What is sin?

People ask what sin is, and who decides what sin is? The bible says “sin is, lawlessness (the breaking, violating of God’s law by transgression or neglect–being unrestrained and unregulated by His commands and His will) (1 John 3:4 AMP). From what we get from this scripture, it’s clear that it would have been impossible for anybody to sin had there been no Law (commandments from God), as sin is transgressing the Law of God. The bible says “and where there is no law there is no transgression” (Romans 4:15). To clarify this point even further, the bible says “I would not have known what sin was except through the law” (Romans 7:7). Hence the bible calls the Law a curse (Galatians 3:13), because it has brought us under condemnation which we would have never been under had there been no Law.

Since we know that sin is breaking God’s Law, then the next question we need to answer is what is this Law? The Law of God is summarized in what we know as the Ten Commandments, and these commandments are God’s eternal moral code, and they can never change or be replaced by anything. Here is God’s moral code (Law) as found in Exodus 20:

  1. You shall have no other gods before me
  2. You shall not make for yourself an idol in the form of anything in heaven above or on the earth beneath or in the waters below. You shall not bow down to them or worship them
  3. You shall not misuse the name of the LORD your God
  4. Remember the Sabbath day by keeping it holy
  5. Honor your father and your mother
  6. You shall not murder
  7. You shall not commit adultery
  8. You shall not steal
  9. You shall not give false testimony against your neighbor
  10. You shall not covet


Our failure to obey all 10 of these commandments at all times makes us sinners in the eyes of God, which is why the bible says “for whoever keeps the whole law and yet stumbles at just one point is guilty of breaking all of it” (James 2:10). So for you not to be a sinner, you would have to obey all of these 10 commandments at all times throughout your whole life from infancy. Is that possible? No, which is why the bible says “there is no one righteous, not even one, for all have sinned and fall short of the glory of God (Romans 3:10, 23). God demands us to keep all 10 commandments, and we cannot even keep one of those commandments. Each and every human has at one point in their life broken one of those commandments, and as a result they became guilty of breaking all of them.

Do you insist that you are not a sinner, and have not broken God’s Law? Take this test:

  • Have you ever lied? If yes, then you are a liar and have broken the 9th commandment!
  • Have you ever stolen anything regardless of its value? If yes, then you are a thief and have broken the 8th commandment!
  • Have you ever looked at a person with lust? If yes, then the bible says you have committed adultery in your heart and have broken the 7th commandment!
  • Have you ever used God or Jesus’ names as cuss words? If yes, then you are blasphemer and have broken the 3rd commandment!

 After answering these questions honestly then you are probably left speechless, which is normal because the Law was introduced “so that every mouth may be silenced and the whole world held accountable to God” (Romans 3:19). Frankly, I have not met any person who could answer no to all those four questions, which makes clear the conclusion that you are a sinner because you have broken God’s Law.

 There is only one way to earn God’s righteousness that He demands through the Law. The bible says “but now a righteousness from God, apart from law, has been made known….this righteousness from God comes through faith in Jesus Christ to all who believe” (Romans 3:22). So you can cease to be a sinner in God’s eyes by accepting the righteousness that God offered to all people of the world through Jesus Christ. Through repenting and having faith in Jesus Christ, then your days as a sinner would be forever gone.


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