What is the Gospel? - Lesson 3


In this lesson, you will gain a comprehensive understanding of the concept of sin from a biblical perspective. The lesson delves into the definition and origins of sin, discussing its presence in both the Old and New Testaments, as well as theological aspects such as original sin and personal sin. You will also explore the effects of sin on human nature, society, and spirituality, examining the consequences it brings. Lastly, the lesson presents the remedy for sin through the Gospel message, emphasizing the importance of repentance, forgiveness, reconciliation, and restoration in overcoming sin's impact on humanity.
Marc Cortez
What is the Gospel?
Lesson 3
Watching Now

TH106-03: Sin

I. Definition and Origins of Sin

A. Introduction

B. Biblical Perspective on Sin

1. Old Testament

2. New Testament

C. Theological Aspects of Sin

1. Original Sin

2. Personal Sin

II. The Effects of Sin

A. Impact on Human Nature

B. Consequences of Sin in Society

C. Spiritual Effects of Sin

III. The Remedy for Sin

A. The Gospel Message

B. Repentance and Forgiveness

C. Reconciliation and Restoration

  • Through this lesson, you gain a comprehensive understanding of the gospel's significance, its historical context, essential components, and implications for Christian life and relationships.
  • Through this lesson, you'll understand the importance of Creation, the biblical account in Genesis, the Fall's consequences, and the Gospel's role in restoring creation.
  • By studying this lesson, you learn about the biblical perspective on sin, its origins, effects on human nature and society, and the restorative power of the Gospel message.
  • Through this lesson, you gain insight into God's faithfulness in both the Old and New Testaments, from covenant relationships with Israel to the fulfillment of promises in Jesus Christ, guiding your life and encouraging others.
  • Through this lesson, you gain insight into Jesus as the Messiah, His fulfillment of Old Testament prophecies, and the profound impact of His life and ministry on humanity's salvation.
  • Through this lesson, you gain a thorough understanding of the atonement, its theories, biblical basis, and practical implications for personal salvation and spiritual growth.
  • In this lesson, you gain a comprehensive understanding of the Gospel, its power in salvation, and its implications in your life, emphasizing the balance between God's sovereignty and human responsibility.
  • Through this lesson, you'll learn how the Gospel shapes all aspects of life, from personal relationships to societal issues, and fosters spiritual growth, ultimately guiding your approach to evangelism and social justice.
  • This lesson equips you to recognize and address challenges to the gospel, including pluralism, relativism, and secularism, and offers biblical guidance for defending your faith.
  • Through this lesson, you learn effective strategies for communicating the Gospel, addressing objections, and building bridges between your message and your audience.

This course is designed to help believers reconsider their understanding of the Gospel. What is the Gospel? How is the Gospel related to the eternal plan of God? What does the Gospel mean to each believer today? Dr. Cortez answers these and other critical questions.

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What Is the Gospel?

Dr. Marc Cortez
What is the Gospel?
Lesson Transcript

[00:00:01] The following lecture is provided by biblical training. More information is available at WW w dot Biblical training dot org. In the last lesson, we talked about Shalom, God's perfect creation, and the intimate relationships that existed between God, humans and creation. That picture of the Garden of Eden. Shalom. Things being the way that God intended them to be. But, you know, nearly everyone is in agreement that if you look out at the world as we have it now, it's not like that. We don't have shalom. Indeed, nearly every major religion or world view agrees that things right now are not right. Even religions are world views that wouldn't agree with the picture of shalom that the Bible gives us in that relationship between God and humanity. Even those groups would agree that something's not right. There's broad disagreement about exactly what the problem is. Could be lack of education, economic conflict, greed, selfishness, our very physicality. Those all are offered as possible explanations for why things aren't right. But everyone basically agrees that something's not right. There is a problem somewhere. A man named Cornelius Plantinga has written a book called Not the Way It's Supposed to Be, and he really does a great job unpacking this concept that what we have around us, what we see in the world as it is, is not the way it's supposed to be. So we're all in agreement that something's wrong. There's a problem somewhere. The question is what? What exactly is the problem? Well, biblically speaking, the problem is sin. A sin is the reason that things are not the way they're supposed to be. But of course, that raises the very question of what is sin? If you think back to our first lesson together and the gospel summary that I gave, we talked about Jesus dying on the cross to forgive us of our sins.

[00:02:10] But do we know what sin is? Do we have an understanding of sin that can inform that presentation of the gospel? Well, at its most fundamental level. Sin is an offense against God. We often focus more on the fact that sin is an offense against other people, the people around us. And that's true. There is a sense in which the sins that we commit do have a fundamentally significant impact on the people around us. But at its most basic level, biblically speaking, sin is an offense against God. If we look at the story of Joseph, when Joseph was interacting with Potter for his wife and she's trying to tempt him into a relationship with her even though she's married. Joseph's response to her was, How can I do this in sin against God? Now, clearly that would have also have been an offense against Potter for and part of his wife. But Joseph is recognizing that at its deepest level, sin is a violation of the relationship that we have with God. David says the same thing after his affair with Bathsheba. He's confessing his sins. He's pouring out his heart before God and Psalm 51, he declares that he has sinned against God again, a sin that had a human dimension, but ultimately was a violation of the relationship that existed between David and God. So biblically speaking, sin at its most fundamental level is an offense against God. This means this sin is fundamentally a theological term. Sin really only makes sense in reference to God. People often comment on the fact that in our society we've lost an awareness, a sense of sin. Everything now is an illness or a failing or a shortcoming. We don't like to call things sin anymore.

[00:04:02] Well, to be honest, that makes sense because in many ways our society has also lost a sense or an awareness of God. And to call and action sin only makes sense if there's a God for it to be a sin against, without an awareness of God's sin loses all meaning. Now, of course, as I said, sin also has ramifications for the rest of creation, and we'll consider some of those shortly. But these consequences ultimately stem from the fact that sin is, first, a violation, an offense against God. But God is not the kind of God to be offended by things arbitrarily. It's not as though God sat up in heaven and thought, I need to come up with a list of rules and guidelines and expectations for people to follow so that when they violate those rules, I can punish them. And God isn't making things up. God isn't creating these rules or guidelines arbitrarily. Remember, God created the world as the theater of His glory, and he created human persons to be his image bearers in creation. In other words, to make his glorious presence known in creation that is, shall own everything. As it should be between God and humanity among humans and with creation. But sin shatters Shalom. Just look at the garden. Adam and Eve. An open intimacy with each other and with God. Then they choose to act contrary to God's expressed will. Remember, they've been given an opportunity to respond. God had given them a command as an opportunity to respond faithfully in relationship to Him, to express their faithful love for him in obedience to that expectation. Instead, Adam and Eve chose. They responded by choosing their own path. And what happened? Well, we'll explore some of these a bit more in a little bit.

[00:06:01] But in brief, what happened were broken relationships between humanity and God, broken relationships among human persons, broken relationship between humanity and creation. What happened was the destruction of shalom. My daughters like to play with Legos. My oldest daughter, who's about five years older than my youngest daughter, really enjoys creating entire villages out of Legos. She'll have houses and corrals and she'll have little Lego animals in the crowds and crowds and in the barns, and she'll have little Lego people around living in the village and doing different things. And so create these this vast network of Lego village life on our family room floor. And she is the the creator of her Lego land. And as such, she has some rules when she has created Lego land on the family room floor. And the rules are really there to sustain her Lego shalom that she has created the order things being as they are supposed to be. She doesn't arbitrarily come up with rules. She has some rules in place to protect Shalom, to protect her Lego land. Unfortunately for my oldest daughter, I also have a younger daughter, and particularly when my younger daughter was around two or so, she wasn't particularly sensitive to the rules of Lego land and shalom protecting. And it is rather surprising how much destruction and devastation a two year old can create within Lego land. And so Sidney would come into the room and she would basically annihilate Shalom. She would basically level Lego land. Now, this is definitely bad for the little Lego people, the little Lego people living in Lego land. They don't like to have shalom destroyed. But ultimately, it is an act against Leah, against my older daughter, the creator of Lego Land, the one who had the expectation that Shalom would be retained.

[00:08:07] She had laid down some expectations for the protection of Shalom, and those expectations had been violated. And when the expectations are violated, shalom is destroyed. Sin then can be understood as faithless. Shalom breaking its faithless because it's fundamentally an expression against God. It's a declaration that we no longer have faith. We will no longer live in faithful obedience to the expectations that have been given us. Shalom breaking. Because when you break faith with God, you destroy shalom. You ruin God's good purposes for His creation and his people See the tragedy of the fall. The tragedy of the garden is that God's image bearers have become shalom breakers. Instead of manifesting His glory and creation, they've rejected His glory and desecrated his creation. So the Bible actually uses a number of different words and concepts to convey the idea of sin as shalom breaking the Bible. We'll talk about sin as missing the mark or falling short of the standard, wandering from the path or transgressing crossing over an established boundary. And every one of those expresses the idea that sin is something other than it was supposed to be. Sin is anything contrary to God's good purposes for His creation and his people. Sin is not shalom. Now, when we destroy shalom, that comes with a number of consequences. The first of those consequences that we see in the garden is a break in the relationship with God and alienation that is created between Adam and Eve and God. We see that right away After Adam and Eve choose to send, the first thing that we find them doing with respect to God is they're hiding. They hide themselves from the presence of God. And at the end of the story, at the end of chapter three, they're cast from the garden.

[00:10:06] God removes them from the garden, separating them from His presence. According to Isaiah 59, to God describes the sins of the people as separating them from God such that His face is hidden from them. The idea of God's face being hidden from those who sin against him is a common way for the Bible to describe sin. Sin creates that distance. That separation or alienation from God says that we no longer experience His presence. He is hidden from us. Sin not only separates Adam and Eve from God, but also makes them guilty before God's shalom. Breaking is not an accident. And when Sydney walks into the room and destroys the shalom of Legoland, that's not an accident. And there's some willful foot stomping that takes place in the destruction of Legoland and Shalom. Breaking is not an accident. It was a willful turning away from God's good purposes as Adam and Eve chose their own way, they knew the path that God had set them on, and they declared, We know a better path. And when you walk down the path that is not God's path, you destroy shalom and become guilty for doing so. It's a guilty or a culpable. Shalom Breaking Sin not only separates Adam and Eve from God, and it not only makes them guilty before God, but it also devastates what God had put in place. I want you to imagine for a second that you finally purchased or built your dream house and you have finally put together the house that you have always wanted. The furniture is just right. The paintings on the wall are perfect. The wall colors are great. The rooms are exactly the way that you would want them to be. There's maybe in the yard as well manicured, if that's what you like, or it's got place structures.

[00:12:00] If you have a family, whatever it is, picture your dream house, the house you've always longed for. Now imagine that you've gone out of town for a while and you've asked your friend to come and watch your house for you. And while you're gone, your friend decides, You know, I really have a better sense of what your house should look like, and your friend decides to redecorate your house and in the process, your friend completely botches it, destroys the furniture, ruined the artwork, mismatched colors on the wall, wrecks the garden or the yard, knocks down the place structures. Your house is devastated when you come home, fairly certain there will be alienation between you and your friend. There will absolutely be guilt as your friend stands guilty before you for the willful destruction of your shalom. Adam and Eve were placed in charge of God's good creation, and they stand guilty before him for destroying it, for wrecking shallow. So sin not only creates alienation and guilt, it also creates death. So remember, humans are creatures dependent upon God for their very existence from the beginning. We were created by God from Genesis one. We are creatures fundamentally dependent upon God for our very existence, both its beginning and its continuation. When we separate ourselves from God, to separate yourself from God is to separate yourself from the very principle of life. The very reason that we exist is God. When alienation takes place between us and God, death is the natural and inevitable consequence. So in our relationship with God, we have alienation, we have guilt, and we have death. That is the first consequence that takes place, the consequence between us and God. There's also a consequence that takes place among humans, between humans and other humans.

[00:14:04] Again, return to Genesis three and Genesis three seven in the aftermath of Adam and Eve's rebellion, their sin against God. We see the loss of intimacy and openness and the beginning of shame between Adam and Eve. And what do they do? Well, they immediately clothe themselves. Remember at the end of chapter two and the idea of standing naked in open intimacy was a real symbol of the kind of community, the kind of relationship that was necessary for Adam and Eve to be the image bearers in God's good creation. Now, here in Genesis three, we find themselves shamed before each other, unable to stand in open an intimacy before one another. They've begun to withdraw upon themselves and hide from themselves. Genesis 312 That that crisis between humans escalates and we find the beginning of blame, strife and conflict. As Adam cast blame upon Eve for their actions moving into versus 16 and 17, it gets even worse. And God says, You know what? This pattern of strife and conflict, loss of intimacy and openness. This is going to continue the devastation of shalom and the breaking down disintegration of human relationships. That's going to continue. That will be the pattern of human relationships moving forward. So we've not only lost our intimacy with God, we've now lost our intimacy with one another. Alienation has crept into both relationships. Instead of imaging God and manifesting his glory and creation, human relationships are now doomed to disintegrate and manifest instead. Strife, conflict and shame. We also experience alienation from creation. As we saw back at the beginning. We were created to rule over creation, not in the sense of doing whatever we want to, but in the sense of working, tending to creation, manifesting God's glory in creation.

[00:16:01] Instead, instead of that relationship of work and manifesting God's glory. What we find in Genesis three is that now we will have to struggle against it. Work is now struggle and toil rather than worship and an expression of purpose. So in all three levels, in our relationship with God, with one another, and with creation, the destruction of Shalom wreaks havoc across the board as the consequences of the loss of shalom are felt. What we end up with when we're done is what I'll call the shadow side of shalom. See, sin doesn't actually create anything. It simply pollutes and destroys the good that God has already created. It isn't as though shalom simply disappears, but it's replaced and perverted and corrupted by this week imitation of Shalom. We still have a relationship with God. All human persons have a relationship with God. But now it's a relationship characterized by death, guilt, hiding, and alienation. We still have a relationship with each other, but now it's a relationship characterized by blame, shame, strife and conflict. And we still have a relationship with creation. But now it's a relationship characterized by toil, hardship, frustration and misfortune. We now live in the shadow side of shadow. So that's a rather unfortunate story. The story of the fall of Adam and Eve, the destruction of Shalom, and slipping into the shadow side of Shalom. But wait, it gets worse. See, the problem is that the fall into sin didn't only affect Adam and Eve. Had it simply affected Adam and Eve, this story would be relatively short. But if we look around us again, we see that there simply isn't the case. Clearly, the world that we live in now is not shallow. This is not the way things were supposed to be.

[00:18:03] So what happened? What happened to get us from Adam and Eve to now where we are all impacted by the destruction of Shalom? Well, the first thing we have to realize is that all of humanity was affected by the destruction of Shalom. According to Paul, that first sin in the garden had a fundamental impact on all human persons. Paul writes. Therefore, justice and entered the world through one man and death through sin and sin. In this way and in this way. Death came to all men because all sinned. And then a little bit later, and many died through one man's trespass. That's from Romans chapter five and versus 12 and 15. Now, many theologians have theorized or speculated in exactly how we should explain the relationship between what Adam and Eve did and how that has impacted us. And I'm not going to go into that here. For now, I think it will suffice to say that ever since Adam and Eve sinned, we have all been born into a broken world. We are all born east of Eden, as it were. Adam and Eve were in Eden. They get cast out east of Eden, and that is the state into which we are all born. We're born into a world separated from God, guilty and subjected to death in which we all are alienated from God, from one another and from creation. We're born East of Eden. We're born in the shadow side of Shalom. Second. Not only do we have to realize that this sin has impacted all of us, but we also have to recognize the incredible power that sin has to corrupt and pollute everything that it touches. My daughters have a game that they like to play called The Blob.

[00:19:48] Very creative name. And the blob in the game is this little round guy who rolls around and paints things different colors. And the trick is, is that as you're doing this, you have to avoid the ink, because if you get the blob into the ink, the blob turns black. And as soon as the blob gets inked, the ink begins to suck the life out of the blob, which is bad. But also anything that the blob touches from then on also gets inked. So if you're not careful after you get inked, you will quickly corrupt, pollute, ink, everything around you, everything within reach. In many ways, that's a great picture of sin. Sin has the amazing power to corrupt everything within reach. Think, for instance, of a family. Families are great things. God surely created family as something good as part of his good purposes to spread his image bearers through throughout creation. But sin corrupts and pollutes God's good creation. Instead of modeling intimacy and communion communion. Parents can easily be selfish and controlling, can create family life and family structures built around selfishness and manipulation. And family life can easily become corrupted by sin. But the problem is, is not only is that immediate family corrupted by sin, but think of the kids who grew up in that environment, who become touched by that ink, and they get inked by it. They become polluted by it. And those kids often go on to create families of their own, inked by selfishness and corruption and manipulation, and so that the sin begins to propagate itself and it spreads and multiplies. Think of societies. Again, human societies are a fine thing. And remember, God always created us to live in community with one another. We were always going to have human societies.

[00:21:56] But sin corrupts and pollutes God's good creation instead of providing support and fostering community. Societies quickly become marked by racial strife, power struggles, greed, war, and what happens to the people who grow up in that environment? Well, they get inked. There's a movie called City of God. That's a story of three young boys growing up in a slum in Brazil. And it provides a powerful picture of what happens when societies become corrupted by the pervasive influence of sin and the struggles that three boys have growing up in that and the reality that anyone in that situation is going to get inked. And each of those three boys struggles with the ramifications, the effects, the powerful consequences of sin in their own lives. So not only are we affected by sin in that all human persons are affected by Adam and Eve sin, and we're born into a sinful, corrupt and broken world. But we also have the pervasive effects of sin on us as we continue to develop as human persons. That sin continues to corrupt and pollute us. It continues to devastate shalom. The ink is everywhere. But wait, it gets worse. The problem with my ink analogy is that it can give the impression that the problem is only skin deep. Surely there's good at the core of the human person where we can break free from the corruption and pollution, a good that can overcome the evil metric. That idea lies at the core of a lot of our thinking. If I return to the City of God, the story of the three young boys growing up in the Brazilian slums. Much of the story revolves around the fact that one of those three finally succeeds in breaking free from the cycle of destruction.

[00:23:54] He breaks out of the bondage and the oppression that are the results of sin in that context. And he succeeds in removing himself from that. The self-made man is a classic American story of somebody who rises above the poverty, rises above the challenges of a sinful world in society, and achieves something great the slave who breaks free from slavery and oppression and finds life a new life elsewhere. We are surrounded by stories of this idea that there is something good within us. We have some capacity to break free from that which holds us in. Bondage. And find the new life that we believe is out there. We love the idea that we have the inner resources to break free from the problem. Just look at the self-help section in the bookstore, and the entire self-help literature industry is built around the concept that we have a problem. Sure, we may have lots of problems, but we have the inner resources to break free. We want to believe that we can do it, but the truth is far different. So we need to remember at least three things. First, we need to remember that we are born into the shadow side of shallow. We are dead out of the gate. We are born into a dead world, alienated and separated from God. So in this world, unlike the Princess Bride world, there is no mostly dead. There is only all dead. We are born broken, alienated, guilty, dead. The second thing that we need to remember is that Sins has this amazing power to corrupt everything. Even the good things that we do are often tainted by sin. I mean, how many selfless acts are actually done out of a deep desire to look good in front of other people? How many volunteers volunteer out of a sense of guilt and obligation? How many people give money for the tax break? Sin has the ability to corrupt and taint even the best things that we do.

[00:26:12] More importantly, we need to remember that sin is ultimately about God. Sin is ultimately any act that is not done with respect to the glory of God. God declares that even obeying him can be a sin. According to Proverbs 15, verse eight and Amos 521, even doing things like offering sacrifices to God or gathering together in worship can be a sin if they're not done out of love, faithfulness, and for the glory of God. Even the best things that we do can be corrupted and tainted by sin. People often do good things, even non-Christians. Many non-Christians do good things. Did some of the Buddhist people have been non-Christians? They think of somebody like Gandhi and Gandhi lived a quote unquote good life, did many good things, helped many of the people in India to live better lives. But the point is not that we can't do good. The point is that even our good is sin because we are steeped in sin and because even the good things that we do are not done for the glory of God. That's why the Bible consistently describes the human person as thoroughly and completely sinful. Not because we never do good things, but because we are alienated from God. And anything we do in alienation from God contributes to the destruction of shalom. It is sin. But wait, it gets worse. See, the problem isn't just that sin has impacted all of us and that sin, it tastes and corrupts everything that we do. The problem is that we have come to love it. The Bible says that the heart itself is wicked at the very core of our being. We want to sin, even though sin pollutes and corrupts all of good God's good gifts. We still want it.

[00:28:24] We still desire sin. Now you might be thinking, Wait a minute, that can't possibly be right. We can't possibly want something that is this destructive and devastating. Surely no one goes out at the beginning of the day and says, You know what? Today I'm going to go out and make a mess out of my life. I'm going to do everything I can to make my life as miserable and fundamentally pathetic as possible. Well, of course not. And indeed, what most people do is they say, I want to do something that will make my life better. As a matter of fact, sometimes they really work hard and succeed at making their lives better. Maybe they even work really hard at making the lives of the people around them better. And many people come to love improving their lives and the lives of the people around them and making them better. And it's all sin because all of it is done in alienation from God. All of it contributes to the destruction of Shalom, because all of it ignores God. All of it is sin. And we love it. We. Love doing what we think is best. Isn't it exactly what Adam and Eve did? They did what they thought was best for them. God said, This path is best for you. And they walked down that path and they loved it. And they kept doing it because they loved it. And we become our own gods and we love and we worship ourselves and we destroy shalom. So what do we do? When I was a kid and I broke my mother's bass into 100 different pieces, what is the first thing that I did? The first thing I did is I gathered up the pieces.

[00:30:06] I grabbed some glue, and I glued the base back together again. When you break something, what do you do? You try to figure out how to fix it. When you break. Shalom. What do you do? You try to figure out how to fix it. Humans have a lot of shalom restoration projects. We have education projects, training initiatives, social action, self-help books, nutrition counseling programs, you name it. We are all about shalom restoration projects attempting to fix that which has gotten broken. And none of these are bad things, and many of them will help alleviate some of the suffering that comes from living in a broken world. The problem is that none of them addresses the basic problem. It's possible to live a reasonably good and happy life on the shadow side of shalom. We can have fun, build relationships, be emotionally healthy, we can have good jobs. We can make the shadow side of phone very attractive. But it's still the shadow. We're still alienated from God. Even though we look better, our relationships with one another still will not be the manifestation of God's glorious presence that they were supposed to be. Work may be more meaningful, but it's still not worship. We're still alienated from God. We're still in the shadow. So you can't fix shalom. You can't put it back together first, because we don't want to. We think we do. We think we want to restore shalom. What we really want is a shalom of our own making. A shalom that is our own kingdom. We don't want God's shalom. The human heart is wicked. And it wants to stay that way. Even if we could fix the problem, we wouldn't want to. But more fundamentally, we can't fix the problem.

[00:31:58] All humans stand guilty before God and inked by sin. Anything that we do as humans is also marked by guilt and inked by sin. You can't clean the stain by pouring more ink on it. You can't fix the broken waste by hitting it again. You can't fix Shalom. So how's that for a happy conclusion to a lesson? Selam is destroyed. Broken. Shattered. The meaning purpose in life for humanity has been drained as we've been inked by the corruption and pollution of sin. But remember, we're not done yet. The series is on. The good news. The Gospel. We've made a brief pit stop on the shadow side of Shalom so that we can appreciate why the good news is such good news. We want to be careful, though, not to stay here too long. So in the next lesson, we'll move on and begin to reflect on how God continues to work out his good purposes for his creation and his people, despite the sin and destruction of Shalom. Thank you for listening to this lecture. Brought to you by biblical training dot org. Feel free to make copies of this lecture to give to others. But please do not charge for these copies or alter the content in any way without permission. We invite you to visit our website at W WW dot Biblical training dawg. There you will find the finest in evangelical teaching for use in the home and the church. And it is absolutely free. Our curriculum includes classes for new believers, lay education classes, and seminary level classes taught by some of the finest seminary teachers drawn from a wide range of evangelical traditions.


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