© Carlos Padilla, February 2016


Social sin runs rampant around the world, as does corruption, but its origin is individual sin. Hamartiology, or the study of sin in general, as well as being a part of fundamental Christian doctrine, for being strongly linked to other basic doctrines of Christianity, covers two scenarios of sin: individual and social, and this one at the same time is an influence of evil, a concept needed to understand it. To this last one we will dedicate this work. The concept that one has of personal sin, of its origin, of its consequences and of what Christ sais about this matter, changes human mind, but it even does it in a more subtle manner when we study sin at a social level. The Bible teaches, as well as the concepts, the specific types of sin that exist, the different sources of it, and of course the devastating consequences, not only for personal life, but for collective and the history of humanity. The good news is that there is a solution for sin –that situation in which man lives separated from God– it refers to divine grace, in the redemptory work for guilt, through the Cross of Christ and His blood shed for the remission of sin. It is relevant to observe that many times it is easier to see collective or social sin before a person accepts that he or she is a sinner. On the other hand many that oppose to personal sin fall in collective sin by fault of governments or other stratum of power whether religious, economic or social. Corruption is generalized in all the world. Our hope is Christ. The work of the Holy Spirit will reprove the world of sin, and of righteousness, and of judgment, John 16:8-6.



The concept of the term sin comes from a number or concepts that we find in the Bible, both in the OT as in the NT. The most known is the Greek term amartia or amartano that means to deviate from the straight course. The idea of the archer that fails the target has been used, but the concept goes further than missing the shot; it means to do it willingly. The question that we are now facing is to find out how far social sin is also voluntary or inducted by the surrounding, or both things. The sin that the Bible attributes to man that voluntarily separates from God to live his life in disobedience from Him, it is also attributed to a collective, a nation, as it happened to Israel. This is why it is imputed and punished, both in a personal as in a collective way. One affects the others, and the other affects the one. In Hebrew of the OT the concept would be chata'. Other concepts of the OT are ma'al which refers to betray, applicable to the disobedience of Adam. Ra, brake or to ruin; pasha, to rebel; awon, iniquity or transgression; shagag, to err. In the NT as well as hamartia –which gives the name to the discipline that studies sin– we find other terms like kakos, as a physical disease; poneros, as a moral evil (Matthew 12:39); asebes, as unmerciful (1Peter 4:18); enochos, as guilty or deserver of death (Matthew 5:21); adikia, bad conduct; anomos, law less or iniquity; parabates, as transgressor of the law; agnoein, is to worship other than the true God, in ignorance (Romans 2:4) as it could be the catholic or native idolatry that ignore the Bible; planao, guilty miscarriage; paraptoma is offense, and hypocrisis refers to a false interpretation or pretended oracle (Galatians 2:11). The attitude of man against God is sin. Sins, is, how many times man has failed in his life before God's Law, before His Commandments, and they will be part of the judgment against him. This point is also applicable to social sin. The last is initiated in Adam when he disobeys God in one specific Commandment that he knows. Between all the concepts of the OT and NT we could mention the order proposed by Ryrie that sin is to fail the target, evil, rebellion, iniquity, miscarriage, perversity, to go errant, merciless, crime, to walk out of the law, transgression, ignorance and offense.

The concept of social sin is linked in the Bible to collective personality. Adam, is an individual, but his sin has reached the human raze, Romans 5:12. Therefore, Christ, the last Adam, is life-giving to all those who believe in His work, the collective of the Church. Another example is Israel and the actions that affected all the nation became from actions of individuals, Joshua 7. David and Goliath was a fight between two nations, even though it was the result of the victory of one of them. One can be part of the collective sin in a democracy, even if one votes a party, the one who governs may bring collective sin to the nation. We can read in Exodus 20:5 that God will visit the iniquity of the fathers upon the children as a declaration of justice, not as rancour, because then it is said that the soul that sins, that shall die. God wants that the collective who fears Him lives doing justice and demands therefore that, before we ask Him in prayer we evaluate ourselves with regards to what works of justice we are doing. A Biblical Text that is relevant to this is Isaiah 1:16, which always impacts and motivates me:

"Wash yourselves, make yourselves clean; put away the evil of your doings from before My eyes. Cease to do evil, learn to do good; seek justice, rebuke the oppressor; defend the fatherless, plead for the widow." Its about fighting for social justice and not ignoring the problems of our society, and of doing it in His name, for His glory.



The origin of social sin comes from the world, from general evil, which at the same time has received it from Satan when he deceived Eve, through her Adam, and through him all human raze. The word "kosmos" from the Greek of the Bible, used by the apostles John and Paul, refers to the world. Even though its meaning can be related to the physical, such as the earth or the universe, it also refers to humanity, which at the same time has been deceived by the devil, when in the garden of Eden, he deceived man when it achieved that he sinned through Eve, eating of the fruit of the prohibited tree, telling her that she would obtain wisdom and would not die, but be like God. Adam was not the only one to sin, they were two, Adam and Eve. This was the beginning of social sin. So sin was introduced in the world by one man to all generations. The problems we find when trying to identify social sin are, in the first place we do not admit as ours those sins of the group, as we do not make the decisions, but the leader, the governing person, the boss, the pastor, it is like a mental anaesthetic, because everyone accepts it. In second place comes belonging, which starts in the family, the practice of traditions, the raze –a white person does not think of the difficulties in certain places of someone of colour– nor a non Jew thinks about the hate towards them. The problems of hanger are not relevant in our world, and a bad use of resources is made while in third world countries hunger kills millions. Medicines and medical services that we do not appreciate, of the security we have while in other countries terrorism runs rampant. If politicians that rule do not do anything, or do it wrong, or cause the problems, what can we do? Here is a third and fourth point that has to do with egoism and excesses of the group, ethnic, nation or religious denomination. As much as we do individually, the group may go against. But the group may show arrogance and influence us to be the same to defend the nation, a church, a football team, in a non Christian way. And, last, is the question of the distance, if we are far from the problem we do not suffer it, it does not affect us. Before we spoke of hunger; in this point, we do not see the extreme hunger that suffer those that dye, nor are we affected by those who are there helping and are affected by the suffering of those who are there, while resources are wasted. The poor dye of hunger and the rich of the effects of overeating.

To finish this section we must talk about relativism in the present world, that current that sais that all is relative, that truth cannot be known, that sais that sin is not sin, that all is accepted, etc. This current and the influence of Freud with regards to the animal nature interpreting that man is an animal evolution, as Darwin said, influences negatively against God, and makes society a world enemy of God, a world with a cauterized mind to do evil deeds; the contrary is defended by those who say that man is getting better and nearing its perfection; which is contrary to the facts, as we see in political and social corruption in all stratum in which social sin appears.

A relevant example in the Bible about social sin we find when Paul writes to the Ephesians, in chapter 2:2: "...dead in trespasses and sins, in which you once walked according to the course of this world, according to the price of the power of the air, the spirit who now works in the sons of disobedience".



The "kosmos" is, therefore an entity opposed to God. Evil is at the same time individual-personal and social by nature. The structures of evil in the world are powerful and influence the individual wills of people. To this point we must mention that sin, has in man, a series of consequences that affect, not only the life of the first man that sinned: Adman, but that is inherited by the rest of humanity, what we call universal sin. Since the fall, evil entered in man and the world –because the relationship with God was lost. The evident erred nature of man can be seen due to its inherited behaviour in all human raze, because they all sinned, with one exception, Jesus of Nazareth, the Son of God.

The fallen world as society, in general –with the exceptions of the church and its members who fight to fulfil the Great Commission– is ruled by principalities and powers of the darkness, Ephesians 6:12. These are fallen angels who follow Satan in his plan against God, but the victory is of Christ, for on the Cross, He already did. That victory is of which we Christians benefit temporarily until the perfect is established. If we understand that the governments of the world, the big entities that influence at a social level and other stratum, they are ruled by these powers, our understanding to Biblical level helps us in prayer and we know that we count on the protection of God. This is why our relationship with God is vital, also in this matter, for He guides us, will close and open the doors, will answer to guide us in His grace. The teaching of Christ about sin provides us so much information that we can see it reflected in the world.

Therefore we find that as well as He suffered from the world to which He came, from those of the Jewish religion, we shall take precautions of social sin in the church itself, as it was in the synagogue, in the government, in schools, universities, in political parties and associations, in NGOs, or in the UN. All these entities are ruled by a higher power that man cannot foresee, until he receives Christ, and even then must be instructed by the Holy Spirit to identify the influence of those spiritual beings that are influencing each one of them. About churches, we have a clear example in Revelation about the angels that rule the seven churches of chapters 2 and 3. When Jesus talks about sacrilege when He denounced the money changers in the Temple, in Marc 11:15, He is talking about a fight against spiritual powers that influenced in the Temple. Again when Jesus accuses Scribes and Pharisees of hypocrisy because they did not do what they taught, in Matthew 23:1-36, it is to denounce the fallen angles that were influencing their unbelieving and arrogant attitude. The avarice, in Luke 12:15, blasphemy in Matthew 12:22-37, as well as the transgression of the Law in Matthew 15:3-6 because they were not honouring their parents when they did not help them in their needs, but they helped the Temple instead where they would get the money back. Of pride, for being stumbling stone, of disloyalty, of immorality, of anfractuous for not bearing fruits of Christ, in John 15:16 it was not about denouncing individual sins to this point, but those of entire collectives, who may and must pray to God, in all times to be healed in spirit, regenerated to a collective level.

Jesus teaches that the Holy Spirit does a great work from the grace of God. It refers to the conviction of sin, John 16:8. If man is not convinced of sin and repents, accepting the divine plan of salvation, society and the world have no solution, as does not the individual. The Lamb of God is who takes away the sin of the world, John 1:29. Christ keeps us, until His coming, and in all the world " ...every eye, shall see Him," Revelation 1:7.



My faith with regards to the teaching of sin in based in all these biblical concepts of the teaching of Christ to an individual and social level that we have studied to this point. The world has created wars and separation due to ideology, religion, politics, ethnic and any excuse as long as it can achieve that men kill each other, and to sow chaos and separation from God.

From the original sin of Adam and Eve, to the sin of Cain when he killed his brother Abel because of envy, because he did not take God into account. We see sin in general to the level of social sin already in times of Noah, to whom God demanded to build the arch. Again later in times of Sodom and Gomorrah. Martin Luther fought against the sin of deceive of the corrupted church before believes, by providing the Bible in vernacular tong. The Inquisition reacted and burned those Christians who carried the Gospel. Its purpose was to punish the teaching of the Bible in religion, and to keep the power over uneducated and deceived believers, as Reinaldo Gonzalez Montes explains in his book "Arts of the Spanish Holy Inquisition".

William Wilberforce fought against the social sin of slavery until he managed to abolish it in the British Parliament, not without several previous failures, but persevered. His good friend John Newton, who was the captain of a slaves ship, and who converted to Christianity abandoned slave trafficking, was his greatest support in the cause, and left us the famous hymn "Amazing Grace". Nazis committed the social sin of the atrocity of the Jewish Holocaust, but one who fought it in silence was a German business man, owner of a factory; he was called Schindler. The famous film "The List of Schindler" was made where it tells how he saved all the Jews of his factory from a sure death. However there was one fruit from social sin of the atrocity of World War II, this is the previous association to the European Union, between France and Germany so that never ever another war would happen. And, of course, the UN, which as well as providing a frame of stability against a world war, would approve the return of the Promised Land to Israel in 1948. But the biggest of all sins was the rejection of the Messiah Jesus Christ, and it was to a national level, ethnic level and social level. His Cross and His resurrection initiated the greatest transformation of humanity through the Gospel, by the hand of a group of apostles all around the world, who's effects remain until today.



The first of the clues to fight against social sin is not to fall in discourage. Many times we ask ourselves where and who to help. Within our surrounding, and starting with our families, we must help, whether with our love and dedication, or with finances and deeds. Then within our church. Then within our community and our country. But, what shall we do when they ask for help and needs that we cannot see, those far away? We have missionary brothers in far away places, to whom we can help with finances, legally, relationally and in prayer. This order of action can help us not to fall in inaction for not knowing how to help, when we have will to do it. It is relevant to see how Catholic and Latin countries have the greater number of unemployed and uneducated, in comparison to protestant countries. The income per capita and the richness of Protestantism, under the ethics of the moral obligation of profit but under Biblical moral, as said Benjamin Franklin, as well as Calvino, has provided unquestionable fruits, and the greatest provision to social work known to date. If our work does not profit/fruit is a sin before God. It is also convenient to recycle, to follow the spirit of the Reformation, and to reform in a continuous manner to not remain immobile by the cause of traditions. Then, we can apply the list of Paul in Ephesians 6 when he talks of the armour of God, and add to our walk the stairs of 2Peter 2 to culminate with the love of God in Christ of 1John 4:7-21. If our faith is great, it will win the world because it feeds of the heart and mind of Christ through the Holy Spirit, as we read in 1John 5.

For the strategies to remain victorious before sin, we will add to the previous, the concept of regeneration, which we can include or add to the one of reformation continuously. Society as an entity cannot change if individuals do not change. Even if this is a utopia we have no other way but to fight in this field, one by one to win the many, as long as we have converted ourselves in activist against social sin. If all the people of society are transformed, society itself will be transformed. There is an extended belief in depravation, that proposes that even though society and circumstances were good, humanity will still be sinner. For if there is no internal transformation, we will not find social changes. Free will of the individual makes him an individual unit. But the evangelical focus through groups, inside the church, that support each other to take forth the work of changing people to change society, moves the individual and individuals to the group, a applied practice with success for years by Billy Graham when organizing his evangelistic campaigns through groups of business men which was initiated in Los Angeles. The Reformation, following this line of attack, would be to understand that social problems are greater than the will of individuals, which are transformed by the Gospel. Therefore they act trying to restructure society, having legislators that will make illegal those conditions that are unwanted and a sin of society, they believe that if they fulfil these laws, social sin changes. But, does the individual change? Gandhi and Luther King  fought in a non violent way. The black of Montgomery, Alabama, in the mid 1950 boycotted the busses. We can change company politics if we are given the chance or we can buy certain products, etc. The Revolution would be a more radical focus because it believes that social structures are so corrupted that they need to be eradicated, it is not enough to reform them. Examples, are, the theology of liberation, Marxism and terrorism. Evil is at the same time individual-personal and social by nature. We must fight it with a combination of all possible strategies under the Spirit, we cannot be revolutionaries, because Jesus did not fight that way; we must fight in a Christian way, through regeneration and reform, under the prayer and the guide of Christ.



It is vital to be able to identify the social characteristics of collective sin because its nature is omnipresent in society. Once we have learned to know and identify collective sin we have the problem of our democratic system, which, although it seams the less of the problems in a political view, it imposes at the end, what the majority votes, or the result of covenants. To this point we find ourselves serving politics against our faith, our moral and social convictions with our taxes. We can only vote the lesser of evils and support those politicians that may take forth those projects that are related to ours, as it was the case of William Wilberforce in several occasions until he managed to win the support of the majority of the chamber of the British Parliament to abolish slavery. In the same way we may influence in our society, in schools, hi-schools, universities, in associations, in NGOs and in our church, so that justice is made and to glorify God. For that our payer and team work are the best weapons.

     "For God so loved the world that He gave His only begotten Son, that whoever believes in Him should not perish but have everlasting life. John 3:16."

Mercy and God's love save us and keep us saved in this world, through His power. Through evangelism we can regenerate, and through action to a social and political level we can reform. Here we will put in practice our social ethics, through God's love to our neighbour. To God be the glory in Christ in our society, family, surrounding and church, while we fight the good battle of the faith. Amen.




  • For unto us a child is born, unto us a son is given: and the government shall be upon his shoulder: and his name shall be called Wonderful, Counsellor, The mighty God, The everlasting Father, The Prince of Peace. Prophecy of Isaiah 9:6.

  • I am the way, the truth, and the life: no man cometh unto the Father, but by me. John 14:6. Words of Yahshua - Jesus Christ.
  • You want to know God, but you know the way is not through organized religion, nor by sects, nor by society. The world has failed. ...I pray for them;  I do not pray for the world but for those whom You have given Me, for they are Yours... John 17:9. Prayer of Yahshua - Jesus Christ.

  • If you really seek God, begin today the new life though the true hand of God. The Gospel is the message for all nations, no matter their race, their origins or culture. God is the saviour of those from humanity who open their hearts to Him.

  • ...Therefore, my beloved brethren, be ye stedfast, unmoveable, always abounding in the work of the Lord, forasmuch as ye know that your labour is not in vain in the Lord.  1Corinthians 15:58.

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