Wednesday, 02 August 2017 04:43

All Unrighteousness is Sin

Written by  Glenn Graham, Jr., East Memorial Baptist Church, Prattville
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1 John 5:17: “All unrighteousness is sin.”


We live in a time when morals and values are no longer being determined by any fixed standard. Today’s morality is all about satisfying the desires of individuals based on their own fleshly yearnings. As our society sinks into this ever changing morass one wonders when will we hit bottom and things stabilize. Every bizarre behavior imaginable has an advocacy group pushing for its normalization and full acceptance. It seems that the more people involved in aberrant behavior and the louder they are about it that the only way to placate is to give them what they want. But what is wanted is not mere recognition but rather hearty approval of their behavior. Anything less is not tolerated and even deemed harmful and hateful.


It is understandable that those who are not Christians would do what unbelievers do and that is to have no regard for God and His Word. We know that each of us struggles in this fallen world with our own flesh. However, as a Christian we are not to continue in a pattern of unbroken sin. As it has been so succinctly said “it isn’t perfection, but the direction of your life” that reveals who we are. God is at work in the believer’s life bringing about the process of sanctification. What God is doing is “conforming us to the image of Christ” (Romans 8:29). This He does in accordance to His Word by the Holy Spirit Who lives within every believer (Romans 8:9; Ephesians 1:13). Indeed, everyone who expects to see Christ is about the business of purifying himself just as He is pure (1 John 3:3). That is to say every true believer is concerned about sin in his or her life.


But here is the dilemma for the church today; if “all unrighteousness is sin” (1 John 5:17), how do you define sin? The answer is easy for the one who believes the Bible is God’s Word. For all others it is a matter of shifting and changing values determined by the loudest and most demanding of society. There is no longer any sense of right and wrong or definition of sin. The saddest of all are those who parade as spokespersons for God, whether they are individuals or churches, who redefine or reinterpret Scripture to suit the culture. But this is not new. It is seen throughout the pages of Scripture and down through the centuries of church history. In Isaiah 56:10 God says “they are blind, know nothing, and are mute dogs unable to bark.” Again, Isaiah 5:20 God pronounces judgement upon those who “call evil good and good evil; who substitute darkness for light and light for darkness; who substitute bitter for sweet and sweet for bitter.”


If all unrighteousness is sin, then the church has to be extremely clear as to what is unrighteousness and what is sin. To do any less will require a reckoning from God to which Paul was concerned when in Acts 20:26 he declared “that he was innocent of the blood of all men, because he had declared the whole purpose of God.”


Be certain that the world will define for itself what is righteous and what it deems sinful. The church can be loving, kind, forgiving and gracious to everyone. To be sure, it must be these and much more. But at the same time we must be clear about what God has determined to be sin and anything less is to misrepresent Him and His Word.


The message of the Gospel of Jesus Christ is that He came “to seek and to save the lost” (Luke 19:10). Who are the lost? Romans 3:23 tells us “all have sinned and come short of the glory of God.” Romans 6:23 lets us know that the wages of sin is death. Praise the Lord any of us are saved. But by His grace is all one may say. Let us be thankful for the simple statement found at the end of 1Corinthians 6:9-11 where it says “such were some of you.”



Glenn Graham, Jr. is the senior pastor of East Memorial Baptist Church in Prattville, Alabama. Visit them online at



Last modified on Wednesday, 02 August 2017 04:49
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