What is Sin?
Many people don’t understand what “sin” is and don’t believe they are a “sinner.” Maybe you are one of them. As our legal system says, “Ignorance of the law is no excuse.” Perhaps someone told you that you are a sinner and your response was to ask, “What is sin?” This post will explain the meaning of sin in the Bible.
Sin is disobeying any of God’s commands
God created the heavens and the earth, the sea, and all that is in them (Exodus 20:11a). In other words, God created the universe and all life, including us. As the Creator, God established the physical laws that govern how the material universe works.
God has revealed His will and His rules in His Word, the Bible.
God also established spiritual laws, including rules for us to obey. These laws are meant for our benefit, and living in harmony with them is good for us. Ignoring the physical “laws of nature” often brings disaster. Ignoring God’s spiritual laws has negative consequences as well.
The Bible reveals the spiritual truths by which we should live.
God has revealed His will and His rules in His Word, the Bible. The Bible reveals the spiritual truths by which we should live. It is wise to live in harmony with the physical laws of the universe. Likewise, it is wise to fear God and obey the spiritual laws revealed in God’s Word.
Sin is doing anything God has told us not to do.
You may have heard of the Ten Commandments. They are revealed in Exodus 20:1-17 and Deuteronomy 5:6-21.
Eight of the Ten Commandments are prohibitions, things God has commanded us not to do. They include:
• You shall have no other gods beside the one true God
• You shall not worship idols
• You shall not take the name of the LORD in vain
• You shall not murder
• You shall not commit adultery
• You shall not steal
• You shall not bear false witness
• You shall not covet
These prohibitions mean that:
• If you have ever allowed anything to be more important to you than God, then you have sinned.
• If you have ever said God’s name in vain, then you have sinned.
• If you have ever had sex outside of marriage, then you have sinned.
• If you have ever taken something that did not belong to you, then you have sinned.
• If you have ever lied, then you have sinned.
• If you have ever wanted something that belonged to someone else, then you have sinned.
All of us have done at least one of these things
That means we are all sinners
“For all have sinned and fall short of the glory of God” (Romans 3:23)
Sin is disobeying God by Not doing something He has commanded us to do
The fifth of the Ten Commandments is, “Honor your father and your mother” (Exodus 20:12; Deuteronomy. 5:16). If you have ever disobeyed, back talked, or disrespected either of your parents, in any way, then you have sinned.
When asked what the greatest commandment is, Jesus answered, “You shall love the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your mind. This is the first and great commandment.” (Mt. 22:37-38) But we all fall short in obeying this. We tend to love ourselves and the things God has made, more than we love the Creator who gave us everything.
We tend to love ourselves and the things God has made, more than we love the Creator who gave us everything.
Jesus said the second greatest commandment is, “You shall love your neighbor as yourself” (Mt. 22:39; Mk. 12:31). This commandment is obeyed by following the golden rule, “Do to others as you would have them do to you” (Lk. 6:31 / NIV). If you have ever treated anyone in a way that you would not want to be treated, then you have sinned.
“There is none righteous, not even one” (Romans 3:10 / NASB).
According to the Bible, we are all sinners
“For all have sinned and fall short of the glory of God”(Rom. 3:23)
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