Posted by: Craig | 22 June, 2007

Is sin a dirty word now ?…

Some people today would see the word sin in the title of this post and instantly ignore it or assume that I am going to lay judgment upon people, but that is not what this post is about, there reaction is what this is about.

When I was younger, before I had Jesus slam into my life, the word sin to me meant an action that was directly against God (such as saying he does not exist) or one that went against an explicit command in the bible. My knowledge of the bible was pretty much non-existent at that point and I had heard the ten commandments, so I considered things like murder and theft would be considered sin by the Christian God but not that my being angry at someone could be sin.

I think that the view I had is a view that many people have of sin today, certainly if you were to ask them what it was they would say something similar to what I thought. The definition in the dictionary is:

noun – an immoral act considered to be a trangression against divine law

From that definition most would take the view of sin being the breaking of laws set down by God and have a rather legalistic view of it and this would be wrong. Certainly in one way this definition is correct as in the Bible we are commanded to love God with all our hearts :

You shall love the LORD your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your might. Deut 6:5

If you just look at this one command then you can already see how so much more than breaking government laws is sin in the eyes of God. I shall return to this shortly, the other thing about the word sin, which is probably the cause of people disliking it, is that when the word is used now people associate judgmental attitudes with it . Somewhere along the way the people of the church decided they didn’t like being associated with the word sin as it seems to mean today something depraved and grossly immoral and so many in church use words that do not sound so harsh.

Well in the bible it is never used in such a way as that, it is always said as a factual statement, look at :

But now the righteousness of God has been manifested apart from the law, although the Law and the Prophets bear witness to it the righteousness of God through faith in Jesus Christ for all who believe. For there is no distinction: for all have sinned and fall short of the glory of God, and are justified by his grace as a gift, through the redemption that is in Christ Jesus, Rom 3:21-24

It is just a fact that all have sinned, if you only considered sin like my old world view then it would be possible to say that I have not sinned but the bibles statement above and it’s claim that only Jesus was free of sin would say that the definition of sin needs to be adjusted back to the truth.

So a short definition of the biblical view of sin would be :

“Finding satisfaction in anything other than God”

Be appalled, O heavens, at this;
be shocked, be utterly desolate,
declares the LORD,
for my people have committed two evils:
they have forsaken me,
the fountain of living waters,
and hewed out cisterns for themselves,
broken cisterns that can hold no water.
Jeremiah 2:12-13

This definition makes more sense when you consider the Westminster shorter catechism statement :

The chief end of man is glorify God and enjoy him forever

So any action/thought we have that is not with us enjoying glorifying him would be a sin, so simple things such as my first thought as I wake up not being of God but of that annoying alarm I want to hit. It is the belittling of his name through forgetfulness and putting anything before God. This does not mean we spend all our time singing songs of worship and meditating on scripture to glorify him but live all areas in our life to glorify God and enjoy doing it, but I digress from the purpose of the post so maybe I will talk about that some other time.

By this post I am not saying we should go round and start using the word sin and sinners all the time, this would not work as the rest of culture still views those words with the wrong connotations, but that within church we should start using those words correctly as sin is mentioned over 400 times in the bible (77 times in Romans alone).



  1. I can see your blog – YAY! Looks like now I don’t have an excuse not to read it. So I read it.

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