Today's Bible Study, Authored by Arthur Cincotti. 08/17/2022
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What is Sin?
“For the wages of sin is death, but the gift of God is eternal life in Christ Jesus our Lord.” Rom. 6:23
Well, that doesn’t really tell us what sin is but it should spark our interest to find out.
I wish the answer was easy, like – this is sin, don’t do it, you’re all set.
The believer should know what sin is so that we don’t dabble or compromise, but also to sharpen our apologetic. Inevitably someone will ask us...”So you think it’s a sin to_______?
Our response to this question should be informed and engaging.
Examples of variations:
The Eastern Orthodox understanding of sin is, “a distortion of the Image.” That would be the image of God that we are created in, Gen. 1:26. As much as I like this definition, an obvious problem should be evident; is the image slightly distorted or seriously distorted?
The Roman Church focuses on, violating the law of God. Roman culture was built around the law. This is why we see so much legal language seep into Western Protestantism. Similar problem is that one may have badly violated the law, or not so badly. This notion leads the Catholic Church’s practice of categorizing sin.
The Calvinist perspective is that sin is high treason against God, which dovetails with the doctrine of total depravity. This, I believe, draws from the Biblical accounting, and leaves no wiggle room. See Jas. 2:10-13 This view emphasizes the desperate need for a savior. “And you He made alive, who were dead in trespasses and sins.” Eph. 2:1. Only God (He) can accomplish this.
Paul gives the broadest definition, Rom. 14:23, “...for whatever is not from faith is sin.” Ouch!
Jesus taught that sin is an issue of the heart. Mt. 5:27-28
Where does this come from? Original sin has set us on a bad trajectory from birth. Fixation upon self, the flesh, and our feelings captivates our souls. This is why the understanding is toward a “bondage” to sin, Rom. 7:14. Also see the rest of Eph. 2:1-9, where we read “But God”
The first cause that we find back in Gen. 3 is a failure to trust God. This is something we must understand about our struggle with sin.
Great faith takes God at His word and trust in His goodness.
Sin is an expression of our failure to trust God:
I stole because I didn’t trust that God would supply my needs
I lied because I didn’t believe that all things work together for good…
I murdered because I didn’t understand that, “vengeance is Mine”
I covet because I disagree that God is sufficient.
I blaspheme because I “feel” that God has lied.
Understanding sin as a violation of trust matters because when trust is violated relationship is compromised. It’s personal! See Ps. 51.4
But God is determined to restore relationship with the objects of His love. “Looking unto Jesus the author and finisher of our faith; who for the joy that was set before Him endured the cross, despising the shame, and has sat down at the right hand of the throne of God.” Heb 12:2
Waiting patiently for us!
When engaging with unbelievers on the sin question it seems reasonable to ask them if they know what sin is.
It might be well to ask how they determine right from wrong.
It could lead to demonstrating that their relationship with God is violated.
They may wish to have it restored.
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