Religion Magazine

What Sin is and Isn't

By Albert Wagner @albertwagner4
When we hear the word "sin" we know that it involves something that is not good.
- All have sinned and fall short of the glory of God.
   - Bible, Romans 3:23
- The wages of sin is death.
                                                                                         - Bible, Romans, 6:23
- If your hand causes you to sin cut it off.  It is better to go through life maimed than sin with two hands and go to hell, where the fire never goes out.
                                                                                         - Bible, Gospel Of Mark 9:43
The word "sin" makes it sound like we are bad people.  How bad is it, though?  We know Jesus died and was resurrected to atone for our sins.
What sin is and Isn'tFrom
This post looks into sin and what compromises it.  If we know more about what it is then maybe we can put into perspective to do less of it.
The following looks at demonstrations of what sin IS and what it ISN'T from a Biblical standpoint.  A lot of this information comes from Bible interpretation, and some comes from knowledge from speaking with seminarians.
If we start by saying what it isn't then there is a logical progression to discuss what is is.
What Sin ISN'T:
1. Disobeying one of the Ten Commandments (in the letter).
It could be, but not necessarily by the letter of the law.  When Jesus did what the Pharisees considered work on the Sabbath Day he was not necessarily separating himself from God.  If you do not follow the LETTER of the law, but you follow the SPIRIT of the law, it is not necessarily sinning.
2. Breaking a rule
This goes closely with the first one.  Breaking a rule implies you are causing disorder of some sort.  Sin involves separating yourself in your personal relationship with God.
3. Meant so you feel guilt
Separating yourself in your relationship with God is not meant to cause guilt for doing wrong.  It is meant to inform you you could have done better.  It is not meant to shame you, but rather for your self knowledge to improve your development.
What Sin IS:
1. Separation from God 
Fundamentally sin is separating yourself from God in your personal relationship with him.  It is also referred to as "missing the mark."  This is not in the sense of breaking a rule, as mentioned above. Missing the mark means there is something for you to learn.
2. A choice
For example, Adam had the choice whether to put God first or sensual pleasure first in the Garden Of Eden.  He could have made the right choice.  God gave you free will and sin is a choice to not obey him.
3. Desiring what you do not have
You are missing the mark when you are trying to be more than you are.  God created you a certain way and wants you to learn based on that way.  If you can not accept how things are you are basically resisting what God wants you to learn to progress in your relationship with him.
So, HOW bad is sin? 
It is "not being all you can be" in your relationship with God.  It is not so much that it is bad, but it is a chance to learn and progress with your Creator.
Related posts:
The Christian's Struggle With Sin
What Is On Your Conscience?
Author:  Albert Wagner

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