Sin – Transgression of the law of God. State of human nature in which the self is estranged from God
These are the Webster’s dictionary meanings of sin. But what does it really mean for us as Christians? Well, for some it means breaking one of the ten commandments. For others, it means turning away from or rejecting God. But in reality, the basis of the word really can be summed up with one verse.
“for all have sinned and fall short of the glory of God,”
The part of this verse I want to focus on is the two words “fall short”. In essence, the definition of sin is falling short or missing the mark. Of course, we all know that man is imperfect, so sin applies to every one of us. How sin manifests itself in the world is a discussion I cannot do full justice, although I will do my best to explain.
As we see in Genesis, God created man and woman, place them in the Garden of Eden, and created a world for them that was just right. Man and woman had everything they needed. Yet God also gave man free will. He gave them a mind. Man could have chosen to stay in the garden of Eden, and lived a very comfortable life, honoring God. Without getting too deep into the story, man – tempted by Satan – chose the fruit of knowledge, sinning against God. In doing so, sin entered the world, and everything changed. Now man understood pain. Now man would know both good and evil.
The story of man in the garden of Eden is very similar to the battle with sin we deal with today. Man chose to put himself before God. It is this choice that allows sin in our lives. Choosing ourselves over God will lead to selfish, earthly desires, desires that seek to separate us from our God. Our lives are a constant battle between God’s will and our own, one which we will struggle with until the day we stand in judgement, called to account for the decisions we made in our earthly life.
So if we all sin, and all of us fall short of the glory of God, is there any hope for us? Isn’t this all just a depressing story? Are we all doomed, broken, evil creatures?
Of course not.
“For God so loved the world, that he gave his only begotten Son, that whosoever believeth in him should not perish, but have everlasting life.”
God knows very well that His creations are in need of a Savior. He loves us, more than we can know. So He provides a way of escape from the wrath we deserved because of our sin. He does this through his son Jesus Christ.
“He that believeth on the Son hath everlasting life; and he that believeth not the Son shall not see life; but the wrath of God abideth on him.”
Through Jesus we are granted eternal life. This is something we cannot achieve on our own. Our sin separates us from God. It is interesting that this verse tells us the consequences of rejecting the savior. Many might look at this as God condemning us. But is it really? No it is not. Man chose sin, God did not. Part of achieving eternal life is coming to terms with our fallen state. When we do so, we learn to surrender. Our decision to be bound by sin is our personal choice. We are not victims. Choosing to turn away from God is what condemns us. That is on us.
Let me be clear. What does it mean to turn away from sin? Does it mean we no longer sin? Of course that is not possible. But repenting means we acknowledge our sin, confess them to God, and seek in our hearts to sin no more. Yes we will never achieve perfection in this life, but in our surrender, we allow God to do His work in our lives, transforming us into the child of God we were meant to be. It will be a life long struggle, one which will be complete the day we meet Him in Heaven.
“For by grace are ye saved through faith; and that not of yourselves; it is the gift of God; Not of works, lest any man should boast.”
–Ephesians 2:8, 9
Here we see the distinction between faith and works. Since we cannot be perfect, and God’s standard is perfection, we will all fall short. We will all miss the mark. For this reason, no amount of good works will achieve eternal life. We are saved through faith, and by the grace of God. Our salvation comes as His gift, through the death of His son and our Savior Jesus Christ.
So how do we conquer evil in our lives? How do we beat sin? Well, Jesus was very clear on that subject. He gave us two commandments – love your God, and love your neighbor. Think about it. If you loved your God and your neighbor fully and completely, how could you sin against them? When we give our lives to Christ, we ask Him to dwell within us. We ask Him to work through us, sanctifying and perfect us. When He does, we discover something. We find that our hearts start to change. Sin is no longer as attractive as it once once. Suddenly, we start to hear that small voice in our heads that remind us what our responsibilities are as a new creation in Christ.
As long as the world exists, sin will exist. Good and evil will exist. Man made a choice long ago, and as such we are responsible for our actions. But God is a loving God, a merciful one. Because of the gift of grace and selfless love, we are given the opportunity to turn from sin and evil, by simply accepting Jesus Christ, and in turn we can grow closer to Him. I will close with a quote by C.S. Lewis, which I believe sums up the subject quite nicely.
“God created things which had free will. That means creatures which can go either wrong or right. Some people think they can imagine a creature which was free but had no possibility of going wrong; I cannot. If a thing is free to be good it is also free to be bad. And free will is what has made evil possible. Why, then, did God give them free will? Because free will, though it makes evil possible, is also the only thing that makes possible any love or goodness or joy worth having. A world of automata – of creatures that worked like machines – would hardly be worth creating. The happiness which God designs for His higher creatures is the happiness of being freely, voluntarily united to Him and to each other in an ecstasy of love and delight compared with which the most rapturous love between a man and a woman on this earth is mere milk and water. And for that they must be free.”
- Christian Words, Part Five – Forgiveness (ginzotalk.wordpress.com)
- Christian Words, Part Four – Grace (ginzotalk.wordpress.com)
- Christian Words, Part One – Jesus (ginzotalk.wordpress.com)
- Trying To Be Good? (nodogshere.wordpress.com)
- Christian Words, Part Six – Humility (ginzotalk.wordpress.com)
- A Forgiving Heart (noemilynardaboyles.wordpress.com)
- The Redeemer (ptl2010.wordpress.com)
- Grace bigger than Law and Sin (churchinaction.wordpress.com)