What is Sin?

Let's Start at the Beginning.

In the beginning, God created everything. This includes the earth and everything in it. Yes, that also includes mankind. (Gen. 1-3)

"Then the Lord God formed a man from the dust of the ground and breathed into his nostrils the breath of life, and the man became a living being." - Genesis 2:7

However, when He created us, it was for a very special purpose. We were created to be connected and bring glory to God as we live our lives. This is what we see when we look at the relationship that Adam and Eve had with God in the Garden of Eden. 

"And they heard the sound of the Lord God walking in the garden in the cool of the day, and the man and his wife hid themselves from the presence of the Lord God among the trees of the garden." - Genesis 3:8

Why did they hide? After their creation, God instructed Adam and Eve not to "eat from the tree of the knowledge of good and evil." This was God's only stipulation. He gave them the Garden of Eden to live in, where God Himself would provide for them and all they had to do was walk with the Lord, take care the Garden, and multiply! However, through a series of events, they chose to do exactly what they were instructed not to do. At this moment, sin entered the world.


What is Sin?

A simple way to define sin is “the act of going against God and His ways” (a). It makes sense that, when we are going against something, we are separate from it. By definition, then, sin separates us from God.

Moreover, since God is the creator and giver of life, to be separate from Him means to be experiencing death (b). The Bible describes those that choose to live in their sin like this: “They are darkened in their understanding and separated from the life of God because of the ignorance that is in them due to the hardening of their hearts” (c). Sin hardens us. Ongoing sin is a series of decisions, each one choosing against God’s authority in our lives and substituting our own. Those decisions create a wall between us and our Creator because we cannot have two masters. Jesus said we “will hate the one and love the other” (d). Not only are we separate from God when we are ruled by sin; we are also His enemies (e) . This separation from God, created by our sin, dooms us to an eternity away from Him by default...

Now, we must understand that this separation exists because God is perfect and we are not. The universe He created was perfect. The human beings He made in His own image were perfect until sin messed it all up (f). The moment Adam and Eve sinned, their “eyes were opened” (g), and they knew that a separation had occurred; something had come between them and God. They became aware of sin and its consequences. Now, we must remember that a part of God’s perfection is His perfect justice, and justice demands that all sin be reckoned with. To overlook the sin would not be just, so the sin stood between humanity and the righteous Judge.


So! In an act that foreshadowed God’s ultimate plan, He killed a perfect animal in the Garden of Eden and covered Adam and Eve’s nakedness with its skin (h). God counted the blood of that substitute as payment for the man’s sin. Without the shedding of innocent blood, there could be no forgiveness, and mankind would be eternally separated from God (i). Jesus Christ’s shedding of His blood on the cross was an intentional act that would forever bridge the separation between mankind and God. “Whoever believes in him shall not perish but have eternal life” (j). God counts the blood of His Son as sufficient payment for the debt we owe. When we trust in Jesus as our personal Lord and Savior, God closes the gap that yawned between us (k).

However, even as Christians, our sin can continue to separate us from God’s fellowship (not His love, but His fellowship). Sin is like a dark curtain pulled over a sunny window. The sun is still there, but the curtain creates a separation from its warmth and light. Repentance lifts the curtain and restores the relationship we were intended to enjoy (l). Any unconfessed sin in the life of a follower of Jesus can create a sense of separation from God. God does not leave us, but the light and warmth of fellowship is cut off when we chose sin. When the believer commits sin, they are "darkening the window," and we can lose the love, joy, and peace of the Holy Spirit when we persist in living apart from God. Not that we are separated from Him, but we are drawing away from Him as we choose another direction. Not to say that one can't "lose their salvation," because we do believe that one can choose to walk away from God (denounce their faith) just as consciously as they did when they chose to come to God. So, sin separates us from God, believer or not, and continued sin in the believer's life is the same as pursuing a path of denouncing one's faith by their actions.

For every human problem, though, God has a solution. Even though we created the problem, God rescues us when we call on His name (m). Separation from God does not have to define our relationship with Him. We can confess our sin, trust in His offer of salvation through Faith in Jesus, and accept the full pardon Jesus’ sacrifice provides (n). Sin separates us from God, but the grace and mercy of Jesus restores anyone who will receive Him as Lord of their lives.

(a) Rom 3:23

(b) Rom 6:23, Eph 2:1

(c) Eph 4:18

(d) Matt 6:24

(e) Col 1:21

(f) Gen 1:27, 31; 3:1–24

(g) Gen 3:7

(h) Gen 3:21

(i) Heb 9:22

(j) John 3:16, John 3:17–18

(k) 2 Cor5:21; Col 2:13–15

(l) 1 John 1:9

(m) Prov 18:10; Rom 8:28–30

(n) Isaiah 43:25, Psalm 103:12, Jn 1:29; Heb 8:12