Sin is a reality about mankind which the Bible affirms unequivocally – which other religions fail to do, thus proving themselves to not have originated from God. What is Sin? The Bible defines sin in many places – Sin is committing iniquity (which literally means to do things in a crooked way), acting wickedly, rebelling against God, turning away from his commandments and judgements ( Dan 9:5 KJV). Sin is going beyond what is properly allowed (Hosea 4:2 ; Lev 5:17; ESV, in other words “transgression”). Sin is accusing falsely, lying (Lev 6:3) , hating one’s brother in his heart (Lev 19:17), cursing God (Lev 24:17). This is just a sample. As you must have observed from all the quotations mentioned above – they are all from the Old Testament. The Old Testament was very specific is defining what is sin and what is not.
The New Testament on the other hand, comparatively, does not mention sin in such specific terms.In the absence of such specific laws in the New Testament and also with its witness that Christ has paid the penalty for sin on our behalf and its stress on faith as a medium for receiving God’s salvation (and not works), we are tempted to have a low view on the seriousness of sin and develop a notion that any of our actions is acceptable towards God. “The Bible never commands me not to smoke”, “watching this movie is not sin ” – these are often heard quotes.
But far from placing lesser importance on sin, the New Testament defines sin in a quintessential way — “All have sinned and have fallen short of the glory of God.” (Rom 3:13). This verse implies that sin is anything which makes us fall short of the glory of God. The implications of this verse is profound and immense. And when we consider this verse along with what Paul says in 1 Co 10:31 – “So, whether you eat or drink, or whatever you do, do all to the glory of God” – the meaning can be clearly deduced. We need to watch our life and see whether our everyday actions bring glory to God. The scope of this commandment is almost everything that we do.
Therefore, even in the absence of specific laws in the New Covenant, we still have our “glory-to-God ” aware conscience to guide us in deciding whether a particular action of ours is sinful or not. Therefore, our everyday activities, which do not find mention in the Bible, but which force us to take a moral decision, can be judged quite easily by this standard. May I go for this or that movie? – Ask whether this would bring glory to God?May I listen to rock music – Ask whether this would bring glory to God?. May I “bunk” classes? May I go late to the office (why? what about Bible Studies?). Put the same question before them all.
What must be kept in mind, however, is that despite our best efforts we do daily fall short of the glory of God. No day passes in our life when we have not fallen short and have not received grace. We can never stop sinning (1 John 1:10). However, that is never an excuse to make a “practice of sinning” (1 John 3:8). It is never an excuse to not examine ourselves (1 Co 11:28). Let us therefore lay aside every weight, and sin which clings so closely, and let us run with endurance the race that is set before us.(Heb12:1). To God be the glory.