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SA BLOG

WHAT IS SIN?

Andrew Barnes

Of course we all know the 10 commandments as recorded in Exodus 20…

1 “You shall have no other gods before me.

2 “You shall not make for yourself an idol

3 “You shall not misuse the name of the LORD your God,

4 “Remember the Sabbath day by keeping it holy. 9 six days you shall labor and do all your work, 10 but the seventh day is a Sabbath to the LORD your God. On it you shall not do any work,

5 “Honor your father and your mother,

6 “You shall not murder.

7 “You shall not commit adultery.

8 “You shall not steal.

9 “You shall not give false testimony against your neighbor.

10 “You shall not covet NIV

So what does that mean?

1 “You shall have no other gods before me.

To place anything above God in your life is a sin.

2 “You shall not make for yourself an idol.

When we let a house, car, job, any possession come before God, it has become an idol. That is a sin.

3 “You shall not misuse the name of the LORD your God.

We all know that there are certain ‘cuss words’ that are really bad.  Those that actually use God’s name are the worst.  Using any of these words is a sin.

4 “Remember the Sabbath day by keeping it holy. 9 Six days you shall labor and do all your work, 10 but the seventh day is a Sabbath to the LORD your God. On it you shall not do any work,

Sunday is meant to be a day of worship and rest.  According to this verse, working on the Sabbath is a sin.

5 “Honor your father and your mother.

Not giving honor and respect, not obeying your parents, is a sin.

6 “You shall not murder.

Of course murder is a sin.

7 “You shall not commit adultery.

Sexual relations with anyone other than your marriage spouse is sin.

8 “You shall not steal.

Anything we take that doesn’t belong to us is a sin.

9 “You shall not give false testimony against your neighbor.

Any time we say something about someone else that is not true is a sin.

10 “You shall not covet

Any time we want something that belongs to someone else, that isn’t ours, is a sin.

I think we would agree that these things are sin.

But…

Some people say it’s a sin to go out to eat or to shop on Sunday because it makes others have to workand we aren’t to make our brother stumble.

1 Corinthians 8:13 Therefore, if what I eat causes my brother to fall into sin, I will never eat meat again, so that I will not cause him to fall. NIV

(Click for next verse)

Romans 14:21 It is better not to eat meat or drink wine or to do anything else that will cause your brother to fall. NIV

What if we are supposed to just go to church and reston Sunday?  What if all this other stuff we do is sin?

What if simply saying “Oh Lord” is considered to be using the Lord’s name in vain?

Certainly pornography is sin, but how about just looking at someone with lustful thoughts?

Matthew 5:27 “You have heard that it was said, ‘Do not commit adultery.’   28 But I tell you that anyone who looks at a woman lustfully has already committed adultery with her in his heart. NIV

Is that just in real life or is it sinful to look lustfully at people on TV/Movies, etc.

Is it just as wrong to have an ‘emotional’ affair as it is to have a physical affair?  People get ‘crushes’ in their minds without actually carrying anything out physically.

My point, can we sin and not even know it?

An illustration; I knew a man who had been married 10 years.  He came home from work one day and his wife had his bags packed.  She told him she wanted him out.

He asked her, “What did I do?”

“That’s exactly what you did.  We’ve been married 10 years and you didn’t even know anything was wrong.”

He had angered his wife enough for her to want a divorce without even knowing it.

His sin seemed to be more of what he didn’t do instead of what he did do.

My point is, ‘can we anger/disappoint Jesus and not know it as well?’

***Can we sin by what we don’t do as well as what we do?

If God wants us to do something, give to someone, witness to someone, and we don’t do it, is that a sin?

I would have to say ‘yes’.

  • We can sin without knowing it.
  • We can sin by what we don’t do as well as what we do.
  • And we will give account for it all…

Romans 14:12 So then, each of us will give an account of himself to God. NIV

2 Corinthians 5:10 For we must all appear before the judgment seat of Christ, that each one may receive what is due him for the things done while in the body, whether good or bad. NIV

***Or how about this?  Do we get to decide what is sin and what’s not?

Romans 14:5 One man considers one day more sacred than another; another man considers every day alike. Each one should be fully convinced in his own mind. 6 He who regards one day as special, does so to the Lord. He who eats meat, eats to the Lord, for he gives thanks to God; and he who abstains, does so to the Lord and gives thanks to God. 7 For none of us lives to himself alone and none of us dies to himself alone. 8 If we live, we live to the Lord; and if we die, we die to the Lord. So, whether we live or die, we belong to the Lord. NIV

This makes it sound like as long as you are doing what you are doing to the Lord that it’s okay.

Do we really get to decide what is sin and what isn’t?

How about things like ‘Homosexual Preachers’.  I’m sure they consider themselves doing what they are doing to the Lord.  Can they think they are okay with God and actually be living in sin at the same time?

I would disagree with this person and tell him the lifestyle he is living is sinful, plus, ‘religious teachers’ are held to a stricter interpretation of right and wrong…

James 3:1 Not many of you should presume to be teachers, my brothers, because you know that we who teach will be judged more strictly. NIV

We both think we are right but one has to be wrong.  Thus, one is sinning without knowing it.

***Can something be a sin for one person and not for another?

I heard this story and it appears to make sense.

Three preacher friends went to a convention in St. Louis.  They had a free afternoon and realized the Cardinals baseball team had a home game.  One of the pastors suggested they catch the game.

Another of the pastors said he couldn’t do that.  He went so far as to say it would be wrong for him to go to the game.

The other two surely didn’t understand this statement.

He explained that he was once addicted to gambling and baseball was his wager of choice.  He promised God that if He would help deliver him from this addiction that he would never go back to a game again, fearing it would cause him to relapse.

So for him it would be wrong to go to an innocent baseball game.

I was sharing this concept with my Bible study group at Orrville awhile back and one of the guys made the comment, “I need more commandments.  Apparently 10 aren’t enough to help me know when I’m sinning and when I’m not.  I need more help than just those ten.”

He still seems to understand sin as ‘breaking a rule.’

‘Give me more rules so I will know when I am breaking them.’  Don’t expect me to get it right on my own.

Romans 3:20 Therefore no one will be declared righteous in his sight by observing the law; rather, through the law we become conscious of sin. NIV

***So what is sin?

1 John 5:17 All unrighteousness is sin: KJV

Romans 14:22 So whatever you believe about these things (Something you know a brother feels convicted about, even though you have no convictions against it…Like 2 of the 3 preachers being totally fine going to the baseball game.  If they had any doubts about going at point they shouldn’t go.) keep between yourself and God. Blessed is the man who does not condemn himself by what he approves. 23 But the man who has doubts is condemned if he eats, because his eating is not from faith; and everything that does not come from faith is sin. (For whatever does not originate and proceed from faith is sin. Whatever is done without a conviction of its approval by God is sinful.)

Hebrews 11:6 And without faith it is impossible to please God…NIV

I read several commentaries on these verses but one thing is constant.  God wants us to live by faith and anything we do that is not of faith in Him is sin.

Faith is responding to God’s prompting.  Sin is anything that doesn’t draw us closer to God.

God is constantly speaking to us, guiding us, providing for us.  When we question, don’t listen, refuse to do what He is saying we are not walking in faith; thus we are sinning.

Do you ever question whether to do something or not and choose to do it?  Is that acting in faith?

2 Corinthians 4:18 says to “Fix your eyes on what is unseen.”

That sounds strange, but God is the ‘unseen’.  Fix your eyes on Him, listen for His voice…

Do you always listen for God’s voice in every circumstance?  If not, that’s not acting in faith; thus, you are sinning.

How many acts do we commit that are not of faith?

***Faith is listening for and responding to God’s voice.  Not to do this is to not walk in faith, which is to sin.

We want sin to always be ‘bad things’…murder, adultery, drunkenness…

These verses say anything done outside of faith, done without first listening for God’s voice, is sin.

That is most likely the majority of what we do.

You remember the way Jesus worded it don’t you…

Matthew 5:48 Be perfect, therefore, as your heavenly Father is perfect. NIV

  • Jesus desires that everything we do be done from faith, in response to His voice.
  • His desire is that everything we do draw us closer to Him.
  • He wants us to think before each action, “How can I use this to draw closer to God?”
  • He wants to use all circumstances to draw us closer to Himself.
  • Not acting in faith, not listening and obeying as He draws us to Himself is sin.

Sin doesn’t have to be bad.  It’s just anything we do that doesn’t draw us closer to Jesus.

Any time we don’t take time to listen for Jesus is sin.

Paul goes so far as to say that ‘All of us sin…’

  • But I can honestly say I haven’t broken any of the 10 Commandments in quite some time.
  • But have all your actions been done in faith?
  • If not you have sinned

***Check this one out.

You get up every morning and read your Bible and pray.  Is that because God told you to or because you have formed that habit?

Are you reading to grow closer to Him or because you are supposed to?

When our ‘good deeds’ have any purpose rather than increasing our faith in Jesus, they have no real meaning.  Strictly speaking, that time could be used to do something beneficial, something that would draw us closer to Jesus.

It sounds strange but there could be something more beneficial than reading our Bibles and praying if that time is not of faith but of ritual.

Same is true with church attendance.  Coming to church could actually be sin if our coming is not drawing us closer to Jesus.

Is your giving to draw you closer to Jesus or to make you feel good about yourself?  To make you look good before men?

If it’s not done in faith it is sin.

THEN WHO CAN KEEP FROM SINNING?

All of us sin and come short of the glory of God.

“Houston, we’ve got a problem.”

Heaven is perfect and we are not.

So how can we ever expect to get to Heaven?

“If you aren’t for me, you are against me…”

We need a Savior.

It is impossible to please God with our actions.  All unrighteousness is sin…anything not done in faith is sin.

What pleases God?

  • Faith in Jesus.
  • Living a life of faith.
  • Listening and obeying as His HS speaks to us.
  • Drawing closer to Him through prayer and the reading of His Word.
  • Hearing the Word of God in the House of God and then living it out.

Don’t place your confidence in the fact that you live a good life.

By the way, when we say we don’t break the Ten Commandments we sin.

The first command says to have no other gods before Him.

If we are listening to voices other than His we are placing them before Him.  We are placing other ‘gods’ before Him.  That’s sin.

So let’s go back to that one simple command of Jesus, “Be Perfect”.

If we listen to Jesus (HS) and obey Him at all times we will be perfect.  We will always respond in faith.

But when we act on our own, outside of faith we are no longer perfect…we sin.

We need a savior.  We need forgiveness.

***God considers lots of things sin that we probably never realize are sins.

We will give account of them.  But more importantly they are separating us from God even now.

Desire to be as close to Him as possible.  Desire to hear His voice and obey Him at all times.

God will give you the desire of your heart.

***Response time:  Recognize that whenever you do anything without listening for God, it’s sin.

Strive to listen more closely.

Strive to obey every time you hear His voice.