What is your definition of sin? Is it doing what is right instead of what is wrong? How do you define what IS right and what is wrong? What is sin? Is there such a thing as a ‘big’ sin and a ‘small’ sin? Most people will say that sin is doing something that is outside the will of God, some will say sin is ‘missing the mark’, other will say sin is breaking any of the 10 commandments. Most people use the bible as a reference to what sin is, and it is here where we fall off the bus. Here’s a few verses from the bible that will show that not one day will go by without any one of us sinning…
For whoever shall keep the whole law, and yet stumble in one point, he is guilty of all. (NKJV) – James 2:10
If you use the law, the 10 commandments as a reference for sin, then breaking one means breaking all of them. So even if you think you are ‘ok’ and you’re at least not committing the ‘big’ sins, you are still guilty of breaking them all. Now… there 613 of these laws, not just the 10 commandments. This is known asn ‘The Law’, or as Paul called it, the ministry of death. Lets take it further…
Therefore, to him who knows to do good and does not do it, to him it is sin. –James 4:17
James takes it to the next level. Even if you now what good there is to be done, and you do not do it… that to you is sin. Who is NOT guilty of this one? We all fall short here. How many times have you known what the right thing to do is and you did not do it? Never mind doing the wrong thing. James says here that not doing the right thing, is the same as doing the wrong thing. Not doing the right thing is sinning.
…Everything that does not come from faith is sin. – Romans 14:23
Next level. Anything NOT done in faith is sin. Did you drive to work ‘in faith’ this morning? Did you have that conversation about work ‘in faith’ just now? Nope. We all fall short again. And Finally…
And without faith it is impossible to please God – Heb 11:6
In my opinion not pleasing God is the same as sinning. This one settles it… it is impossible to NOT sin. Everything not done in faith, everything that you want to do that you know is good but don’t do… that is SIN. Feeling condemned yet? Feeling guilty? This is the purpose of any rule based system. If your definition of right and wrong is found in a set of rules, or laws, then you may feel good for a while as you adhere to all it’s requirements, but eventually you will fail which is followed by feelings of guilt and condemnation, feelings of not being good enough. The Pharisees where like this, They took it one step further, they saw their level of obedience to the law, or a rule based system as an indication of how much God approves of them or how much God will bless them (aren’t we all like this??). But, Jesus exposed them, they where hypocrites. They appeared to adhere to the requirements of the law, but underneath they all failed. They hid their failures from everyone. The point is this: If you try to live a life of not sinning by not breaking any of the 10 commandments, or laws, or even your own rules (I will pray every morning, I will read more bible) you are setting yourself up for failure, as these verse point out. We cannot go one day without falling short, without sinning.
After reading this you can do one of two things. 1) You can increase your grovelling and confession of sins before God, confessing all your daily sins, asking for forgiveness on an hourly basis. OR… 2) You can fall on your knees and shout “I cant do this any more!” … this is the first step towards letting go of your self-righteousness and trusting the word, and trusting in the grace of Jesus. Once you realize that the punishment for sins, your sins, have already been paid, it takes the fear away. I’m not saying it makes sinning ok, no, by all means! But where there is no Law, there can be no sin (Rom 6:14).
The key is to not try and please God based on our own efforts of obedience, this was the old covenant that people lived under, Jesus came and instantiated a new covenant, one where we are no longer viewed by God based on our own obedience to the law, but through the finished work on the cross by Jesus. This takes the effect of sin and throws it out the window… it empowers us to live the life Jesus intended for us to live. A life of purpose and meaning and love, and not a life of grovelling and confessing our sins.
Let us have the Holy spirit empower us from the inside to live a life intended, and not a life motivated by fear of breaking rules, a life which is only behaviour modification. Let us be transformed from the inside.