Tag Archives: hamartiology

“You REALLY Believe in HELL?! But WHY?” (Ten Reasons) (Reason 5) The Doctrine of SIN

Why in the world would someone believe in hell? And what exactly does it mean to “believe” in hell? These are a couple of the questions we want to answer in this ten-part series of posts. We’ve looked at REASON #1 — I got saved out of a fear of hell. We’ve also thought about REASON #2 – Hell makes sense. We’ve also considered REASON #3 — How does the doctrine of hell relate to the doctrine of God? We also touched on REASON #4 – How does the doctrine of eternal lostness relate to the doctrine of Man?

Let’s look at REASON #5 this morning — How does the doctrine of eternal hell relate to the doctrine of sin (hamartiology)? SIN explains a lot in life: our brokenness, the fractured condition of society and politics and governments, our sense of guilt that we try to cover up with entertainment or drugs or sports, our need to self-justify, our habit of favorably comparing ourselves to others less “sinful”, our need to euphemize the very concept of transgression or iniquity or rebellion, our empty hope that our good will outweigh our bad at the judgment of God, etc.

SIN cost the Son of God’s life on the cross! SIN plunged the whole universe into a fallen condition (creation “groans”, waiting for the New Heavens and the New Earth, Romans 8:19). To minimize our SIN must minimize the cross. Did Christ’s sacrificial death overpay to redeem us? No! He bore our sins in His own body on the tree, I Peter 2:24. The Second Person of the Divine Trinity took upon Himself a perfect human body for the express purpose of paying the SIN-debt that we owed! No other religion offers that kind of Savior.

J.C. Ryle’s justly famous volume, Holiness, begins with a statement to this effect: “He would make great strides in holiness must first consider the greatness of sin.” Ryle, writing at the end of nineteenth century was merely reflecting what Anselm of Canterbury had written in the early middle-ages. Attempting to answer the question, Why did God become man (Cur Deus Homo), Anselm has a famous line put to one character (aptly called Boso) which goes like this: Nondum considerasti quantum ponderis sit peccatum. Roughly translated that means, “You have not yet considered the gravity of sin.” Boso’s inability to see the necessity for the Lord Jesus Christ to become incarnate in order to save His people lay in his reluctance to place sufficient emphasis upon our need of salvation. Our problem is sin. It has been so since the Garden of Eden; and it remains so to this day.” (



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Posted by on February 15, 2020 in hell


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The Theology of Jesus: Part 5 Hamartiology

Hamartiology — the doctrine of sin!  Jesus had a lot to say about this area of theology.  We read in Mark 10:45 that the Son of Man “did not come to be served, but to serve.  And to give His life a ransom for many.”  He came to pay the ransom price to redeem us from our sins.

As we continue with our experiment with these posts, we are asking, how do the teachings of the Lord Jesus fit into the divisions of systematic theology?  Systematic theology is a logical way of organizing the data of Scripture into categories which summarize the important truths all Christians everywhere should affirm.

When it comes to the area of SIN, Jesus did not sugarcoat the truth.  Man is broken; the universe is fallen; and a Redeemer is needed!  He came as that Redeemer for the least, the last, and the lost.  We are all sinners, as He illustrates with the woman caught in adultery:  “Let any one of you who is without sin be the first to throw a stone at her.” (John 8).  [I recognize that there’s a textual problem with this story, but the content is consistent with Jesus’ leveling of the self-righteous Jewish leaders].

Jesus’ sabbath controversies sometimes focused on the issue of sin.  For example, His visible miracle of giving sight to the man born blind could not be seen by the Pharisees who had concluded that Jesus was a sinner because He broke their idea of the Sabbath (He made mud which was work).  Lectured by the healed man, the Pharisees viciously accosted him verbally and said, “How dare you lecture us?  You were steeped in sin at birth!”  Yes, he was.  We all were.

The Lord often fought about the issue of externalism, pointing out in Mark 7 that it is “What comes out of a person [that] defiles them. 21 For it is from within, out of a person’s heart, that evil thoughts come—sexual immorality, theft, murder, 22 adultery, greed, malice, deceit, lewdness, envy, slander, arrogance and folly. 23 All these evils come from inside and defile a person.”  The heart of the problem was the problem of the heart.

Jesus gave clear instructions how to deal with sin, either that which I’ve committed against someone else (Mt. 5) or that which has been committed against me (Mt. 18).  God desires that we repent of our sins and get restored to God’s people.  Or get expelled from the fellowship.

There is a sin that will not be forgiven. Jesus speaks of the “unpardonable sin” in Mark 3, Matthew 12, and Luke 12. The specific circumstances giving rise to that issue was that the teachers of the law had decided that Jesus’ power was from Satan, not from God. Jesus said they were guilty of blasphemy against the Holy Spirit and “will never be forgiven” (Mk. 3:29). In fact, they had committed “an eternal sin.”

Matthew 12 says that words spoken against the Son of Man will be forgiven, but “anyone who speaks against the Holy Spirit will not be forgiven, either in this age or in the age to come.” (v. 32). Luke 12 reiterates this point when it says, “10 And everyone who speaks a word against the Son of Man will be forgiven, but anyone who blasphemes against the Holy Spirit will not be forgiven.”

Sin is no small matter.  Sin cost the Son of God His life.  All sin can be forgiven, except the sin that labels Jesus as possessed by Satan and rejects the Spirit’s testimony about God the Son.  As one preacher put it, “There are no small sins against a great God.”  This great God, the Lord Jesus, gave Himself to save us from our sins.  (to be continued)

The Bible uses a variety of terms for sin: “transgression”, “iniquity”, “rebellion.” How did the Lord Jesus define sin? Read through one of the gospels and write your answer in the Comments section below.


Posted by on September 29, 2018 in the theology of Jesus


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