Summary: You and I may have our own opinions as to what constitutes sin and what doesn’t.
What is sin?
You and I may have our own opinions as to what constitutes sin and what doesn’t. In fact most people including most Christians have an incredibly narrow view of sin that is limited to some of the vilest, outward and grievous sins like murder, rape, bank robbery and the like. The reason for this restricted definition of sin is obvious, it is to exclude anything I might be doing, or not doing, or how I might be living, from being categorized as sin. But the truth is our opinions mean nothing, there is only one view of sin that matters, that is God’s. If I won’t recognize His definition of sin – to which His provisions for deliverance from sin relate – then is it not likely that I will both live and die in my sins and suffer an eternal consequence? Wouldn’t it be wiser and safer to examine God’s view of sin? Let’s:
What does the word sin itself mean – To miss God’s portion, both here and hereafter:
According to Strong’s Concordance the Greek word translated “sin” is “hamartano” and means: “To miss the mark and so not share in the prize”. And my portion of the prize that sin causes me to miss? Union with God now, in this life; and union with God hereafter.
What is it that God says is sin? (1) Anything which I do or say that is not righteous, is sin:
1 John 5:17 All unrighteousness is sin…
1Cor 15:34 Awake to righteousness, and do not sin…
What exactly does it mean to always do what is righteous, and to therefore not sin?
John 5:30 (Jesus) My judgment is righteous, because I do not seek My own will but the will of the Father who sent Me. (If I do God’s will it is always righteous)
(2) All disobedience to God, is sin – and unbelief is counted as disobedience:
Rom 6:16 …You are that one's slaves whom you obey, whether of sin with death,
or of obedience (to God) with righteousness.
1 Sam 15:23 For rebellion is as the sin of witchcraft , And stubbornness is as
iniquity and idolatry...
Heb 3:18-19 And to whom did He swear that they would not enter His (God’s) rest,
but to those who did not obey? So we see they could not enter in
because of unbelief. (All fear or worry is unbelief, and thus disobedience)
(3) Any transgressing or breaking of God’s Law, is sin:
1 John 3:4 Whoever commits sin transgresses also the law: for sin is the transgression of the law (KJV) …by transgression or neglect — being unrestrained and unregulated by His (God’s) commands and His will (AMP)
And what is the law? It began with the Ten Commandments. What’s the first commandment? Ex 20:3 "You shall have no other gods before Me”. Do we obey it? Idolatry is valuing or loving (idolizing) anything or anyone more than God; and breaks the
first commandment. It could be an addiction, a job, a hobby, a sport, a lover, or a fantasy.
Some may object here and say this doesn’t apply to us because we’re not under law but under grace (Rom 6:14). Really? It’s only “If you are led by the Spirit, you are not under the law” (Gal 5:18). Since most Christians don’t live in the Spirit they’re still under the law.
(4) To not do good, when I know I should, is sin:
James 4:17 …To him who knows to do good and does not do it, to him it is sin.
What is good? Whatever is righteous; What’s that? God’s will; (see category (1) above)
(5) Anything I’m not doing in faith, that is, sincerely believing I’m being led by God, is sin:
Rom 14:23 …For whatever does not originate and proceed from faith is sin;
AMP whatever is done without a conviction of its approval by God is sinful.
Heb 3:12 Beware, brethren, lest there be in any of you an evil heart of unbelief in departing from the living God;
(6) Some specific examples of sin that reflect parts of the preceding five categories of sin:
Unforgiveness: Matt 6:15 But if you refuse to forgive others, your Father will not
forgive your sins (and now must be judged eternally for them). NLT
Strife and envy: Jam 3:16 For where envying (of what others have) and strife
(quarrelling) are, there is confusion and every evil work.
Love of money: 1 Tim 6:10 For the love of money is a root of all kinds of evil…
Unapproved desire: Jam 1:14-15 Each one is tempted when he is drawn away by his
own desires (thoughts); when desire has conceived (a decision to act) it gives birth
to sin; and sin, when it is full-grown (and acted on), brings forth death (to God).