What is Sin?

What is Sin?

Daily Reading: (James 4:17, 1 John 1:8):

“If anyone, then, knows the good they ought to do and doesn’t do it, it is sin for them.”

“If we claim to be without sin, we deceive ourselves and the truth is not in us.”

Sin what is it? This is a tougher question to answer than you might think. I had a philosophy class about 20 years ago where the professor asked, “could a good deed that is done be a sin?” The class’s initial reaction, myself included, probably yours too, was no way! But then the professor introduced motive to the equation. Imagine a housing for homeless youth organization is established. The founder is labeled as an “unsung hero” by the President of the United States. Starting a homeless shelter for youth is a good deed, but now let’s introduce motive. Come to find out the founder of the organization abused the teens in the shelter for years. This is Father Bruce Ritter’s story at Covenant House. So, starting a shelter to help homeless teens a good deed to have access to abuse those teens (motive for good deed) is a sin. Motives are important.

There is a Disney movie called “Up” which features a character who is trying to get his last Boy Scout badge by assisting the elderly. He will do whatever it takes even though the main character (an elderly man) doesn’t want to be assisted. Once again we have a good deed (assisting an elderly person) tainted by an improper motive.

I still haven’t given a Biblical definition for sin, so let’s start to that with our main verse:

“If anyone, then, knows the good they ought to do and doesn’t do it, it is sin for them” (James 4:17). We think of sin in terms of acting upon something (do’s and don’t’s), but you could sin simply by not do anything at all when there is a chance for good.

The Greek word for sin is hamartia. It means to miss the mark. Imagine a bullseye has been drawn and righteousness is only found in the center of the bullseye. Anything that is even slightly off center, is off target and that is sin. Sin is to miss or wander from the path of uprightness and honor. If it doesn’t bring honor to God, it is a sin because it is off the mark (hamartia).

Romans 3:23, “for all have sinned and fall short of the glory of God.”

So, it doesn’t matter if you think you are the most righteous person, we all share in the sin problem. We all missed the mark.

1 John 1:8: “If we claim to be without sin, we deceive ourselves and the truth is not in us.”

If you claim to not have a sin problem, well guess what? Not only is that a sin but that means you are unable to have your sin dealt with once and for all. Because the fact is, every believer in Jesus, first have to recognize their need for a Savior. The had to recognize their sin problem so they might receive the forgiveness of their sin. If you say you have no sin, the truth hasn’t taken up residence in your heart. The truth Jesus Christ is not in you (1 John 1:8).

Sin presented a severe problem, separation from God. God presented a solution to our sin in a Savior, His Son, and reconciliation forever to all who receive His Son!

What I found is that when we go back and look at what sin did, we can better understand what salvation offers.

but you must not eat from the tree of the knowledge of good and evil, for when you eat from it you will certainly die” (Genesis 2:17).

Sin brought with it death. Jesus the answer to our sin, brought life.

Romans 6:23: “For the wages of sin is death; but the gift of God is eternal life through Jesus Christ our Lord.

Are you getting excited about this?  Let’s see what else sin brought so we might see what salvation offers to us.

Genesis 3:16-19: To the woman he said,

“I will make your pains in childbearing very severe; with painful labor you will give birth to children. Your desire will be for your husband, and he will rule over you.”To Adam he said, “Because you listened to your wife and ate fruit from the tree about which I commanded you, ‘You must not eat from it,’ “Cursed is the ground because of you; through painful toil you will eat food from it all the days of your life.It will produce thorns and thistles for you, and you will eat the plants of the field.By the sweat of your brow you will eat your food until you return to the ground, since from it you were taken; for dust you are and to dust you will return.”

What is sin? Anything off the mark of honoring God. What did sin bring? Off the mark of God’s creation, disease of the land, diseases of the body, pain and suffering, damaged relationships, death.

Jesus is the cure to our sin problem and the effects of sin that plagued us. Do you have pain and suffering, damaged relationships, health problems? Are you suffering financial hardship (disease of the land)? Jesus is the answer to the effects of sin that you are experiencing.

Isaiah 53:4a: “Surely he took up our pain and bore our suffering,”

Psalm 103:3: “Who forgives all your iniquities, who heals all your diseases.”

He was wounded for our transgressions, He was bruised for our guilt and iniquities; the chastisement [needful to obtain] peace and well-being for us was upon Him, and with the stripes [that wounded] Him we are healed and made whole. He didn’t just suffer the sin of the entire world, He also suffered with every sickness, disease, pain so that we could be healed and made whole in every area of our life. Jesus did it all and He suffered all of this so we would be cured of our sin problem because He loved us so much.

The Greek word for salvation “sozo” is to save a suffering one (from perishing), one suffering from disease, to make well, heal, restore to health.

In Christ is the cure for all that ails us in the world because of sin. Sin brought with it the curse, whereas, Jesus is our covering and cure.

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