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What is a sin?


Are there different kinds of sin?

Thanks for your question.

The word translated sin in the Old Testament comes from the Hebrew ‘chata’ meaning literally ‘to miss the mark’.The ‘mark’ in scripture is the commandment(s) of God.The sentence imposed by God for sin – disobeying his commandment(s) – is death.

Adam disobeyed God in Eden and the sentence of death passed upon both him and his descendents.

Genesis 2:16 And the LORD God commanded the man, saying, Of every tree of the garden thou mayest freely eat:

17 But of the tree of the knowledge of good and evil, thou shalt not eat of it: for in the day that thou eatest thereof thou shalt surely die.

Genesis 3:6 And when the woman saw that the tree was good for food, and that it was pleasant to the eyes, and a tree to be desired to make one wise, she took of the fruit thereof, and did eat, and gave also unto her husband with her; and he did eat.

Genesis 3:17 And unto Adam he said, Because thou hast hearkened unto the voice of thy wife, and hast eaten of the tree, of which I commanded thee, saying, Thou shalt not eat of it: cursed is the ground for thy sake; in sorrow shalt thou eat of it all the days of thy life;18 Thorns also and thistles shall it bring forth to thee; and thou shalt eat the herb of the field;

19 In the sweat of thy face shalt thou eat bread, till thou return unto the ground; for out of it wast thou taken: for dust thou art, and unto dust shalt thou return.Death has been the lot of mankind ever since, because we cannot stop disobeying the commandments of God. We die because we sin.

Romans 5:12 Wherefore, as by one man sin entered into the world, and death by sin; and so death passed upon all men, for that all have sinned:
At the time of Moses God brought Israel out of Egypt and wrote his law in Ten Commandments on two tables of stone.

1. Exodus 20:2 I am the LORD thy God, which have brought thee out of the land of Egypt, out of the house of bondage. 3 Thou shalt have no other gods before me.

2. Exodus 20:4 Thou shalt not make unto thee any graven image...5 Thou shalt not bow down thyself to them, nor serve them...

3. Exodus 20:7 Thou shalt not take the name of the LORD thy God in vain...

4. Exodus 20:8 Remember the sabbath day, to keep it holy.

5.Exodus 20:12 Honour thy father and thy mother...

6. Exodus 20:13 Thou shalt not kill.

7. Exodus 20:14 Thou shalt not commit adultery.

8. Exodus 20:15 Thou shalt not steal.

9. Exodus 20:16 Thou shalt not bear false witness against thy neighbour.

10.Exodus 20:17 Thou shalt not covet thy neighbour’s house,... thy neighbour’s wife,... his manservant,... maidservant,... ox,... ass, nor any thing that is thy neighbour’s.
Trying to keep these commandments without breaking just one in a lifetime proves to mankind that they are sinners and they cannot save themselves from death.
Ezekiel 18:4 Behold, all souls are mine; as the soul of the father, so also the soul of the son is mine: the soul that sinneth, it shall die.
Romans 7:7 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.
Galatians 3:21 Is the law then against the promises of God? God forbid: for if there had been a law given which could have given life, verily righteousness should have been by the law.22 But the scripture hath concluded all under sin, that the promise by faith of Jesus Christ might be given to them that believe.
God is the only one who could provide a way of escape. This he did by fathering a son, Jesus, made of a woman, tempted to sin in every way that we are but with God’s strength of character to resist. Jesus lived and died without sinning once.This was enough to ensure his own resurrection from the dead.

1 Peter 2:22 Who did no sin, neither was guile found in his mouth:

Acts 2:24 Whom God hath raised up, having loosed the pains of death: because it was not possible that he should be holden of it.
Jesus living a sinless life and dying (say of old age) was insufficient to save others. He could only save others by voluntarily giving his life for them.
John 10:18 No man taketh it from me, but I lay it down of myself...
John 15:13 Greater love hath no man than this, that a man lay down his life for his friends.14 Ye are my friends, if ye do whatsoever I command you.

Jesus’ voluntary death made it possible for God to impute his righteousness to those sinners who would accept him and obey his commandments, so that sin could be forgiven.

John 8:24 I said therefore unto you, that ye shall die in your sins: for if ye believe not that I am he, ye shall die in your sins.

Romans 5:19 For as by one man’s (Adam’s) disobedience many were made sinners, so by the obedience of one (Jesus) shall many be made righteous.

Jesus made it possible for the Law (the Old Covenant) to be put aside and a New Covenant with new commandments to replace the old.The new commandments are:

Mark 12:30 And thou shalt love the Lord thy God with all thy heart, and with all thy soul, and with all thy mind, and with all thy strength: this is the first commandment.31 And the second is like, namely this, Thou shalt love thy neighbour as thyself. There is none other commandment greater than these.

This is the law of love. The law of love automatically covers all the commandments except that of keeping the Sabbath which is suspended. Our neighbour includes our enemy so that we are required to do good to all men.

Romans 13:9 For this, Thou shalt not commit adultery, Thou shalt not kill, Thou shalt not steal, Thou shalt not bear false witness, Thou shalt not covet; and if there be any other commandment, it is briefly comprehended in this saying, namely, Thou shalt love thy neighbour as thyself.

In Christ, God has given us a covering for our disobedience. If we believe the gospel, repent and are baptised, all our sins up to that point are washed away. With baptism we begin a new life. If we live this new life with integrity, loving others as ourselves, then we can receive ongoing forgiveness for any sins we commit due to the weakness of our nature.

1 John 1:5 This then is the message which we have heard of him, and declare unto you, that God is light, and in him is no darkness at all.6 If we say that we have fellowship with him, and walk in darkness, we lie, and do not the truth:7 But if we walk in the light, as he is in the light, we have fellowship one with another, and the blood of Jesus Christ his Son cleanseth us from all sin.8 If we say that we have no sin, we deceive ourselves, and the truth is not in us.9 If we confess our sins, he is faithful and just to forgive us our sins, and to cleanse us from all unrighteousness.

Belief and baptism into Christ does not prevent us dying in this life but ensures our resurrection from the dead to life again when Christ returns. If we have remained faithful the reward is eternal life in the kingdom of God.

I hope this helps,

Glenn Smith

 
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