“What is sin, anyway?” asks a inquirer in cyberspace. To which another reader responds: “It is when people hurt themselves and destroy others.”
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The Bible speaks of sin in a variety of ways. It is proper to say that sin means acting contrary to the character of God, who made us to live in fellowship and harmony with himself. Sin also consists of coming short of God’s standards and goals for the human creature,or violating the boundaries God has set for human beings. Sin is at once the outward act, the inner rebellion against God which prompted the act, and the power inherent in our fallenness which, left unchecked by the greater power of the Risen Jesus, seemingly compels us to follow that inner urge which is hostile to God.
Sin condemns the conscience, enslaves the will and frustrates the best dreams and hopes of the soul. But sin cannot have the final word. The gospel is the good news that although we are sinners God loves us anyway, and that in Jesus of Nazareth he has forgiven us altogether and has reconciled us to himself. By his grace demonstrated in Jesus Christ, God recovers what was lost, compensates for what was lacking, revives what was dead, renews what was worn and broken, and, by naming us what we are not, makes us into something which left to ourselves we could never become.
God justifies us — and so rescues us from the penalty of sin. He also sanctifies us — and thus frees us from its power. One day he will glorify us — thereby delivering us from sin’s very presence. Thanks be to God for his indescribable gift!