The Biblical Standard of Sin

“Without a biblical definition of sin, we no longer have the understanding or guidelines to know what sin is and what it is not.”

A collaboration by Gale Carter & Alden Labuda
Who defines sinGod or man?

In the relativistic, post-modern climate of the world today, it has become increasingly important for the Christian to maintain a biblical definition of sin. The world desires to rewrite the categories of good and evil so it can indulge the desires of the flesh. But God makes clear to us through His Word what He defines as the standard of goodness. As the author of Creation, it is His prerogative to define those standards for Himself and to determine “absolute truth.”

No one likes to think of themselves as sinners, but the bible is clear; we have all sinned and fall short of the glory of God (Romans 3:23).

Ecclesiastes 7:20 says, “Surely there is not a righteous man on earth who does good and never sins.”

In fact, the Bible is replete with scriptures that remind us that it is not merely our actions that are sinful, but rather sin is our very nature; we are all natural, born sinners.  Our natural instinct is to desire anything that opposes the goodness of our Creator and to reject anything He deems as good, right, and pure.

God mercifully saw fit to give us His Word, the Bible, so we would know His standard of holiness. If the Bible was never in our lives, we would be like a lost dog.  After being in the wilderness without its owner for a time, a lost dog would start to lose hold of its domesticated life.  Eventually, the dog would become untamed, reverting back to its natural wild behavior.  Just like the lost dog, if we stray away from God and his Word, we will slowly start losing our faith and will revert back to the habits of our natural sin nature.

Without a biblical definition of sin, we no longer have the understanding or guidelines to know what sin is and what it is not.  Instead, we fall into the trap of worldly perspectives and ideas. It’s a place where the image of God is not only twisted into what the world wants and feels but where God is often thrown aside into non-existence altogether.

Without a biblical definition of sin, we, being born sinful, will fall into the habit of sinning. Without a biblical definition of sin, we will become more prone to accept and participate in sinful behavior because we will have lost the ability to know absolute truth.  Instead of listening to God’s Word, we will start listening to the words of the world: “Do what feels right,” “Come on, it will be fun!”, “Just be you!”  To any normal person, these sound like amazing mottos, but biblically, they are far from that. Eventually we will see that what is considered “right” for one person may not be “right” for another.  We thereby lose absolute truth and fall into the trap of situational ethics.

Being a Christian does not just mean that we know God, it means that we follow him and listen to him and his rules (John 14:15).  In the Bible, God gives us many examples of sin, and he even gives us guidelines and rules so we can live a more godly life.  In these guidelines, God states that he wants us, Christians, to be different from society.  He wants us to talk differently, act differently, and in general, just be different from our unbelieving peers.  It is important to have biblical definitions of sin so that we can keep ourselves safe from worldly temptations, understand that we are sinners, know that sin is not ok, and live more Godly lives in order to serve Him and lead others to God.

In the next post, we will see what happens when Christians remain faithful to a biblical definition of sin.