What is sin? How does the Bible define it?

Sin is such an old, religious-sounding word. What does sin mean and why does God consider it so bad?


Sin isn't something most people talk about very much. Many churches don't talk much about it either. But the Bible tells us that everyone sins, and that every sin earns us the death penalty (Romans:3:23; 6:23). What is sin and why is it so bad?

Some think of sin as what we want to do but aren't allowed to do. But really it's what God says we shouldn't do because it will hurt us and others. God hates sin because it's like an evil disease that will ultimately make His children suffer and die. God is our Creator, and He knows what is good for us and what will bring harm.

You see, for eternity God has lived the give way of life—He is love. His way of life has been recorded in the Bible as God's law—a set of eternal principles that can help us see how to love the way He loves.

But sin is the opposite. It's lawlessness—breaking God's laws (1 John:3:4)—and it leads to death (Romans:6:23). Murder, sexual sin, stealing, lying, warping the way God wants to be worshipped—breaking any of God's laws destroys the connections of love He wants us to have with Him and each other.

For further study, please read our booklet The Ten Commandments .


rwp_47's picture

To make a long story short ... sin is whatever God doesn't like.

To simply say sin earns the death penalty is a colossal understatement. A carefully study of but a single scripture (namely Matthew:10:28) explains why this is so.

Matthew:10:28 "And fear not them which kill the body, but are not able to kill the soul [psyche]: but rather fear him which is able to destroy both soul and body in hell [Gehenna]."

This scripture informs us that there is more than one kind of death. The death that we are all familiar with actually isn't permanent and only involves our bodies being killed. We shall all be resurrected (awakened) from this death in the future ... its not permanent. This death is not the death we earn by sinning. In fact even if one does not sin he can experience this death ... Jesus being the prime example of this.

What most people probably don't realize is that there is another kind of death (a second death). This death involves more than just one's body dying. Its the death that proves beyond the shadow of doubt that man does not have what traditional Christianity calls an "immortal soul". Because there is nothing natural about this death ... it is an execution. And the executioner in this case is God himself. And this execution not only destroys one's body ... but it also forever destroys one's soul ... one's very being. This is what the bible calls the second death (Revelation:21:8) and there is no resurrection or awakening from this death ... it is absolutely permanent and is where ones very being is completely blotted out ... destroyed. One simply no longer exists in any shape or form once killed in this manner. The fact that God can (and only he can) and will do this is a reason he should be feared. And it is this death that is the penalty for sin. Its not living forever in a fiery punishment ... it is a total extermination all at once in a fiery punishment forever (forever exterminated). That's the penalty for sin ... not body death and a sleep in the grave ... but total and complete annihilation. And it is this that is the wages of sin.

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