For “Scripture Sunday”:
What Is Sin?
“Many articles have been written about the meaning of sin, yet few people know what sin is or how the Bible defines it. Do you know what sin really is?
The clearest biblical definition of sin is found in 1 John 3:4: “Sin is the transgression of the law” (King James Version). To sin is to transgress the law. But what does it mean to transgress the law?
The meaning of transgression
The Bible discusses the concept of transgression and sin many times.
The Old Testament was written in the Hebrew language and the Hebrew words for transgression and transgress reveal a clearer understanding of what is sin. For example, consider 2 Chronicles 24:20, “The Spirit of God came upon Zechariah the son of Jehoiada the priest, who stood above the people, and said to them, ‘Thus says God: “Why do you transgress the commandments of the LORD, so that you cannot prosper?”’”
The Hebrew word for transgress in the above verse is abar, meaning to “cross over.” It can also mean to “turn away” (Strong’s Exhaustive Concordance, #5674). The Hebrew word for transgression is pesha, which means rebellion or a revolt or sin (Strong’s, #6588).
A very encouraging scripture states: “Blessed is he whose transgression [rebellion, sin] is forgiven, whose sin is covered” (Psalm 32:1). The Hebrew word for sin here is chataah, which means an offense (Strong’s, #2401). So when our transgressions and sins are forgiven, that means our rebellion and revolt against God is removed from us.
The New Testament was written in Greek. The word for transgression in 1 John 3:4 is anomia, meaning lawlessness (law breaking). The word for sin is hamartia, which literally means “missing of the mark” (Vine’s Expository Dictionary of Old and New Testament Words, 1997, pp. 1045-1046, 1161).
The apostle John defines sin (the missing of the mark) as transgression (lawlessness, law-breaking). So, the Old Testament and the New Testament words define sin as being an offense and rebellion and off the mark, all of which violate the law.
What law defines what is sin?
Is the law in reference to sin a specific law? Does Scripture mean any laws or traditions or civil institutions? Sin is not defined by human laws but by God’s law. So 1 John 3:4 rephrased states that sin is violating the law of God.
Sin can refer to a general condition of living apart from God and His law either in ignorance or unbelief. Sin also refers to specific acts of disobedience. Both the condition of sin and committing specific acts of sin bring undesirable consequences.
God’s law was given to show mankind the best way to live in harmony with God and others. God gave the law as a blessing and intended it to guide mankind into an abundant way of life (John 10:10). He wants all people to have prosperity, peace and joy in their lives.
Jesus and the law
Did Jesus uphold the law of God or did He do away with the commandments? He upheld the law! He explained it, preached it, referenced it and made an emphatic statement of support: “Do not think that I came to destroy the Law or the Prophets. I did not come to destroy but to fulfill” (Matthew 5:17). “Fulfill” means the opposite of “destroy.” He gave full meaning to the law and summarized it into two overall great commandments.
A man asked Him, “Which is the great commandment in the law?” Jesus answered, “‘You shall love the LORD your God with all your heart, with all your soul, and with all your mind.’ This is the first and great commandment. And the second is like it: ‘You shall love your neighbor as yourself’” (Matthew 22:36-39)
These two great commandments are a synopsis of God’s 10 Commandments. The first four commandments state how we are to love God. The last six commandments state how we should treat one another. Breaking any of these commandments is sin.
Blessings for obedience
From the beginning, God established blessings for obedience and penalties for disobedience (Deuteronomy 5:4-5). Sin is ultimately against God Himself. God has designed human life to work best when it is aligned with His law. He envisioned ancient Israel modeling obedience so that other peoples would obey and be blessed. But ancient Israel sinned—they did not obey God just as modern nations today do not obey God. The world exists in a state of sin and continues to write a sad, violent history.
A time is coming when Jesus Christ will break into history. He will return to rule the earth and to end moral confusion. He will establish God’s law as the law of the world. All people will understand the law. They will know what sin is and what the consequences of lawlessness are. Nations will no longer sin but will enjoy moral and upright government, righteousness, peace and joy.
Everyone will love the law and the rewards for obeying it. In the future government of Jesus Christ, the prophecy of Jeremiah will be fulfilled: “But this is what I commanded them, saying, ‘Obey My voice, and I will be your God, and you shall be My people. And walk in all the ways that I have commanded you, that it may be well with you’” (Jeremiah 7:23).
Does this apply to you?
Jesus Christ died for us. “Who Himself bore ours sins in His own body on the tree, that we, having died to sins, might live for righteousness—by whose stripes you were healed” (1 Peter 2:24). We have the opportunity to receive God’s gift of eternal life, but we must believe. That belief includes understanding that sin is breaking God’s law. Sin is against God, and it brings the death penalty. God provides a way of salvation through the sacrifice of Jesus Christ.
Sin and obedience to the 10 Commandments have an effect on everyone. The Bible states, “All have sinned and fall short of the glory of God” (Romans 3:23). As a result of our sins, everyone deserves eternal death (Romans 6:23). God, in His mercy, provided payment for the death penalty through the sacrifice of His Son Jesus Christ.
We can experience a great measure of peace and stability in keeping God’s law today. “Moreover by them [the law, testimony, statutes, commandments and judgments] Your servant is warned, and in keeping them there is great reward” (Psalm 19:11). “But let your heart keep my commands; for length of days and long life and peace they will add to you” (Proverbs 3:1-2).
You need to learn more about God’s law and about how to overcome sin. Download our free booklets God’s 10 Commandments: Still Relevant Today and Change Your Life! They will give you a concise, easy-to-read guide to what the Bible teaches on these vital subjects.”
An Amazing Fact:” It is estimated that there are more people in slavery today than at any previous time in history, with estimates as high as 27 million. The majority of these are debt slaves living in southern Asia.
In a sense, we are all slaves. We serve either righteousness or unrighteousness—God or sin. There is no neutral ground; we serve either one or the other.
Sin is a deceptive and brutal taskmaster. There is no real or lasting benefit in it. It does not easily release its subjects. And in the end it pays out death to its slaves.
But the Scripture says that being a slave of obedience gives hope. It leads to righteousness and, ultimately, eternal life.
How can a slave to sin change masters? If sin has a grip, how can one be freed? The only way to be rescued from this hopeless situation is to accept God’s gift. To anyone who asks, He will give freedom, forgiveness from sin, and everlasting life in Christ Jesus. That is the grace He offers to everyone.
KEY BIBLE TEXTS
What then? shall we sin, because we are not under the law, but under grace? God forbid. Know ye not, that to whom ye yield yourselves servants to obey, his servants ye are to whom ye obey; whether of sin unto death, or of obedience unto righteousness? Romans 6:15-16
What fruit had ye then in those things whereof ye are now ashamed? for the end of those things is death. But now being made free from sin, and become servants to God, ye have your fruit unto holiness, and the end everlasting life. For the wages of sin is death; but the gift of God is eternal life through Jesus Christ our Lord. Romans 6:21-23”
Learning From a Pest?
Solomon advised us to “go to the ant” (Proverbs 6:6).
Sometimes it's amazing what we can learn from a pest! While the weather is nice and food can be found in abundance, the ant doesn't just collect what it needs for that day and then go play. Instead, it collects and stores up in the plentiful summer months for the leaner winter times.
What a contrast this is from the way many in our society live today. We borrow from tomorrow what we may not be able to repay. We refinance our homes—going deeper in debt—to buy expensive toys we have little time to use. In today's society, debt is a way of life in contrast to that of our forefathers who lived more by the philosophy of the ant.”
Talk about ants, I haven’t had ants in the house for ages. But Roy left an empty ice cream carton on my coffee table and it became covered in ants very quickly. They had somehow found a way inside and made a trail across the carpet. Food Grade Diatomaceous Earth to the rescue. I sprinkled it around on the carpet and they are now gone. That stuff will kill most insects and it is completely safe, even to sprinkle on your animal or to give them to help deworm them. I have heard of people taking it too.
Since my last post was on a Tuesday there isn’t too much more that has been done to the mini-house. The water heater started leaking at the new drain, it was plastic. So when I was in the big city of Conroe for a Dr. appointment on Wednesday I went to Home Depot and bought a brass one. We installed that on Thursday, and did some more to the kitchen shelves, and Friday it was more of the same. Some of the permanent blinds and shades have been installed, now that the windows are all trimmed out.
I couldn’t understand why all the kitchen cabinets seemed so high in the minihouse, and as I am only 5” that was going to be very inconvenient. Then I realised that when the first of the little side porthole windows were installed in the kitchen, the tall installer, Jay, had said that he would have to bend down to see out of them. He had installed those little porthole windows 6” higher than in the plans, so that made all the cabinets too high, as some of the upper cabinets are above those portholes. Roy and I have been moving the rest of the cabinets lower, and will make it look right by adding shelves above the lowered cabinets at the same height as the cabinets that couldn’t be lowered. Even the cabinet above the range hood had to be lowered. What a pain.
One day Roy and I went the other side of Willis to his friend who was in the accident, the man with both legs and all his left ribs broken. We picked up his lady friend and took her into Willis to get groceries for him. As usual, I couldn’t believe what she was buying, all processed food and sodas. No fresh veggies, meat or fish. A cart full of food in packages with all those chemicals and added sugar. Doesn’t anyone cook from scratch any more?
For the church potluck I made Organic Mashed Potatoes, Organic Butternut Squash and Ground Beef in Gravy. My three little white crockpots were all in a row. It was just one of those Sabbaths where everyone brought beef. We had brisket, meat loaf, beef taquitos, roast beef and my ground beef, as well as an assortment of veggies, fruit and pies.
The Bible readings were Num. 22:2-25-9, Micah 5:6-8, and Rom. 11:25-33, and the Teaching was about Joseph and Jesus and how the prophecies were fulfilled.
One of the ladies was getting baptized and she wanted it to be in running water, not a swimming pool, so they went to a park on 105 West in Conroe for that great event. Her parents, and brothers had come in from out of town for this special occasion. I couldn’t go, but I look forward to seeing the pictures. We will miss her as she is going to a new teaching job in Dubai on Monday.