Two Sobering Words for Sin - Truth in Love Ministry

Witnessing Scenarios

Two Sobering Words for Sin

The Bible uses a number of different words for sin. Although some have strong imagery in the original languages (i.e. iniquity) they lose their effectiveness in translation because they aren’t familiar English words. Or Mormonism has changed the meaning of words, which is the case with the word “transgression”. For these reasons, we suggest you focus on the following two.


“And the Lord smelled a sweet savour; and the Lord said in his heart, I will not again curse the ground any more for man’s sake; for the imagination of man’s heart is evil from his youth; neither will I again smite any more every thing living, as I have done.”

Genesis 8:21

This is an effective passage for a couple of reasons:

  • It describes sin as evil. Many people, including most Mormons, don’t think of sin in such serous terms. You will need to spend some time exploring this thought. Before introducing the passage, ask them what type of person do they envision as evil? (Most think of Hitler, or mass murderers, people who enjoy hurting others.) What acts do they regard as evil? In other words, get them to talk about how heinous evil is. Then look at the passage and talk about what God calls evil. It’s not actions, but “imaginations”. “Imaginations” are not fully formed and they are ones from a person’s youth. In addition, the context shows he is talking generally about all of mankind.
  • The Lord spoke this after the Flood, in regard to Noah and his family. It isn’t a description of the evil people before the Flood. God pronounced that verdict in Genesis 6:5. In other words, Genesis 8:21 applies to the “best” of people.

Closely connected to evil is the idea of wickedness. You could ask the same questions about it. Colossians 1:21 is one passage which describes sin as wickedness.

And you, that were sometime alienated and enemies in your mind by wicked works

Colossians 1:21


“To the Lord our God belong mercies and forgivenesses, though we have rebelled against him; Neither have we obeyed the voice of the Lord our God, to walk in his laws, which he set before us by his servants the prophets.”

Daniel 9:9-10

This is part of a long prayer of Daniel. The important point is that Daniel included himself in the rebellion by saying “we have rebelled”. This is striking because Daniel, from his youth, was faithful to God. This indicates that all sin, including those committed by a faithful prophet of God, is, in reality, rebellion.

Rebellion is a strong word. It pictures defiance against authority. Use the same approach as you did with evil. Before you share the passage with them, ask what type of people do they think of when they think of rebels? You could also ask them how does a rebellious child act. Think especially how you feel if you are the one being rebelled against – especially if you have loved the person. Think of how you feel when a child you are responsible for defiantly disobeys you. It doesn’t matter what the specific issue is they rebel against, what quickly rises to the forefront is their rebellious attitude.

Rebellion quickly becomes the main issue. It’s like the naughty little girl who was told by her Mom to sit in her parents’ bedroom and think about what she had done. A little while later Mom comes in and asks her if she had thought about what she had done. “No, I’ve been spitting.  I’ve been spitting in your purse. I’ve been spitting in the pockets of your clothes. I’ve been spitting in your shoes. Right now, I’m waiting for more spit.” This, my friends, is rebellion.

No matter how insignificant we think a specific sin is, it is not insignificant to God. Each and every sin is an act of rebellion. When we sin, we spit in God’s face and kick him in the shins.

Scenario Summary

Evil according to Genesis 8:21 and rebellion according to Daniel 9:9-10.

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