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What does sin mean?

Updated on November 21, 2014

What does sin literally mean?

When the Bible talks about sin, it doesn't mean criminal activity. It literally means "missing the mark". It can also be thought of as falling short. But what are we missing the mark or falling short of? We fall short of God's standards.


Does everyone sin?

Yes. Everyone has sinned in their life at some point or another. I would even say that everyone sins daily, whether they know it or not. By our thoughts, actions, or even the words we speak. Everyone was born into a world of sin and we each have a sinful nature. Remember, being sinful does not mean your a murderer or a criminal, but it means we, by ourselves, cannot live up to God's standards. In Romans 3:23, it says all have sinned:

for all have sinned and fall short of the glory of God

We have to understand that God is perfect. He cannot sin or even be tempted by sin. We should also understand that God does not tempt us into sinning. In James 1:13 we are told about God and being tempted to sin:

When tempted, no one should say, "God is tempting me." For God cannot be tempted by evil, nor does He tempt anyone

God sets His children up for success. He will not allow temptation greater than what we can handle. He wants us to come out in victory and by doing so, we bring Him glory. In 1 Corinthians 10:13 it tells us how God protects us from temptations that we could not handle:

No temptation has seized you except what is common to man. And God is faithful; he will not let you be tempted beyond what you can bear. But when you are tempted, he will also provide a way out so that you can stand up under it.

The Good News

With all this temptation and sin in the world, we seem pretty bad off, right? If we all miss the mark, what can we do? The answer: Jesus Christ. He is the good news. He is the lamb of God. What does that mean? Before Christ, the Israelites had to make sacrifices (lambs, goats, bulls) to cover their sins before God. There came a time when God sent His only begotten Son to be the ultimate sacrifice for all of mankind's sins. In essence, God came down to earth from all His glory and majesty, to be a humble servant and be the willing sacrifice. Even though we sin, God is faithful enough to forgive those sins if we admit what we did was wrong and ask for Him to forgive us. We see this in 1 John 1:9:

If we confess our sins, he is faithful and just and will forgive us our sins and purify us from all unrighteousness.

This is the best news in all the world! To know that God desires a relationship with us, so much so that He came down to take the punishment for our shortcomings. Sin can't be avoided, but God is there to help us every step of the way.

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    • joelmlay profile image

      Joel Mlay 5 years ago from Cincinnati

      This is a great post! It should clarify many misunderstandings about being justified and being a sinner.