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Basics of Faith

What is Sin?What is sin?

Excuse me if I shout, but THIS IS IMPORTANT:

GOD defines sin, not us!

Here is the shortest and simplest and most powerful definition of sin that I have ever come across. It came to someone during an Alpha course, in the discussion time after a talk. A group leader asked us, "What is sin?". And these words came straight into his mind; and I firmly believe that they came from God:


One of the team said, "That's a bit spiritual isn't it?" He smiled and replied, "Well, yes, but that's what it's about, isn't it?" The person took the point.

You see, there's no escape; we ALL sin, we cannot help it. We were like it from the day we were born, and that's why Jesus had to come and die, so that we might escape the punishment that we would otherwise receive.

Why is that?

God is Love

God is so full of love, so pure and holy and sinless, that nothing bearing the stain of sin can come into his presence. Not you or me or anybody in the whole human race, apart from one man, Jesus Christ. And this definition of sin makes me realise how impossible it is to come into the presence of God by our own efforts.

Imperfect Sacrifice

In the Old Testament, we read about the Ten Commandments and "The Law", comprising hundreds of rules for everyday right living and spiritual "clean-ness". And for each transgression, there had to be a blood sacrifice; it might be a pair of doves, or a lamb, each being perfect and without blemish. And each time a person sinned again, there had to be another sacrifice. These blood sacrifices were only sufficient until the next time, because no animal sacrifice could be made that would cover all sin for all time. Until Jesus came.


Jesus was utterly without sin. He never said or did anything, unless his father God in heaven told him to; and therefore he never did anything that was not the will of God. He was perfect and without sin.  


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Perfect Sacrifice

And so Jesus, being perfect and being the son of God, became the perfect sacrifice that would be sufficient to atone for, to make up for, all our sin for all time. The Bible often refers to Jesus as "the Lamb".

And so when the time came for him to die, Jesus received a Roman flogging - so severe that some people died from it - and then he was crucified - nailed up on a cross until, after many hours, he was dead from the absolute agony and exhaustion of the nails tearing at his arms and legs. Died as a punishment for OUR sins. He paid the price for us, in our place. By rights we should bear that punishment, which is death for our own sins. And that means not just death of our bodies here on earth, but death in the spiritual sense, a total and permanent separation from God and his love, condemned to an eternity in Hell.

The escape hatch that saves us from Hell is that Jesus died in our place, died on our behalf. He was the ultimate sacrifice, he took the punishment in our place, instead of you and me.


All I have to do to be saved from Hell and go to Heaven is -

  • to accept that Jesus is the son of God and that he died for me;

  • to repent of my sin; that means, to say to God that I am sorry for going wrong, and to declare my intention - and mean it - to turn from my old ways;

  • to acknowledge Jesus as Lord in my life.

IF we do these simple things, things which are so difficult to admit to ourselves, we earn the right to appear before God in heaven, cleansed of all stain of sin by the sacrifice of the One who was blameless. Free from all sin at last, surrounded by love, in everlasting life.


In these matters, we need to try and see it from God's view point.

God is spirit; and most of what we read in the Bible has a spiritual meaning as well as a here-on-earth meaning.

God is spirit, His kingdom in heaven is the one that will last forever, and is free from all the effects and influence of sin, and is the REAL place to put our hopes in.

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Warning: you may
find this distressing.

"For God so loved the world that he gave his only Son, so that everyone who believes in him will not perish but have eternal life."

- from the Bible, book of John, chapter 3, verse 16.

"Whatever you do, whether in word or deed, do it all in the name of the Lord Jesus, giving thanks to God the Father through him."
- Colossians 3:17 (NIV).

May God bless your reading of these pages. Philip Tory