Purpose: To help see yourself as our Holy God sees you: loved by him yet utterly sinful and separated from him. This realization brings about a desire for both forgiveness and repentance. Pray for the Holy Spirit to convict you of your sinfulness in this study (John 16:8). For further conviction on this issue please see the additional study: Breaking the Law.
- 1 Peter 2:9-10. Every person is either in the darkness or the light. This study will show us that outside of Jesus we are all in the darkness.
- Isaiah 59:1-2. What is the consequence of sin? Sin hurts others, hurts ourselves, but ultimately sin hurts and separates us from God. God is light. As long as the wall of sin remains, we are in the darkness. In order to have a relationship with God, the barrier of sin must come down.
- Romans 3:21-24. We will come back to other ideas in this text later, but focus on v23. Who has sinned? Use illustrations to show that some are better than others, but all sin and fall short. Examples: Swimming to an island, or graph showing piles of sin. Who is more lost? There is no “good person” who is without sin.
- Mark 7:14-23. Sin is not simply wrong actions, but a problem of the heart. Who is responsible for our sin? Despite genetics, parenting, peer pressure and socio-economic conditions, we are responsible for our own sin, which comes from our own hearts and makes us unclean. What is the consequence of being unclean before God? Discuss the sins Jesus talks about here.
- Galatians 5:19-21. Sin is the fundamentally “un-God-ward” orientation of our “flesh” or “sinful nature” and finds expression in many different ways. Emphasize “and the like.” What is the common element in all these things? Self-centeredness. Be as specific as necessary to explain and share from your own life about the sins listed. How do you see yourself in these verses? What sins have been characteristic of your own sinful nature? (If needed, look at additional Scriptures which catalog sins like 2 Timothy 3:1-5 or Colossians 3:5-11. Also Revelation 21:8. Addictions: 1 Corinthians 6:9-10; 2 Peter 2:19)
- Romans 1:18-32. What is God’s attitude toward sin? Why are men without excuse? What things are sinful in God’s eyes? What are the sins in your life? Suggestion: Write out a letter to God going through the sins of your past as far as you can remember.
- James 4:17. We are sinful and in need of forgiveness not only as a result of those sins we have committed, but for failing to do the good that we know to do. (Other Scripture: James 2:10-11)
- Romans 6:15-18. How does sin enslave? Note that sin is a power that must be defeated as well as specific acts that must be repented of. Who alone can set us free from sin? (John 8:31-36)
Romans 6:23. What are the eternal consequences of sin? Why be urgent to learn about receiving the gift of God that comes through Jesus Christ? Review these verses as honestly as you can to get in touch with the bad news about your own sinfulness. In the next couple of studies, we will look at the good news of God’s solution to our bondage to sin.
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Go to the next study: 3.1 The Cross of Christ