What Is Sin?
We often here people say, “You’re a sinner” or “Repent of your sins” or “All have sinned and fallen short of the glory of God.” But all too often I meet people, Christians and non-Christians alike, who don’t even know what sin is. What is sin and what is the standard by which we fall short? A lot of people have seen Mel Gibson’s “The Passion of the Christ”. When the movie had first been released, we stopped several people on the way out of the theater to ask them a few quick questions. First we asked them, “What did you think about the movie?” Commonly they would say something like, “Awesome, powerful, amazing and convicting”. Then we asked, “There’s something big missing from the movie; do you know what it is?” They’d say, “No what?” We’d say, “The motive for the murder you just witnessed! In other words, the reason Jesus was sacrificed – do you know why Jesus died?” The most common response was, “For me” or “For my sin.” Then we’d ask, “What does the Bible say sin is?” Amazingly, 7 out of 10 professing Christians couldn’t give us the biblical definition of sin!
Before I tell you what the Bible says sin is, let me ask you one quick question. Do you think, as a Christian, it’s essential to your salvation that you confess, forsake and repent of (turn from) your sins? If you said, “Yes”, you’re right (Proverbs 28:13, Luke 13:3-5, Acts 17: 30-31). If repentance is essential to your salvation, do you know what the Bible calls sin? It stand to reason if you agree you should confess and forsake your sins so God can forgive you, you had better know what sin is, right? The ultimate question is how can you repent if you don’t know what sin is? More importantly, how can you know for sure you’re saved and won’t be one of the many people who cry out to Jesus on that day saying, “Lord, Lord” and He’ll say, “I never knew you; Away from me, you evildoers!” – (Matt. 7: 21-23)? You can’t afford to be wrong, for your eternal salvation depends on it.
So, what does the Bible call sin? Is sin all the bad things we do that anger God? Is sin what separates us from God? Is it the things we do that hurt our neighbor or the mistakes we make? None of these are technically the biblical definition of sin; they are the result of it. In 1 John 3:4 the Bible gives us a very clear definition of what God calls sin. It says, “Whosoever commits sin transgresses the law; In fact, sin is transgression of the Law.” What law? God’s Law! You know, the Ten Commandments. Do you think you’ve kept them? More importantly, have you confessed your transgressions of the Law and turned away from lawlessness? Let’s look at all Ten Commandments so you can see how you are doing. With a sensitive conscience and a humble heart, ask yourself if you’ve broken any of the commandments at any time during your entire life.
1. You shall have no other gods before Me. - Have you loved God above all else? Ever put friends, family, money, sex, work, or anything else before God?
2. You shall not make yourself a graven image or worship false idols. - Have you ever made up a god in your mind that you’re more comfortable with or created a god to suit yourself that’s contrary to what God has proven He is in the Bible? In other words, have you ever said, “God is good so He’ll just forgive me” or “My god would never send anyone to hell.” If you have, the Bible says you’re guilty of the oldest sin in the book, idolatry. (Read Ephesians 5:5)
3. You shall not take God’s name in vain. – Have you ever used God’s name in exchange for a four letter filth word used to express disgust? Ever bring God’s name down to just a phrase or expression? Have you ever done that? That’s called blasphemy and the Bible makes it clear that “…God won’t hold them guiltless who take His name in vain.” (Exodus 20:7)
4. Remember the Sabbath Day, to keep it holy. - Have you always set aside one day in seven to rest and worship God?
5. Honor your father and mother. - Personally, I know I broke this every day of my life as a teenager; how about you?
6. You shall not murder. - 1 John 3:15 – “Anyone who hates his brother is a murderer, and you know that no murderer has eternal life in him.” Have you ever hated anyone? If so, the Bible says you’re a murderer in God’s eyes.
7. You shall not commit adultery. - Jesus said in Matthew 5: 27-28 – “You have heard that it was said, ‘Do not commit adultery.’ But I tell you that anyone who looks at a woman lustfully has already committed adultery with her in his heart.” Have you ever looked with lust? If you’re like me, that makes you an adulterer in God’s eyes.
8. You shall not steal. - Have you ever stolen anything, even something small as a child? No matter what the value or circumstances, (cheating 15 minutes of your bosses time) if you take something that doesn’t belong to you it makes you a thief by God’s standard and no thief can enter the kingdom of heaven. (Read 1 Corinthians 6: 9-10)
9. You shall not lie. - Have you lied even once? Including in answering these questions? If you even tell one lie, what does that make you? If you said, “liar” you got it right. The Bible warns that all liars will have their part in a lake of fire. (Revelation 21:8)
10. You shall not covet. - Have you ever been jealous or desired something that belongs to someone else? (Read 1 Corinthians 6: 9-10)
So how did you do? If you were honest with yourself and before God, you’ve at least admitted that there are several commandments you’ve broken and some of them you’ve broken repeatedly. If God judges you based on His standard, are you going to go to Heaven or Hell? Be honest with yourself and listen to the voice of your conscience because you can’t afford to be wrong when it comes to where you will spend eternity. Keep in mind, no matter how many “good” things we do, they could never make up for or erase the sin we’ve already committed. The Bible says the day will come when even every idle word you speak you’ll have to give an account of on the Day of Judgment. God doesn’t just see what we do; He also knows everything we think, feel and say Want proof? It’s called your conscience. Think about it. When has your conscience ever told you to do something that wouldn’t be pleasing to God? No, in fact it’s quite the contrary! Ever since you were a child your conscience has told you what was right and good. But where does it come from and where does it go? It’s not there all the time. It only convicts you when you said or did something that was wrong, immoral or down right evil. Amazingly, your conscience also matches up to all ten of God’s laws. God gave you a conscience so you would know right from wrong. That’s why no one will stand before God on the Day of Judgment and have an excuse for our sinful words, feelings, thoughts, or actions (Romans 1:20). In fact, the word “conscience” means, “with knowledge”. So every time you lie, steal, cheat, kill, or dishonor God, you know in your heart that it’s wrong.
Maybe you don’t believe in Hell, or you think God’s good so He would never send anyone there. You’d be right. You’re correct in saying that God is good and He loves us. In fact, He loved us so much He sent His one and only Son to live a sin free life and to die as a payment for the crimes we’ve committed. God is good and He doesn’t send anyone to Hell; they send themselves there by turning away from His plan of salvation and trying to get there by doing good deeds. They don’t accept the sacrifice God made and try to find other ways to enter the kingdom of Heaven.
The problem is, if I murdered someone ten years ago I would still be a murder today. One lie makes you a liar. One thing stolen makes you a thief. Time does not forgive sin! Even if you don’t believe in Hell, that doesn’t change the reality of it’s existence. One day, everyone will see if it’s true or not. What a terrible thing it would be to find out too late that Hell is real and that not God, but you, sent yourself there for eternity.
Think about it like this: You’re in a court room and you have just been convicted of four very serious crimes. The evidence was obvious and, in fact, you’ve even confessed to the crimes. The Law has left you guilty as charged an you owe a huge fine that you can’t pay. So, the court gives you life in prison because you can’t pay your fine. Then, all of a sudden a man you’ve never seen before steps into the courtroom. He says to the judge, “Your Honor, I sold everything I owned and gave all I had to raise the money to pay this person’s fine.” Then, he hands a check to the judge for your huge fine. At that moment, the judge looks at you and says, “You’re free to go. Justice has been served because your debt has been paid.” What would you do? Would you turn back to the judge and say, “No thanks, I’m just going to do my time,” or would you fall to the feet of the guy who paid your fine and say, “Thank you! I don’t know who you are or where you came from but I’m truly grateful for this miracle. I know I could never repay you for what you’ve done but I want to try.” Which would you do? Personally, I’d thank the guy who paid my fine, not just with words but by showing my gratitude by trying to make it up to him. That’s what the Bible says Jesus did for you and me. We broke God’s law and Jesus paid our fine. Jesus said the value of your eyes should pale in comparison to the value of your soul. (Matthew 5:29) Think about that for a minute. Would you trade both your eyes for ten million dollars? I’ve yet to meet a sane person who would trade them even for a hundred million dollars. If your eyes are but the window your soul looks out how much more should your soul be worth to you? Don’t you think it’s time to fall to His feet and thank Him for paying the fine for the crimes you committed against God? Be humble, not proud (James 4:6 & 1 Peter 5:5), for God resists the proud but gives grace to the humble.
You seem there is no other name under all of heaven given for the forgiveness of sin. Not Muhammad, not Gandhi, not Buddha, not Science, none other than Jesus Christ. Take the first step towards heaven and tell God you’re sorry for the sins you’ve committed against him. Then, fall to the feet of Jesus and thank Him for paying your fin. Give Him your heart, mind, and life. Ask Him to transform you into the man or woman God created you to be.
Then, pray everyday, wash your mind in the Word of God and commit to living your life the way Jesus commanded us all to. Don’t take the greatest gamble in life by betting your soul against God. You will lose in a BIG way. Don’t take the chance that you will be one of those people who are amazed and shocked that on the Day of Judgment you are denied access to heaven by Jesus Himself. God gave you a second chance and a way out of the punishment and the prison of your sins. Get on the right side of God and follow the perfect path He crated just for you. Know for sure that you’re soundly saved! Come to God broken in your heart over the crimes you committed and humbly ask for forgiveness. Then throw yourself on the mercy of Jesus and beg Him to be the Lord of your life. Surrender completely (heart, mind, and soul) to His righteousness and you will be saved. Will you turn to him and ask for forgiveness or will you stay in your sins and pay the ultimate price in the end? The choice is yours and the advice is free. I pray you make the righteous decision today, before it is too late.
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