Will There Be an End to Sin?

Hope Sabbath School: Lesson 7 - Overcoming Sin (4th Qtr 2017)
Hope Sabbath School: Lesson 7 – Overcoming Sin (4th Qtr 2017)

A day is coming when God will put an end to sin in this world forever. At the end of time, when Jesus returns to take His people to heaven, He will permanently do away with all evil in this world. 

Man wearing pink dress shirt with a name tag that reads, "sinner".

The world will then be made new and all living creatures will once again enjoy life free of pain, sorrow, sickness, and death. 

But how will God do this? We’ll look at the whole story from the Bible to learn: 

  • Do we know for sure that God will destroy sin?
  • What is sin?
  • Where sin came from
  • Sin as an unavoidable reality (the Great Controversy)
  • God’s mercy toward humanity
  • How and when sin will be destroyed once and for all
  • How we can also get victory over sin today, with the help of Jesus

Our world is ravaged by the effects of sin. No one is immune to the pain and sorrow of sin. You’ve seen it. You’ve felt it. 

For all have sinned and fall short of the glory of God” (Romans 3:23).

The good news is Jesus wants to give you victory over sin in your life today. And there is a day coming when sin will truly be no more (Revelation 21:4).

Do we know for sure that God will destroy sin?

We can know this is God’s goal by looking at the story of Jesus’ sacrifice. Our Lord Jesus Christ came to this earth and lived a perfect life. He died on the cross, paying the penalty for our sins, and rose again three days later. 

Jesus hanging on the cross with a dark sky above.

This is the beginning of our victory over sin—by accepting Jesus as our savior. Because it’s Christ’s sacrifice that makes it possible for us to live with him throughout all eternity. 

His death and resurrection were prophesied long before he was born into this world. 

In the book of Daniel we find the vision and prophecy that says Jesus would come “to put an end to sin, and to atone for iniquity, to bring in everlasting righteousness” (Daniel 9:24, ESV).

The plan of salvation was put into place in the very beginning. Jesus was and is the Lamb slain from the foundation of the world (Revelation 13:8). 

It was God’s original plan that no one should experience eternal death. He desires all to have everlasting life (2 Peter 3:9). Perhaps you know this special verse already: 

“For God so loved the world, that he gave his only Son, that whoever believes in him should not perish but have eternal life” (John 3:16, ESV).

What is sin according to the Bible?

We can be sure that God will destroy sin at the Second Coming. But what actually is sin?

According to the Bible, sin is the transgression of God’s law. 

Everyone who makes a practice of sinning also practices lawlessness; sin is lawlessness (1 John 3:4, ESV).

“For the law brings wrath, but where there is no law there is no transgression(Romans 4:15, ESV).

The Ten Commandments summarize every type of sin. The only definition for sin in the Bible is that it is a transgression of God’s holy and perfect law. It is what separates us from God. 

The root of sin is pride, because sin is more than an action—it’s a condition of selfishness that can corrupt our outlook and motivations. It leads us to exalt ourselves above others, just like Satan was full of pride in heaven. Pride makes you think you deserve more than what you have. It makes you feel unsatisfied when you don’t get everything you want when you want it.

Two men stand close together one man is holding the others head and pointing in his face.

When we are full of pride, even God’s Word becomes an irritant. Pride makes us believe our way is best: ignoring God’s will and exchanging it with our own. 

We can’t be fully in God’s presence in our unrighteousness. That’s why Jesus Christ came and died for our sins. Because of our sinful natures, Jesus sacrificed Himself in our place so that we might have eternal life with Him. 

“For the wages of sin is death; but the free gift of God is eternal life in Christ Jesus our Lord” (Romans 6:23, ESV).

“The wicked earns deceptive wages, but one who sows righteousness gets a sure reward” (Proverbs 11:18, ESV).

The ramifications of sin are apparent all around us. From the very beginning when Adam and Eve hid from God, the implications of sin have plagued humanity. After eating from the Tree of Knowledge of Good and Evil, Adam and his wife realized for the first time they were naked. 

It was also their first experience with death, which came about when their son Cain killed his brother, Abel. 

Sin brought heaps of trouble on Adam and Eve. Life became a struggle. Weeds and thorns grew. Sickness became a part of their lives. Sin caused all kinds of grief. 

People were selfish. And because of their selfishness wickedness abounded. 

Sin is what caused everything we find terrible, unbearable, maddening, and sorrow-inducing. 

So where did all this start? Was sin something that existed before Adam and Eve were created? 

Where sin came from

Sin first came into the universe long ago, when pride entered the heart of Lucifer, a beautiful angel who later became Satan. 

And it began with just a thought.

Opposition to the law of God has its beginnings in the heart of Lucifer, the covering cherub. He became jealous, and desired in his heart to be equal to God. He wanted to be worshipped, too. 

Lucifer was the most beautiful of all the angels. He had beauty, position, intelligence—he knew he was special. And instead of remaining humble and worshipping God, pride grew in his heart. 

“You were the signet of perfection, full of wisdom and perfect in beauty. …

Your heart was proud because of your beauty; you corrupted your wisdom for the sake of your splendor” (Ezekiel 28:12, 17, ESV).

Lucifer schemed to undermine God. He began his work of rebellion by trying to place fear and doubt in the minds of other angels around him. He sought to cause a spirit of discontent within the kingdom of heaven. 

In fact, he was so deceptive and clever in his lies that one-third of all the angels were won to his allegiance before they knew his real purposes. He was charismatic and persuasive. Even angels loyal to God could not discern his lies from truth. 

“You were blameless in your ways from the day you were created, till unrighteousness was found in you” (Ezekiel 28:15, ESV).

By the time he took his case before God, Lucifer had deceived thousands of angels. He went before God and asked to be given the place at the right hand of God. He wanted to take the place of Jesus. 

“How you are fallen from heaven, O Day Star, son of Dawn! How you are cut down to the ground, you who laid the nations low! (Isaiah 14:12, ESV).

You said in your heart, ‘I will ascend to heaven; above the stars of God I will set my throne on high; I will sit on the mount of assembly in the far reaches of the north; I will ascend above the heights of the clouds; I will make myself like the Most High’” (Isaiah 14:12-14, ESV).

Sin can start so small, just a tiny little thought in the back of someone’s mind, and grow into a huge monster that affects that person’s life and others around them. Selfishness is the root of all sin. Every sin has to do with wanting to gratify self over God. 

Man wearing a dark hoodie trying to grab a woman's purse.

Pride, selfishness, elevating oneself above others—even God—is what caused Satan to sin the first sin. And it’s that same pride and selfishness that causes humans to sin as well.

The War in Heaven

A spirit of rebellion moved through heaven as Lucifer’s influence grew. Many angels abandoned their loyalty to God, choosing instead to believe the words of the covering cherub. 

Together they revolted and war broke out in heaven. And Lucifer and his sympathetic angels were cast out. 

“How you are fallen from heaven, O Day Star, son of Dawn! How you are cut down to the ground, you who laid the nations low! … you are brought down to Sheol, to the far reaches of the pit” (Isaiah 14:12,15, ESV).

Lucifer made war against heaven and lost. Because of his deception he was no longer a trustworthy ally of God. Pride cost him his position and favor within the heavenly kingdom of God. From then on he was known as Satan.

As the enemy of God, Satan set up his kingdom in this world and began his work of deceiving humans. 

The Fall of Man

When God created the heavens and the earth, everything was perfect and sin did not exist. Sin was never intended to be a part of humanity. 

Remember, God created Adam and Eve and placed them in a beautiful garden. He gave them dominion over all the earth. The Garden of Eden was a beautiful place that provided for all of their needs. 

But God placed the tree in the center of the garden that they were to avoid. God wanted them to be able to choose to follow Him, not only because goodness was their only option. To truly have a choice, they had to be given an opportunity to choose.  

God told Adam and Eve they could eat from every tree in the garden, but if they ate from this tree, the Tree of Knowledge of Good and Evil, they would surely die. 

Satan could gain “access” to them only if they approached the forbidden tree. And if you’re already familiar with the story, it didn’t end well. 

Satan, the fallen star, the former covering cherub, was unhappy. And you know what they say about misery. It loves company. 

The Bible tells us Satan assumed the form of a crafty serpent. He waited among the branches of the Tree of Knowledge for Eve to approach. And that’s when he spoke to her: 

“Did God actually say, ‘You shall not eat of any tree in the garden’?” (Genesis 3:1, ESV).

Eve responded, explaining that God said they could eat from all the trees in the garden except for the Tree of Knowledge of Good and Evil because they would die.

Satan’s deception in heaven was carried forth in his lies to Eve: 

“But the serpent said to the woman, ‘You will not surely die. For God knows that when you eat of it your eyes will be opened, and you will be like God, knowing good and evil” (Genesis 3:4,5, ESV).

Unfortunately, Eve considered his words. She looked at the fruit and decided it indeed looked good enough to eat. And she desired to be wise too. She wanted to be like God. But she didn’t consider just how this would make her “like God” 

It was the first instance of wanting more. Of not being satisfied with what we have. Of self rising to the surface and taking what we want even when we know it’s wrong. 

Eve ate the fruit and then shared some with Adam. He ate it too.

Our first parents had sinned and after the first few exhilarating moments had passed, they were faced with fear. They knew they had sinned and they hid from God. 

People today are still hiding from God. We know we are sinners, but somehow think we can hide our sin. However, it’s impossible to hide from God! 

Man standing outside, hands covering face.

“And no creature is hidden from his sight, but all are naked and exposed to the eyes of him to whom we must give account” (Hebrews 4:13, ESV).

And now life is a constant series of choices between good and evil. 

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Sin as an unavoidable reality for humanity (the Great Controversy)

Now we are living in a world of “both good and evil.” Humanity is part of the Great Controversy, the spiritual battle between God’s will and Satan’s deceit, being played out all around us since the very beginning. Satan wants you to lose. But God wants you to have victory. 

“Be sober-minded; be watchful. Your adversary the devil prowls around like a roaring lion, seeking someone to devour” (1 Peter 5:8, ESV).

For we do not wrestle against flesh and blood, but against the rulers, against the authorities, against the cosmic powers over this present darkness, against the spiritual forces of evil in the heavenly places” (Ephesians 6:12, ESV).

It’s with great urgency the Holy Spirit is seeking to help people make the most important decision of their life. The decision to choose to follow Jesus for all eternity. 

Group standing in a circle holding hands and praying.

Choose this day whom you will serve” (Joshua 24:15, ESV).

If we choose God, and accept Jesus’ sacrifice, He has promised to guide us.

God’s mercy toward humanity

You may have wondered: 

  • If God knew sin was a possibility, why did He let this happen? 
  • If God knew what Lucifer would choose, why did he create him? 
  • Why does God allow sin to continue? Why didn’t He stop it?

God created angels and humans both with free will, which demonstrates his loving character. Think about it. 

If God had killed Lucifer to stop the spread of sin throughout the universe, His other created beings would have worshiped God in fear. They would no longer worship Him out of love. 

“There is no fear in love, but perfect love casts out fear. For fear has to do with punishment” (1 John 4:18, ESV).

If God had immediately punished Satan and his evil angels with death, all of creation would behave in a manner to simply avoid God’s wrath. That’s not real love. 

God is love. How could He have done anything differently? 

He had to allow things to happen the way they did because He is love. He’s allowing sin to run its course in history in order to reveal its true nature (because we asked to see what evil looked like). But in the end, He will make sure it’s done away with. 

Wooden heart laying on an open Bible.

How and when God will destroy sin

Ultimately, the end of sin will come at the end when Jesus returns to take His people home to live with Him in Heaven. The dead in Christ will be resurrected to life. And they along with those Christians who are still living will be caught up together in the clouds with Jesus.

God’s people will be made imperishable – meaning they receive eternal life. Sin, which leads to death, will be defeated. Death will be no more. 

“When the perishable puts on the imperishable, and the mortal puts on immortality, then shall come to pass the saying that is written: “Death is swallowed up in victory. “O death, where is your victory? O death, where is your sting?” (1 Corinthians 15:54,55, ESV).

This epic event will begin what is known as the Millennium, or the thousand-year reign. The book of Revelation gives us an idea about what that time will be like. 

“They… reigned with Christ for a thousand years” (Revelation 20:4, ESV).

During that time, Satan will roam the earth, imprisoned alone. At the end of the thousand years, the wicked will be resurrected. They will rise up and make war against the city of God. Satan will lead them. 

“And when the thousand years are ended, Satan will be released from his prison and will come out to deceive the nations that are at the four corners of the earth, Gog and Magog, to gather them for battle; their number is like the sand of the sea. 

And they marched up over the broad plain of the earth and surrounded the camp of the saints and the beloved city, but fire came down from heaven and consumed them” (Revelation 20:7-9, ESV).

Sin will finally come to a complete end when those who chose not to side with God will be consumed by fire and face their final judgment, with a sentence of death to prevent it from ever resurfacing. 

“And the beast was captured, and with it the false prophet who in its presence had done the signs by which he deceived those who had received the mark of the beast and those who worshiped its image. These two were thrown alive into the lake of fire that burns with sulfur. And the rest were slain by the sword that came from the mouth of him who was sitting on the horse, and all the birds were gorged with their flesh” (Revelation 19:20-21, ESV).

The false systems of worship and the false teachers who deceived people and caused them to sin, will be destroyed—thrown into the lake of fire. Those who received the mark of the beast will also be destroyed. 

Fire and lighting on a dry land.

The Bible tells us that Satan will also be thrown into the lake of fire.  

And the devil who had deceived them was thrown into the lake of fire and sulfur where the beast and the false prophet were, and they will be tormented day and night forever and ever” (Revelation 20:10, ESV). 

And then we’re told that the consequences of sin, represented by death and hades will also be consumed by the lake of fire. All of the pain and sorrow, sadness and grief will be no more. 

Then Death and Hades were thrown into the lake of fire. This is the second death, the lake of fire” (Revelation 20:14, ESV).

And finally, we find unrepentant sinners are also destroyed, thrown into the lake of fire—the consequence of their sin being eternal separation from God.

But as for the cowardly, the faithless, the detestable, as for murderers, the sexually immoral, sorcerers, idolaters, and all liars, their portion will be in the lake that burns with fire and sulfur, which is the second death” (Revelation 21:8, ESV).

But for the people of God, eternal life free of pain, sorrow, and grief is their reward. They will have the right to eat from the Tree of Life. Sin will never raise its ugly head again. The universe will be forever healed and life will move forward as God originally intended. That we might live life abundantly in a perfect world. 

The people of God will be free to worship and live in peace. They will no longer carry the burdens of this world. Instead, they will know a life of perfect peace and joy. 

“Blessed are those who wash their robes, so that they may have the right to the tree of life and that they may enter the city by the gates” (Revelation 22:14, ESV).

“What do you plot against the Lord? He will make a complete end; trouble will not rise up a second time” (Nahum 1:9, ESV).

How we can get victory over sin today, with the help of Jesus

Sin can have a strong chokehold on our lives. But is there a way we can overcome the sin in our lives now, even before God destroys all evil?

Yes. God gave us the Holy Spirit for just this reason.  

“Repent, and each of you be baptized in the name of Jesus Christ for the forgiveness of your sins; and you will receive the gift of the Holy Spirit” (Acts 2:38).

Woman praying before being baptized.

God promised the Holy Spirit to convict of “sin and righteousness and judgment” and He will “guide you into all truth” (John 16:8, 13, ESV).

Now this doesn’t mean we’ll never sin again, just because we let the Holy Spirit into our lives. We still have our freedom of choice. And it can sometimes be discouraging when we continually struggle with giving up one particular sin. Besides, our fallen nature is still with us and sometimes we unintentionally sin through a quick word or action.

The good news is that regardless of the hold sin has on your life, you can have victory through the power of the Holy Spirit and God’s forgiving grace.

Remember, you are saved by grace. There is nothing you can do in and of yourself to find salvation. Salvation only comes through Jesus Christ. Not even one of us is saved by our own works, but only by the works of Christ. 

Bible open to Ephesians with glasses laying on top.

Everyone has made mistakes. Every person, even the most devout followers of Jesus, has battled sin in their life. You are not alone in that. 

Living a Christian life is not just about trying to imitate Christ. It’s about allowing Him to live and work in you and through you. When you accept Jesus as your personal Savior, you accept His grace. Jesus dying on the cross for your sins was the ultimate sacrifice. He gave His life so you might live abundantly now and for all eternity. 

“I came that they may have life and have it abundantly” John 10:10, ESV).

The Bible tells us that when we accept Jesus as our Savior, we become a new creation. 

“Therefore, if anyone is in Christ, he is a new creation. The old has passed away; behold, the new has come” (2 Corinthians 5:17, ESV).

Just as Jesus died on the cross, we are also to “die to self.” That means we set aside our own sinful desires and instead focus on God and His will for our life. And He was the one that made you and gave you your strengths and uniqueness. So His plan for you is perfect. 

“So you also must consider yourselves dead to sin and alive to God in Christ Jesus. Let not sin therefore reign in your mortal body, to make you obey its passions” (Romans 6:11, ESV).

“Walk by the Spirit and you will certainly not carry out the desire of the flesh” (Galatians 5:16, CSB).

Repentance is a helpful habit as we learn to “die to self.” Repentance is a two-part process that involves:

  • Sorrow for sin
  • Turning away from sin

Just by starting the process of repentance, it keeps the door open for the Holy Spirit to help you in your growth. These two things go hand in hand.

“Repent therefore, and turn back, that your sins may be blotted out,” (Act 3:19, ESV).

“For godly grief produces a repentance that leads to salvation without regret, whereas worldly grief produces death” (2 Corinthians 7:10, ESV).

Godly grief, or remorse, involves the act of admitting our sins. Remorse creates a feeling of sorrow and regret as we realize our actions were wrong or self-serving. This is the Holy Spirit working through our conscience. 

For example, maybe you said something you shouldn’t have said or you did something you wish you could take back. When you are truly filled with remorse you will want to seek out forgiveness from God and even the people you hurt. 

You may experience feelings of guilt until you’ve asked for forgiveness. Forgiveness allows us to once again feel joy and peace and is an important part of the Christian experience. 

Smiling woman with hands folded looking up.

Something else happens when we repent and ask God for forgiveness. The Bible tells us He remembers our sins no more.

“I am he who blots out your transgressions for my own sake, and I will not remember your sins” (Isaiah 43:25, ESV).

When we come to God in true repentance and ask for forgiveness, He will cleanse us from our sins. He washes away those feelings of guilt so you can experience profound peace in your soul.

“Completely wash away my guilt and cleanse me from my sin” (Psalm 51:2, CSB).

God enables us with the help of the Holy Spirit to have victory over sin, even while the Great Controversy rages on. We don’t have to be lost in the crossfire!

What will life without sin look like?

It’s hard to imagine what life with no sin might look like. Some people even wonder if they could be happy in heaven. And a real fear of many is that they will be bored in heaven. 

Man standing in a field, with arms raised and chains hanging off the arms.

Well, that’s another lie of the devil.

You won’t be floating around like a wisp in the clouds. You’ll be living the life we were originally supposed to be living when Adam and Eve were created in Eden.

Heaven and the new earth will be better than anything you could imagine. Sin will be eradicated, so good things we were unable to experience will then be widely available to us.

We’ll be able to see things we’ve never seen before and perceive things we’ve never perceived before. With Jesus dwelling among us, we’ll be able to do things we’ve never conceived of being able to do, and learn more things than we ever thought existed!

The Bible tells us that in the new earth people will work and plant vineyards. We will worship God each Sabbath. You will enjoy times of work, play, and rest just like you do today! 

“They shall build houses and inhabit them; they shall plant vineyards and eat their fruit. They shall not build and another inhabit; they shall not plant and another eat; for like the days of a tree shall the days of my people be, and my chosen shall long enjoy the work of their hands” (Isaiah 65:21,22, ESV).

“From new moon to new moon, and from Sabbath to Sabbath, all flesh shall come to worship before me, declares the LORD” (Isaiah 66:23, ESV).

Remember, when God created the earth in the very beginning, there was no sickness, no pain, no sorrow—no sin! 

The lion and the lamb will lie down together. Animals will have nothing to fear. God’s people will be full of joy, their former trials and suffering forgotten. 

“He will wipe away every tear from their eyes, and death shall be no more, neither shall there be mourning, nor crying, nor pain anymore, for the former things have passed away,” (Revelation 21:4, ESV).

What a wonderful promise we have! God is going to make all the wrongs right. God’s people can look forward to the coming day when He puts an end to everything that isn’t good—for all eternity. 

Our hope is found in Jesus, not in this sin-sick world. While free will allowed sin to run its course, ultimately it’s our free will to choose Jesus that allows Him to set us free. 

You can find new life through Jesus, gain victory over sin, and live with Him forever.

Ready to start your own study about God, salvation, and the end of sin forever?