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:
DOING ANYTHING THAT
IS NOT THE WILL OF 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.
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
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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
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
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
In these matters, we need to try and see it from God's view
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
- 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
- Colossians 3:17 (NIV).
May God bless your reading of these pages. Philip Tory