What The Bible Says About Sin


Most people tend to think of sin as the transgression of the law (God’s Law). The Bible, however, reveals sin as so much more.  This reality becomes more obvious when one considers the several different ways that we can sin.  Consider the following:

  • We sin by commission – doing something that is known to be wrong (1 John 3:4).
  • We sin by thinking the wrong thing (Matthew 5:27-28 ).
  • We sin by omission – not doing what we know should be done (James 4:17).
  • We sin when we do something we are not sure is right (Romans 14:23).

Based on the four references above, it should be fairly easy to see that we can sin in thought,word and deed, which is one of the ways Jesus Christ magnified the Law.  It was the case, under the Old Covenant, that one would become guilty of sin only by breaking the letter of the law (i.e. by doing an wrong/unlawful deed).  Jesus made it clear, however, that one can become guilty of sin by breaking the spirit of the law (i.e. thinking of doing a wrong deed, even if the wrong deed is not done).

To make matters worse, Paul made it clear (in Romans 14:23) that if one is not sure whether something is wrong, but does it anyway, then one has sinned by doing it.  To put it another way, if someone does something that causes his conscience to bother him, then he has sinned.

In light of the above, sin can be defined, in short, as anything that causes one to miss the mark and thereby fall short of the glory of God (Romans 3:23)


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