Do you believe in sin? As each day passes, the more I understand the reality and truth of sin. For many, sin is thought of as an ugly word, exemplifying lying and cheating, lust, and hate. For many years I would have described sin as the “bad stuff” I did. Others think of sin as a silly word, only used by “religious folks.” Regardless, the continued (if not progressive) display of acts of hatred among humanity points to something intrinsically and radically broken in us. If not sin, what is it? Bad DNA?
Sin is defined as “an immoral act considered to be a transgression against a divine law.” Christianity says sin is “rebellion against God” (Deut 9:7) and “the breaking or God’s law; lawlessness” (1 John 3:4). But is there more to sin than breaking laws and doing “bad stuff?” If sin is only doing bad stuff, then who’s to say that it’s not just bad DNA as the reason we steal, cheat, and hate?
Doing “bad stuff” is only the visual side of sin. Sin is much deeper than our bad deeds. In fact, sin is at our core as a human being. In chapter 7 of his writing to Christians living in Rome, Paul notes he does wrong things because “it is sin living in me” (Rom 7:17). He continues and describes himself as having a “sinful nature” and calls himself a “slave to sin.” In verse 19, he recounts how he does not do the good things he would like to do, but instead he does the wrong things even though he does not want to. Why? Because sin is our nature, our foundation, our core. Although human beings were made in God’s image, when they rebelled from God, sin entered. With sin present, it ushered in death.
This past week I experienced exactly what Paul described in verse 19. My mind and heart wandered into sin, even though I knew it was wrong and I didn’t want to do it. I realized that I’m not just someone who does “bad things” (which is referred to as a sinner by religious folks), but I am filled with sin. It’s in me. I’ll never lose it. It’s hopeless!
“But God…” Because of this phrase, there is hope. Because of this truth, there is joy and peace. You see, we can’t rid ourselves of sin. We can’t take it off like it’s an ugly sweater we got for a present that we really don’t want. Whatever law or power or order sin is, it is in our makeup, our nature. But God loves us so much that He sent His son, Jesus Christ, to become sin and to die for us. Our sin is then only removed by trusting and living for Him. Just like He was raised back to life, we will defeat death and live without the pain and suffering from sin. As Paul said in Romans 7:25 “Thanks be to God, who delivers me through Jesus Christ our Lord!”
“He has remove our sins as far from us as the east is from the west”, Psalm 103:12 (NLT).