Sin is –
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Sin is –

When most of us are asked to define sin we respond with 1 John 3:4.  “Sin is the transgression of the law.”  Which is correct, it is.  But if we stop there we don’t really grasp the impact of what Paul means when in Ephesians 2:1 he said we were dead in our trespasses and sins.  The Greek word Paul used for sin was “hamartia” which means missing the target.   The target isn’t merely obeying the Ten Commandments.  The target is the old army slogan, “Be all that you can be.”  That is huge.  Sin isn’t merely an act or lack of, it is a state of being.

I once had a church member who told me he had gone an entire week without sinning.  He very carefully reviewed all of his waking activities, compared them with the Ten Commandments and decided he had a perfect week.  But was he the best citizen he could be, was he the best husband and father that he could be, was he the best employee, was he the best _____ ?  (You fill in the blank.)   Of course he wasn’t.  I didn’t shatter his pride, a gross sin, because I didn’t want to argue with him.  How can one deal with such a narrow mind?

But you are thinking, if that’s what sin is then we are all lost.  Not one of us is all we can be. And that is exactly Paul’s point in Ephesians 2.  We are dead in our sin.  All of us.  But by God’s abundant grace we have been quickened, raised, to a new life.  It was all God’s idea and all His doing.  We have nothing of which to brag about.  All we can do is praise God for His love.

Written by Roger Bothwell on September 27, 2011

Spring of Life Ministry, PO Box 124, St. Helena, CA 94574