Sin? What’s the Big Deal?
A friend of mine and fellow believer recently told me that she did not like the fact that Christianity focuses on sin. At first, I considered this statement to have some validity. It’s true that Christians, and specifically the Church, often highlight sin—how we should not be sinning and how there are consequences for those sins, while suggesting that we can always go to God for forgiveness.
But what my friend suggested is also problematic.
1 John 3:2-9 says,
But we know that when Christ appears, we shall be like him, for we shall see him as he is. All who have this hope in him purify themselves, just as he is pure. Everyone who sins breaks the law; in fact, sin is lawlessness. But you know that he appeared so that he might take away our sins. And in him is no sin. No one who lives in him keeps on sinning. No one who continues to sin has either seen him or known him. Dear children, do not let anyone lead you astray. The one who does what is right is righteous, just as he is righteous. The one who does what is sinful is of the devil, because the devil has been sinning from the beginning. The reason the Son of God appeared was to destroy the devil’s work. No one who is born of God will continue to sin, because God’s seed remains in them; they cannot go on sinning, because they have been born of God. This is how we know who the children of God are and who the children of the devil are: Anyone who does not do what is right is not God’s child, nor is anyone who does not love their brother and sister.
First of all, we have to take an honest look at what the Word of God actually says. From the very beginning of Scripture, we see the Fall of Man and we often study the severity of this Fall as the beginning of human nature being tied to a sinful nature. If we were to place less emphasis on this scene in the Garden and the consequences for Adam and Eve, what would be its significance?
Secondly, the very basis for the Christian faith is the premise that Jesus died on the cross for our . . . what? Assuming that we place less emphasis on sin, why did Jesus the Messiah come to Earth, get nailed to the cross, die, resurrect, and promise a return? If sin shouldn’t matter as much as it does, why did Jesus come at all? The Bible offers us an answer that suggests that we cannot separate Jesus’ death on the cross from sin in 1 Peter 2:24: “‘He himself bore our sins’ in his body on the cross, so that we might die to sins and live for righteousness; ‘by his wounds you have been healed.’”
I believe that it is wonderful to believe in God, to trust that He created everything, and to accept His unconditional love. But it is ignorant to accept the faith without accepting the fact that you and I are (yes, I’ll say it) sinners, and that God calls us to live a life free from the bondage of sin. Romans 6:6 says, “For we know that our old self was crucified with him so that the body ruled by sin might be done away with, that we should no longer be slaves to sin.” As Christians, we are called to be set apart and to “not conform” to worldly values and practices. Therefore, if we loved God and really trusted that He is the only way, we should joyfully die to ourselves everyday, which means consciously avoiding sin. Does that mean that when we receive Christ as our Lord and Savior we will never commit sin? Absolutely not. God knows that we will still be sinners because of our sinful nature, but when we seek to love Him as He has loved us, we can begin to eliminate the sin that distracts us from living the life that He has called us to live. Romans 12:2 says, “Do not conform to the pattern of this world, but be transformed by the renewing of your mind. Then you will be able to test and approve what God’s will is—his good, pleasing and perfect will.”
There is a reason behind why God gives us guidelines to live by.God knows the consequences of sin and He desires that we honor Him and trust what He says about how not to live. Believing that we should not commit sin should not feel like some sort of limitation, but it should be a motivation, because when we honor God by avoiding sinful acts, we can watch God do work in our lives in ways that we could have never imagined.
With sin we often ignore the consequences that can be far greater than what we may assume. For instance, one sin that you may commit may encourage believers and non-believers alike to consider committing the same sin. And while you may not suffer from severe consequences yourself, you may not know the impact that your sin had on similar choices that your peers are making and the consequences that they face. Also, watching another believer sin can make other believers feel insecure, doubtful, or hopeless. Therefore, it is selfish to commit sin and ignore the impact that it has on the world around you. Your sin may not be the end of the world, but it could be one more reason someone has to doubt the importance of Christian living.
If you don’t like the idea of sin, maybe this isn’t the right faith for you. But if you believe that the Word of God is real and true and holy, then how can you not accept the fact that sin is real? Don’t let sin keep you from having access to and a relationship with God.