WHAT IS SIN?
It seems to me a very important matter to determine the nature of sin, as the Word of God defines sin. Too often Christians are brought to believe that their nature of sin continues in spite of the fact that they are regenerated by the Spirit of God. This certainly should cause a feeling of guilt for a Christian unless he believed what he was falsely taught, that everyone is a sinner regardless of their regeneration, regardless of the fact that Jesus redeemed him from his sin, that the blood of Jesus Christ has cleansed them of all unrighteousness. In such a case, the “sinner” would think it natural that he is sinning, and would feel no guilt. For this reason, I am convinced that a definition of acts of sin be provided, and how we deal with these acts (if they are truly sin).
First of all, the word sin is defined in the Bible: Whosoever committeth sin transgresseth also the law: for sin is the transgression of the law. (1 John 3:4 AV) To transgress means to “step across” . Sin, then, is to go counter to the law, or to rebel against the law.
Next we need to consider what is the “law”. The Bible tells us of two sorts of laws, the laws that God gave to the Jews through Moses on Mount Sinai, secondly, the law described in the second chapter of Romans: Tribulation and anguish, upon every soul of man that doeth evil, of the Jew first, and also of the Gentile; But glory, honour, and peace, to every man that worketh good, to the Jew first, and also to the Gentile: For there is no respect of persons with God. For as many as have sinned without law shall also perish without law: and as many as have sinned in the law shall be judged by the law; (For not the hearers of the law are just before God, but the doers of the law shall be justified. For when the Gentiles, which have not the law, do by nature the things contained in the law, these, having not the law, are a law unto themselves: Which shew the work of the law written in their hearts, their conscience also bearing witness, and their thoughts the mean while accusing or else excusing one another;) In the day when God shall judge the secrets of men by Jesus Christ according to my gospel. (Romans 2:9-16 AV) So, we see that whether Jew or Gentile, each are under the law, either written on stone or in the heart. The Law of God, written on stone for the Jews are His ten Commandments to them. Parts of these laws God has written in the hearts of the Gentiles. What amounts to conscience in a man is his heart’s knowledge of what God expects of him.
Added to these laws are the prophets’ preachments from God through these messengers, which with the Law represent the two New Commandments given to us by Jesus Christ: Jesus said unto him, Thou shalt love the Lord thy God with all thy heart, and with all thy soul, and with all thy mind. This is the first and great commandment. And the second is like unto it, Thou shalt love thy neighbour as thyself. On these two commandments hang all the law and the prophets. (Matthew 22:37-40 AV)
The breaking of these laws is sin, according to definition. All other acts of indiscretion are either things that do not edify or are not expedient. Paul said, “All things are lawful for me, but all things are not expedient: all things are lawful for me, but all things edify not“. (1 Cor, 10:23 AV) To call such things sin is to include them as part of the law from which we are set free by Christ who has fulfilled the law for us and has written it in our hearts. We are not to add to God’s Word by including man made rules and morals as did the Pharisees in Jesus’ time on Earth.
Another source of sin is yielding to the temptations of the flesh. Again, these works of the flesh are specific, not to be confused with minor supposed shortcomings, like falling short of the glory of God to which no man can attain. “Now the works of the flesh are manifest, which are these; Adultery, fornication, uncleanness, lasciviousness, Idolatry, witchcraft, hatred, variance, emulations, wrath, strife, seditions, heresies, Envyings, murders, drunkenness, revellings, and such like: of the which I tell you before, as I have also told you in time past, that they which do such things shall not inherit the kingdom of God.” (Galatians 5:19-21 AV)
We can see from this list the nature of these sins; they are not the occasional laziness or going to a ball game instead of Wednesday evening prayer meeting. There is no law to classify these sorts of actions as a sin. Yet there are those who do just that, who will also judge themselves and others for anything that differs from their idea of “holiness”. These are the folks who will tell you that we all sin every day, yet they do not repent and ‘sin no more’, as Jesus told the adulterous woman. They excuse themselves by saying that the old nature is still alive and took charge, so they are not at fault, we are only human. The result of this religious trap is that the atoning work of Christ is negated through the persuasion of such persons, most of whom are not born again, and the spiritual growth of the body of Christ ceases among them.
Sin is dreadfully gross in God’s eyes, and He will not abide its presence, nor enter a sinful heart. Sin is taken lightly by those who “sin every day” and use this as an excuse for living loosely. Be sure of your right position with the Lord, and you will not suffer the wrath of God. Remember that it is expected of Christians not to sin, but: “My little children, these things write I unto you, that ye sin not. And if any man sin, we have an advocate with the Father, Jesus Christ the righteous: And he is the propitiation for our sins: and not for ours only, but also for the sins of the whole world.” (1 John 2:1-2 AV)
The Way, Truth, and Life Ministries