What is Sin?

What is sin?  Webster’s New World Dictionary says, "1. the breaking of religious or moral law, especially through a willful act. 2. any offense or fault; as, a social sin". Thayer’s Greek-English Lexicon says, "a failing to hit the mark". The Bible (God's definition) defines sin for us this way:

1. "Whosoever committeth sin transgresseth also the law: for sin is the transgression of the law" (I John 3:4).  When someone "transgresseth" the law, Bullinger says it is "a stepping aside, as from right". The Law of Christ is that "strait" and "narrow" way (Matthew 7:13-14) and when one goes off the path, he sins against God.

2. "All unrighteousness is sin" (I John 5:17). That which is "right" or "righteous" is from God, "for all thy commandments are righteousness" (Psalms 119:172).  "Little children, let no man deceive you: he that doeth righteousness is righteous, even as he is righteous" (I John 3:7).  So then, one that does not obey God's commandments commits "unrighteousness", and is thus a sinner.

3. "Therefore to him that knoweth to do good, and doeth it not, to him it is sin" (James 4:17). The Bible reveals that which is good, "According as his divine power hath given unto us all things that pertain unto life and godliness, through the knowledge of him that hath called us to glory and virtue" (II Peter 1:3).  Many know what is good to do (in short, keeping the commandments of God) but simply do not do it.  James says this "is sin".

4. "And he that doubteth is damned if he eat, because he eateth not of faith: for whatsoever is not of faith is sin" (Romans 14:23).  One must not go against his conscience. One must be convinced in his own mind that that which he is doing is right. But let us not ever forget that the Word of God must form that conscience by the receiving of truth. One that follows his conscience that has not been trained by the Will of God sins against God too. "I know, O Lord, that a man's way is not in himself; Nor is it in a man who walks to direct his steps" (Jeremiah 10:23). "There is a way which seems right to a man, But its end is the way of death" (Proverbs 14:12). One application of this principal is, if one obeys the commands of God just to please someone else, and not from the heart, he sins against God, for "God is a Spirit: and they that worship him must worship him in spirit and in truth" (John 4:24).  Another is, many worship God a certain way and don't know whether they are right or not. My friend, one must worship God "of faith" and "faith cometh by hearing, and hearing by the word of God" (Romans 10:17).