Sin in the Old Testament
Sin is a topic that was given special attention in the Old Testament times. This is because the entry of sin into the world through Adam and Eve at the Garden of Eden changed the course of religious history for ever. At one point God Himself reckons that He was grieved by the fact that man’s heart and thoughts were inclined to sin at all times (Genesis 6:5).
This inclination to evil marred the relations that God had desired for Himself and Man. The state of affairs prompted God to seek alternative ways of relating with man.This paper delves into the subject of sin and reveals its importance in the Old Testament. Discussion Sin can be defined simply as rebellion to God’s law or disobedience to God’s instructions.
According to the bible, when God first created man and woman, He gave them some basic instructions of how they should live, what they could and could not do. As it is, they disobeyed some instructions and thus sin entered into the world bringing with it death, pain and suffering. As a result of sin, God wanted to wipe out mankind from the face of the earth (Genesis 6:7).However because of Noah – a righteous man, God’s desire to reestablish the lost fellowship was ignited. What causes sin? As with Adam and Eve, sin is caused by man selfish desires and ambitions as well as the longings of the flesh. Sin is manifest when God ceases to be in the picture.
That is what the serpent did. It removed God from the picture and highlighted the benefits of the forbidden fruit to Adam and Eve. In the subsequent books of the Old Testament, self stands out as the greatest obstacle between God and Man. The subject of sin is also important due to its far-reaching consequences.These include lost fellowship between God and man, death, pain, suffering to mention but a few.
It is evident from the books of the Old Testament that God desired to have a close relationship with man. Sin however ruined all that and throughout the Old Testament, God’s effort to reestablish the lost fellowship is evident. Beginning with Noah through to the promises made to Abraham, Isaac and Jacob, these efforts are clear. However this desire is perhaps best seen when God elects the people of Israel as His chosen people.Reflecting on this desired relationship Ezekiel said “You will live in the land I gave your forefathers; you will be my people and I will be your God” (Ezekiel 36:28).
God therefore developed a system that the people could use to come back to Him. He also gave comprehensive laws to govern the people in the five books of the law namely, Genesis, Exodus, Leviticus, Numbers and Deuteronomy. Among the remedies for sin highlighted in the Old Testament is sacrifices including, incense, burnt offering as well as shedding of blood in sacrifices. These sacrifices were meant to atone for the sin of individuals as well as groups (McKenzie, J. L.
, 1980).The attention given to the issue of sin throughout the Old Testament demonstrates the seriousness that God accords to sin. Another remedial measure for sin is repentance. Repentance simply means to change or to turn away. God invited the children of Israel to turn away from their evil ways.
Often the invitation is accompanied by a promise or a warning of the consequences that will befall the unrepentant people (Isaiah 30:15). It was God’s desire that these children of Israel would repent so that He could forgive them (Isaiah 30:18)It is thus clear from the Old Testament books that sin is a serious issue and it robbed human beings of their relationship with God. It is clear also that sin has grave consequences among them spiritual and physical death as well as pain and suffering. Many times when the children of Israel displeased God, they either lost their battles or were faced with extraordinary challenges.
Sin can however be remedied and God is willing and eager to forgive and restore this relationship. The Old Testament has demonstrated this clearly and foreshadowed what was to later take place in the New Testament.Conclusion From the Old Testament books, sin is depicted as the one thing that creates a barrier between God and Man (Isaiah 59:2) The first sin brought with it death and suffering to the world and changed the plans that God had for the world. Sin today contributes to much of the suffering that we see. It is therefore the duty of every human being to say no to sin and to repent of past sins so that we can seek God’s face.
Without each taking a personal responsibility for their sins and embracing the right attitude, the suffering is bound to increase in the world.As we seek God, we ought to be indignant with our sin and be eager to repent of the same so that God can begin to listen to us. Continuing to live in sin is like erecting a wall between God and man and there can be no spiritual growth. This subject was chosen after understanding its central role in the shaping the events of the Old Testament. Without a clear understanding of the importance of the subject, true understanding of the books of the Old Testament and by extension the New Testament is impossible.