"Enter ye in at the strait gate: for wide is the gate, and broad is the way, that leads to destruction, and many there be which go in there at: Because strait is the gate, and narrow is the way, which leads unto life, and few there be that find it." Matthew 7:13-14
For some reason whenever you ask most Christians what sin is, you never get the same answer twice. A few common examples you might hear are “missing the mark”, or “falling short of the glory of God”. Although vaguely correct answers, when you further investigate these responses, almost no one has a consistent answer of what the “mark” is, or what the “Glory of God” is.
Sin is mentioned hundreds of times in the Bible, and one would think that there would be a concise definition for its meaning. Although the definitions in the Strong’s Concordance is “to miss” and/or “an offense and its penalty”, one must still question what did we miss? What did we offend?
It seems when discussion comes up to place an absolute on these matters, everyone divides. With everyone always divided against each other over issues of what is right and what is wrong, it’s not a surprise to see the church broken down into thousands of denominations. Christ himself warns of this calamity:
"And Jesus knew their thoughts, and said unto them, Every kingdom divided against itself is brought to desolation; and every city or house divided against itself shall not stand:" Matthew 12:25; Mark 3:25; Luke 11:17
Now instead of using a “broad and wide” spectrum to define the word Sin, let’s allow the INSPIRED WORD OF GOD to give us a more “straight and narrow” definition, provided we all base our faith on the solid foundation of Scriptures. Please Read:
"Whosoever commits sin, transgresses also the law: for SIN IS THE TRANSGRESSION OF THE LAW." 1 John 3:4
So here, in the New Testament even, we see very clearly that sin is violation of God’s Law. God’s Law of course being the Law found in the first five books of the Bible, established and practiced throughout the rest of the Bible, and glorified through Christ.
When many of us considered the topic "What is sin?" we all probably thought it was the breaking of the Ten Commandments in some form or another. As we see here, it seems as if sin is simply the violation of any of God's laws, including the Ten Commandments. Sin is an offense against God by transgressing his perfect love and justice.
It is really easy to see how a lack of clear knowledge on issues as simple as this can prove to be a real crutch, being this foundational knowledge is a prerequisite to understanding bigger issues like the remission of sin, the washing away of sin, the redemption of sin, or most importantly, the prevention and repentance of it. What does the Apostle Paul have to say pertaining to the learning of this simple truth?
"Therefore by the deeds of the law there shall no flesh be justified in his sight: for by the law is the knowledge of sin." Romans 3:20
We can see here that Paul was teaching people that the Law is the knowledge of Sin and for our sin we will not be justified in God’s sight. It obviously is the rock that we are to build our larger understandings of sin upon. The knowledge of sin is a foundation to our understanding of Christ and his ministry of sin remission here on Earth. It would serve one well to know exactly what sin was so that one could properly repent from it. King David was no stranger to its wisdom:
"The law of the LORD is perfect, converting the soul: the testimony of the LORD is sure, making wise the simple. The statutes of the LORD are right, rejoicing the heart: the commandment of the LORD is pure, enlightening the eyes. The fear of the LORD is clean, enduring forever: the judgments of the LORD are true and righteous altogether. Psalms 19:7-9
Just for the record, the word "converting" means "to turn away, or to repent" in the original Hebrew. I find it interesting that many churches sing this wonderful hymnal every Sunday and are so far removed from its power and understanding.
The foregoing quotation illuminates a strong light on the nature of false teachers teaching false doctrines. This quotation and many more in the New Testament also flatly and definitely teach that the “law,” i.e., the Commandments, Statutes, and Judgments, remain firmly established in the new covenant. These laws not only give us a definition of sin but are the divinely provided guidelines for a God-pleasing Christian life and for a righteous and prosperous nation. Let us look to the Master Himself for confirmation:
"Think not that I am come to abolish the law, or the prophets: I am not come to abolish, but to fulfill. For verily I say unto you, Till heaven and earth pass (revelation 21), one jot or one tittle shall in no wise pass from the law, till all be fulfilled. Whosoever therefore shall break one of these least commandments, and shall teach men so, he shall be called the least in the kingdom of heaven: but whosoever shall do and teach them, the same shall be called great in the kingdom of heaven. For I say unto you, That except your righteousness shall exceed the righteousness of the scribes and Pharisees, ye shall in no case enter into the kingdom of heaven." Matthew 5:17-20
So if sin is transgression of God’s Law, then it must mean that righteousness is “innocence from sin”. At least that is what the Greek word in the text is defined as. The Pharisees as we all know were the church leaders of Christ's day. So what does Christ say to confirm a definition for what the “righteousness of the scribes and Pharisees” actually was?
"Then came to Jesus scribes and Pharisees, which were of Jerusalem, saying, Why do the disciples transgress the tradition of the elders? For they wash not their hands when they eat bread. But he answered and said unto them; Why do ye also transgress the commandments of God by your traditions? Ye Hypocrites, well did Isaiah prophesy (Isaiah 29:13) of you, saying, THIS PEOPLE DRAWETH NIGH UNTO ME WITH THEIR MOUTH, AND HONORETH ME WITH THEIR LIPS; BUT THEIR HEART IS FAR FROM ME. BUT IN VAIN THEY DO WORSHIP ME, TEACHING FOR DOCTRINES THE COMMANDMENTS OF MEN." Matthew15:1-9 and Mark 7:1-13
Now for some reason, many modern Christians think that the Pharisees actually were righteous and that they followed God’s Law and it was what made them bad people. They throw around words like legalism and self-righteousness like it applies to people like that. Although those terms are used in the New Testament to describe the scribes and Pharisees, our presumption that it applies to them because they followed Gods Law is completely ignorant and misguided. Christ clearly says here that they didn’t follow God’s Law.
"Woe unto you, scribes and Pharisees, HYPOCRITES! For ye are like unto whited sepulchers, which indeed appear beautiful outward, but are within full of dead man’s bones, and of all uncleanness. Even so ye also outwardly appear righteous unto men, but within ye are full of HYPOCRISY and LAWLESSNESS." Matthew23:27-28
The teaching that the Pharisees followed God's Law and that it was for that reason that Christ denounced them so because of their "old testament ways" is a complete doctrine of devils. Christ mentions in the above quoted that doing and teaching God's Law will cause one to be called great in the kingdom of heaven. Christ also warns us about those people who would teach us to break even just one of those commandments and what it would be like to be the “least” in the kingdom of heaven.
Yet we see over and over again in the New Testament Christ calling them hypocrites at every single interaction he had with them. The Greek definition for that is “an actor under an assumed character” which easily translates into the expression “a wolf in sheep’s clothing”. Unless we rise above this state of religion we will not enter the Kingdom of Heaven.
"Beware of false teachers, which come to you in sheep’s clothing, but inwardly they are ravening wolves… Not everyone that saith unto me, Lord, Lord, shall enter into the kingdom of heaven; but he that doeth the WILL OF MY FATHER which is in heaven. Many will say unto me, Lord, Lord, have we not ministered in thy name? and in thy name have cast out devils? And in thy name done many wonderful works? And then I will profess unto them, I NEVER KNEW YOU, DEPART FROM ME, YE WHICH WORK LAWLESSNESS. Matthew 7:15-23
So it is said, there will be many who claim they are of the Father, but most of them will really only be wolves in sheep’s clothing. The only way through the straight and narrow is if your righteousness exceeds that of the corporate church. When compared, the Pharisees and modern day church have everything in common. They both transgress the “Commandments of God” in order to ordain their “traditions and commandments of Men” and they both pervert the teaching of the Law to their own gain.
This is why you will see a “Pig Roast- All Welcome” sign outside of a church, or homosexuals, unmarried men and/or women preaching a perverted gospel at the pulpit. This is why almost all families during Christmas and Easter celebrate their God with a traditional ham feast, an animal mind you which has been declared an abomination to even touch let alone eat by the very God who they worship. Let’s also not forget that the same institution that will claim one minute that the Law is done away with will also incite the Law of tithing every Sunday as they pass along the "offering plates". It is hypocrisy at is finest. A vain worship of tradition as declared in Isaiah 29:13. I only hope that by this point your hearts are being pricked.
"Now the end of the commandment is charity out of a pure heart, and of a good conscience, and of faith unfeigned: From which some having swerved have turned aside unto vain jangling; Desiring to be teachers of the law: understanding neither what they say, nor whereof they affirm. But we know that the law is good, if a man use it lawfully; Knowing this, that the law is not made for a righteous man, but for the lawless and disobedient, for the ungodly and for sinners, for unholy and profane, for murderers of fathers and murderers of mothers, for man slayers" 1 Timothy 1:5-9
So here we have Paul stating that the Law is GOOD if used lawfully! Under a doctrine that the Law has been done away with we find no harmony at all with anything Paul has to say on the matter of Law outside of the few one liner verses used to interpret its abolishment. So how does one use the Law lawfully if the law is done away with? Paul clearly says above we apply the Law to those who have transgressed the Law. So who has done that?
"As it is written, There is none righteous, no, not one:" Romans 3:10
"For all have sinned, and come short of the glory of God;" Romans 3:23
So who does the Law apply to? Does it apply to you and me or do we not fall under the category of "all have sinned"? If we deny the law that teaches us of our sin then we deny the acknowledgement of our sin.
"If we say that we have no sin, we deceive ourselves, and the truth is not in us. If we confess our sins, he is faithful and just to forgive us our sins, and to cleanse us from all unrighteousness. If we say that we have not sinned, we make him a liar, and his word is not in us." 1 John 1:8-10
If there is no Law, then there is no sin. If there is no sin, then there is no need for repentance of it. If we are not sinners then we do not need atoned for our sin and there is no need for Christ. Is that what Paul is preaching?
"For until the law sin was in the world: but sin is not imputed when there is no law." Romans 5:13
The message and ministry of Christ and his whole purpose here is to impute, or forgive our sins, not the Law. Even after the fact Paul writes in his epistles that sin cannot be imputed if the Law is done away with.
If someone offends you and they seek your forgiveness, does that mean that you now have to stop being offended by it when they continue to commit said offense against you, or do they stop doing it? Likewise, does God want us to continue in sin after we come to Christ, or do we repent of our sin?
“What shall we say then? Shall we continue in sin, that grace may abound? God forbid. How shall we, that are dead to sin, live any longer therein?” Romans 6:1-2
It seems like a super easy concept to understand, yet so many churches today preach that faith in Christ is sacrificed when one chooses to repent and establish Gods Law. This indoctrination is so corrupt that being unwilling to define specifically what sin is to pursue a full repentance of it is truly what prevents us from having a true faith in Christ.
"Do we then make void the law through faith? God forbid: yea, we ESTABLISH THE LAW." Romans 3:31