By R. W. McAlister
Sin – that’s not something we hear much about anymore, is it? It’s something that people want to downplay, or to treat as though it’s unimportant – maybe even nonexistent.
So, then, is sin real? What is sin? What says the Bible?
Sin is real. Rom. 3:23, “For all have sinned, and come short of the glory of God.” Sin brought about man’s eviction from the Garden of Eden (Gen. 3).
Sin is a violation of divine law. I John 3:4 says, “Whosoever committeth sin transgresseth also the law: for sin is the transgression of the law.” The Greek word rendered “sin” is hamartia, which literally means, “to miss the target.” To swerve aside from the revealed will of God is to sin. Sin is the very opposite of obedience and righteousness (Romans 6:16-18). So, one definition of sin is to transgress the law.
Refusing to heed what God has to say is sinful. Stephen (Acts 7) preached that Israel always resisted the truth and rejected the deliverers that God sent them. At the end of his message, the crowd threw him out of the city and stoned him. Notice Acts 7:57: “...they cried out with a loud voice, and stopped their ears, and ran upon him with one accord...” Their sin was not only the murder they committed in stoning Stephen, but also ignoring what God has to say.
Presumption is sin. The psalmist writes: “Keep back thy servant also from presumptuous sins. . . ” (Psalm 19:13). “Presumptuous” indicates pride & arrogance. Jeroboam was guilty of this sin when he retooled the Mosaic worship system to suit his own desires (I Kings 12).
Neglecting your religious and moral obligations is sinful. James tells us that he who knows to do good, and yet who does it not, is guilty of sin (James 4:17).
The Lord spoke of a servant who “knew his Lord’s will,” and yet, “prepared not himself” (Luke 12:42-48), that is, he failed to do what he knew he should.
In every one of these explanations of sin, there is one common denominator: the “I” in the middle (s-I-n).
When I violate God’s law, when I refuse to heed what God has to say, when I presume to know better than God, and when I neglect my religious and moral obligations, it’s because I’m doing what I want to do instead of what God wants me to do. It’s easy to blame others for my shortcomings or unfaithfulness, but ultimately, the sin is mine.
Think about it.
- R. W. McAlister preaches for the Anna Church of Christ in Anna, IL.He may be contacted through the congregation's website: http://www.annachurchofchrist.com/