What Is Sin?
– James 1:14-15
Anyone, then, who knows the good he ought to do and doesn’t do it, sins. – James 4:17
When we ask, “What is sin?” we get many replies. Some will say, “It is not being true to yourself.” Others might say, “It is breaking the 10 Commandments.” I have come to the conclusion that sin is anything, whether passive or active, that comes between us and our relationship with God.
That idea seems to be expressed in these verses in James. First James identifies sin as yielding to our evil desire. Before you get all self-righteous and say something like, “why, I have never had an evil desire,” you should understand that in this sense evil is not demonic, or even sinister. Evil here is simply our own will which desires fulfillment outside the will of God.
Yielding to our human nature when it calls us away from the presence of God is sin. When our desire is not for God and his righteousness it is evil and is sin. Can you see that? Even a desire for something that of itself is not sin, if it is selfish and draws us away from God, it is sin.
The second issue regarding sin that James addresses is the sin of omission. He tells us that if we know to do good and don’t do it then by that omission of doing good we have sinned.
With these ideas in mind I challenge you to examine your own life to see if you might be sinning and not even be aware of it. One of the most common sins today is failing to establish a regular place of worship and spiritual fellowship. We are instructed to continue meeting together and encouraging one another (Hebrews 10:25).
Prayer: Lord, I’m afraid I have fallen victim to my own selfish nature far too often. Help me to corral my evil desires and to not neglect to do the good I know to do. In Jesus name. Amen.