What exactly is sin?
Do you understand how the Bible defines it?
We are to avoid sin as Christians. But, how can we avoid sin if we don’t fully comprehend what it is?
The Bible defines sin in several scriptures, each of which gives us a better understanding of what the word “sin” means.
The Hebrew and Greek words which translate into “sin” throughout the Bible, revolve largely around two major concepts. The first is that of transgression. To transgress means “to step across” or “to go beyond a set boundary or limit”. This concept can be compared to an athletic playing field with lines delineating the boundaries within which the game is played. When a player crosses over those boundary lines, he has committed a “transgression” and gone out of bounds. Limits are set that define the playing area, and the players are to stay within the limits of that area.
Most of the other words translated “sin” in the Bible involve a second concept, “to miss the mark”. Again, to use a sports analogy, if a player aims for that goal and misses, how many points does he get?
None. He missed the goal, missed the mark at which he was aiming.
This view of sin includes the concept of our going in one direction but straying off course to the side and not continuing in the direction we intended to go, with the result that we don’t reach the goal we intended. We miss!
Both of these concepts, transgressing and missing the mark, involve a basic requirement. If we transgress, which means to cross over a set boundary or limit, then we must have a boundary or limit to cross over. If we miss the mark, we must have a mark, a target or standard to miss. Sin, then, is to transgress those boundaries God has set for us.
This is where the Biblical definition of sin becomes important, because these scriptures define the boundaries and standards God set for us. They define the playing field on which we are to live our lives.
The definitions of sin in the Bible are not simply arbitrary “Do’s” and “Don’ts”. They show the spiritual principles by which He lives, the same standards of conduct He expects His human creations to live by.
What, then, are the boundaries and standards God has set for us that defines sin? The most basic definition of sin is in John “Whosoever committeth sin transgresseth also the law: for sin is the transgression of the law”. Here, God defines a boundary for mankind.
He says that sin is transgressing His Holy, Spiritual Law
Breaking that law—crossing that divine boundary, that limit God set for us— is sin.
In John we find a much broader definition of sin: “All unrighteousness is sin… .”
God says that, if our actions aren’t done in faith or according to faith; if they violate our conscience, we are sinning.
We need to be sure that what we do is out of faith and confidence, that it is right and acceptable to God—or not do it.
tells us it is not within our natural ability to discern right and wrong. But says we are to learn God’s ways that define right and wrong for us.
God wants us to live within the boundaries and standards He has set for us, to change our values, attitudes, thoughts and lives so they are in line with His standards, not our own.
Another definition of sin is found in “So, whoever knows the right thing to do and fails to do it. For him it is a sin.”
The Bible is very clear on the subject of sin, in that everyone is guilty of sin. There are over 600 sins listed in the Bible. says, “For all have sinned and fall short of the glory of God.”
Every human whoever existed except Jesus, has sinned. We live in such a sinful world that it almost seems impossible that we will avoid sin for the rest of our lives.
John the Baptist, in best describes Jesus as “The Lamb of God that takes away the sins of the world.”
God hates sin, but out of His love for us, God found a way through Jesus, for us to be forgiven of sin.
For Christians, it is through Jesus’s death that people’s broken relationship with God is restored. This is known as the atonement. The atonement of Jesus Christ is the greatest gift from God to all mankind. Jesus, Himself, was the atoning sacrifice of our sins. Thus, He (Jesus) obtained eternal redemption for us by suffering for the sins of all mankind, by His death upon the cross and His resurrection.
Through the atonement, the effects of sin are removed from the repentant sinner, allowing him/her to be able to live with God.
By praying to God and meditating on the Bible, it can help you with sin.
If you ask for the Holy Spirit to be within you and help guide you, you can avoid sin.
You will receive the wisdom and guidance you seek, if you ask for it.
Remember, sin is temporary.
In the end, greed, sex, money, and the rest will mean nothing.
What will be important is your love for God and what good things you did in your life.
To embrace our salvation, we must turn away from sin.
Repentance is hard, but it is necessary!