Sin Definition For Christians

The topic of sin is not a popular one today. Many view the concept of sin as archaic and demeaning — something that needs to be cast aside in light of current ” modern thought”. Christians however know that there are some things taught in God’s word which will never become outdated. Sin is one such topic that is as relevant today as two thousand years ago. In this section we will supply a biblical definition of sin describing and explaining it’s different aspects.

SIN IS LAWLESSNESS

When trying to define sin two or three simple passages in scripture are very helpful in providing the information needed. In the following verse sin is described as lawlessness.

(1 John 3:4) Everyone who practices sin also practices lawlessness; and sin is lawlessness.

We have mentioned that God has given His commandments and laws to man to govern the way man lives. These laws are for the good of all and are meant to preserve the gift of life which God has given. When man obeys God’s law there is liberty and freedom to enjoy the gift of life with others without fear of future problems.

(Psalms 19:7) The law of the LORD is perfect, restoring the soul;

(James 1:25) But one who looks intently at the perfect law, the law of liberty, and abides by it, not having become a forgetful hearer but an effectual doer, this man shall be blessed in what he does.

So we see that the laws of God are perfect and are given to bless man. When we break God’s law we have committed sin and are acting in a way that will be detrimental to our own good and that of our neighbor.

SIN IS UNRIGHTEOUSNESS

Another verse found in the book of 1 John gives more helpful information regarding a definition of sin. Here sin is described as unrighteousness.

(1 John 5:17) All unrighteousness is sin

Righteousness is a word used to describe the state of being in conformity with God’s laws and requirements. Consider the description of Zacharias and his wife Elizabeth found in the gospel of Luke:

(Luke 1:5-6) In the days of Herod, king of Judea, there was a certain priest named Zacharias, of the division of Abijah; and he had a wife from the daughters of Aaron, and her name was Elizabeth. {6} And they were both righteous in the sight of God, walking blamelessly in all the commandments and requirements of the Lord.

These two godly people were described as being righteous in the site of God as they were observing His commandments and requirements. Furthermore in many places in scripture righteousness is contrasted with lawlessness. The obvious inference is that those who are living in consistent patterns of disobedience to God’s laws are considered to be unrighteous and those acts which are contrary to God’s law are considered to be unrighteous acts. Consider these scriptures:

(1 Corinthians 6:9-10) Or do you not know that the unrighteous shall not inherit the kingdom of God? Do not be deceived; neither fornicators, nor idolaters, nor adulterers, nor effeminate, nor homosexuals, {10} nor thieves, nor the covetous, nor drunkards, nor revilers, nor swindlers, shall inherit the kingdom of God.

(2 Corinthians 6:14) Do not be bound together with unbelievers; for what partnership have righteousness and lawlessness, or what fellowship has light with darkness?

It becomes clear then that unrighteousness is the same as lawlessness both of which describe the concept of sin. An informative verse related to these concepts is found in the book of Hebrews. The writer of this book points out the Jesus God’s Son was exalted to a position above all others because he hated lawlessness and loved righteousness. Again the contrast serves to define the nature of unrighteousness as lawlessness.

(Hebrews 1:8-9) But of the Son He says, “THY THRONE, O GOD, IS FOREVER AND EVER, AND THE RIGHTEOUS SCEPTER IS THE SCEPTER OF HIS KINGDOM. {9} “THOU HAST LOVED RIGHTEOUSNESS AND HATED LAWLESSNESS; THEREFORE GOD, THY GOD, HATH ANOINTED THEE WITH THE OIL OF GLADNESS ABOVE THY COMPANIONS.”

Perhaps the whole matter can be summed up in the words of James:

(James 4:17) Therefore, to one who knows the right thing to do, and does not do it, to him it is sin.

REJECTING GOD’S PLANS AND PURPOSES

We have mentioned before that God has given His laws to govern His creation. The point also needs to be made again that these laws govern mans life in the context of the pursuit of God’s plans and purposes. God has created and designed this world with specific plans and purposes which are not to be neglected or rejected. God’s original plan for the human family was to be fruitful and multiply and to fill the earth. This puts the focus of life on the family. Husbands and wives raising children in loving families where the truth about God is learned from God’s word.

As we will see in the topics to come sin has altered the original plans and purposes of God. In addition to the propagation of the human family God has other plans and purpose to which God calls man. The will of God for our lives now also includes our salvation and sanctification and service for the kingdom of God. However, for right now, the important point to realize and accept is that God has not created the human race so that each one could decide for themselves what they will do with “their” life. God has given very specific instructions regarding the plans and purposes for our lives. God’s word teaches us that when a person rejects the plans and purposes of God for their life in pursuit of their own they are committing sin.

(Isaiah 29:15) Woe to those who deeply hide their plans from the LORD, And whose deeds are done in a dark place, And they say, “Who sees us?” or “Who knows us?”

(Isaiah 30:1) “Woe to the rebellious children,” declares the LORD, “Who execute a plan, but not Mine, And make an alliance, but not of My Spirit, In order to add sin to sin;

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