We see the results of sin in our lives and in our world. It’s a little like the wind; easy to see the effects, but a bit tough to define. Most of us have no trouble pointing out sin in the life of someone else, but have a bit more difficulty seeing it in our own lives. For new believers, the word can be nebulous. Preachers lash out against it, but without a clear definition, perhaps many are still asking, “what is sin?”
To be sure we’re all on the same page for our discussion, let’s define what sin is. Sin is rejecting God’s order in the world, rejecting His Lordship in our lives, and rebelling against His laws (see our discussion on the “Ten Commandments”). Sin is living as if we are in charge rather than surrendering our will to God.
I wish it were easier to avoid sinning, but as Jim Rohn used to say, “Don’t wish it was easier, wish you were better.” We all must get better at avoiding sin. Human beings have to overcome the habit of sin practiced for thousands of years and multiple generations before us. Sin is ingrained in our nature. It is part of the human experience. But we’re not interested in the human experience here. We are desperate for the Jesus experience. You can’t live for Jesus and continue reveling in your sin.
Any time we go against God’s order of things in this universe, we are sinning against Him. It doesn’t matter what is trending or culturally acceptable. If you are engaging in anything the Bible says not to, you are walking in sin. Every time we decide to live the way we want, rather than in the way God has prescribed, we have fallen into sin. When our culture takes something God established and reshapes it to fit their desires, it is sin. Don’t engage in whatever society is telling you is okay or legal if it opposes the plain teaching of the Word of God.
If you find yourself asking, “What is sin?”, it’s probably because you are doing or about to do something you know is sin. We love to rationalize, but don’t be deceived. God isn’t fooled. He knows our hearts and sees every evil desire we have. Every selfish indulgence is an affront to God. If we are not living for Him, we are living for ourselves. When we do that, we are guilty of sin, and open ourselves to every consequence that sin will deliver.
What is sin? It’s the rejection of God’s Word, God’s ways, and God’s authority. The result is death. There is no hope in sin, no matter how pleasurable it might seem in the moment. As followers of Christ, it is our responsibility to be ever vigilant in watching for any sin creeping into our lives. It is a slow-acting poison, insidiously polluting our hearts and minds until it is too late and we can no longer recover from it. Don’t let sin even gain a toehold in your life. Surrender to God and devote yourself to Him alone. Recognize His authority and abide by His order and His laws. Keep yourself unstained by the world (James 1:27). Love the Lord your God with all your heart, mind, body, and soul (Mark 12:30).