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Sin is the transgression of, or lack of conformity to, God's law. Sin refers to anything that breaks, or is wrong in, our relationship with God.

Scripture teaches the following six characteristics of sin:

1. Sin is moral evil. Sicknesses, pains, plagues, famines, destructive storms, etc., are evils, but they are not sin. These calainities are the results of sin but they are not acts of sin. The modern tendency is to speak of evil in a more general sense, implying that evil is something which man cannot help and therefore, something for which he cannot be held fully responsible. But Scripture speaks of sin as a specific type of evil - a moral evil, for which man is directly responsible and condemnable as a moral being.

2. Sin is absolutely wrong. Scripture teaches us that all motives, thoughts, words, and actions of moral beings are right or wrong. They are good or evil; there is no morally neutral position between the two. We must love and serve God from our hearts in all we do, or we are sinning. Modern ideas of neutral intentions and actions are not biblical. Man is either right or wrong in all his dealings.

3. Sin is a lack of conformity to God's law. Modern definitions of sin as only human weakness, physical influence, selfishness, unkindness to others, sensuality, etc., are not complete. Sin may include some or all of these elements, but most importantly, sin is a transgression of God's law. Sin is not only social; it is not only an action which harms others. Sin can also be inward thoughts or personal ideas and motives known only to God and the individual. All lack of conformity to God's law is sin.

4. Sin includes both guilt and pollution. Sin is a transgression of God's law which results in guilt, a deserving of punishment from a righteous God. Modern ideas of denying that sin includes guilt are not scriptural. Sin also pollutes the person, spotting his personhood and character with the stains of its uncleanness and impurity.

  • Transgression - The breaking or violation of a law

  • Conformity - Agreement; hartnony; accordance

  • Moral - Concerned with the principles of right and wrong according to God's law

  • Calamities - Disasters; afflictions; adversities

  • Implying - Hinting at; pointing to; signifying


    Thou art of purer eyes than to behold evil, and canst not look on iniquity.

    - Habakkuk 1:13a

    Whether therefore ye eat, or drink, or whatsoever ye do, do all to the glory of God.

    - I Corinthians 10:31

    For whosoever shall keep the whole law, and yet offend in one point, he is guilty of all.

    - James 2:10


  • Sensuality - Excessive indulgence in physical lusts, attractions, appetites, gratifications, etc.


    Whosoever committeth sin transgresseth also the law: for sin is the transgression of the law.

    - I John 3:4

    Therefore as by the offence of one judgment came upon all men to condemnation.

    - Romans 5:18a

    Who can bring a clean thing out of an unclean? not one.

    - Job 14:4


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