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Read Introduction to 1 John


“Whoever commits sin also commits lawlessness, and sin is lawlessness.”


 also commits lawlessness,

“Lawlessness” pays no heed to God’s law and holds contempt for it.  The New Testament renders this word iniquity.  “Lawlessness” is more than a transgression of God’s law, for it also conveys the idea of rebellion against it. 

Lawlessness is the rejection of law rather than merely the absence of law.  Sin and violation of God’s law are identical concepts. 


We declare rebellion against God when we break the laws of His character. 


Lawlessness is not merely the violation of the laws of man, the laws of society.  Lawlessness is not simply robbing a bank but much more the violation of the character of God.  It is defiance against God. 

Hatred violates God’s law of love because it results in divorce, acts of violence, and children who follow those patterns.  People who do not believe in God’s restraint of their natural instincts end in lawlessness. 

God’s law is an expression of His absolute character.  We declare rebellion against God when we break the laws of His character.  Sin both defiles God’s righteousness and defies God’s righteousness. 

The more earnest we are and the more serious we are about pleasing God, the more alarm we have about the sin issue in our lives.  God’s law is an expression of God’s character.  It defines and draws lines around the nature of God.  If we step over that line, we transgress the character of God. 

Ro 4:15, “…because the law brings about wrath; for where there is no law there is no transgression.”

Note that this passage does not say, “Where no law is, there is no sin.”  Sin takes different sizes and shapes.  We cannot step over a line where no line exists.  We cannot violate God’s character if there is no restriction or probation against doing what we do. 

Ro 5:13-14, 13 “For until the law sin was in the world, but sin is not imputed when there is no law. 14 Nevertheless death reigned from Adam to Moses, even over those who had not sinned according to the likeness of the transgression of Adam, who is a type of Him who was to come.”

Sin did not take on the flavor of transgression until the law came.  There was no express law forbidding something.  The law gave a label to sin.  The moment we fly in the face of an explicit label against something, we enter into the domain of rebellion.  We willfully disobey the revealed will of God.