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Three "Faces" of Sin

"For all have sinned and fall short of the glory of God."1

If we don't know where we stand and what we stand for, as the saying goes, we can fall for anything. Thus, to be followers of Jesus, it is important that we have a grasp of the major fundamental doctrines (teachings) of the Bible—one of which is the understanding of sin.

In the New Testament section of the Bible there are three different words to describe these aspects of sin.

First, is the word that means "rebellion." It means rebelling against God and His will and going our own sinful way regardless of the consequences—with or without knowing what the consequences might or could be.

Second, is "breaking the law of God." God's commandments are not to take away our freedom or enjoyment, but for the well-being and protection of ourselves and our entire society. We ignore them to our peril. To forbid them to be displayed publicly, as is happening in certain places in North America, is akin to opposing the display of the laws of the land. The commandments and laws of God are not abstract or irrelevant religious rules. They are for the protection, safety, and benefit of all. They, like the law of gravity, are universal laws. We cannot break the law of gravity. If we try to, we break ourselves. Neither can we break the moral laws of God. When we try to, we break ourselves. For safety sake we need to live within the bounds of and in harmony with all of God's laws.

Third, is not quite as easy to see but equally as sinful if not adhered to. To sin is "to miss the mark." That is, the mark or standard of God's holiness. And we are all guilty of this sin. As today's Scripture says, "All have sinned and fall short of the glory of God." This applies not only to sins of commission, but also to sins of omission. As God's Word also says: "Anyone, then, who knows the good he ought to do and doesn't do it, sins".2

Falling short of God's mark includes "sins of the spirit" such as envy, jealousy, hatred, pride, greed and so on—all of which express themselves in negative and harmful ways to one's self as well as to others.

Remember, God is opposed to all sin because it is damaging to those whom he loves—us. His rules and laws are for our personal good as well as for the good of all. When we sin, we need to confess it to God and ask for His forgiveness. And where we have sinned against another and hurt him/her, we need to ask for their forgiveness too wherever possible. And then, with God's help, we need to keep growing in maturity so that we will more and more overcome sinful actions and a sinful spirit.

Suggested prayer: "Dear God, thank You for Your Word, the Bible, which gives me directions for successful living and healthy relationships. Give me a love for Your laws and a sincere desire to live in harmony with them. And help me to live accordingly both for my sake and Your glory. Thank You for hearing and answering my prayer. Gratefully, in Jesus's name, amen."

1. Romans 3:23 (NIV).
2. James 4:17 (NIV).


All articles on this website are written by
Richard (Dick) Innes unless otherwise stated.