Bible Term StudyBiblepedia

What Is Sin?

4 Mins read

When the word “sin” is mentioned, people think of murder, fornication, adultery, covetousness etc. But then, what is being described by these actions above? Let me ask you, “what is sin? and “how do you understand it?

The Word Study 

The English word “sin” comes from the Greek word _”hamartano”_ or _”hamartia”_ which means to miss the mark (and so not share in the prize). It also means to err, especially morally, to sin – for your fault, offend, sin, trespass. This English word sin comes from these Hebrews words chatta and chattah.

  • Chatta means to miss, to forfeit, lack.
  • Chattah means an offence and its penalty, occasion, sacrifice, or expiation. It also means an offender.

Therefore, sin from the Strong Exhaustive Concordance of the Bible is to miss that mark and not share in the prize. It is to err, especially to sin. It is to miss, to forfeit and lack. Also, it is an offence and its penalty and occasion. Macmillan English Dictionary for advanced learners defines sin as an action, thought, or way of behaving that is wrong according to religious laws. It is an action or way of behaving that you think is morally wrong. And also, to do something wrong according to religious rules.

The Bible Definition of Sin

The scriptures define sin in different ways. When you look at those scriptures that define sin, you will get more wisdom and understanding concerning sin. Look at these few scriptures and see how the Bible, which is God’s word, defines sin. The word of God is God (John 1:1). Because the word of God is God himself, now let us see how God defines sin. God defines sin according to the following:

1. Sin is all unrighteousness. 

Righteousness means right standing with God. Unrighteousness means not standing right with God. When you are not in right standing with God, the Bible says it is a sin. When you are not in right standing with God, God himself calls it a sin. All unrighteousness is sin: and there is a sin not unto death (1 John 5:17). Exception of none is sin. It is not some unrighteousness or part of the unrighteousness that is sin. Instead, God speaks it out and clears that all unrighteousness is sin.

2. Sin is the transgression of the law. 

To transgress simply means to do something that is not allowed by the law. When you do something that the law of God does not permit, you have transgressed. The Bible states transgression of God’s moral law is sin. God himself calls it a sin. For what the word of God says, it is what God is saying. For God and his word are one (John 1:1). 

“Whosoever committeth sin transgresseth also the law: for sin is the transgression of the law” – 1 John 3:4

Sin is the transgression of the law. Here, the Bible is clear that any violation of the law is a sin. Whether it is the ten commandments (Exodus 20:1–18), the law of Faith (Romans 3:27), the law of love (Matthew 22:36–40), the law of life in Christ (Romans 8:2) or any other law that is in the scriptures, once you transgress it, it is a sin. You have committed sin.

3. Sin is anything done without faith.

What is Faith? Faith is reliance, loyalty, and complete trust in God. It is a strong belief in and trust in someone or something. It’s a strong belief in the word of God. 

“It is the confident assurance that what we hope for will happen. It is the evidence of things we cannot see” (Hebrews 11:1 NLT).

“Now faith is the substance of things hoped for, the evidence of things not seen”(Hebrews 11:1 KJV)

“Now faith is the assurance (the confirmation, the title deed) of the things [we] hope for, being the proof of things [we] do not see and the conviction of their reality [faith perceiving as real fact what is not revealed to the sensed]” (Hebrews 11:1 AMP)

The Strong Exhaustive Concordance defines faith as a Greek word “pistis” which means persuasion that is credence. It is the conviction of truth or truthfulness of God. It is reliance upon Christ for salvation and consistency in such confession. It is a consistent confession of truth itself. Now the truth is the word of God according to John 17:17. Faith is assurance, belief, and fidelity in truth itself.

Faith is taking God at his word without a second thought, hesitation, or questioning. Just take God the way his word says about and concerning him. Therefore, anything you do without taking God at his word is sin. “And he that doubteth is damned if he eats because he eateth not of faith: For whatsoever is not of faith is sin” (Romans 14:23)

It is only by faith that you please God. Therefore, whatever is not of faith is sin. “But without faith, it is impossible to please Him, for he who comes to God must believe that He is and that He is a rewarder of those who diligently seek Him” (Hebrews 11:6NKJV)

4. Anyone who knows the right he is supposed to do and does it not, to him, it is a sin.

It is a sin when you know that you are supposed to pay house rent for a person you promised, and you do not pay. If you know that you are supposed to attend fellowship at 2:00 pm, and you arrive at 3:00 pm, this is a sin you have committed. So, when you know that you are supposed to pay a debt by the 3rd, you don’t pay it until the 7th without communicating to the person you owe; you have also sinned. Therefore, sin is not doing what you know; it’s your rightful duty to perform it.

“Therefore, to him who knows to do good and does not do it, to him it is a sin” (James 4:17)

Sin is not doing what is wrong only. According to God, sin is also not doing what is right. Therefore, sin is both in doing, in the action of doing and not doing. When you do, what does not please God is sin. Also, when you don’t do what God wants you to do, it is a sin. It is a sin when you also don’t do what you know you are supposed to do. Sin is not only in the doing and not doing. It is also in the process of doing. How did you do it? Anything you do according to God’s will but without faith, it is a sin. Now your action of faith makes you acceptable before God and unhooks you from sin hunting you in the process of your actions. Hallelujah!! Glory to God, Sin is unmasked.

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By Gilbert Magomere Ayieko
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