What is sin? I think most of us have some idea of what sin means. We know that sin is something considered to be wicked or against the will of God.
I was taught that the word sin means to “miss the mark.” If we miss this mark, then we are behaving in a manner that is not pleasing to God. There is a response to every situation that is perfectly pleasing to God, and we can miss the mark in lesser and greater ways.
Every situation we encounter provides choices that we must make. We are constantly making judgments about how we should handle our lives, our personal relationships, and our relationship with God. If we are conscientious and want to do what is right, then we are constantly throwing darts at a proverbial dart board, hoping to aim as close to the bullseye as possible.
For example, when someone angers us, we have a variety of unrighteous choices we might make such as replying with an insult or ending their life through physical violence. Jesus teaches that name calling or simply hating someone in our heart is in the same sin category as murder. We might go astray a little or a lot, but in any case, we are still missing the mark of perfect righteousness.
What is perfect righteousness?
The perfectly right response will vary depending on the unique circumstances. For example, if someone angers us, it might be best to walk away and pray for them. It might be best to offer a kind word that is sympathetic. It might be best to let the person know that they are behaving badly. We must consider the circumstances carefully and lean on our God-given understanding and the teachings of Jesus to help us make the best choice possible.
Jesus Christ is the embodiment of perfect righteousness. Jesus is called the Light of the World. He is Life. If we were able to follow Jesus perfectly, then our actions would be those that bring life and not death. So, we could also say that sin is an action that brings death.
When we sin, we are destroying people. We are harming them emotionally, physically, and mentally. When we sin, we are destroying ourselves. We are killing our bodies, our minds, and our relationships. When we sin, we are destroying truth. We are attempting to manipulate the reality that God has ordained so that we might fulfill a self-centered or delusional agenda.
When we sin, we are damaging the relationship between man and God—the Creator and bringer of Life.
It is no wonder that the punishment for sin is death. This is a fitting punishment, and one that none of us can escape without Jesus Christ.
There is no reason why anyone, least of all a Christian, should take sin lightly. Yet, many times we do. We are not fully aware of the destruction we cause, even with the smallest of sins. We are not always mindful of the presence of God who can see everything we do, think, and plot. We are not always mindful of the blood of Jesus that paid for our sins and all the suffering He endured on our behalf.
If we have taken sin lightly as no big deal or considered the righteous ways of God as outdated or inconvenient, then we should stop and think about our mindset. The ways of God are goodness and life. To go astray is no small thing, but there is hope found in Jesus Christ.
In the next article we will consider how sin relates to the gospel of Jesus Christ.