THE THREE ASPECTS OF SIN
The Bible shows us that there are three aspects of sin. To put it another way, sin is in three places. First, sin is before God. Second, sin is in the conscience. Third, sin is in the flesh. The Bible always shows us sin according to these three lines. It is like one river that is fed by three tributaries. If we want to know sin in a thorough way, we must be clear about these three lines. We must know that our sin is before God, in the conscience, and in the flesh. If we are not clear about these three lines and are not able to distinguish between them, we will not be clear concerning the problem of sin. If we confuse the three lines, we will not realize God’s view concerning sin, and we will not comprehend the thoroughness of God’s work in dealing with sin. Only when we understand the need will we acknowledge the treatment. If we do not know the need, we will assume that the treatment is unnecessary. Hence, we must know sin first, and then we can know the thoroughness of God’s salvation.
God is a righteous God. In the administration of the universe He is the highest authority. He is the Ruler of the universe. He has definite laws and ordinances concerning sins. He rewards man according to what man has done, and He recompenses according to how man has acted. God deals with the world in His position as the sovereign Ruler. At the time of Adam, though there was no such term for it, there was the Adamic law. After Noah, again though there was no such term for it, there was the Noachian law. At the time of Moses, the term law specifically began to be used. It was not until then that the law was specifically placed before man. Whether we are talking about the explicit law after the time of Moses or about the implicit law before the time of Moses, God’s verdict is that those who sin must die. He demands that those who transgress against the law will be punished with eternal death. While man is alive, though his flesh is living, his spirit is dying. In the end, his flesh will also die. In eternity, his spirit, soul, and body will all die. If man does not sin, God will not execute the punishment. But if man does sin, God will surely execute the punishment. God has enacted ordinances and laws concerning man’s sins.
When sins occur in our life, there is first the record of sins before God. Let me illustrate with an example. Recently people were forbidden to park their cars anywhere they pleased. Two months ago you could park your car anywhere. You could even park your car on the wrong side of the street, and you were free to park your car in any direction. But two months ago the traffic department ruled out this practice. Now as you drive, you see all the cars parked in the same direction. There is a new law that says that all cars should be parked in the same direction as the flow of traffic. If you do not do this, you violate the law. If a brother comes to the meeting today by car and parks in the wrong direction, an officer from the police department may see this and record a violation against him at the police department. The violation is recorded not in the street where he parked, but in the police department, even though the brother may not be aware of the fact. The violation may have happened on Ha-tung Road, but the place where the violation is recorded is the Tsin-an-tsu district police department.
(Gospel of God, The (2 volume set), Chapter 1, by Watchman Nee)