“Sin” in the Bible

D L Henderson
10 min readFeb 1, 2024

“Sin” in the Bible

January 31, 2024

Somebody trips over my foot. Is that sin?

I stick my foot out and intentionally trip somebody. Is that sin?

They laugh and don’t get hurt, because they are both joking around. What then?

It was a surprise and they were embarrassed in front of everybody. Then, what?

They fall and cut their head, needing stitches…

Those are simple illustrative situations, and there are certainly more complex questions to be answered. So, when the Bible says that everybody has sinned and missed the target that God has set up in the Bible, that means we all have willfully or unknowingly crossed the line established as moral precepts like the Ten Commandments and other principles from elsewhere in the Bible like “Love your neighbor…”

Look. Everybody knows when they have purposely or accidentally done wrong. The question a person might stubbornly ask is, “So what?”

Usually, when it is pointed out that even when unknowingly some offense was taken or some hurt was done, a person will at least feel bad for what they did and apologize.

Not reading the Bible and ignoring its precepts will have no weight as evidence in a judgment of “Not Guilty” before the Judgment Seat of God. Justifying a person’s wrongful actions by coverup, by commonality, by blaming outside forces, or by any other rationalization is no justification for harmfulness, either.

Pleading one’s case in Traffic Court by saying “I didn’t realize how drunk I was,” won’t compel the Judge to declare, “Oh! Okay! You can go now.”

The fact that everyone at some time or another does harm is an inescapable fact. Harm cannot be erased by a magical wave of a wand. Again, “So what?” But that question becomes ridiculous in light of the scenario of hurting or harming others. Who thinks it’s okay to cause harm and to hurt other people?

Everybody inherently knows that doing someone dirt is wrong — unless a person has a severe mental illness where the concepts of right and wrong are simply beyond their basic mental abilities.

Everyone has formulated some standards of right and wrong — whether it is in line with the Bible or not. So, that doesn’t really matter. The awareness of wrongdoing in our lives means that the wrongdoing cannot be justified or erased, simply by waiving it off. Beyond that, the cascading, resulting damage done cannot be easily fixed. So, what to do? Psychiatry? Religious chanting? Unfortunately, such paths are inadequate dead ends and the pesky itch remains.

Even though we all have a conscience, we often go to great lengths to bury it deep, beyond our conscious awareness with the intention of not dealing with it at all. Basically. it is an unpleasantness we have no desire to deal with. Yet, no matter how deep or how long it has been buried, there still remains a pesky nudging that just does not go away.Why do we insist on riding this carousel? Doesn’t a time come when we want to get off?

The Bible says that sin separates us from God, but many have worked up in their minds that there is no God. So, what the Bible says doesn’t matter to them. They lose focus on the need to deal with wrongdoing in their agnosticism — as if simply not believing is the magic elixir, healing all wounds.

Or, does “time heal all wounds”? Doesn’t time merely allow the formation of scabs and scars? In a way, doesn’t it mean a hardening of the heart?

However, for those who believe God really does exist, sin is a very important, if not essential, concept. Also, for the unbelieving, sin still is harmful in that it separates us from one another simply by its repulsiveness. That should be important to everybody.

I have written about Original Sin before and shown evidence from the Genesis verses that there is more than one. Perhaps I did not make it clear that those several sins are apparent in our lives today. Working backwards along the Human timeline, the fact that those same sins are obviously at work in Society today, is actually evidence that the Genesis account is true.

To refresh what those Original Sins are:

  • willful disobedience
  • pleading ignorance
  • attempting a coverup
  • making excuses
  • claiming helplessness
  • blaming others
  • blaming God

Haven’t we all used these tactics when “we get caught with our hands in the cookie jar?” But the sins demonstrated throughout the lives of people in the Bible are much more significant than stealing Oreos. The consequences are much more serious, also.

As sins pile up within our individual lives, they can cause social, emotional, psychological, and even psychosomatic damage. The consequences easily expand beyond the personal, to the Societal, and even to the Governmental arenas. As sins pile up in a Society, historically, they have become the catalyst for the fall of Empires.

So, what do my simple examples show?

Sin is not just a simple goof. Sin is an intentional choice. Sin does harm to other individuals or groups — socially, physically, psychologically, and/or emotionally.

Beyond that simplicity, there is no one who has not committed sin, and let me re-emphasize that sin separates people from people, and likewise, sin separates people from God. Reuniting the two is what the Gospel of Jesus is all about.

God wants to have a personal family relationship with us — with each of us. But that can never happen if we keep on hurting and harming one another. So, God has provided a way to rectify the situation:

  • self-assessment
  • realization of responsibility
  • turning away from self-centeredness
  • calling on Jesus to be rescued and redeemed

The solution is found in two verses, John 3:16, and Romans 10:13, “For God loved the world so much that he gave his only Son, so that everyone who believes in him may not die but have eternal life.” and “Everyone who calls out to the Lord for help will be saved.”

But those verses are useless if you are looking for justification rather than solutions.

…They are also useless if you actually believe that everybody goes to Heaven…

Just think… On the human level, we exclude bullies and their kind from our social groups. Why would God allow such behavior to continue in His Kingdom, in his forever family??

Consider this, that separation could also be the reason why people don’t believe God actually exists! If we cannot see something, we are naturally not aware of its existence! Sometimes we don’t even see the freight train barreling down the tracks!

Also, a sincere apology is actually the same concept as what is called “repentance” in the Bible. Repentance is realizing we’ve done someone harm, turning away from such acts, and apologizing for causing that harm. In the Biblical context, we have been falling short of God’s ideals, resulting in consequences like isolation, bad feelings, difficulty sorting it all out. Often, we try different but limited strategies to deal with the itch in our conscience, to rectify the situation ourselves, as we see it, in our own way, but it usually just makes things worse.

That’s where God, Jesus, and the Bible come into play.

We have the Bible which explains that there is only one way to fix the mess we have made and get our aim back on the target: turning to Jesus. That, of course, is if a person is trying to learn how to shoot straight and hit the target God set in front of us. Since we often overthink what Jesus taught, making it hard for us to understand, Jesus is more than willing to explain, always direct and to the point. We just have to start calling to Him. He will get back to you.

Remember, too, that the first time you pick up a bow, it is unlikely that you will get a bull’s eye.

If you would read Genesis, God apparently walked in the Garden with Adam and Eve, and I presume that His presence was known to all Mankind. However, when everybody turned away from God, we lost sight of Him. When we decided our way would be a better way, He let everyone give it a go.

Since the Fall of Man, we have had the compunction of the several Original Sins repeated over and over. By imitating them, we have been hurting ourselves and one another, making our existence worse and worse, leaving far behind that Garden of Eden which God made for us to work in and to enjoy. We have lost our way and any hope of finding our way back to Paradise.

Yet, God had a plan from the beginning whenever Man would decide on the course of disobedience. God isn’t stupid. God foreknew it would happen and had a plan for that eventuality.

So, when we deny that God said what he said, it’s like when Mom and Dad threw up their hands in frustration and said, “You’re just not listening!” Putting it another way, it’s just like the serpent’s query, “Now Eve, darling, come on, did God really say… I mean, sister, why would he deny you this wonderful experience?”

Taking a step further, we might insist on one of these two: “God is dead.” or “God never existed in the first place.” We think that will solve our moral dilemma?

So, I ask who decided that God was dead or never existed? And I think that that begs the question of what are the answers to these queries: “Where did we come from?” and “Why are we here?” and “What is the meaning of life?” and “Why is there beauty?”

Existentialists struggled to find the answers, but came up with jumbled, discordant, and often diametrically opposed philosophies. Hardly a solid foundation on which to build — shifting sands, as it were — most philosophies are.

However, all the answers have been written down in the comprehensive work, the Bible.

Unfortunately for many, they don’t want to know the answers… but they do seem to enjoy hiding in the bushes and throwing stones at those of us who do…

Finally, there are thousands of articles and books and encyclopedic theories, but hold on a sec… No one was there when this whole Universe appeared. So, no matter how much has been written about the event, no one can possibly know for sure. No one was there. That’s why we have the word, “theory.”

Now, for argument’s sake, I’m willing to accept the Bible account as theory. I’m also willing to accept the dynamic of “ faith” that is requisite to accepting either account. As for me, I have come to accept the Bible account, because Jesus has dynamically intervened in my life.

God always has existed. God created the Universe and everything in it, including Mankind. Conversely, the rather parallel account of Science’s Big Bang Theory is nonsensical, because the questions of “Where?” and “Why?” are left unanswered. Also, what exactly was the stimulus of Creation? Of nothing creating something? Was there no plan, no b;ueprint? How did its construction come to be? Nothing was; now, everything is? No intellect involved? No purpose? Nonsense created the nonsensical and the nonsensical created the reasonable? That doesn’t sound logical to me. How about you?

Here are some facts you might want to consider,

  • Everything in the Universe is uniform on subatomic, atomic, and molecular levels.
  • Everything operates under the same laws of Physics.
  • Everything is uniform on the genetic level.
  • Every living thing has RNA, DNA — the LEGOS of Life.
  • Everything that exists eventually decomposes, eroding back to the basic elements and is recycled and reconstituted.
  • Everything that lives, dies and returns to the dust — the Circle of Life.

Doesn’t logic propose all this uniformity and consistency requires intelligent design??

God fits the bill.

Most of Science relegates us into a small speck in infinity… With God, quite a different panorama unfolds before those who turn to Him:

  • He has prepared a place in eternity for all who call out to Him.
  • We aren’t insignificant specks in God’s eyes.
  • Our lives are not unimportant trivia, splotches to be washed off the robes of history…
  • God personally cares for us as individuals and as part of His family.
  • God comforts us in real ways in all our worldly trials.
  • God gives us purpose and a new kind of freedoms and choices.

Yes. The Bible has such encouragement as this: “For God so loved the world that he gave his one and only Son, that whoever believes in him shall not perish but have eternal life.” and “So we’re not giving up. How could we! Even though on the outside it often looks like things are falling apart on us, on the inside, where God is making new life, not a day goes by without his unfolding grace. These hard times are small potatoes compared to the coming good times, the lavish celebration prepared for us. There’s far more here than meets the eye. The things we see now are here today, gone tomorrow. But the things we can’t see now will last forever.” — John 3:16 and 2 Corinthians 4:16–18 (NIV and MSG respectively).

New life. A new creation in our innermost being. Tangible. Changing dynamics in our lives. A fresh start. A new beginning. Not ethereal, but practical, substantial, meat and potatoes, personal and experiential.

While it is plainly observable that human nature tends toward hurtfulness, harmfulness, and self destruction, like the Bible says, it is a truly sinful, fallen nature. But turning to God, Jesus, and searching the Bible will create in you a new nature which tends to do what is right and just, neighborly and loving, generous and other-centered.

Sin in the Bible is doing harm to oneself or to others, and I suppose it can be understood as when someone says, when something bad happens to somebody, “Isn’t that a shame?”

God loves people like a good father,wanting only the best for us and to live safe, healthy, robust, and wholesome lives.

Ask Jesus to come into your life and open your eyes.

--

--

D L Henderson

Born 1950; HS 1968; Born again 1972; Cornell ILR; Steward, Local President/Business Agent; Husband, father, grandfather; winner/loser/everything in between