What is sin and where did it go?

by Gary:
Herman Bavinck, a Dutch Reformed theologian and churchman. wrote; “Sin is not a distinct being but an impairment of being, a deformation.”

The New Oxford Dictionary defines “Sin an immoral act considered to be a transgression against divine law : a sin in the eyes of God • an act regarded as a serious or regrettable fault, offense, or omission…”

We read in the Bible; “Everyone who sins breaks the law; in fact, sin is lawlessness.”
I John 3:4 NIV

We can talk about sin abstractly, but what is sin concretely? John Edwards said he did many bad things and hurt a lot of people, but didn’t break the law. But, did he sin? I’m sure his wife said he sinned by committing adultery. President Clinton said he did a very bad thing. I never heard him say he sinned.

The actions of these men and their women partners were immoral. According to the Oxford Dictionary they sinned. Dr. Bavinck would say they have a deformation in their being, meaning they are not living up to the clearly known divine law and were lawless in their actions and character.

Sara says, “Sin is out of style in word for many. Yet sin seems to be in fashion in lifestyle for a wide range of living.”

Would they describe the actions of parents who buy their sexually active teenage children contraceptives as sin? Isn’t it sin to encourage others to sin?

What about other parents who condone their actions by not asking questions about this so called loving behavior of these “Christian” parents? I think the parents are sinning by encouraging their children to sin, and those who stand by and say nothing are sinning as well.

Paul says, “Although they know God’s righteous decree that those who do such things deserve death, they not only continue to do these very things but also approve of those who practice them”
God says, “the wages of sin is death.” Romans 6:23 He also says, “all people are mine to judge-both parent and child alike. And this is my rule: the person who sins is the one who will die.” Ezekiel 18:4 NLT

Scriptures like these are sprinkles of warnings to the sinner. The same Bible that gives us the results of sin gives us the major temporal and eternal benefits of sinlessness. We have choices. We make them and we share the benefits and liabilities.

I don’t think sin has gone away. I think we, like the proverbial Ostrich with our heads in the sand think it doesn’t exist or apply to us.

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22 thoughts on “What is sin and where did it go?

  1. I agree with you, Gary. My head is sand heavy at times. A prophet from ‘the olden days’ gave some advice; “[Unholiness is infectious.] …[Holiness is not infectious.] Haggai 2:12-13 Amplified. I get the impression from Haggai that sin is contagious. Maybe this is the reason we say or do nothing but sit and soak and then complain when the malady hits us.

  2. 2008/9 Schools Wikipedia Selection; “The Ostrich’s behaviour is also mentioned in the Bible in God’s discourse to Job ( Job 39.13-18). It is described as being joyfully proud of its small wings, but unwise and unmindful of the safety of its nest and harsh in the treatment of its offspring, even though it can put a horse to shame with its speed. Elsewhere, ostriches are mentioned as proverbial examples of poor parenting.”

  3. The scripture cited above by Gary, ““the wages of sin is death.” seems clear to me that we have to come face to face with personal responsibility when we use the word sin because accrding to this verse, we earned the penalty we received. ‘Bad’ can refer to food or grammar or even bad cold according to the dictionary. So using that term to define sin really reduces the impact of its seriousness, perhaps making it easier to dismiss as really not a problem.

  4. “…those who stand by and say nothing are sinning as well.” This sure puts a perspective on sin that many of us may not want to face. You realize that we sure can’t hide, look the other way or be passive and think we remain guiltless.

  5. This puts an even greater perspective on it because sin is all around us; in those with whom we work; and in those FOR whom we work. So we have to carefully determine how we will handle ourselves in the presence of those who are in authority over us and yet indulge in immoral lifestyles, sometimes blatantly public and yet have the dominance and/or preeminence over us. Only the Holy Spirit can lead us in these situations.

  6. Thinking more about the question, ‘what is sin’? I know it has been defined throughout the generations (as Gary points out above) from Genesis 1:1 to May, 2012 A. D. by men and women of God, philosophers, theologians and even atheists and agnostics. It has many labels and ingredients added seemingly added
    to BUFFER the toxic results of lawlessness/transgressions. And the truth be told, sin is hopeless, eternal, LONELY, tormenting, tortuous, painfully everlasting eons of separation from God. Never to be reconciled. Never to be free from the bonds of the flames. Never to see the ones whom we may have loved….not even in Hell.
    Those who have an affinity for excruciating, endless pain and loneliness….are even there now. Isaiah 5:14 says, “Therefore Hell has enlarged its borders, and opened its mouth wider still, without any bounds, and the strong ones who love sin and the people who approve of them and their high and glorious personnel of rank shall go down into it.” That is scary. Is there no solution? Yes!
    There is only one way that man might be saved. Acts 4:12 tells the truth of the ages and salvation from Eternal Hell. “There is no salvation by anyone else but Jesus Christ; for there is no other name under heaven given among people by which we must be saved.” And through Jesus Christ our sins are forgiven and we DO NOT HAVE TO SIN, ANYMORE, for our hearts are changed and He keeps us and guides us.

  7. Sin does bring judgement. It was prophesied that judgement would begin in the house of the Lord and so it has. When it falls you might not think that you did anything but quickly find out that you are in it and by not confronting it when it
    showed its ugly head you were changed. You may have to go to counseling to see why you are in denial. You have to express to God your part in it and how angry and upset you are. Going to group sessions you will find that many are in the same boat as you and moving no where quickly. This may seem comfortable for a while, but soon you see you are not moving forward. (This reminds me of a dream Sara had of a boat in clear water with debris all around). There is so much cleaning that you find yourself telling the same story over and over again with no movement. Time to get the debris caused by sin out of your life. Time to pitch it out of the way so that you can move forward with your life. Each pitch hurts as the debris has been there for sometime and has become water logged and heavy on your heart. Only Jesus
    can assist in this cleaning of the heart. Todays reading in JESUS CALLING says…Relax in the knowledge that the One who controls your life is totally trustworthy. Come to Me with confident expectation. There is nothing you need that I cannot provide.

    As you become dependent on God you will find that He is with you through EVERY situation that any human has to face. Call out HIS NAME and He is there to work out the clean up.

  8. Bavinck, ; “Sin is not a distinct being but an impairment of being, a deformation.” Dictionary defines ‘deformation’ as one of their definitions; twisted…..sure something to think about.

  9. Regarding Sara’s comment, “We have choices. We make them and we share the benefits and liabilities.” We seem to spend a lot of time and energy on self-help resources and programs that advertise will lead to contentment and peace. If the liability of sin robs us of these in the long term (and likely the short term), it seems we would pursue the benefits of not sinning? “So letting your sinful nature control your mind leads to death. But letting the Spirit control your mind leads to life and peace.” Romans 8:6

  10. What causes committed Christians to jeopardize their spiritual relationship with the living God…Jesus Christ the Son…when we know the consequences of grieving the Spirit of God? Is it because we don’t truly believe the Scriptures that tell us and the parables Jesus Christ teaches in His Word? Maybe we are not sure that that really applies to our situation? I don’t know. Maybe we’re not really COMMITTED CHRISTIANS! But one of the lessons Jesus relats in the Gospels is about the rich man who lived luxuriously in his big house while Lazarus the beggar man pled outside his gate for morsel of food….which the rich man obviously ignored. Jesus said when the rich man died he went to hell. When Lazarus died he went to Heaven.
    Does this story mean that if you are rich you go to Hell and if you are poor you don’t? Not at all. What Jesus was saying is that the selfishness and pomposity of the rich man (who remains nameless to this day) and his refusal to share his bounty with even one poor person St. Lazarus by name….shows that Mr. Rich Guy really chose his temporal luxuries & selfishness over the luxuries of Heaven, eternal. So in that….he chose hell.
    Like it is said in the above comments, we all make choices. You can suffer a little, or get your ego bruised or take a humiliating stand for a season in this temporal world, or you can pay for it eternally in hell
    If committed Christians tell lies on a regular basis for convenience sake or out of fear of man or for any other reason we jeopardize our salvation. It’s sin! We can deceive ourselves, ignore it or deny it. It is still sin and the Just Judge is waiting at the door.

  11. One of the startling points Sara brought out this morning in the teachings is that….yes….God forgives us when we sin and repent sincerely before Him. He is a God of mercy and the blood of Jesus covers us. But what about the fall-out from the sin, the lie, the cover up that we just committed? How many people are hurt by that? How many lives have we thrown into chaos because of our selfish choice to go ahead and sin, anyway? Yes we all stumble….once in a while. [if we MUST!!] but making a lifestyle of it…as Gary taught this morning….is well, like flaunting sin in the face of Redemption. (my take)
    Sara’s revelation that the devastation of many [or even if it is one other] leaves its mark on the lives of those around us…those whom we profess to LOVE! If we have chosen to sin….and it is a choice ….beware of the devastation left in the wake of your selfish choice(s).

    1. “beware of the devastation left in the wake of your selfish choice(s)” MG, Sara shared some scripture from Proverbs with me that sure seems to shed some light on this blog and other comments posted. Read with me, Proverbs 6: 16-35, “There are six things the Lord hates–no, seven things he detests: haughty eyes, a lying tongue, hands that kill the innocent, a heart that plots evil, feet that race to do wrong, a false witness who pours out lies, a person who sows discord in a family. My son, obey your father’s commands, and don’t neglect your mother’s instruction. Keep their words always in your heart. Tie them around your neck. When you walk, their counsel will lead you. When you sleep, they will protect you. When you wake up, they will advise you. For their command is a lamp and their instruction a light; their corrective discipline is the way to life. It will keep you from the immoral woman, from the smooth tongue of a promiscuous woman. Don’t lust for her beauty. Don’t let her coy glances seduce you. For a prostitute will bring you to poverty, but sleeping with another man’s wife will cost you your life. Can a man scoop a flame into his lap and not have his clothes catch on fire? Can he walk on hot coals and not blister his feet? So it is with the man who sleeps with another man’s wife. He who embraces her will not go unpunished. Excuses might be found for a thief who steals because he is starving. But if he is caught, he must pay back seven times what he stole, even if he has to sell everything in his house. But the man who commits adultery is an utter fool, for he destroys himself. He will be wounded and disgraced. His shame will never be erased. For the woman’s jealous husband will be furious, and he will show no mercy when he takes revenge. He will accept no compensation, nor be satisfied with a payoff of any size.”

      1. “…don’t neglect your mother’s instruction. Keep their words always in your heart. Tie them around your neck. When you walk, their counsel will lead you. When you sleep, they will protect you. When you wake up, they will advise you. For their command is a lamp and their instruction a light; their corrective discipline is the way to life.”

        And put this in reverse and think what it means when one does not give instructions and correction?

  12. We remove their defense system, leave them in the dark w/ no guidance and hang a sentence of death around their necks. That is vey grim.

    1. “We remove their defense system, leave them in the dark w/ no guidance and hang a sentence of death around their necks. ” Hum, that doesn’t sound like one is loving the person who is sinning, does it? (sounds like ostrich parenting?)

  13. In today’s devotional “Jesus Calling” it says – Man’s tendency is to hide from his sin, seeking refuge in the darkness. There he indulges in self-pity, denial, self-righteousness, blaming, and hatred. But I am the Light of the world, and My illumination decimates the darkness. Come close to ME and let My Light envelop you, driving out darkness and permeating you with Peace. Tammy the real friend will pull us from this path or try hard to do it.

  14. I am with you Tammy would love to hear some input on this great well of love….I know NC just voted against ‘love and marriage’ for the GL…marriage…(well not sure how the law read). But, I hear a lot of about love and commitment between woman and woman, man and man and yet so many think they should not love and have a viable commitment to family.

    I Peter 4:9 says, “Above all, love each other deeply, because love covers over a multitude of sins.”

    If some one told us they loved someone into not sinning; I would just love to hear their story and how they did it. Maybe we could multiply it to the world and change the world.

    1 Corinthians 13:1 NIV “If I speak in the tongues of men and of angels, but have not love, I am only a resounding gong or a clanging cymbal.” Would this apply to your question? Or would it apply to me for not praying for world peace? Clean water for peoples everywhere? Starving children and humans everywhere? Giving a coat, food and hope to all? Maybe someone could love me into being more mindful, prayerful and helpful. Or, maybe I could learn to love more deeply and love others into being and doing.

    Yes, a great well of love that I am awaiting some help from others on!

  15. Tammy,

    Not sure this will help any but when my sons were little I listened to Dr. Charles Stanley and prayed for them often with a friend and prayed for them everyday as they caught the bus to go to school.
    Recently I was in conversation with my older son and he said, “Mom when I was little I couldn’t stand hearing you listening to Dr. Stanley, but now that I am grown, I love listening to him.

    1. I could tell those stories about myself; not wanting to hear God’s Word but a God fearing Mother not just preaching/teaching but living it. This should encourage parents to always keep the flame aglow for the next generations.

      I am just reading an article by Charles Stanley, entitled, “The Privilege Corrupted.” He gives Romans 1:28 referring to the Lord turning one over to a depraved mind_one that can no longer make right judgments. He talks about how we desiring to fill a spiritual void, may turn to idols like money, prominence, and relationships. This leads us to indulge in earthly pleasures and desires which leads us to the Romans 1:28.

      Dr. Stanley leads us to the answer of having a relationship with the heavenly Father. He chimes in big time with the manifold evidence that points to a holy, loving God who desires an intimate friendship with us. And, warns, the consequences of rejection are far to dangerous, and the benefits of saying yes are beyond what you can imagine. (Eph. 3:20) “Now to him who is able to do immeasurably more than all we ask or imagine, according to his power that is at work within us,…”

      God is Able, yes, he is able to carry us through…..

  16. Good story, Rena.
    NEEDLES, John says, ” In this is love: it was not that we loved God, but he has loved us, and he sent us His Son, the atonement for the sake of our sins.We love HIM because He first loved us.” And those of us who reciprocate that love do not want to sin anymore. I am not saying we will stop sinning completely, but we stop (more and more) practicing sin. Jesus loves us into the stopping of sin. If we have an authentic conversion in our hearts and accept Jesus Christ as the LORD of our lives, then we do NOT HAVE to sin, anymore. How can we tell if a person has had an authentic conversion? ” BY THEIR FRUITS WE WILL KNOW THEM.”
    [Jesus in Matt 7:20]

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