A Biblical Understanding of Sin

Discussion in 'Other Christian Denominations' started by Heavenly Pilgrim, Jun 18, 2006.

  1. Heavenly Pilgrim

    Heavenly Pilgrim
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    Sin means a lot of things to a lot of different individuals. Scripture has many definitions of sin, and many passages that help us clarify the meaning of sin. Starting off this discussion I will post what I see as the scriptural definition of sin. I would hope that many others will do the same in this most important issue.

    Sin, as I see Scripture defining it from the many passages concerning it , would be best understood in the following light.

    Sin is the willful transgression of a known commandment of God.
     
  2. TaterTot

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    I would agree with that, but isnt sin more than just disobeying a set or rules? In my understanding, sin actually means "missing the mark", which could also include NOT doing certain things we know we should.
     
  3. Heavenly Pilgrim

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    HP: Thanks for the response. Shall we try something here just a bit different? Why don’t we first just place into our own words what we see as the biblical definition(s) of sin first, giving everyone a chance such as we have done to post their own ideas, and then, when a sufficient number have done that, or we think we have about all of the notions posted floating out there, then we will start to examine them in light of Scripture and reason. Tell me if you think that would be OK.

    What I see you posting is that sin is the ‘missing of the mark.’ Is that correct?

    How about the rest of the list? Give us your definitions as well. Don’t worry about what others at this time think about them, just give us a thought you have. It may be just something you have heard but not sure as to the validity of it. We will test them all in time, and allow everyone to make up their own mind if in fact they have been thinking correctly about this issue or if in fact their definition needs to be broadened, scraped, or altered.
     
  4. TaterTot

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    1)Well I think sin is definitely willful disobedience toward God as you stated. (commission)
    2) And sin is also willfully NOT doing things we know we should (omission). And I believe that both Christians and Non-Christians sin on a daily basis.
     
  5. Heavenly Pilgrim

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    HP: Ok. How does this fit in with ‘missing the mark’ in your other post? Are you desirous of altering your definition or are you going to define ‘missing the mark’ by the two points you make here? I am just wondering if ‘missing the mark,’ and the two points you mention in this post are synonymous. Is sin broader in scope than the two points in this post? Is sin confined to these two points or is it still broader in scope? If confined, you have obviously stated your position. If it is still broader, you might desire to illuminate any other ideas you might have as to possible notions defining sin, or ways in which the word sin is used. Thanks!
     
  6. Heavenly Pilgrim

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    Here is a list of Scriptures that speak to the topic of sin. Obviously they are not all ‘definitions’ of sin, but they do speak concerning the issue of sin. Does anyone find other important verses on sin that we might add to the list in order to make it as complete as we can and to aide us with our definitions of sin?

    1. Ge 4:7 If thou doest well, shalt thou not be accepted? and if thou doest not well, sin lieth at the door.
    2.Gen. 18:20 Sin is grievous
    3. Gen. 31:36 Sin amounts to a trespass
    4. Gen. 39:9 Sin is great wickedness
    5. Ex. 34:9 Sin is iniquity
    6.1Sam.15:23 Rebellion is as the sin of witchcraft
    7.Prov.14:34 Sin is a reproach
    8. Prov. 21:4 A high look, and a proud heart, and the plowing of the wicked is sin
    9. Prov.24:19The thought of foolishness is sin
    10. Ezek. 33:14 Sin is the opposite of lawful and right
    11. John 8:34 He that sins is the servant of sin
    12.Romans 3:20 By the law is the knowledge of sin
    13.Romans 5:13 Sin is not imputed where there is no law
    14. Romans 14:23 Whatsoever is not of faith is sin
    15. Heb 3:13 Deceitfulness is sin
    16. When lust is conceived it bringeth forth sin.
    17. James 4:17 To him that knoweth to do good to him it is sin
    18. 1John 3:4 Sin is the transgression of the law
    19. 1 John 3:8; John 8:44 Is of the devil

    20. 1John 5:17 All unrighteousness is sin
    21.Romans 4:15 for where no law is, there is no transgression
    22. Romans 14:23 Anything not of faith is sin
    23. John 9:41 Jesus said to them, "If you were blind, you would have no sin; but since you say, 'We see,' your sin remains."
    24.John 15:24 "If I had not done among them the works which no one else did, they would not have sin; but now they have both seen and hated Me and My Father as well.

     
  7. TaterTot

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    OK, I think you are wanting to get a little more hair splitting than I do. Are you wanting to get into differences between transgression, abomination, etc... ?
    "Missing the mark" (maybe not a good phrase, I dont know) includes both the types of sins I mentioned, in my opinion. I'll step back and let someone else have a turn. :)
     
  8. Heavenly Pilgrim

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    HP: No hair splitting here.:) I am just trying to arrive at a definition that a wayfaring man, though a fool, may not err therein, and I want to understand you as you desire to be understood as much as possible.

    I think I understand you. I will wait also for a bit and see if others check in.
     
  9. Link

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    The problem with the definition I see is that the OT speaks of unwilful sin, and I will give you an example.

    A Nazirite could sin by acccidently touching a dead body. He had to offer a sacrifice shave his heair and start all over again.

    Maybe this is why the Bible says to swear not at all because whatsoever is more than these cometh of evil.
     
  10. Heavenly Pilgrim

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    HP: This is an excellent point and an issue that needs to be resolved. “Sins of ignorance’ is another way Scripture represents this. This area might well be the first areas to be addressed. We need to develop a better understanding of this that is denoted as ‘sin,’ a point you so aptly bring out and we cannot afford to just casually passed over it. The OT is indeed the only place to my knowledge such a sin is mentioned. I personally find significance and some indication as to the possible intent of such a designation being found exclusively in the OT. If you so desire, you might take a shot as to why you might feel it is only mentioned as such in the OT.
     
  11. mman

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    Sin is the transgression of God's law, willful or not, knowingly or unknowingly. (I Jn 3:4).

    Paul (Saul) persecuted christians in all good conscience (Acts 23:1), yet later classified himself and the foremost sinner of the world (I Tim 1:15). Verse 13 shows that ignorance is no excuse.

    If sin were only the willful transgression of a known commandment, then only those who knew the commandments could be sinners, yet the scriptures state that all are sinners (Rom 3:23).

    Why preach the gospel to the whole world if ignorance equals unaccountability? (Matt 28:18-20, and Mark 16:15-16).

    Jesus said that unless you believe in Him, you would die in your sins (Jn 8:24). You cannot believe in whom you have not heard (Rom 10:14).

    Jesus will punished with everlasting destruction, those who don't know or don't obey God (II Thess 1:7-9).

    Sin is leaving the good undone, when we have opportunity - James 4:17. Who does all the good that they know?

    Sin is doing doubtful thing (Rom 14:23).

    All unrighteousness is sin (I John 5:17). What is unrighteousness? Those who obey the truth are righteous, and those who do not obey the truth are unrighteous (Rom 2:6-8). A list of some unrighteous acts are found I Cor 6:9-10 and Rom 1:29-31. II Thess 2:10-12 also contrasts the truth with unrighteousness. Some will be deceived by this unrighteousness and the end result is damnation, even though they believe a lie.

    In summary, sin is violation of God's truth (going beyond, falling short, or ommitting), or participation in anything that causes one to doubt as to it being right in the eyes of God.
     
  12. Heavenly Pilgrim

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    1Jo 3:4 ¶ Whosoever committeth sin transgresseth also the law: for sin is the transgression of the law.

    HP: You raise a number of issues. I take it that this first statement of yours is what you see as your definition(s) of sin. As this issue unfolds, I will be very interested in seeing how you arrive at such definitions and conclusions that you have obviously come to. Could you start with just one of the ideas you mention an show us how you establish such conclusions?

    For instance you say,


    1Ti 1:13 Who was before a blasphemer, and a persecutor, and injurious: but I obtained mercy, because I did it ignorantly in unbelief.

    HP: If I understand your position, you have Scripture stating that sin, in some cases, must demand mercy as opposed to justice. Paul says, in hindsight, that he did these things ‘ignorantly,’ and because that was the case, he obtained mercy. I thought the wages of sin was justice and death, not mercy. If mercy is the reward for sins done ignorantly, can we all expect the same mercy for things we would do in ignorance, or did God just account Paul’s actions done in ignorance as due mercy? Is God a respecter of persons? Does Paul or Scripture ever say that those things he speaks of were accounted to him by God as ‘sin?’

    What about those that have not accepted salvation? Can they entertain the same hope, that if in fact they do things 'ignorantly in unbelief,' that they as well can expect mercy at the hands of God at the judgment in regard to such actions?
     
    #12 Heavenly Pilgrim, Jun 19, 2006
    Last edited by a moderator: Jun 19, 2006
  13. Claudia_T

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    Two Packages

    I know that in our Denomination there are the Conservatives and the Liberals. The Liberals have a train of thought on what sin is that goes something like this...

    You have the definition of sin, the nature of Christ, and perfectionism and these come as a package.If someone defines sin in "legalistic" terms primarily as sin being transgression of the Law, then you are going to have to have a Ssviour who has to have struggled with all of the same temptations we have had to transgres the law.

    This leads to perfectionism and a behaviorally oriented Christianity.

    On the other hand, if you deine sin as living apart from God, as not having a relationship with God,then you dont have to have a Saviour who is like we are.. with sinful human nature trying to struggle to overcome sin and who was tempted as we are.

    The difference is that with this relationship oriented Christianity, the Saviour could have lived independently but chose not to, He chose to depend on God.

    Allowing a difference between our nature and Christ's nature prevents you from getting bogged down in perfectionism. We have to instyead view perfection of character in terms of having a relationship with Jesus instead of going by ethical and moral options.

    This "second package" I believe is wrong and not biblical. If you go away from the biblically defined definition of sin you are going to end up far apart from where you ought to end up.

    It is the Roman Catholic view that says Jesus had some special advantage over us and that He didnt have a human nature like us... (the entire Virgin mary thing).

    The truth is that He came like us, with our human nature and overcame all sin ... all transgression of the law, and thus, He provided us an example and proved we could do the same.

    Rom:8:
    3: For what the law could not do, in that it was weak through the flesh, God sending his own Son in the likeness of sinful flesh, and for sin, condemned sin in the flesh
    4: That the righteousness of the law might be fulfilled in us, who walk not after the flesh, but after the Spirit.
    5: For they that are after the flesh do mind the things of the flesh; but they that are after the Spirit the things of the Spirit.
     
  14. Claudia_T

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    1Jn:3:4: Whosoever committeth sin transgresseth also the law: for sin is the transgression of the law.


    That is the ONLY Biblical definition of sin.
     
  15. Jarthur001

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    As it turns out...i tought on this yesterday. Part of my notes are below.

    What is sin?

    Sin is shown in 2 ways...

    Sin as a expression..

    John 1:5 Missing the mark.
    29The next day John saw Jesus coming toward him and said, "Look, the Lamb of God, who takes away the sin of the world!

    23for all have sinned and fall short of the glory of God

    Transgression, disobedience, iniquity, trespass, unrighteousness


    19To wit, that God was in Christ, reconciling the world unto himself, not imputing their trespasses unto them; and hath committed unto us the word of reconciliation


    Sin as the sin principle/evil

    Romans 7:23

    23But I see another law in my members, warring against the law of my mind, and bringing me into captivity to the law of sin which is in my members.

    Romans 8:2

    2For the law of the Spirit of life in Christ Jesus hath made me free from the law of sin and death.


    Where did the sin principle/evil come from?

    Some say Yen Yang ? Not so, for God is the only eternal

    Some say God made sin..? Not so, for God is holy

    Sin as a path…away from God

    Satan..given a choice

    Isa..14:12-14

    12How art thou fallen from heaven, O Lucifer, son of the morning! how art thou cut down to the ground, which didst weaken the nations!
    13For thou hast said in thine heart, I will ascend into heaven, I will exalt my throne above the stars of God: I will sit also upon the mount of the congregation, in the sides of the north:
    14I will ascend above the heights of the clouds; I will be like the most High.

    When Satan choose his will he was saying he did not want Gods will.
    This made the evil path..away from Gods will

    Adam..given a choice with only one path "good" known to man.

    Gen 3
    5For God doth know that in the day ye eat thereof, then your eyes shall be opened, and ye shall be as gods, knowing good and evil.

    7And the eyes of them both were opened, and they knew that they were naked; and they sewed fig leaves together, and made themselves aprons.

    Adams eyes were now open to the sin path...and though he knows of the good path ...he will never pick the good path, for sin controls him.

    ......................

    This is only notes...so it may not make sence. I'll check back later and try to fill in the gaps.


    In Christ..James
     
  16. mman

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    Peter stated, "But ye are a chosen generation, a royal priesthood, an holy nation, a peculiar people; that ye should shew forth the praises of him who hath called you out of darkness into his marvellous light; Which in time past were not a people, but are now the people of God: which had not obtained mercy, but now have obtained mercy." - I Pet 2:9-10

    They had obtained mercy when they left the darkness and became the people of God.

    God's mercy is available for all, but only obtained by his people.

    When Saul was persecuting the church, he was in darkness. He was the chief of sinners. He was lost, in sin, the chief of sinners.

    He had a heavenly vision. He was told to go into the city and it would be told to him what he must do. He could either obey or disobey.

    Why did Saul have sins that needed to be washed away, if God did not impute his sins due to His mercy?

    Saul's sins were washed away in baptism (Acts 22:16). That is when he received the forgiveness of sins, or the mercy of God. That is when he became one of God's people, thus obtaining mercy.

    When Saul was persecuting Christians, did he believe Jesus was the son of God? No, he was persecuting them ignorantly, thinking he was serving God. Acts 26:9-11, says he did many things contrary to the name of Jesus.

    He had heard about Jesus and had rejected Him. He persecuted Jesus' followers. He did not believe that Jesus was who He said he was. Jesus had said, unless you believe that I am He, you shall die in your sins.

    This certainly fit the description of the unconverted Saul. His sins were not forgiven while he was still disobedient, but when he obeyed (Acts 22:16).
     
  17. Heavenly Pilgrim

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    HP: I believe I understand what you are saying, but I have another question or two. Paul accounted the mercy he was shown directly to his ignorance. Are we to assume than if he had not done those things in ignorance he would not have been shown mercy, and therefore not been able to receive a pardon for past sins?

    It seems to me that your explanation does nothing to illuminate the mind as to the connection between Paul’s ignorant acts and the mercy he was shown in direct reference to that ignorance. The mercy you speak of, shown subsequent to salvation, would not be effected by either ignorance or willing disobedience as I see it. Paul tied the mercy shown him directly to his ignorance as a condition for receiving this mercy, and not just a normal occurrence of mercy shown subsequent to repentance for willing disobedience. It would appear to me that God never laid those acts of ignorance to his charge because they were done in ignorance. If you attach sin to those actions, why would have God treated them any differently than willing sin? What was it about Paul’s actions that obviously called for mercy to be shown by God as a direct result of that ignorance, without any mention of repentance, faith, or subsequent obedience? This seems to me to be a special case of mercy, not just one shown by offering salvation to a willing rebel.
     
  18. mman

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    I've only got a couple of minutes, so I will be brief.

    Saul's actions were done in ignorance. If Sauls actions had been done with full knowledge, he never would have "obtained" God's mercy, because he never would have been converted.

    Given the right information, Saul changed, and obtained mercy. If one has Saul not being accountable for his ignorance, that would also directly contradict other plain passages I've already listed.

    Jesus is coming in flaming fire taking vengence on those who do not know God and do not obey the gospel. II Thes 1:7-9

    Saul certainly had not obeyed the gospel during his time of ignorance, therefore stood to be condemned with eternal punishment (II Thes 1:9).

    Gotta run.
     
  19. Heavenly Pilgrim

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    HP: Sorry you are under time constraints. I enjoy your posts. I have that problem often as well.

    Here are my thoughts. I am free to change if I receive light differently. You make some excellent points. Just the same, IMHO I see something different here.

    First, Paul is the exception to the rule, not the ordinary. How many individual can honestly say that they lived a life concerning the law, BLAMELESS? Paul did. I believe he was being honest. Obviously Paul did not have the knowledge of Christ before salvation that he later received. I maintain that to be consistent with Paul’s testimony of his former life, that indeed the actions he did prior to salvation were indeed not accounted to him as sin. I believe that it was not until God opened his eyes, and in RETROSPECT saw his actions as in direct opposition to what he thought he was accomplishing, that sin was imputed. If Paul would have received the light of his past actions, and refused to repent ‘in hindsight,’ sin would have indeed been imputed. I can see no other possibility in view of Paul’s own testimony of being blameless concerning the law, and the fact that he was shown mercy with that mercy being ‘directly tied’ to his ignorance. Again, I see Paul’s case as being an exceptional aberration of the normal individual. My personal case, prior to and at salvation, was not like Paul’s. I see Paul as the ‘extreme’ exception to the rule if not the only case.

    I see a similar case with Job. God called him perfect, and yet after receiving a personal visit from God Himself, IN VIEW OF THAT NEW LIGHT, Job saw himself as a terrible sinner. God never called him a sinner, and even had his miserable comforters apologize to him. It appears to me to be the case with both Job and Paul, that God held them accountable, ‘only in retrospect’ of the new revelation they had both received. I do not believe for a minute that God held either man responsible at the time of their new visitation of light, for anything prior to their encounters with God, revealing to them new light, which initiated the light of conviction and subsequent need for repentance, which in turn brought on their new sense of reprobation. Only in retrospect, subsequent to their encounters and new light from God, could either man condemn himself and denote themselves as sinners.

    “To him that knoweth to do good, and doeth it not, TO HIM it is sin.” The notion that God holds men responsible morally for something they had absolutely no knowledge of is morally reprehensible and unjust. “Where there is no knowledge, sin is NOT imputed.” Sin is not an ‘entity,’ sin is a pronouncement of God upon an act of disobedience. When God says He does not pronounce an act as sin, or impute sin to the action, no sin has occurred. No knowledge, no sin, is the Scriptural admonition.

    Sin is foremost a moral issue. Morality speaks directly to intents of the will alone. An action is morally reprehensible, or sinful, if there was knowledge of what was required of the individual prior to the formation of the intent just as Scripture and reason dictates.

    Moral law and civil law operate under completely different guidelines and cannot be confused. Ignorance is no excuse in respect to civil law, but ignorance is in fact reason to dismiss any pronouncement of guilt in relationship to moral law. Civil law is concerned only with the action itself, moral law with the intent that precipitated the action. Sure, a judge can examine intent in civil law, but the judge is under no obligation to do so. A judge setting in judgment over a moral issue is bound by the very nature of morality to only pronounce guilt or innocence as a direct determination of intent alone.
     
  20. Heavenly Pilgrim

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    HP:
    Sin is at its root a moral denotation of an intent of the heart. Omission or commission are actions subsequent to the root of sin. Sin is denoted by the will yielding itself in selfish disobedience to a known commandment of God. Sin takes place antecedent to any outward action period. Outward actions, if they are moral in nature, have a root cause within the will. It is within the will that sin is conceived and the morality of any subsequnt action settled. The outward action may or may not come to fruition, yet the intent is already judged as to its mora content. The heart is judged as sinful or righteous according to the ultimate intention, not the outward action. The outward action might indeed be termed sin, but that is only the fruit of the inward moral intent. Sin again lies antecedent to any commission or omission. Sin is a choice of the will.

    Jesus bore this point home concerning adultery. If we look upon a women with lust in our heart we have sinned already. If we hate our brother and fully intend if we get the opportunity to do him harm, we have committed murder in our hearts already. God judges the intents of the heart, and sin is predicated of that intent, antecedent to any and all outward means or even opportunity to carry out our intentions.
     

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