Preachers are fond of saying that sin is the universal scourge of mankind. We talk a lot about sin and its impact on our world. We remind listeners that sin condemns. But it may be that some people, especially those fresh to thinking about spiritual matters, may not understand the entire idea of sin and may be a little confused by what we mean. Let me help.
Sin Offends God
At the most basic level, sin is any violation of God’s law. Put another way, sin is anything that offends the glory of God and his righteousness. In the Old Testament, Joseph is tempted to commit adultery with his boss’s wife. Most of us agree that adultery is a bad thing. Adultery is specifically mentioned in the 10 Commandments (Exodus 20:14). But when Joseph is confronted with the temptation, he asks, “How then can I do this great wickedness and sin against God (Genesis 39:9)? In his thinking, sin is always against God. Others may be affected, but the sin is against God.
Bible study will reveal that God is holy (Leviticus 11:44-45). This is a trait of God which means he is set apart from anything evil. He is even set apart from you and me because of our sin. God is so holy that he cannot bear to look upon sin (Habakkuk 1:13). Sin then, is what God cannot tolerate. Therefore, he has taught us to avoid sin so that we might enjoy a relationship, even an eternal relationship, with him.
Sin Is Always Bad
Some sin doesn’t seem so bad. Some people will justify sinful relationships on the grounds that it “feels so right.” R&B singer Luther Ingram had a hit in 1972 titled, “(If Loving You is Wrong) I Don’t Want to be Right.” It extolled his desire for an adulterous relationship over his desire for righteousness. Many think the same way today. Others commit sin in the pursuit of happiness. Many say, “God wants me to be happy!” They then live in violation of God’s laws under the assumption that their happiness is more important than God’s will.
Little white lies and occasional dishonesty on tax forms and expense reports don’t seem so bad. After all, everyone cheats a little don’t they? This kind of thought illustrates a common mistake. Sin is not determined by what others think or do. It is quite possible that I can sin and never offend another person. The opposite is also true. I can offend people but never offend God. Consider Moses and his confrontations with Pharaoh. The king was constantly offended by Moses although Moses was doing precisely what God told him to do (Hebrews 3:5). Jesus offended many and angered some to the point that he was killed. Yet he was doing the will of God (John 4:34; 17:4). The only way to truly know sin is to learn from God’s word. Even preachers cannot be entrusted apart from the Word of God (2 Corinthians 11:14).
Sin Has A Price
So sin offends God. But why is that such a big deal? Good question. God is our Creator. He formed us from the nothingness of chaos. He instills within us an everlasting soul. That soul lives beyond death. It does not die but is eternal. After death our soul will either exist with God or without God. There are only two possible destinations after death. Unforgiven sin will cost us the ability to live with God eternally and consign us to the only remaining eternal place – hell (Revelation 20:10, 15).
With such a massive price, we see why it is so important to study God’s word so that we will know and avoid sin.
Sin Has A Solution
Jesus saves! You have heard that many times and probably seen billboards and placards at ballgames proclaiming salvation in Jesus. It is true. All sin is eliminated for those in Christ. The Bible says, “There is therefore now no condemnation for those who are in Christ Jesus…” (Romans 8:1).
Whatever sin you have committed, Jesus will take it away. When men realized they were guilty of killing Jesus they pleaded to know what they could do. The answer was simple, “repent and be baptized” (Acts 2:38). A person today with the same kind of submissive heart, can be saved by Jesus. There is a solution! Jesus saves!