Sin … What Is Sin?

The Bible states, “For all have sinned, and come short of the glory of God” (Romans 3:23). And our sins separate us from the Lord (Isaiah 59:1-2) In addition, “For the wages of sin is death; but the gift of God is eternal life through Jesus Christ our Lord” (Romans 6:23).

christian32_300x300God hates sin and sin separates us from Him. But what exactly is sin? What does it mean to sin?

As defined in the original translations of the Bible, sin means “to miss the mark.”

People who have never opened a Bible are familiar with John 3:16: “For God so loved the world, that he gave his only begotten Son, that whosoever believeth in him should not perish, but have everlasting life.”

Most understand that God willingly allowed Jesus Christ to suffer arrest, false accusations, humiliation, and endure brutal torture and public execution – sacrifice – all so that His shed blood would pay the death penalty, which each of us have earned. In other words, Christ to died because of the sins of all human beings – including you and me!

Once again, just what is sin – what have we done to sentence Christ to death?

The definition of sin can be found in 1 John 3:4, “Whosoever committeth sin transgresseth also the law: for sin is the transgression of the law.

When you sin, you break the law (go against God’s Word). But what law?

Paul wrote, “What shall we say then? Is the law sin? God forbid. Nay, I had not known sin, but by the law: for I had not known lust, except the law had said, Thou shalt not covet” (Romans 7:7). God’s law reveals sin.

The law that Paul and John referred to was the Ten Commandments. Both apostles taught that when you break them, you sin. John also wrote, in I John 5:17, “All unrighteousness is sin”. And it’s important to note that all of God’s commandments are are righteous” (Psalm 119:172).

The book of James in the Bible states, “For whosoever shall keep the whole law, and yet offend in one point, he is guilty of all. For he that said, Do not commit adultery, said also, Do not kill. Now if thou commit no adultery, yet if thou kill, thou art become a transgressor of the law” (James 2:10-11).

Christ magnified and expanded the letter of the law, revealing its spiritual intent. “Ye have heard that it was said by them of old time, Thou shalt not commit adultery: But I say unto you, That whosoever looketh on a woman to lust after her hath committed adultery with her already in his heart.” (Matthew 5:27-28).

In addition to performing acts of sin, the Bible states that sin comes from within – our heart and mind. “For as he thinketh in his heart, so is he” (Proverbs 23:7).

Christ taught, “But those things which proceed out of the mouth come forth from the heart; and they defile the man. For out of the heart proceed evil thoughts, murders, adulteries, fornications, thefts, false witness, blasphemies: These are the things which defile a man…” (Matthew 15:18-20).

In Proverbs 15:26 we find, “The thoughts of the wicked are an abomination to the LORD: but the words of the pure are pleasant words.”

Sin – including breaking God’s spiritual Law – cuts us off from God: “But your iniquities have separated between you and your God, and your sins have hid his face from you, that he will not hear” (Isaiah 59:2).

In short, Sin is breaking God’s law – going against God’s Word.



All of us are guilty of sin (Psalm 51:5; Matthew 19:7; Romans 3:23; Romans 5:12).

If we say that we have no sin, we deceive ourselves, and the truth is not in us. If we confess our sins, he is faithful and just to forgive us our sins, and to cleanse us from all unrighteousness. If we say that we have not sinned, we make him a liar, and his word is not in us” (1 John 1:8-10).

The good news is through Jesus Christ our sins can be forgiven.

For God so loved the world, that he gave his only begotten Son, that whosoever believeth in him should not perish, but have everlasting life” (John 3:16).

Therefore as by the offence of one judgment came upon all men to condemnation; even so by the righteousness of one the free gift came upon all men unto justification of life. For as by one man’s disobedience many were made sinners, so by the obedience of one shall many be made righteous” (Romans 5:18, 19 [See: Romans 5:12-21]).

The offense mentioned above is when Adam and Even disobeyed God’s Word and ate from the tree of knowledge (Genesis 2:15-25; Genesis 3:1-6).


Repent, and be baptized every one of you in the name of Jesus Christ for the remission of sins, and ye shall receive the gift of the Holy Ghost” (Acts 2:38).
What shall we say then? Shall we continue in sin, that grace may abound? God forbid. How shall we, that are dead to sin, live any longer therein? Know ye not, that so many of us as were baptized into Jesus Christ were baptized into his death?” (Romans 6:1-3)

One who repents, turns from sin. A man realizes that he is a sinner, he is sorry for it; and with God’s help, he gives it up. He breaks with the former way of living.

Jesus answered them, Verily, verily, I say unto you, Whosoever committeth sin is the servant of sin. And the servant abideth not in the house for ever: but the Son abideth ever” (John 8:34, 35).

Repent ye therefore, and be converted, that your sins may be blotted out, when the times of refreshing shall come from the presence of the Lord” (Acts 3:19).

Let not sin therefore reign in your mortal body, that ye should obey it in the lusts thereof” (Romans 6:12).

Being then made free from sin, ye became the servants of righteousness” (Romans 6:18).

When God used His prophet, Nathan, to confront David, David begged God to “Cast me not away from thy presence; and take not thy holy spirit from me” (Psalm 51:11).

He acknowledged his transgressions – his lawbreaking – to God, saying, “For I acknowledge my transgressions: and my sin is ever before me. Against thee, thee only, have I sinned, and done this evil in thy sight: that thou mightest be justified when thou speakest, and be clear when thou judgest” (Psalm 51:3-4).

David pleaded with God to “Have mercy upon me, O God, according to thy lovingkindness: according unto the multitude of thy tender mercies blot out my transgressions. Wash me throughly from mine iniquity, and cleanse me from my sin. Purge me with hyssop, and I shall be clean: wash me, and I shall be whiter than snow. Hide thy face from my sins, and blot out all mine iniquities. Create in me a clean heart, O God; and renew a right spirit within me.” (Psalm 1-2, 7, 9-10).

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References: The Bible,,