Last week we looked at the Bible's wonderful teaching that Christ's sacrifice on the cross saves us from sin and death to live forever in the joy of God's presence. It seems important to have a clear understanding of what constitutes sin. In our fallen human nature it is so easy to rationalize behavior as OK which, though common, is sin.
A comprehensive though simple definition of sin, as substantiated by Scripture, is any deviation from God's revealed will and character. Consider the following verses. "Therefore to him that knoweth to do good, and doeth it not, to him it is sin" James 4:17. "Let this mind be in you, which was also in Christ Jesus" Philippians 2:5. "Sin is the transgression of the law", 1 John 3:4, that being God's law of love, the Ten Commandments.
Jesus summed up the law by quoting Deuteronomy 6:5 and Leviticus 19:18. "Thou shalt love the Lord thy God with all thy heart, and with all thy soul, and with all thy mind. This is the first and great commandment. And the second is like unto it, Thou shalt love thy neighbour as thyself" Matthew 22:37-39. Paul had a clear understanding of God's law of love. "Owe no man any thing, but to love one another: for he that loveth another hath fulfilled the law. For this, Thou shalt not commit adultery, Thou shalt not kill, Thou shalt not steal, Thou shalt not bear false witness, Thou shalt not covet; and if there be any other commandment, it is briefly comprehended in this saying, namely, Thou shalt love thy neighbour as thyself. Love worketh no ill to his neighbour: therefore love is the fulfilling of the law" Romans 13:8-10.
What we see then is that anything short of Christlike love is sin. Who but Christ can love like that and at all times?! It should be crystal clear to each of us why we need a Savior from sin. We can proclaim with Paul, "O wretched man that I am! who shall deliver me from the body of this death? I thank God through Jesus Christ our Lord" Romans 7:24, 25.
Kathryn Irizarry is a member of the Seventh-day Adventist Church.