What is Sin?

And What Does It Mean for You?


The Bible teaches that you must know God's law in order to know what sin is in God's eyes. Romans 3:20b: "For by God's law is the knowledge of sin." In other words, sin, whether it is by deed or by inward thoughts of the heart, is a transgression of God's law.

The Ten Commandments summarize God's law to Israel and to mankind in general. The nation of Israel was given God's law on tablets of stone after the Israelites' fled from Egypt. This law to Israel and mankind, found in the 20th chapter of the book of Exodus, issues the following commands:

1. Israel shall not have any other Gods before me.

2. Thou shalt not make unto thee any graven image

3. Thou shalt not take the name of the Lord thy God in vain.

4. Remember the Sabbath day to keep it holy.

5. Honor thy father and mother.

6. Thou shalt not kill.

7. Thou shalt not commit adultery.

8. Thou shalt not steal.

9. Thou shalt not bear false witness against thy neighbor.

10. Thou shalt not covet thy neighbor's house or wife.

Transgression of these commands in deed or thought is sin. The law covers both external acts and internal thoughts of his heart.

But who is free from sin? The answer: no one is free from sin. That's correct, the Bible states that "there is none righteous, no not one." Romans 3:23: "For all have sinned and come short of the glory of God. And Romans 3:19: "Now we know that whatsoever the law saith, it saith to them who are under the law: that every mouth may be stopped and all the world may become guilty before God."

Because of sin we live in an evil world and we die. Romans 5:12: "Wherefore as by one man (Adam) sin entered into the world and death by sin; and so death passed upon all men, for that all have sinned." Also, Romans 5:19: "For as by one man's disobedience (Adam) many were made sinners, so by the obedience of one shall many be made righteous. This obedience of "one" refers to Jesus Christ our Savior, who was obedient unto death, even the death of the cross (Philippians 2:8).

The world is evil because of sin, but Galatians 1:4 explains what our loving God has done to rescue us from sin and eternal judgment. "Who (Jesus) gave Himself for our sins, that He might deliver us from this present evil world, according to the will of God and our Father." Romans 5:8 explains: "But God commendeth His love towards us in that, while we were yet sinners, Christ died for us."

Since you have received knowledge of God's law, can you say you are free from the guilt of sin? If not, keep in mind that you are not alone. Romans 3:23: "For all have sinned and come short of the glory of God."

The man or woman who can keep the law without sin is perfect. But Isaiah, the Old Testament prophet, proclaimed, "all we like sheep have gone astray and the Lord laid on Him (Jesus) the iniquity of us all."

Now that you know about sin and God's law, how do you measure up? If you see yourself as God sees you, you are ready to believe and receive. But what are you to believe? Romans 10:9: "That if thou shall confess with thy mouth the Lord Jesus, and shalt believe in thine heart that God hath raised Him from the dead, thou shalt be saved.

From what are you saved, and what do you receive? You receive salvation, saved from paying an eternal penalty for your sins. Ephesians 2: 8-9: "For by grace are you saved through faith and that not of yourself. It is a gift of God ..."

Believe and receive: remember, salvation comes because of what we believe and not how we feel. God's invitation to you: Romans 10:13: "For whosoever shall call upon the name of the Lord shall be saved.