What is sin? How is sin related to imperfection? What are some of the
categories of sin? Learn the answers to these questions about sin here.
What is Sin?
"Sin" is failure to live up to God's standards of perfection (also known as "missing the mark"). Being "imperfect" is being inferior to God's standards of perfection. "Sin" is the behavior associated with the state of being "imperfect".
God's commandments are derived from God's standards of perfection. Therefore, to violate one of God's commandments is to fail to live up to God's standards of perfection, that is, to "sin".
The sinlessness--the perfection--of Yeshua [Jesus Christ] is described in
1 Peter 1:19 this way:
This verse recalls Numbers 19:2, which describes the characteristics of the sacrificial red heifer. Any "spot", or any "blemish"--any "sin"--would be imperfection.
All people besides Yeshua [Jesus] have sinned: all people besides Jesus [God, the Son] have failed to live up to God's standards of perfection.
However, Yehovah [God] Himself is glorified in Zephaniah 3:5 because "He has not failed".
To say that we "come short of", or "are lacking the Glory of God" is to acknowledge that we have failed, but God has not failed. We have failed God: we have been "unfaithful" (or "untrustworthy"). God has not failed us: He is always faithful and trustworthy.
God considers every sin--every imperfection--unacceptable. This Biblical point of view can be seen in James 2:10-11.
The sins of committing adultery and murdering are named only as examples; violation of any law causes a person to "become a violator of the Law".
Categories of Sins
Although sins do not differ in their being unacceptable to God, there are other ways in which sins do differ from each other. These differences may be used to categorize sins. Some examples of categories of sins are:
Action: Commission or Omission
Many people are aware of the difference between a "sin of commission" ("committing", or "doing", something that a person knows he or she should not do) and a "sin of omission" ("omitting", or "not doing", something that a person knows he or she should do). Regarding what we should and should not do, Yeshua [Jesus] gave us a simple, easy to remember rule, which is found in the Gospels of Matthew and Luke.
This is the so-called "Golden Rule", commonly paraphrased as "do unto others as you would have them do unto you" or "treat others the way you want to be treated".
If we do something to another person that we would not want done to us, then we are guilty of a "sin of commission", because we have committed an act which we should not have done.
If we fail to do something for another person that we would want done for us, then we are guilty of a "sin of omission", because we have omitted an act which we should have done.
Perhaps the clearest Biblical statement regarding a "sin of omission" is in James.
Injured Party: One’s Self or Other People
When we sin, we do not injure God. We only harm others, or ourselves.
God's anger over sins is not because of harm which people cause to Him, because people do not harm Him. God is angered by the unjust harm which sins cause to people.
Most sins which people commit cause direct harm only to other people; but sins of a sexual nature also cause injury to the body of the person that commits them.
If we harm ourselves, we can shorten our own lives--or even end them. As terrible as committing sins against others is, when a person sins against himself or herself, that person potentially shortens the time that he or she has to "repent" (to "turn away", and cease, from sinful activity, and begin obeying God).
Though all types of sins are equally unacceptable from God's point of view, from the point of view of an individual sinner, a sin against one's own self may be perceived as worse than a sin against others. This "individual sinner's" point of view is the perspective emphasized in 1 Corinthians 6:18. Seeking people's obedience, God inspired Paul to appeal to each reader's self-interest and desire for self-preservation.
Lethality: Fatal or Non-fatal
In Romans 6:23, Paul was inspired by God to write:
However, people obviously do not always die immediately after sinning.
There are times, though, when people do die immediately because of their sin. The Bible gives us different directions for our behavior based on whether or not another person dies immediately after sinning.
Intention: Intentional or Unintentional
Sins also differ according to whether they are "intentional" (intended by the sinning person) or "UNintentional" (not intended by the sinning person: a true "accident").
We will examine this category in detail in Blasphemy Against the Holy Spirit, Part 2: Intentional Sin Vs. Unintentional Sin. However, we will first examine the difference between forgivable and unforgivable sin.
Forgivability: Forgivable or Unforgivable
We will examine this category next, in Blasphemy Against the Holy Spirit, Part 1: Unforgivable Sin.
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