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55. Hamartiology: The Doctrine of Sin

Purpose: It is the purpose of this study to acquaint the disciple with various aspects of sin that would help him with questions often posed by our society today.


1. The disciple will understand truths about the origin of sin.

2. The disciple will see more clearly the fact of sin in the human race.

3. The consequences of sin will be clearly understood.

4. The disciple will understand that sin has permeated the entire human race.

Scripture Memory

For the one who obeys the whole law but fails in one point has become guilty of all of it.

James 2:10


1. Mutual accountability and prayer.

2. Sharing of memory work.

3. Discuss the study materials.

4. Discuss review questions.

5. Discuss any new terms.


One of the chief questions posed by the human mind is, “where did sin come from?” That evil is in the world is not debatable. Every day there are threats and killings and sorrow that seem to fill our lives at every juncture.

This session is set apart for a discussion of sin and its impact upon the human race as we experience it.

We will discuss the beginnings of sin, its reality in the world, what happens because of sin, and its universality. We will also speak of its ultimate banishment from the earth and universe.


Where Did Sin Originate?

The origin of sin is not totally clear. There seems to have been a revolt against God before the world began. In Isaiah 14:12-17, there are words that are believed to relate to Satan sometime before the world was made. In reading this account, the statement _____ __________ occurs five times. That seems to be the essence of sin in its beginning. When we compare 2 Peter 2:4, we see that ___________ sinned having kept not their first estate. We don’t know for sure exactly what that was. There also seems to be a period of time between Genesis 1:1 and verse 2. Some have said that the translation should read, “the earth became void...” They suggest that the earth became void as a result of angelic rebellion, possibly because the angels aspired to a higher place than their creation allowed.

Sin’s Entrance into the Human Race

Having accepted the reality that sin is in the universe, how did the sinfulness of humanity come about? We find the account of this in Genesis 3. Read this account and see if you can answer the following questions.

1. Who was the primary person involved in the fall of Adam and Eve?

2. What was his appearance like?

3. Who did he approach?

Why do you think the approach to Eve was made rather than Adam?

4. What was the nature of the temptation?

5. How was Satan’s appeal to Eve similar to the account in Isaiah 14?

6. What was the result of the fall as indicated in Romans 5:12?

What was the result of the fall to Adam and Eve in Genesis 3:14-24?

So what is in the human race today that speaks of sin? See Psalm 51:5; 58:3; Genesis 8:21

The Reality of Sin

There are several ways we know that sin is in the universe We will consider nature, law, the human heart, and divine revelation.

I. Look at the contrasts that exist in nature, such as every rose having thorns. There is an awesome howl in every storm, the shriek of a captured animal, the minor key in all of nature and the shifting of the earth that shakes and causes the death of many of us who inhabit the earth.

We know that sin has affected creation because of Romans 8:19-22. How does this passage speak of the effect of sin in creation?

From this passage, is anything tied to our ultimate redemption that involves creation? Discuss this subject briefly.

II. How does the law give the knowledge of sin, Romans 3:20?

“Law” refers to the commandments given by the Father in the Old Testament.

A. James 2:10

B. Romans 7:10

C. Romans 7:7

III. Man confesses that he is a sinner. What do the following verses say about man’s own confession?

A. The prodigal son, Luke 15:21

B. King David, 2 Samuel 19:20

C. Achan, Joshua 7:20

These are but a few men who confessed their sin. Surely you and I would acknowledge the same.

IV. The very presence of Christ and the knowledge of the Father speak eloquently of the reality of sin. When an awareness of the Father and the presence of Christ are experienced, this brings a new awareness of the sinfulness of man. How was this described in the following verses?

A. Luke 5:8

B. Job 42:4-6

C. 1 Timothy 1:15

There is no goodness we can claim before a righteous God.

The Nature of Sin

Lest any misunderstand, it is important to state what sin truly is. There is no better Scriptural statement than that which we find in Romans 3:23. Most feel that sin is only capital crimes such as murder, adultery, kidnapping, etc. The above verse in Romans indicates that sin is to miss the mark. What does Scripture say in Galatians 3:10 about keeping the Law? “Cursed is__________________ who does not abide by _________ things written in the Book of the Law, to perform them.”

The Father requires absolute perfection. Who is able to meet that standard? “But,” one might say, “I have come fairly close.” Years ago I heard Donald Barnhouse give this illustration. In the state of California (before Alaska became a state) there is the lowest and highest elevations in the Untied States: Death Valley, and Mount Whitney. He compared lives of men to these. Some live lives of brokenness and debauchery which he compared to Death Valley. Most live in areas such as the San Joaquin Valley. They fudge on their income taxes, exceed the speed limit and occasionally shoplift. Yet they manage to stay out of jail. Then there are those with higher morals, who do their best to keep the law and have good family relationships. Perhaps they are even regular attendees at some church. Then there are those who are high moral people who become noticed by many: Billy Graham, Mother Teresa and a few others, who give their lives for the sake of mankind. These people seem apart from most and could be compared to Mount Whitney. But you could no more easily reach the moon from the top of Mount Whitney than you could from Death Valley.

In the same way, we have all fallen short of the glory of God — we have missed the mark of _______________. We miss it through negligence, unfaithfulness, crossing the boundaries set by God, and by ________________ _______________, James 4:17. Every thing we should do and don’t do is sin!

Sin, Adam and Me

It is impossible to escape sin and its effects. I become a sinner through whose sin? Romans 5:12 _________________________________________ Because I sinned when Adam sinned in the garden of Eden, I cannot be anything but a sinner. I sinned in Adam. What is the result of Adam’s sin in my life?______________ What does death mean in this instance? ___________________________ We might well say that because of the actions of Adam, we are all condemned to sin and death. What has our “last Adam” done that provides a refuge from this? I Corinthians 15:45.

Perhaps it would be good at this point to review the meanings and types of death spoken of in Scripture, and in Session 2. It would also be helpful for you to review the truths taught in Romans 3:10-23.

Questions for Review and Discussion

1. How is the sin of angels and humans different?

2. What are some of the effects of sin in nature as we see them today?

3. How much sin must a person commit to be condemned?

4. Describe sin from the standpoint of neglect as compared to disobedience.

5. Discuss some of the general ways we see the consequences of sin in the world today.

Related Topics: Discipleship

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