What Is Sin?

What Is Sin? 1

We know the word well, and hear it mentioned often in church, but what exactly does that three-letter word mean?

Sin is described by Webster as “an immoral act considered to be a transgression against divine law”. In other words, sin is doing what God has instructed us not to do, or not doing what God has instructed us to do. 

For instance, hatred is wrong. It is a sin.  Forgiveness is right. Not forgiving others is a sin. 

1 John 3:6 says, 

“No one who lives in him keeps on sinning. No one who continues to sin has either seen him or known him.” 

1 John 3:6

And James 4:17 tells us, 

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

James 4:17

The more we read the Word of God, the more we will learn about what is pleasing to Him, and what is sin that He is not pleased with. Sin goes much further than just the actions we perform with our bodies, such as murder or stealing. The more we let our Savior work in our lives, we realize there are many things in our hearts that He doesn’t want to be there, such as hatred and bitterness.   

Related: What Is The Bible? A Simple Answer

God knows that our growth in Him is a process. He does not expect a brand-new Christian to know as much as the Christian who has been living for Him for over twenty years. He does, however, expect new Christians to grow and to change their ways as they learn what God desires of them. 

As 2 Corinthians 5:17 reminds us,

“Therefore, if anyone is in Christ, the new creation has come: The old has gone, the new is here!” 

2 Corinthians 5:17

A new creation means a new way of living. Old things we were doing that were displeasing to God need to be left in the past. New things for us are here! New thoughts, new actions, new goals, and new desires! 

Now that we understand what sin is a little better, let’s look at what to do when we fall, and how to avoid falling into sin again. 

First, we are going to make mistakes. Yes, we are going to have failure where we have fallen into sin.  When a Spirit filled child of God sins, it should be the exception, not the rule. The child of God who wants to live a pleasing life for the Lord should never believe sinning is okay because God is so loving and forgiving. 

Proverbs 28:13 says,

“Whoever conceals their sins does not prosper, but the one who confesses and renounces them finds mercy.” 

Proverbs 28:13

And 1 John 1:9 says,

“If we confess our sins, he is faithful and just and will forgive us our sins and purify us from all unrighteousness.” 

1 John 1:19

Hiding our sins from God or trying to live a double life of fooling our friends while living in sin will not help us spiritually. Our sins are never hidden from God, so let’s not convince ourselves otherwise.  

We need to remember that He wants the best for His children, and when we are honest with Him about our struggles, He can help us. 

Confessing our sins to God needs to be more than just admitting with our lips that we messed up. Our Savior is already aware and doesn’t need our words to show Him. Confessing is more for our own benefit, as it makes us acknowledge our mistakes to ourselves.   

Confessing our sins also needs to be done with the right attitude. Sin is hurtful. Our confession of doing wrong should be one of remorse and humbleness.   

Confession really goes hand in hand with repentance. True repentance is when we turn away from our sins.  Saying we are sorry without walking away from sin is not repentance.   

If we truly feel remorse, yet fall into the same sin again, we can’t give up. The Spirit within the children of God is our helper. We will overcome. We really need to rely on the power of His Spirit when we can’t do it on our own. 

Next, we need to learn how to avoid sin.   

1 Corinthians 10:13 says,

“No temptation has overtaken you except what is common to mankind. And God is faithful; he will not let you be tempted beyond what you can bear. But when you are tempted, he will also provide a way out so that you can endure it. “

1 Corinthians 10:13

Additionally, James 4:7 tells us to,

“Submit yourselves, then, to God. Resist the devil, and he will flee from you.” 

James 4:7

Temptations to sin come to all of us, new and old Christians alike. The come in all different sizes, colors, flavors and styles. Whoever we are and whatever our weaknesses, temptation has some that are specifically tailored to each one of us. 

So, we see that being tempted to sin is common to everyone. But we also see that God is faithful and will not allow us to be tempted more than what we can bear, or resist. Submitting to God’s will and His ways is the first step, and resisting is next. God will make a way to escape!   

Sometimes the way to escape is to stop going certain places. It can also be changing our entertainment.   

If our temptation is to hang out with our old buddies who encourage us to come back to our old ways, our escape is to avoid the areas they are hanging out, even if we have to drive three blocks out of our way to do so.  If our music choices pull at our heartstrings to partake in sinful ways, our escape is to change the music we listen to.

God loves us. He knows sin destroys lives and wants the very best for us. Let’s remember to thank Him for His forgiveness, power to overcome, and ways to escape the sins that want to harm us. 

Have a blessed day!