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Home > Online Magazine > Online Magazine: Edition 51 - February/March 2013 > What is this thing called sin anyway? (by Erica Green)

What is this thing called sin anyway?

by Erica Green

What is this thing called sin anyway?

Sometimes I think that when it comes to recognising what sin is, we are like frogs, slowly boiling away in a pot, not quite realising the extent of danger that we are really in.  When we are on the inside it is very difficult to see things clearly for what they are.  So let's ask a few questions and dig around the edges of the frog pot and see what we can find.

So what is this thing called sin?

If you were to ask this question to an audience of older Christians, I am sure that the following text would very quickly pop into the discussion and it would certainly have to be the KJV version.  "Whosoever committeth sin transgresseth also the law: for sin is the transgression of the law." (1 John 3:4, KJV)

Generally speaking we would presume that we are talking about the Ten Commandments here.  For a complete list of the big 10,  you can look up Exodus 20 and here now I am going to slip out of the KJV and the "thou shalts" and into a summarised version from The New Living Translation of the bible.

  1. You must not have any other god but me.
  2. You must not make for yourself an idol
  3. You must not misuse the name of the Lord your God.
  4. Remember to observe the Sabbath day by keeping it holy.
  5. Honour your father and mother.
  6. You must not murder.
  7. You must not commit adultery.
  8. You must not steal.
  9. You must not testify falsely against your neighbour.
  10. You must not covet anything that belongs to your neighbour.

So, on the surface of things I am not doing too badly today.  I have not killed anyone or stolen anything, so far.

But just when you thought you were doing okay, you dig a bit deeper.  The Ten Commandments are a bit like the "Idiot Guide" or the "Reader's Digest" condensed version, of what being without sin might look like.  It covers only the minimum level of understanding and behaviour.

How does Jesus himself sum up the law?

So the big overriding theme here, is love.  The law is the epitome of love.  So not only should we not hate our neighbours or enemies, but we are expected to act in a way that positively benefits them.   It is not only about doing no harm, it is also about doing good.

If we then compare this with how the Bible defines the nature of Christ, we can join up a few more dots in our understanding.

Where else do we see the revelation of the image of who God is?

So if we summarise up so far.  What is this thing called sin?

How pervasive is sin, is it simply the bad things that we do?

What we do

What we think

Who we are

In Summary

When boiled down to its very essence, sin is anything that is not consistent with God's Character (as expressed by the law of love) or with what He intended us to be when he made us.  It is so pervasive that it invades :- Everything that we do (the best as well as our worst); What we think; and Who we are.

Home > Online Magazine > Online Magazine: Edition 51 - February/March 2013 > What is this thing called sin anyway? (by Erica Green)