What is sin?

  1. Sin is fundamentally rebellion against God (Rom. 1:18-32). Sin is refusing to acknowledge God as God and putting ourselves in the place of God. Sin is any act that does not wholly conform to the will and law of God (1 Jn. 3:4).
  2. Sin incurs God’s wrath. Because God his holy, he will punish sin. God promises that one day he will judge all men and will repay everyone according to what he has done (Rom. 2:6-11; Matt. 16:27). Those who are outside of Christ God will punish with eternal, conscious torment—a severe punishment to fit an infinitely severe crime (Rev. 14:11; Mark 9:48).
  3. Therefore, God’s wrath against our sin is the fundamental human problem. The problem with sin is not primarily that it ruins our relationships, or leads to an unjust society, or keeps us from fulfilling our potential—although it does all that and more. The problem with sin is that it is cosmic treason, and God will execute his righteous judgment on those who rebel against him.

A person cannot understand the good news of the gospel unless he or she first understands the bad news: our sin has separated us from God, plunged us into ruin and misery, and brought about God’s righteous wrath against us (Rom. 1:18; John 3:36). But! God sent Jesus Christ into the world to fully obey God on our behalf and bear God’s righteous wrath in his death on the cross so that all those who believe in him would be forgiven of their sins, given new natures so that they would begin to overcome sin, and ultimately live eternally in perfect fellowship with God (Rom. 3:21-26, 6:1-23; 1 John 3:2).

9Marks articles are made possible by readers like you. Donate Today.