What is Sin?

by Matt Slick

Sin is the breaking of God’s law.  If God says “Do not lie” and you lie, then you have broken His law and sinned.  When you sin, you offend God because it is His law that you have broken.  Also, the reason God says to not lie, not cheat, etc., is because these laws reflect the moral purity of His nature.  Therefore, the Law is a reflection of the character of God.  It is wrong to lie because God cannot lie.  It is wrong to steal because God cannot steal, etc.  The moral law is not arbitrary.  It is based on God’s holiness.

The law, then, is a standard of moral purity.  The Old Testament contains the Law of God.  It is a perfect standard because it is God’s standard.  When we fail to keep the law, we sin.  When we sin, we offend God.  This offense against God results in a judgment.  Laws are laws because they have penalties.  There is no law without a penalty.  Therefore, breaking God’s law brings judgment which is separation from God.  “But your sins have made a separation between you and your God,” (Isaiah 59:2).  And, “the wages of sin is death…” (Rom. 6:23).  So, to sin, to break God’s law, results in judgment.  The judgment is known as damnation which is the righteous judgment of God upon the sinner.  If God did not judge the sinner, then He is not upholding His holiness and he would be allowing sinners to go unpunished.

Of course, Jesus came to take our place and die for our sins (1 Pet. 2:24).  This means that Jesus bore our sin in His body on the cross and paid for them.  He took the judgment upon himself.  This further means that anyone who trusts in what Jesus did on the cross will have his sins removed; he will be saved from God’s future judgment.

So, replying to the question “What is sin?” is best answered by saying that it is breaking God’s law.  All people have sinned.  Therefore, all people are under God’s judgment — except for those who’ve trusted in God’s provision to escape that judgment.

Where are you?  Are you in the place of God’s judgment or of salvation in Christ?

2 responses to “What is Sin?

  1. But this all ignores original sin, which, unlike any other sin, requires you to simply exist, and you have some sort of burden that makes no sense with a proper understanding of justice.

    As for “It is a perfect standard because it is God’s standard”, that’s a blatant appeal to authority. Some commandments are repetitive(thou shall not steal, bear false witness, commit adultery, for example, all deal with honesty in one form or another), and if your view was more nuanced (i.e, less retroactive) i’m sure you’d recognize this. So my question is, is there any objective fact or objective reasoning in this theory of yours? I mean the whole blog, the theory of the phil. I’m not being facetious;religious blogs generally don’t

    • I wouldn’t really consider this a “religious blog” to be honest. Yes I do blog a lot pertaining to Christianity, but that’s because Christ is so central to my life. I also blog about my friends, football, sociology, school, pretty much my whole life. But really know, there is no real “point” to my blog. I don’t blog to convert unbelievers, I don’t blog to entertain people, I just blog sort of to let people know my opinion. And I’m okay with that. As far as sin goes, even if we are not born into sin (i.e. original sin), I don’t think anyone would make the argument that there are those who are sinless their whole lives. There is a whole lot of theology that goes along with original sin that seems way too deep for blog comments. I would more then love to sit down and discuss it with you sometime if you’d like however.

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