Sin. All of mankind knows right from wrong. God said, “I will put my law in their inward parts and write it in their hearts” (Jeremiah 31:33). Whether or not man will accept this, acknowledge it or even act upon it is up to him. God gave each of us free will.
Man knows sin. Man also knows that sin is wrong. It is inherent to man that he atones for his sins. Be it to God or some other god, it is built in him to rid himself of sin. Sometimes the deity is self. When man makes self his “god” then atonement and reconciliation comes by self-justification.
Absolution comes in the form of self-justification to a man without God.
Entire races and classes of people all throughout time have been abused and mistreated under the justification that they were not human, a sub-class or deficient in one way or another.
Abortion is justified by claiming it’s all about women’s health.
Homosexuality is justified by saying that the “trait” is inborn. There’s nothing the person can do about it because they were just born that way.
If man does not have a deity for atonement then man will absolve himself of sin through self-justification.
Overt and Disturbing Sin
One of the most overt and disturbing examples of absolution through self-justification was by the nation of Israel. In 2 Kings 17 we learn that the Assyrians fight, defeat and hold hostage the nation of Israel.
“For so it was, that the children of Israel had sinned against the Lord their God, which had brought them up out of the land of Egypt, from under the hand of Pharaoh king of Egypt, and had feared other gods, And walked in the statutes of the heathen, whom the Lord cast out from before the children of Israel, and of the kings of Israel, which they had made.
And the children of Israel did secretly those things that were not right against the Lord their God, and they built them high places in all their cities, from the tower of the watchmen to the fenced city.
And they set them up images and groves in every high hill, and under every green tree: And there they burnt incense in all the high places, as did the heathen whom the Lord carried away before them; and wrought wicked things to provoke the Lord to anger: For they served idols, whereof the Lord had said unto them, Ye shall not do this thing.” 2 Kings 17: 7-12.
Although defeated as a nation, taken hostage by the Assyrians and punished by God, the Israelis, “would not hear, but hardened their necks, like to the neck of their fathers, that did not believe in the Lord their God.” Self was their god.
It seems inconceivable that after all of that, that God’s chosen people would still turn their backs on God, but they did. They rejected God, his statutes and covenant and worshipped idols, images, false gods and self. Their level of their atrocities was great. So great that they, “caused their sons and their daughters to pass through the fire, and used divination and enchantments, and sold themselves to do evil in the sight of the Lord, to provoke him to anger.” (2 Kings 17:17)
The children of Israel were offered up as human sacrifices. The parents caused their young to be burned alive. This was their form of atonement for their own sins. The modern day version of this ritual is abortion. The act of abortion is justified in the attempt to maintain the sanctity of the deity of self. It’s all about me.
False God of the Guiltless
Later in 2 Kings 17:30 we learn that he men of Hamath made “Ashima” as a god to worship. Ashima literally translates “guiltless”. It was the false god in which to atone for one’s sins.
According to Adam Clarke, the 18th century Bible scholar and commentator, “It is known to everyone who has the least acquaintance with the mythology of the heathen, how strongly and universally they retained the tradition of an atonement or expiation for sin, although they expected it from a false object and wrong means. We find it expressed in very clear terms among the Romans even so late as the time of Horace, lib. i., ode 2: – Cui dabit partes scelus expiandi Jupiter? And whom, to expiate the horrid guilt, Will Jove appoint?”
This is perfect example of man’s need to free himself from the sin he commits. Even when it is a false god, in this case a god named guiltless, man inherently knows what sin is and that it goes against God himself. We have another example of the god of guiltless in Amos 8:14.
“They that swear by the sin of Samaria, and say, Thy god, O Dan, liveth; and, The manner of Beersheba liveth; even they shall fall, and never rise up again.”
The English phrase, “by the sin” is from the Greek word, “ashmah” which comes from the same word as the false god, “Ashima”. So the sin of Samaria was worshipping and remitting sins to the god of guiltlessness.
The human body is not designed for sin. It can not handle it. Sin destroys the body physically. Sin destroys the spirit of man, the very being of man. To willingly stay in sin then a person must willingly leave God. Open to the world, he becomes the devils prey. For God, “shall cover thee with his feathers, and under his wings shalt thou trust: his truth shall be thy shield and buckler.” (Psalms 91:4)
Instead of repenting of sin and remitting those to God, man now must find a scapegoat in which to place his sins. He either creates an external false god or creates an internal false god in self. The external false god atones. The internal false god justifies.
Jesus told the Apostle Paul to, “open their eyes, and to turn them from darkness to light, and from the power of Satan unto God, that they may receive forgiveness of sins, and inheritance among them which are sanctified by faith that is in me.” (Acts 26:18)
Repent of your sins to God. Have faith in Christ.