"SIN" is a powerful word. "Crime" is a strong word, but not as strong as "sin". Crimes are committed against society; sin is committed against God. Crimes are fairly easy to avoid; sin is impossible to avoid.

Can We Take Sin Seriously

The word "sin" is rarely used today except jokingly. The idea of sin has almost been abandoned, as revealed in the title of a famous book, "Whatever Became Of Sin?"

Judgmental people love to use this word to make pronouncements on others. Many of us became tired of its over-use by media preachers.

Sin implies a moral significance to our actions -- which some people refuse to admit. But you MUST take sin seriously. Sin the the obstacle to knowing God.

Confusion Over Sin

Perhaps you don't know what sin is. Perhaps you confuse it with a vague sense of guilt. Sin does not mean that you think, "I am a bad person." In Scripture, sin is very specific. The people of the Bible knew exactly what they had done that was wrong -- and the early books of the Bible are very careful to specify what constitutes sin.

What is Sin?

Sin involves both being and doing (or NOT doing!). The Bible tells you that sin is a product of your human nature (e.g. Ephesians 2:3). Through sin you are alienated from God until you are enlightened and are given new life.

Sin also involves doing -- or not doing -- God's will. God's ideal is love. When you act in unloving ways, and when you fail to act lovingly, you have sinned.

What Sin does to Your Relationships

The word "sin" is personal. It means "to miss the target." God has set a mark -- or ideal -- for your life. When you miss His mark, you "sin" against Him (Psalms 51:4). Sin creates distance between you and God.

Sin disrupts your relationship with other people. Such sins as lying, cheating, and stealing always hurt others. Sin also causes you to be alienated from others -- by hiding from them, by avoiding them, and by de-valuing them.

What Sin Does to You

Sin is destructive; in fact the words "damage" and "damn" come from the same Latin source! Sin damages your spirit, your health, and your relationship with God.

Sin is also destructive to the natural world. It "pollutes" the environment (Numbers 35:33). It is a form of slavery (addiction) and of spiritual suicide (Romans 6:23 and James 1:15).

The Solution to Sin

The New Testament explains how the problem of sin is resolved. "Christ Jesus came into the world to save sinners" (First Timothy 1:15). The consequence of sin is real guilt -- not mere guilt-feelings (which can be excessive or unreal). You are accountable for your actions.

Through the death of Jesus, the guilt of sin can be removed -- at the very same time that God's justice is fully maintained. Peter said that Jesus "bore our sins" on the cross (First Peter 2:24). Jesus identified Himself with YOUR sins and with YOUR guilt, then He took them with Him to His death.

The answer to sin is forgiveness. God's forgiveness is available to you through confession and repentance.