We have previously learnt that sin as defined in the original translations of the Bible, means “to miss the mark”. And the Hebrew and Greek words translated “sin” throughout the Bible revolve largely around one major concept and that is transgression. To transgress means “to step across” or “to go beyond a set boundary or limit”. Now let’s look ways by which or the things that make us miss the mark or step across the boundary of God.
In case you missed the teaching about sin. Read about it: WHAT IS SIN?
1. BREAKING THE LAW
1 John 3:4 “Everyone who commits sin also breaks the law; sin is the breaking of law”. The person who sins has no respect for God’s law. Whatever is done in opposition to God’s law is sin. John further said “all wrong action is sin . . .” (1 John 5:17). The basic focus of this scripture is that, if any action or behavior is wrong, it is sin. The word translated “unrighteousness,” “wrong action” is defined as “action that causes visible harm to other persons in violation of the divine standard”. This is termed as sins of commission; sinning by the actions we take such as stealing, lying, and committing adultery and so on. Here are some references that tell us about this kind of sin, 1 Corinthians 6:9-10; Galatians 5:19-21; Ephesians 4:25-31; 5:3-4; 2 Timothy 3:1-5; Hebrew 13:4-5a; 1 John 3:15
2. FAILURE TO DO WHAT IS GOOD
Perhaps you have heard of sins of commission; sinning by the actions we take: stealing, lying, and committing adultery and so on. But this topic tells that some transgressions involve sins of omission, sinning by things we omit doing. When we fail to do what we know we should do, its a sin. God wants us to avoid evil – and also to do good! James said: “Anyone, then, who knows the good he ought to do and doesn’t do it, sins” (James 4:17). Example; Jesus often clashed with those who were diligent about strict literal obedience to God’s laws but never realized God expects more of them. That is the Pharisees. These people simply didn’t comprehend the purpose of God’s law. They put great effort into not committing sins, but concentrated so much on this struggle that they failed miserably at doing what they should have been doing. Consider the conflicts they had with Jesus Christ. Their biggest disagreements were over the Sabbath. They were angry that Christ healed on the Sabbath. According to their teaching, one could provide only medical help or treatment on the Sabbath if the situation were life-threatening. Thus when Jesus performed great miracles on the Sabbath—healing those who had been crippled or sick for years—the Pharisees were furious. Instead of rejoicing for those who were healed, they were enraged. They wanted to kill Christ because in their view He was breaking the law. They were blind to the fact that Jesus was doing good, that He was easing the misery and pain of people who had suffered for years.
3. HAVING WRONG THOUGHTS, DESIRES AND ATTITUDES
Matthew 5:21-22: “You have heard that it was said to those of old, ‘You shall not murder, and whoever murders will be in danger of the judgment’. But I say to you that whoever is angry with his brother without a cause shall be in danger of the judgment. And whoever says to his brother, ‘Raca!’ shall be in danger of the council. But whoever says, ‘You fool!’ shall be in danger of hell fire”. God’s Word goes right to the heart of sin. Here Jesus drew attention to another underlying principle: If you think of other people as worthless, viewing them as undeserving of life or existence, in motives, intentions and desires are very serious sins.
Matthew 27-28: “You have heard that it was said to those of old, ‘You shall not commit adultery’. But I say to you that whoever looks at a woman to lust for her has already committed adultery with her in his heart”. Christ said that this sin is not defined by just a physical act; if we even allow such a thought in our mind we have sinned. We have mentally crossed that boundary/limit God gave us. We should realize that sin starts in the mind. When we allow evil thoughts to enter our mind and stay there, eventually these evil thoughts can spring into action, leading us to sin.
4. THE ABSENCE OF FAITH
Romans 14:22-23 “… and everything that does not come from faith is sin”. In Romans 14 Paul reveals another way by which we fail to measure up to God’s standard. In this chapter the Apostle Paul wrote to a congregation composed of Jews and Gentiles, discussing how their differing backgrounds had affected them. In the Roman Empire of the time, dozens of holidays were observed, including feast days and fast days during which certain foods would be eaten or avoided. Those who had been members of the Church for some time knew that such practices had no meaning for Christians, so they ate what they wanted when they wanted. But others were being called into the Church out of that Roman background and were offended at the eating of such foods. This created conflicts among the congregation because the new members had spent their whole lives thinking that eating particular foods was wrong on particular days of the calendar. Paul addressed this problem in verses 19-22, telling Christians to be careful that they don’t offend those newer and weaker in the faith.
In verse 23: “But he who doubts is condemned if he eats, because he does not eat from faith; for whatever is not from faith is sin”. Here we see a standard that defines sin in a different view: “Whatever is not from faith is sin” Just what is God telling us in this passage? From the context we are told that if we break our conscience we are sinning. If you do something that you feel you shouldn’t be doing, you are sinning. Why is this sin? Because mentally and spiritually you are being forced to do something that seems not right with you. In the kingdom of God we live a life of free will. No one is forced to do something that displeases him and displeases God.
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