What Does The Bible Say About Sin?
BIBLE TEXT: ROMANS 3:23, 5:12-15, 6:23
According to 1 John 3:4, sin can be defined as the transgression of the law. Another version simply defines sin as lawlessness. This simply means that whatever act of lawlessness perpetrated by a person is a sin. 1 John 5:17 defines sin as every form of unrighteousness; that is every form of wrongdoing in one way or the other is a sin.
Sin is any action, feeling, or thought that goes against God’s standards. It includes breaking God’s laws by doing what is wrong, or unrighteous, in God’s sight as can be seen in 1 John 3:4; 5:17. The Bible also describes sins of omission, which means failing to do what is right even when we know the right thing. (James 4:17). Sin could also mean to miss the mark of God’s standard of perfection.
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Sin is one factor that has hindered many Christians from enjoying mutual relationship with God here on earth. The Bible in Romans 3:23 says, “For all have sinned and fallen short of the glory of God.” Sin is a sinker of destiny and glory, and is capable of shortchanging a person of the glory of God. Many people have lost their glory as a result of sin, and are now operating below the expectations of God for their life. Sin separates one from God, and hinders prayers. Isaiah 59:1-2 says, “ Behold, the Lord’s hand is not shortened, that it cannot save; neither his ear is heavy, that it cannot hear. But your iniquities have separated between you and your God, and your sins have hid his face from you, that he will not hear.
WHAT DOES THE BIBLE REALLY SAY ABOUT SIN?
The following scriptures talk about sin in one way or the other, ranging from the definition of sin to its types, consequences and remedies. Let’s dig deeper into the scripture!
MEANING OF SIN
- 1 John 3:4 – Whosoever commits sin transgresses also the law: for sin is the transgression of the law.
Here, the Bible defines sin as the breaking of the law (the laws and commandment of God and the regulations of man). This can also be disobeying the commands of God.
- 1 John 5:17 – All unrighteousness is sin: and there is a sin not unto death. The bible in this verse refers to sin as every form of wrongdoing; whether known or unknown, deliberate or non-deliberate acts of evil.
- James 4:17 – Therefore to him who knows how to do good, and does it not, to him it is sin. Sin here means knowing what is good, but choosing not to do it. It means doing the opposite of the good thing you are expected to do. This invariably translates to doing evil, despite knowing that it is wrong.
TYPES OF SIN
- Psalm 19:13 – Keep back your servant from presumptuous sins; let them not have dominion over me: then shall I be upright, and I shall be innocent from the great transgression.
Presumptuous sin: means being bold or daring, taking liberties for granted, and acting according to dictates instead of being guided by God’s principles. Nadab and Abihu, sons of Aaron, Moses and Uzzah are examples of people who sinned presumptuously in the Bible. According to, David referred to presumptuous sin as a great transgression.
- Hebrews 10: 26 – For if we sin willfully after that we have received the knowledge of the truth, there remains no more sacrifice for sins.
Willful sins: These are sins committed by deliberately refusing to accept and do what is right and lawful. When a person persistently rejects Christ, despite knowing and experiencing the truth about Him, such a fellow has committed willful sin; and for such, there is no longer atonement.
- Numbers 32:23 – But if you will not do so, behold, you have sinned against the Lord: and be sure your sin will find you out.
Secret sins: These are sins we commit ignorantly or unknowingly. They can also be sins that we commit in the secret, away from the knowledge and eyes of others. The truth is, sins want to be kept secret. However, such sins cannot remain secret forever. Though secret sins are hidden from man, they are not hidden from God who sees in the secret and rewards in the open according to one’s work.
- Hebrews 12:1 – Wherefore seeing we also are compassed about with so great a cloud of witnesses, let us lay aside every weight, and the sin which so easily beset us, and let us run with patience the race that is set before us.
Besetting sins: These are sins which cling to us so closely, can hinder us in our race as Christians and which are so easily committed. Some examples of besetting sins are smoking, lottery/gambling, prejudice, lying, filthy speech, gossiping, lust, envy, etc. We can overcome besetting sins by the help of the Holy Spirit.
CONSEQUENCES OF SIN
- Isaiah 59:1 – Behold, the Lord’s hand is not shortened, that it cannot save; neither his ear heavy, that it cannot hear. But your iniquities have separated between you and your God, and your sins have hid his face from you, that he will not hear.
SEPARATION FROM GOD: The number one consequence of sin is separation from God, and unanswered prayers. The prayer of a sinner (except the prayer of repentance from sin) is an abomination to God.
- Romans 3:23 – For all have sinned, and come short of the glory of God.
SORT OF GOD’S GLORY: Another consequence of sin is that such a person cannot operate in the full glory of God. The glory of God in the life of such an individual will not be activated because of the presence of sin.
- Romans 6:23 – For the wages of sin is death; but the gift of God is eternal life through Jesus Christ our Lord.
DEATH: Death is the ultimate consequence of sin. This is both spiritual death and physical death. An unrepentant sinner is eternally separated from God by spiritual death.
- Jeremiah 5:25 – Your iniquities have turned away these things, and your sins have withheld good things from you.
WITHHELD BLESSINGS: Sin is capable of withholding good things from the life of an individual. God is ever ready to dish out daily loads of benefits to us; the only thing keeping them back from us is sin.
REMEDIES TO SIN
The only remedy to sin is acknowledgement of sin, confession and ultimately, repentance from every form of sin. The following Bible passages tell us more about repentance as a great remedy to sin.
- Ezekiel 14:6 – Therefore say unto the house of Israel, Thus saith the Lord God; Repent, and turn yourselves from your idols (sins); and turn away your faces from all your abominations.
- Job 11:13-15 – If you prepare your heart, and stretch out your hands towards him; if there is iniquity in your hand, put it far away, and do not let wickedness dwell in your tabernacles. For then shall you lift up your face without spot; yes, you shall be steadfast, and shall not fear.
- Jeremiah 3:13a – Only acknowledge your iniquity, that you have transgressed against the Lord your God, and have scattered your ways to the strangers under every green tree…..
- Romans 10:9-10 – That if you will confess with your mouth the Lord Jesus, and shall believe in your heart that God has raised Him from the dead, you shall be saved. For with the mouth man believes unto righteousness; and with the mouth confession is made unto salvation.