Just WHAT is Sin?

I don’t think any of us fully realize the devastating toll that sin plays in our lives.  Its  affects are seen in our personal struggles, our relationships, nation, and of course, sin is played out on the world’s stage.  Many years ago a lady said to me, “I don’t believe in sin.”  I was amazed at her comment, as her life had been characterized by broken relationships, and alcohol was taking a destructive toll on her liver. 
I believe in sin mostly because the Bible defines it as the catalyst responsible for all of earth’s ills.  Secondly, the Scriptures make it clear that sin is a universal problem. After David’s adulterous affair with Bathsheba, he realized that the deeper issue in his life was sin.  He says, “In sin did my mother conceive me” (Psalm 51:5).
So, what is sin?
A lot of people define sin in terms of a “do” and “do not” list.  For example, cursing, smoking, drinking, going to R-Rated movies, dancing, adultery, lusting, etc. are just a few of the “bigger sins.”  Evangelicals hold firmly to the Romans 3:23 definition:  “For all have sinned and fall short of the glory of God.”  I still remember the cute story about the little boy who came home from Sunday School and told his parents that his teacher talked about “fallen shorts” in class!  But I digress!  
Still, others define sin as going beyond healthy boundaries.  Therefore, they place much emphasis upon breaking the law.   While it is true the Ten Commandments were part of the Moral Code that God gave to Moses on Mount Sinai, and while it is equally true they are still in vogue today, breaking the commandments still does not completely define what sin is. 
So, let me ask you again, “What IS sin?”
I like the late Dr. Richard Dobbins’ definition of both sin and eternal life.  Dr. Dobbins goes deeper than most.  He minimized the affects of sin and maximized our understanding of the origin of sin as it impacts our lives.  As you might guess, there are two forces at work in the world:  sin and eternal life.  And they both collide in the mind of man.
Dr. Dobbins wrote, “Sin is an ‘invisible force’ that emanates from Satan, which stimulates the mind of man to consider life options which steal, kill and destroy his creative potential.”
“Eternal life, then, is also an ‘invisible force’ emanating from God, which stimulates the mind of man to consider creative life options.”
We then need to properly discern the origin of our thoughts.  In other words, we must ask ourselves, “Is this thought from God or Satan?”  The more we read and understand the Bible, the more readily we will discern the origin of the thoughts that come into our mind.  You see, we can’t control temptation, but we CAN control what we do when it comes our way!
Dobbins’ definitions of sin and eternal life, in my opinion, give us an easier-to-understand, wider and more Scriptural view of sin and its devastating effects in our lives.  Instead of living according to a long list of “do’s” and “do not’s,” the indwelling Holy Spirit renews our thought processes and shows us what really is pleasing to the Lord. 
The Bible says, “Don’t be conformed by what the world thinks, but be transformed by the renewing of your mind” (Romans 12:2).  In short, we believe what the Bible says and then line up our lives to its unchangeable truths.  Volumes have been written on the subject of sin and believe me, the subject is inexhaustible!  However, I’m not as likely to preach a sermon on the “The Evils of Alcohol” as I am a sermon entitled, “How to Be Renewed in Your Mind.”
I hate what sin does in my life and the lives of others.  My heart’s desire is that today you place your faith in the shed blood of Jesus Christ, which cleanses from the sin; and that you learn how to discern the origin of your thoughts, and subsequently experience God’s grace, which shows you a way out of your sin predicament!



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