The idea of sin is expressed early in Scripture and often throughout. One might even say that sin is the central theme of the Bible. What Christians today refer to as the Old Testament has a great many references to sin. The many words translated as sin into English are a bit overwhelming in terms of trying to come to a full understanding of sin. The same is true of the New Testament. In the OT, we see a focus on adhering to a moral code and God’s anger arising when there were violations of that code. The sacrificial system proved to be a temporary measure that was no longer needed once Christ came fulfilling the OT prophesy.
In the NT we see sin further defined and the progression from merely violating a moral code to a much more personal level. It is much more than a violation of a moral code but is more like a violation of a relationship between holy God and his creation. Sin is something inside each individual rather than something someone does or does not do. We see sin progress from something that can be committed unknowingly to being a part of who we are as people without our knowledge. As God’s revelation of his nature and the true state of humanity becomes complete, the need for something more than animal sacrifice is obvious. This of course is not the Messiah the Jewish people envision will come; just as God planned.
We see that nothing man can do will make things right between him and God thus the need for action on God’s part. In sending Christ to serve as a perfect sacrifice that would conquer sin once and for all, God provided a way for man to be reconciled to His holiness without contradicting His nature. Justice is served and creator and creature can once again have an intimate relationship.
Propitiation for sinners is not free. We also saw that the idea behind redemption is to be set free by the payment of a price. For those who would believe in Christ Jesus, we are no longer our own. We have been purchased at a very high price and to Jesus we owe the privilege of being unaffected by the second death which I understand to be a permanent state. Eternity in a lake of fire does not sound like a place to be.
What is sin? Sin is more than failing to allow God to be God. It is more than violating a moral code or creating a barrier between a right relationship with holy God. When I consider what sin is, I think of Charles Manson, Adolf Hitler, Slobodan Milosevic, and others responsible for atrocities involved in the taking of human life. I think of pedophiles who hurt children and white collar criminals who steal the retirement assets of the elderly. I think of the millions of unborn children murdered and the glorification of abominations in the sight of our Lord being called choice and enshrined in the laws of the nations of the world.
The simple word sin does not begin to adequately describe the sheer horror our Lord would see if He were to look upon humanity and see us for what we truly are, saved and unsaved alike! Yet today, this is lost on a world filled with consumerism and secularism and the constant search for self-gratification. The true meaning of sin and the implications of sin have been sanitized to reflect a society in which truth is subjective. With this sanitized version of sin today also comes a desire for a bloodless gospel. Many a television preacher on the airwaves today speak for 30 minutes to an hour and never once mention sin, Hell, wrath, a need for redemption, or even the name of Jesus Christ for fear of offending someone. The less these talk of Christ the larger their congregations seem to grow.
For much of the world today, there are many truths and the individual can determine his/her own truth. Unfortunately, just as belief in a flat world did not make the world flat, neither does believing in one’s own ability to reach heaven. Why is sin a problem today? Because far too many people, even in our own pews, don’t see sin as a problem but rather a subjective idea open to the interpretation of the individual. More simply stated, sin is a problem because we have forgotten what sin really is and the consequences humanity faces apart from the salvation offered by Christ. Until this is corrected, there will be many a lost soul entering into the first death with no hope of being spared the second death spoke of in Revelation.