ‘not sensitive’. This reference was made after Jesus healed on a Sabbath but the Pharisees, instead of praising him, accused him of going against the law relating to the Sabbath.
‘Hardness of heart’ is a serious condition. It resulted in the children of Israel not being able to enter the Promised Land as found in Heb 3 and 4. Hence, there were three invitations in these two chapters from the Holy Spirit, ‘Today, if you hear his voice, do not harden your hearts as in the rebellion’ (Heb 3:8, Heb 3:15, Heb 4:7).
To know God and hear him, our hearts have to be soft in order to receive instructions. Hardness of heart is when we choose our will over that directed by the Holy Spirit continuously.
And if it is often enough, it reaches a stage as described later in S144 – Hardness of heart 2.
Hardness of heart is a sin and can lead to the ineffectiveness and possible downfall of believers. It also leads to the final destruction of non-believers.
S59 - Self dependency (I'm my god)
God says, he ‘opposes the proud but gives grace to the humble.’ James 4:6.
Pride (I’m my god) was what resulted in the fall of Satan. He reached a state whereby he exclaimed,
“I will ascend above the heights of the clouds; I will make myself like the Most High.”
Satan wanted to be God (Isa 14:14). We are made in the image of God and we have a will. Hence, we can decide that ‘we are gods’.
There is no such thing as ‘self-made person.’ Even a person who works hard and who has the ability to reach where he or she is today still has to depend on many factors which are beyond his/ her control; for example, like the country, time, and place that the person is born in.
This person is ‘rich in spirit’ and cannot see his/ her need for God. It is the opposite of what Jesus shared at the Beatitudes – ‘Blessed are the poor in spirit for theirs is the kingdom of heaven’ (Matt 5:3).
Our failure to acknowledge God in our endeavors – our sense of ‘self dependency’, our ‘self reliance’ without God and our richness in spirit – is a sin.
S60 - Disobedience to authorities (including governments)
In highly democratic nations like the USA or even Hongkong, we see a high degree of disobedience to the authorities, be they law enforcement officers or even the President. The word, ‘obedience’, in Greek is peitharcheo or ‘obey one in authority, confirm to advice’ as found in Titus 3:1.
Civil disobedience seems to be the byword because in some quarters, it is the squeaky wheel that gets the attention. Hence, civil disobedience is encouraged.
But should Christians participate in civil disobedience, especially those involving clashes with the police? Does Jesus support violent protest?
Interestingly, when Jesus was betrayed at the Garden of Gethsemane, he chose non-violence and submission to the governing authority.
When Simon Peter drew his sword out and cut off the right ear of the High Priest’s servant (John 18:10), Jesus intervened and explained, ‘Put your sword back into its place. For all who take the sword will perish by the sword. Do you think that I cannot appeal to my Father and he will at once send me more than twelve legions of angels.’ (Matt 26:53).
In 1 Peter 2:19-20, the Apostle Peter said to the disciples who were still slaves,
‘Do what they tell you – not only if they are kind and reasonable, but even if they are cruel. For God is pleased when, conscious of his will, you patiently endure unjust treatment.’
Peter never advocated violence but rather for believers to choose the path of patient endurance.
Civil disobedience with violence, in general, is a sin. Please see B107 to B116 – Relationship with Government for a more in-depth presentation.
S61 - Disobedience to parents
Parents are placed there to discipline and bring up their children. No parent is perfect since parenting is not an easy job and does not come with an operating manual. Generally, God expects children to obey their parents.
Prov 19:26 says that,
‘He who does violence to his father and chases away his mother is a son who brings shame and reproach.’
In the Old Testament, it says that
‘a stubborn and rebellious son (or daughter’ who does not take to discipline by his/ her parents is deserving of death by stoning (Deut 21:18-21).
Of course, we do not apply the same law in the New Testament anymore but it does highlight the seriousness of a child who is disobedient to his/ her parent.
S62 - Reject authority and rebel
Jude 11 speaks about ‘Korah’s rebellion’. Korah rebelled against Moses despite the fact that God spoke directly to Moses. As recorded in Num 16, Korah challenged Moses and asked, ‘Why then do you exalt yourselves above the assembly of the Lord?’ The Lord destroyed not only Korah but his entire household.
The Lord hates rebellion. It was Satan who rejected authority and rebelled against God.
Rebellion is a sin because it is about rejecting authority, especially God appointed ones.
See B107 and B108, Relationship with Government for more information relating to when Christians might disagree with the ruling government.
S63 - Reject will of God
‘But the Pharisees and the lawyers rejected the purpose of God for themselves,’ – Luke 7:30.
Then Luke 12:47 explains,
‘And that servant who knew his master’s will but did not get ready or act according to his will, will receive a severe beating.’
God’s will is obvious when we read his word because there are certain ‘expected things’ for Christians to follow. Yet, other times, God may reveal his specific will to us. John 14:15 says,
‘If you love me, you will keep my commandments.’
It is a sin to reject the purpose of God in our lives. See also Christian behaviors.
S64 - Reject Jesus
In Matt 8, Jesus had just healed two men with demons. Yet, the entire town did not appreciate it and ‘begged him to leave their region’ (Matt 8:34). Here, we see that an entire town rejected Jesus, not just an individual. And the repercussions are great.
Jesus always offers us choices; rejection of Jesus is the same as ‘unbelieving’ in S55, Unbelieving, and is a grave sin.
S65 - Prefer status quo and lukewarmness rather than seek out the manifestation of God's presence
In Luke 8:26-37, Jesus had just healed a man from demonic possession. But in the process, he sent these demons into a herd of pigs.
Mark 5:12 specifically mentioned that there were around two thousand pigs. So, it was a very large herd even by our today’s standard. The pigs ‘rushed down the steep bank into the sea and drowned in the sea’ (Mark 5:13).
Instead of thanking Jesus and being awed by the supernatural, the people of the town came out and ‘begged him to leave their region’ (Matt 8:34). Based on what we read, we can suspect that the people were frightened by the supernatural or they chose corporate economic stability rather than the healing of that individual. Or simply they wanted things to be status quo.
Would the term ‘lukewarm’ described them as found in Rev 3:16?
The same might be said of the priest and the Levite who avoided walking toward the beaten up fellow Jews in the story of the Good Samaritan. Instead, they ‘passed him by on the other side’ (Luke 10:31-32); they were indifferent to the needs of their fellow man.
Lukewarmness, apathy or indifference is a serious sin that affects a lot of us. The Lord reprimanded the church in Laodicea for being ‘lukewarm and (being) neither hot nor cold.’ (Rev 3:16).
S66 - Become an antichrist (someone who opposes Jesus Christ)
Obviously, choosing to become an antichrist or even just adopting the values of an antichrist is a sin. The Greek word is ‘antichristos’ and it means choosing to become an enemy of the Messiah.
S67 - Reject the voice of God
Hearing God’s voice is a critical component of being a believer. God speaks to us through his word (both logos and rhema); please see also B249 – Decision making/ Holy Spirit.
Jesus met a man who declared himself to be perfect, having followed the law to the letter. Then, Jesus challenged him,
‘One thing you still lack. Sell all that you have and distribute to the poor, and you will have treasure in heaven; and come follow me’ – Matt 19:22.
It was simply too hard for the man. He walked away very sad. The man had fulfilled all the logos but what was missing was obeying the specific word of Jesus to him (the rhema word).
Heb 3:7-8 says,
‘Today, if you hear his voice, do not harden your hearts as in the rebellion, on the day of testing in the wilderness.’
Matt 7:26 calls out such a person who hears the words of God and not do them as a foolish man who built his house on the sand.
The most critical element in rejecting the voice of God is to reject Jesus as Lord and Savior.
To disobey God’s voice when we hear/ read it is an obvious sin.
S68 - Do not possess the fear of God
No fear of God – Rom 3:18, unrighteous people have ‘no fear of God before their eyes.’ The word, ‘fear’, is the Greek word phobos or reverence or respect.
If one does not believe in God then one will not necessarily fear God. If there is no God, then there is nothing to worry about regarding afterlife accountability.
But Christians believe in God and a rightful and reverential fear of God prevents us from doing anything foolish.
S69 - Possess a fear of men
John 9:22 says,
‘His parents said these things because they feared the Jews, for the Jews (Pharisees and Sadducees) had already agreed that if anyone should confess Jesus to be Christ, he was to be put out of the synagogue (their religious institution).’
A man, born blind since birth, had been healed by Jesus on a Sabbath. The Jews were upset. They brought his parents and wanted to know whether that was their son. His parents felt intimidated by them and chose to answer vaguely.
The word, ‘fear’ in Greek is ‘afraid’ or phobeo. It is translated as ‘am afraid’ or ‘terrified’.
Some people might not fear God but many people do fear men. What they do or not do is influenced by how others react. The common term is ‘social norm’; psychologists, sociologists and behavioral scientists acknowledge that social norm is powerful.
The parents in this case feared the Jews (Pharisees and Sadducees); religious leaders have a stronghold on people as the latter sees them as a representative of God. And if these leaders do not approve, does it mean that God might not approve too?
The parents’ actions were influenced by men rather than God. Our actions can too.
In our politically correct world, being a Christian is no more easy. There are the elements of homophobia, as well as Islamophobia. To mention any of these groups in a bad light in social media might invite an avalanche of negative publicity from our friends, colleagues, and relatives, not forgetting the possibility of the mainstream media. Even churches avoid these subjects altogether, leaving a congregation that is confused and without knowledge.
The fear of men stamps from our need for acceptance, recognition, our fear of criticism as well as humiliation. Soon to come, the fear of men might well hit our pockets too, e.g. jobs and contracts.
How many of our decisions and actions are guided by the ‘fear of men’ and not God? The Apostle Peter when threatened with prison told the court officials, said, ‘We must obey God rather than men.’
‘Fear of men’ is sin.
S70 - Love the recognition and praises of man over God's
John 12:43, ‘For they (Pharisees and Sadducees) loved praise from men more than praise from God.’ This is is a parallel to fearing men.
If we choose to do something because it looks good in men’s eyes in order to earn the ‘praises of men’, like giving money to charity because we want to be seen, then it is a sin. That is why Jesus advocated that in such situations, it is good that the ‘left hand does not know what the right hand is doing’ (Matt 6:3).
Instead of avoiding the ‘fear of men’, here we are seeking for the ‘praises of men’. Again, even pastors and politicians do that. Instead of confronting sins, they avoid the word completely. They go soft on negative issues. So do believers.
Jesus promised believers that ‘you will be hated by all for my name’s sake’ (Matt 10:22). Christians do stand for certain absolutes which cannot be compromised. The world will try and alter our behaviors through either fear or praise.
In the Beatitudes, the Lord reminded us with these words, ‘Blessed are you when people hate you and when they exclude you and revile you and spurn your name as evil on account of the Son of Man’ (Luke 6:22).
Believers must beware. The world will get more evil and Christians will be asked to adjust their behaviors through the elements of reward and punishment by the world system. Actions taken to compromise our beliefs in God as a result of praises and fear of men are both sins.
S71 - Be a coward
In John 12:42-43, it explains, ‘many even of the authorities (like Nicodemus, they were part of the elites) believed in him but for fear of the Pharisees they did not confess it, so that they would not be put out of the synagogue for they loved the glory that comes from man more than the glory that comes from God.’
Cowardice is not something the Lord takes to well. In Rev 21:8, it says, ‘for the cowardly ….. Their portion will be in the lake that burns with fire and sulphur which is the second death.’
At the same time, believers were commended when they ‘love not their lives even unto death’ (Rev 12:11).
It is easy for the writer to record this when everything is smooth but there is a saying that we will know who the real Christians are ‘when the rubber meets the road’, that is when real suffering begins.
Cowards are abhorrent to God. Cowardice is an action but even before this is manifested there will be signs to show – like those produced earlier when the person loves the praises of men more than God or the fear men more than God. Believers must be aware of such pitfalls.
Cowardice in the face of an impending unfriendly world to being a Christian is a sin. Believers need the wisdom to deduce when to stand up for God without appearing silly and stupid.
Let us be inspired by watching a story of courage – Man in a red bandanna.
See also D70, Jesus was killed for political reasons.
S72 - Approve others who practice sinful acts (especially so for figures like judges and lawyers)
Rom 1:32 says, ‘They not only do them but give approval to those who practice them.’ The New Living Translation says, ‘Worse yet, they encourage others to do them too.’
Sin is not just isolated to our own doing. It can involve us giving approval or encouraging others to do it. Acts 8:1 says, ‘Saul approved the stoning of Stephen.’ We could only suspect that it would be an awkward conversation between Saul (Later, the name was changed to Paul) and Stephen in heaven but thankfully we are all sinners saved by grace. We are pretty certain that Stephen will be the first to welcome Paul into heaven.
Authoritative figures like judges are often put in such predicaments as they have been vested with authority by the state to pass judgments. How can they remain impartial as it might cost them their careers? Pontius Pilate knew it was ‘out of envy that they (the Jewish religious elites) handed Jesus over to him (for judgment)’ (Matt 27:18).
Nevertheless, he sided with the religious elites and the mob and sentenced Jesus to be crucified although he did symbolically washed his hands to declare that ‘he was innocent of this man’s (Jesus’) blood’ (Matt 27:24).
Encouraging others to sin is a sin in itself.
S73 - Betray someone
S74 - Abusive
S75 - Lack of self-control
The Greek word for a lack of self-control is akrates or ‘inclined to excess’ or a lack of self-discipline/ self restraint. As we become mature, we are expected to exercise self-discipline and not engage in a hedonistic lifestyle in ‘excesses’ such as the pleasures of eating, drinking, and sex. A lack of self-control can put us in all sorts of compromised positions.
See also S79 – Hedonism.
A believer must practise self-control.
S76 - Self-righteous and a 'holier-than-you' attitude
Jesus told a story about two persons going up to pray; one a tax collector and the other a Pharisee. The Pharisee was going through his checklist of good behavior and ticked them off, giving himself a high score. The tax collector, on the other hand, felt the burden of his own sins and could only utter a prayer for God to be merciful toward him because he was a sinner. Jesus lauded the tax collector and said,
‘This man (the tax collector) went down to his house justified, rather than the other (the Pharisee). For everyone who exalts himself (that is, being self-righteous) will be humbled, but the one who humbles himself will be exalted’ (Luke 18:9-14).
God seeks people who acknowledge their sins and request for mercy from God and not one who is self-righteous before him. Rom 3:10 explains the reason because ‘there is none righteous, no, not one’. All of us are sinners and the only difference between believers and non-believers is that believers are saved by the grace of God through Christ Jesus who became our sacrificial lamb.
Religiosity can creep in unknowingly among ‘older’ Christians (Christians who have been in the faith for a while). Some of us whose personality type may be more judgement may gravitate to being more critical of other Christians or Christian leaders. Hence, the Lord instituted certain behaviors to help us be malleable to overcome these shortcomings.
- Here are some of his suggestions:
- Pray for our leaders and enemies (Matt 5:44),
- Look for opportunities to do good to all (Matt 25:35-40),
- Exercise hospitality to strangers (Heb 13:2),
- Show compassion and love before judgement (Matt 9:36).
Beware of our own self-righteousness.
S77 - Ungrateful
In 2 Tim 3:2, the word ‘ungratefulness’ in Greek is acharistos or ‘unthankfulness’. Christians are told to be thankful.
Ph 4:6-7 says,
‘Do not be anxious about anything but in every situation, by prayer and petition, with thanksgiving, present your requests to God.’
Some people go through really tough challenges and they end up developing a bitter attitude towards God, people and things in general. God does not pretend that everything is perfect. In fact, God encourages us to vocalize our problems in prayer to him (Phil 4:6-7). He encourages us to wrestle with him in order to know who he is.
The Apostle Paul, who penned 2 Timothy, went through experiences that would have challenged anyone to be grateful. He explained in 2 Cor 11:25-27,
‘Three times I was beaten with rods. Once I was stoned. Three times I was shipwrecked; a night and a day I was adrift at sea; on frequent journeys in danger from rivers, danger from robbers, danger from my own people, danger from Gentiles; danger in the city, danger in the wilderness, danger in sea, danger from false brothers; in toil and hardship, through many a sleepless night, in hunger and thirst, often without food, in cold and exposure.’
Amazingly, when he came to the end of that long list, he could still conclude,
‘For the sake of Christ, I am content with weaknesses, insults, hardships, persecutions, and calamities. For when I am weak, then I am strong.’ (2 Cor 12:10).
Paul remained grateful and motivated.
Being thankful is a big part of being a Christian. An ungrateful attitude shows a lack of trust in God.
S78 - Self-seeking ambition
James 3:14 talks about ‘bitter jealousy and selfish ambition in our hearts’. When Jesus prayed the final time at the Garden of Gethsemane in John 17, Jesus showed that he had the Father’s priority right up front. John 17:6 says,
‘I have manifested your name to the people whom you gave me out of the world.’ It is always about the Father.
Being ‘Self-Seeking’ is about someone insisting that things should be carried out on his/ her own way (1 Cor 13:5). It is an ‘unwillingness to yield’ (James 3:17). Jesus did not seek his own agenda nor his glory.
‘For I have come down from heaven not to do my own will but the will of him that sent me.’
Luke 22:42b reiterates,
‘Not my will but yours be done.’
The struggle that we have, regardless of who we are and what we do, is the issue of our own will; it is never one that is easy to master. Practically every believer suffers from this ‘disease’.
Prov 21:2 says,
‘Every way of a man is right in his own eyes but the Lord weighs the hearts.’
Here lies the problem: We don’t even know our own heart or whether we are ‘self-seeking’.
There are strategies to deal with this but it is not covered within this section.
Being self-seeking is a serious sin because it can bring about ‘evil(ness) and every evil thing’ (James 3:16), especially in a church setting. Regardless of which stage of life we are in, all of us, by the grace of God, have to learn how to master ourselves and our spirit.
S79 - Live a life of pleasure (hedonistic and narcissistic lifestyle)
If we are reasonably rich, there are many ways of enjoying the ‘pleasures of life’ and treating our bodies well, including enhancing our bodies, participating in self-gratification, buying really expensive toys or simply enjoying good food.
We need to take good care of our bodies. 1 Cor 3:16 says, we are ‘God’s temple’. Hence, there is logic in making sure that we do not destroy it through poor lifestyle choices.
But excesses can come to all of us. With the money that we earn, we can either do good with others, spoil it on ourselves, or hoard it in a bank. How we use our money would represent a reflection on who we really are (Matt 6:21) – ‘For where your treasure is, there your heart will be also.’
How do we draw a line?
It is not within this project to place judgment but to provide a reminder that ‘hedonism’ (the pursuit of sensual self-indulgence) and ‘narcissism’ (excessive interest in or admiration of oneself and one’s physical appearance) are sins and represent the ‘lust of the flesh’.
S80 - Live life flippantly and carelessly
‘Blessed are you who weep now, for you shall laugh.’ (Luke 6:21) and then the Lord also presents a flip-side to this by saying,
‘Woe to you who laugh now, for you shall mourn and weep.’
We enjoy a good laugh. That is why comedians are revered. But within that laughter may lie great pains which these comedians hide under the veneer of professionalism. Prov 17:22 says,
‘A joyful heart is good medicine but a broken spirit dries up the bones.’
Laughter is good at various points in time. But weeping also brings us back to what life really is and a reminder that we are but vapor.
S81 - Fail to use our gifts and practice wastefulness (unfruitfulness)
In Matt 25, Jesus told a story about a man who entrusted some talents to three servants in various amounts. The one that was given five talents made five more. So did the servant who had two talents. But the one who had only one talent chose to hide it and was severely reprimanded by the man.
More than this, the last servant, the one who only had but one talent, was branded as ‘wicked and slothful’ and was ‘cast into the outer darkness in a place where there is weeping and gnashing of teeth’ (Matt 25:30).
Jesus hated waste. In John 6:12, after he had miraculously fed the five thousand, he got his disciples to gather up the leftovers which came up to twelve baskets of fragments all ‘so that nothing will be wasted’.
Jesus also hated unfruitfulness. In Mark 11:13, when Jesus could not find anything to eat on a fig tree with leaves, he cursed it, ‘May no one ever eat fruit from you again.’
Jesus expected us to use our talents for his purpose. Wastefulness, unfruitfulness, and failure to use our talents are grave sins.
S82 - Sow divisions and dissensions among people (propagate disunity)
Jesus said, when accused by the scribes that he was part of the demonic outfit,
‘If a house is divided against itself, that house will not be able to stand’ (Mark 3:25).
Oneness was VERY significant to him.
Paul said, ‘watch out for those who cause divisions and create obstacles contrary to the doctrine’ (Rom 16:17). He stressed to the church of Corinth, ‘that there be no divisions among you but that you be united in the same mind and the same judgment.’
In fact, in Titus 3:10, Paul spelled out the strategy to deal with someone who caused divisions – it was effectively three strikes and you were out.
In 2 Tim 4:14, Paul did mention a coppersmith by the name of Alexander who opposed his message. There will always be people who sow discord and play politics even in a church setup.
After all, even in the presence of God, Lucifer (or Satan) somehow managed to lead a rebellion against God and caused a major division.
Whoever sows divisions and dissensions commits a serious sin.
S83 - Unprepared and sleeping believers
Mark 13:36 says, ‘Lest he come suddenly and find you asleep. And what I say to you, I say to all: Stay awake.’ Wow, that is a real warning. S81 focuses on being prepared for the ‘Day of the Lord’.
In Matt 25:1-13, Jesus related the story of the five foolish virgins who were caught without oil when the bridegroom arrived and found it too late to go out and buy their oil. These five foolish virgins were locked out of the wedding because they were unprepared.
Believers have no excuses for being unprepared. The Apostle Paul said in 1 Thes 5:4 that believers are without excuses for ‘that day (the Day of the Lord) to surprise you like a thief.’
A principle that you will discover in the Bible is that our God is a God of no surprises. See also D60, Jesus did not want to surprise his disciples.
We now have the Bible to guide us and in many versions, in Greek and Hebrew, as well as with the different concordances all available on the web. If we read the Word faithfully and open our hearts to the guidance of the Holy Spirit, we will know God as a person.
This project will provide information so that you can be prepared for the Day of the Lord to guide you with good understanding.
Not being prepared is a sin and may result in great suffering. Believers might even succumb to the deception of the devil for Matt 24:10 says,
‘And then many will fall away and betray one another and hate one another.’
S84 - Lack faith in God and blame God
Jesus always rebuked his disciples when they lacked faith. When Peter began to see the waves around him while he was walking on water, he suddenly lost faith and cried out to Jesus, ‘Lord, save me.’ Jesus immediately reached out his hand and took hold of him while saying, ‘O you of little faith, why did you doubt?’ (Matt 14:31). To doubt is to demonstrate a lack of faith.
Paul said in Rom 14:23,
‘Whatever does not proceed from faith is sin.’
In other words, if we don’t have faith, we have sin.
Heb 11:6 simply says,
‘For without faith, it is impossible to please him, for whoever would draw near to God must believe that he exists and that he rewards those who seek him.’
It requires faith to believe in God. After all, we see evidence of God’s works but not God physically. That is the initial faith necessary to believe in God. But beyond that, on a day-to-day living, we must still have faith that God will see us through in whatever things that we are doing. If God has told us to act, we must have faith to take that step of action because a lack of faith is sin.
S85 - Acknowledge personal sufficiency to the exclusion of God
Rev 3:17 talks about the church of Laodicea which depended on their ‘richness’. They have reached the stage when they declared,
‘I am rich, I have prospered, and I need nothing.’
The church acknowledged their own self-sufficiency and became lukewarm.
Self-sufficiency, whether in wealth or otherwise, leads to complacency and a rejection of our dependence on God. We forget that even the air that we breathe and the body that we are in are both created by God
Hence, self-sufficiency is a sin – a sin of not needing God.
S86 - Lack the ability to learn and never coming to a knowledge of the truth
1 Cor 8:1 says, ‘This knowledge puffs up.’
The word in Greek is gnosis or knowledge, doctrine or wisdom. It is true that knowledge does puff us up although we also need knowledge to live our lives wisely.
Hence, there is a thin line to ensure that we are knowledgeable while remaining humble. 2 Tim 3:7 talks about a people that ‘were always learning and never able to arrive at a knowledge of the truth.’
There are people that keep going for courses but ‘never arriving at a knowledge of the truth.’ With learning, we also need a time to reflect on it. Please also look at S75, Self-Righteous for more information.
In fact, believers who have known the faith for a long time are most susceptible to such a sin.
Inability to learn and being puffed up with knowledge are both sins, the latter being a sin of arrogance.
S87 - Being double-minded
Most people like to be in both camps – that of the world and that of the Lord’s. We like to have our cake and eat it too.
Paul reminded all of us that ‘you cannot drink the cup of the Lord and the cup of demons’ (1 Cor 10:21). It is the same when Jesus mentioned, ‘You cannot serve both God and money’ (Matt 6:24); this is one of the rare times when Jesus demanded an ‘either-or’ response.
James 1:8 explains why because a double-minded man is ‘unstable in all his ways.’ To stay focus, believers have to make a conscious choice of Jesus Christ.
Double-mindedness of believers is a sin. It is dichotomous and believers have to choose one camp.
S88 - Rejoice in unrighteousness and sins
There are people that ‘rejoice at wrongdoing’ as implied in 1 Cor 13:6. Other versions say, ‘Rejoice about injustice’ (NLT) or ‘takes pleasure in evil’ (Berean).
There are other people who enjoy evilness. They love darkness rather than light (John 3:19). They choose lawlessness rather than obedience.
In this warped world, the word ‘wicked’ has actually taken on a ‘good’ feel about it.
To love evil/ unrighteousness/ injustice is obviously a sin.
S89 - Puff up about (immoral) sin and not mourn
S90 - Hateful and hate one another (including believers)
Titus 3:3 mentioned about a state before these people became believers; they hated one another. 1 John 2:9 makes it be known that ‘whoever says he is in the light and hates his brother is still in darkness.’
In 1 John 3:15, John used a stronger word and said that ‘everyone who hates his brother is a murderer.’
It is not within a Christian to hate someone. We might hate the acts of some people like Jesus chastening the Pharisees and religious people for being bad shepherds. Christians must first and foremost love. We are God’s peacemakers.
Some people may have done evilness to us. Yet, revenge is never a word in the vocabulary of a Christian; ‘Vengeance belongs to God’ (Rom 12:19). Tough as it is, our mandate is still to forgive and love.
To hate someone, whether rightly or wrongly, is to go against the very core teaching of Jesus.
S91 - Commit fraud by withholding salaries and wages of workers
If we are an employer, we should never hold back or delay the wages of a worker – an employee or a contractor. James 5:4 makes it clear that employers are not to keep ‘back by fraud’ as the Lord will deal with those cries.
Accounting practices might teach us to delay payment in order to ease our cash outflow but God’s views of justice are different.
As an employer, if you do hold back pay, then you have committed a sin and God will act.
S92 - Take revenge
Rom 12:17-19 says, ‘repay no one evil for evil … and never avenge yourself but leave it to the wrath of God.’
Many movies have revenge as a theme. It is natural for us to seek it out if we feel that we have been wronged. Yet, the Bible teaches us against taking revenge into our own hands but to leave it to God to act on our behalf.
Some of us have had heinous unjustified crimes against us and there is unimaginable anger burning within. Tough as it is, nonetheless, the Bible’s way is still never to seek out revenge but to leave it to God to settle the account. Our role is to forgive.
S93 - Love the world and its things (a worldly Christians)
1 John 2:15 says,
‘Do not love the world or the things in the world. If anyone loves the world, the love of the Father is not in him.’
And then it describes the things of the world as – desires of the flesh, the desires of the eyes and pride of life.
The word, ‘worldliness’, encompasses the latter three items. The Greek word for ‘worldliness’ is kosmos or ‘worldly affairs’ or ‘adornment’.
Jesus declared in John 18:36,
‘My kingdom is not of this world.’
In the same way, when we became Christians, we changed our citizenship. While we are physically in the world, our values are not of it (John 17:14-15).
The world’s values are aligned to Satan who incidentally is the ruler of this world. See D92 – Satan is the prince of the world. For example, Jesus called Satan ‘the ruler of this world’ (John 14:30).
To love ‘worldliness’ means that we are aligning ourselves to the values of the devil. Hence, it is sin. The various sub-elements have been attended to earlier.
NB: It does not mean that we do not associate with the world. Jesus moved among sinners but never adopted their values. He showed us what it meant regarding being the ‘salt of the earth’ (Matt 5:13).
S94 - Resist the Holy Spirit
The Holy Spirit speaks to us sometimes through soft prompting. The Holy Spirit is like a dove. If believers resist, the Holy Spirit is gentle and will not push.
When we sin, we grieve the Holy Spirit. And if we choose to continuously ignore the prompting by not taking action, then we resist the Holy Spirit. Acts 7:51 – Stephen called out the Jews for being a stiff-necked people who ‘resist the Holy Spirit’.
It is a serious sin to resist the Holy Spirit. Beyond a certain point of disobedience, it could end up becoming an unpardonable sin. See also S58 – Hardness of Heart 1 and S144 – Hardness of Heart 2.
S95 - Have wrongful zeal
The Pharisees and Sadducees were very passionate people. They were prepared to kill anyone that did not subscribe to their way of thinking; Stephen became their victim. They had wrongful zeal.
Paul said it later in Rom 10:2 that
‘they have a zeal for God but not according to knowledge. For, being ignorant of the righteousness of God, and seeking to establish their own, they did not submit to God’s righteousness.’
How many leaders of religions are zealous for their versions of God? How many Christians have been incorrect even in our own version relating to God of the Bible?
Wrongful zeal is a sin. Searching out for the right ‘knowledge’ is vital. Understand, for example, that the God of the Bible has a personality and that He can be known by us. It is sad, and sometimes even tragic, to have wrongful zeal.
S96 - Have a wrong focus
Jesus had just arrived in a village. A woman Martha welcomed him. But she was busy doing the preparation. Instead, Mary, her sister, chose to listen to Jesus’ teaching. When Martha complained, Jesus gently reminded her that ‘Mary has chosen the good portion’ (Luke 10:41).
There is a time to be busy but it is so important to set aside time to be with Jesus and just learn. It is a misdemeanor to be busy and lose focus on what matters.
S97 - Give up in the face of persecution or trial
Jesus explained in the parable of the sower that a seed which grows and has no roots will find that when problems come, it will give up easily. Jesus compared that to a believer ‘who has no root in himself, but endures for a while, and when tribulation or persecution arises on account of the word, immediately he falls away’ (Matt 13:21).
Notice that ‘tribulation or persecution’ is normal. Notice also that it is necessary to test who a believer is. All good things must be able to endure a quality check. It is part and parcel of being a Christian.
The important thing for a Christian is to pass that test of ‘tribulation or persecution’, of never giving up. It is consistent with that which is found in the Old Testament, Job 23:10,
‘When he has tried me, i shall come forth as refined gold.’
It is a sin to give up, or to not being able to endure. The unchanging message is that of perseverance or endurance especially for end-times’ believers.
Matt 24:13 says, ‘But the one who endures to the end will be saved.’
The same is found in Mark 13:13. Christians must endure to the end.
S98 - Lost our first love
In Rev 2:1-5, our Lord praised the church of Ephesus initially that they have ‘endured patiently and bore up for (Jesus’s) name’s sake, and have not grown weary.’ But then he carried on and reprimanded them for abandoning the love they had at first and were told to repent.
What is the sin of ‘losing your first love’? The NLT says, ‘You don’t love me or each other as you did at first’ or as the Contemporary English Version says, ‘You don’t have as much love as you used to.’ Wow.
‘Losing our first love’ or the fervor of that first love is sin. How do we ensure that our love to e.g. our spouse is refreshed continuously? How do we not ‘lose our first love’? Can you see how important it is to make sure that we stay in love within our marriages?
S99 - Jealous and envious
The word, ‘envy’ in Greek as found in Rom 1:29 is phthonos and it means someone who has an embittered mind to see another person depress to his own level rather than be satisfied that the other person is better than you.
The Greek word pleonexia or ‘covetousness’ is found in Eph 5:3 is about ‘lusting for what others possessed’. Another Greek word, zelos, which means ‘jealousy’ is also included here. The word zelos refers to a burning emotion.
But envy and jealousy are sins. We should check ourselves to make sure that we are not upset when others do better than us. We should not belittle them, not in speech nor in our attitude. Instead we should learn to count our own blessings because it will help us appreciate what God has done within our own lives. If we are disheartened, then we should converse with God in prayers.
Here is a reminder to all of us:
Life is the most difficult examination. Many people fail because they try to copy others, not realizing that everyone has a different question paper.
S100 - Submit to the lusts and desires of our eyes (love for possession of things)
This is the submission to the lusts and desires of our eyes as well as the possession of things and is often discussed in the Bible. Materialism existed even then and is a reflection of an attitude. It relates to S99, Jealous and envious.
Luke 12:15 says as in NLT,
‘Beware. Guard against every kind of greed. Life is not measured by how much you own.’
You want what the eyes see. Of course, the eyes sometimes want more than just material possession and we will examine that later. But materialism or greed for what our eyes want is a sin. Instead, the Bible suggests to us to live a life of contentment (Heb 13:5, Ph 4:11).
S101 - Take advantage to 'murder' the righteous
James 5:6 says,
‘You have condemned and murdered the righteous person. He does not resist you.’
James was referring to rich people of his days who took advantage of their wealth (and position) to condemn some righteous person (possibly someone they don’t like). We know how it is possible that wealthy and powerful people can manipulate the law to their advantage.
This is a sin that the rich and powerful believers must understand. Believers must live upright lives.
S102 - Fail to love others (Gloat over the fall of people we dislike?)
1 Cor 13 –
‘If I speak in the tongues of men and of angels but have not love, I am a noisy gong or a clanging cymbal.’ –
Love is everything a Christian ought to be. You cannot call someone an unloving Christian or an unmerciful believer. Compassion is who we are. The commandment given to us is to ‘Love one another just as I have loved you’ (John 13:34).
If we operate without love (a selfless sacrificial love), then as the Apostle Paul explained we have ‘gained nothing’.
Is it a sin not to love? Is it a sin not to be compassionate? 1 Cor 13 shows us that it is a serious sin for Christians not to be compassionate.
Jesus’ parable of the Good Samaritan is the best illustration of the highest form of love (agape).
In Luke 10:25-37, Jesus told a story of how a (Jewish) man fell into the hands of robbers and was left critically injured on the road. Along came various people who came across him. First, there was a priest but he chose to go to the other side. Then, there was a Levite (another religious fellow) who also went the opposite side. Finally, a Samaritan arrived and ‘he looked at him and had compassion’ (Luke 10:33). The Samaritan took care of him, brought him to an inn, and paid for his care. The Samaritan chose to show compassion.
Here is the clincher:
Samaritans and Jews had always hated each other. For more information about the reason for this hatred, please click HERE.
Prov 24:17 says,
‘Do not rejoice (gloat) when your enemy falls, and do not let your heart rejoice when he stumbles’
And Ezek 18:23 reads,
‘Have I any pleasure in the death of the wicked, declares the Lord God, and not rather that he should turn from his way and live?’
Like the Good Samaritan, Christians are to show love. Hence, Christians are not to rejoice when we see the suffering of people whom we may dislike for one reason or another. We are saved to love others. 1 Cor 13:2-9:
If I have the gift of prophecy, and know all mysteries and all knowledge; and if I have all faith, so as to remove mountains, but do not have love, I am nothing. And if I give all my possessions to feed the poor, and if I surrender my body to be burned, but do not have love, it profits me nothing. Love is patient, love is kind and is not jealous; love does not brag and is not arrogant, does not act unbecomingly; it does not seek its own, is not provoked, does not take into account a wrong suffered, does not rejoice in unrighteousness, but rejoices with the truth; bears all things, believes all things, hopes all things, endures all things. Love never fails; but if there are gifts of prophecy, they will be done away; if there are tongues, they will cease; if there is knowledge, it will be done away.’
It finishes with 1 Cor 13:13 –
‘But now faith, hope, love, abide these three; but the greatest of these is LOVE (agape).’
NB: Agape love is an act of the will, for God loves that which is unlovable and unlovely not because we deserve to be loved but because it is his nature to love.
See also S76 – Self-righteous and a ‘holier-than-you’ attitude, and S88 – Rejoice in unrighteousness and sins.
S103 - Love to shed some blood
A belligerent person is someone who acts in a hostile and aggressive manner with the intention of seeking out a fight.
Rom 3:15-17 describes these people as having
‘feet (that) are swift to shed blood; in their paths are ruin and misery, and the way of peace they have not known.’
Shedding of blood through any form of punishment, including of course beheading, is acceptable to this person.
Christians are called to be ‘peacemakers’ unless it is a war scenario. Christians are asked to live at peace with everyone as far as possible (Rom 12:18).
S154 - Worry
According to researchers, worrying is not necessary a bad thing. Alexander Penney of the Canada Ontario’s Lakehead University led a study and found that people with an ‘analyzing intel’ skill tend to worry almost all the time.
Penney shared that those who worry have these good points:
- Understand the repercussions of their actions,
- Are more attentive to detail, and
- Organize their plans to be more airtight.
But worrying also demonstrates our lack of faith in God. Please see S84, Lack faith in God.
Jesus said in Matt 6:25,
‘Do not be anxious about your life, what you will eat or what you will drink, nor about your body, what you will put on. Is not life more than food, and the body more than clothing?’
This is about worrying about the day-to-day things of life to the extent that we are incapacitated to change our daily routine.
Matt 6:33-34 reads,
‘But seek first the kingdom of God and his righteousness, and all these things will be added to you. Therefore do not be anxious about tomorrow, for tomorrow will be anxious for itself. Sufficient for the day is its own trouble.’
In Luke 12:23, Jesus explained,
‘For life is more than food, and your body more than clothing’ and then reminded us that believers are to be different.
Luke 12:30-31 says,
‘These things (indeed) dominate the thoughts of unbelievers all over the world, but your Father already knows your needs. Seek the Kingdom of God above all else, and he will give you everything you need.’
Phil 4:6 reads,
‘Do not be anxious about anything but in everything by prayer and supplication with thanksgiving let your requests be made known to God.’
The Greek word for ‘worry’ or ‘anxious’ in Matthew and Philippians is merimnao and it means being over-anxious to the extent that it becomes a distraction.
The Greek word found in Luke is meteorizo or in suspension as in ‘suspended in midair’; that is, a person who vacillates between one conviction to another.
When an obviously rich Chinese man was asked why he was still working so aggressively to make more money, he exclaimed, ‘A little bit more is always better than a little bit less.’ But when is enough, therefore, ever be enough? When does faith kick in to trust God for our sufficiency?
As believers, we are not to worry (here, we are not even talking about ‘excessive worry’) or get distracted but to place our trust in God. Worrying shows we lack trust in God to provide.
It does not negate the fact that we still need to organize a detailed, airtight plan because our God is also a God of order.
‘Worrying’ is a sin and shows, on our part, a lack of faith in God.
The solution if we worry?
Through prayers and supplications and placing our requests before God as found in Phil 4:6.
Then you will experience God’s peace, which exceeds anything we can understand. His peace will guard your hearts and minds as you live in Christ Jesus. – Phil 4:7