Have you ever asked a group of five-year-olds to . . . raise their hands if they’ve ever sinned?
I had the privilege of teaching religion to my kindergarten class at a small Christian school. And not once have I had a child admit to sinning on the first ask.
Now you might be thinking it’s because they didn’t understand the meaning of the word, “sin.”
But even when I changed the word sin to . . . have you done “something wrong,” “bad,” or “disobedient” their hands stayed stuck in their laps.
I get it . . . I don’t like to admit my wrongdoing either!
A good teacher doesn’t give up, so I’d get more specific.
Did you say anything hurtful to your mom, dad, brother, or sister last night or this morning?
Did you clean up your room when your mom asked you?
Were you unkind to anyone when you arrived at school?
Gradually a few heads would nod and hands would go up.
“Those are sins.” I would say.
Then I asked again, “Have you ever sinned?”
They’d look around to see what their friends were doing and slowly raise their hands.
This is not just a 5-year-old problem.
So, today we’re asking some questions…
8 Important Questions You and I Need to Ask about Sin
1. What is sin?
And then a follow-up question:
2. Who decides?
I found the following in an article at All About God: We live in a culture where the concept of sin has become entangled in legalistic arguments over right and wrong.
Webster’s Dictionary defines sin like this: 1. A violation against religious or moral law. 2. A transgression of the law of God.
Many Christians use the following: Sin simply means “to miss the mark.”
But my favorite definition comes from Rev. Billy Graham…
A sin is any thought or action that falls short of God’s will. God is perfect, and anything we do that falls short of His perfection is sin.
After reading these definitions, I felt it important to ask myself 6 more questions.
3. How do I define sin?
4. Why do I define it that way?
5. Who or what influences my beliefs about sin?
6. Are some sins worse than others?
7. Does sin matter when it comes to my eternal future?
8. Have I ever questioned whether something I’ve done, thought, or said is really a sin?
If you’re like me, you’d rather look for “sin” in the words and actions of other people.
Honestly, who wants to take a close look at themselves. Don’t we all want to think we’re “pretty good.”
But when it comes to God, is “pretty good” is good enough?
Society consistently wants to define and redefine right and wrong based on what most people agree on. But is society’s good, “good enough?” Especially when we imagine ourselves standing before God to give an account of our lives.
We will all stand before God, and He will judge us all. Yes, the Scriptures say,
“‘As surely as I live,’ says the Lord,
‘Everyone will bow before me;
everyone will say that I am God.’”
So each of us will have to explain to God about the things we do. Romans 14:10–12 (ERV)
That’s sobering, isn’t it?
Especially when you and I take the following verses into account…
If we claim to be without sin, we deceive ourselves and the truth is not in us. 1 John 1:8
. . . for all have sinned and fall short of the glory of God. Romans 2:23
Remember, it is sin to know what you ought to do and then not do it. James 4:17
Now that we all have our hands raised with the kindergartners it’s time for the Good News.
Yes, we’re sinners because we fall short of God’s perfect standards, but that’s not the end of the story. You and I and a Savior . . . Jesus, the Word made flesh who paid the price for our not good enough.
For the wages of sin is death, but the free gift of God is eternal life through Christ Jesus our Lord. Romans 6:23
He personally carried our sins in His body on the cross so that we can be dead to sin and live for what is right. By His wounds, you are healed. 1 Peter 2:24
“For this is how God loved the world: He gave His one and only Son, so that everyone who believes in Him will not perish but have eternal life. God sent His Son into the world not to judge the world, but to save the world through Him.” John 3:16–17
Why do we want to redefine sin and justify ourselves when God has given us the gift of a clean slate through Jesus?
We complicate God’s perfect plan when we let society decide what things fall into the “sin” category, and when we rank sins or compare ourselves to each other.
His plan is not only perfect it is uncomplicated.
God’s plan is…
Humbly admitting that I’m a sinner in need of forgiveness. Asking God to forgive me through Jesus and believing that because of His great love, He joyfully declares me His forgiven child. Trusting that with His help, He will begin to change my heart and mind to know His will and give me the desire to obey it as I grow closer to Him through the study of His Word and prayer.
That’s freedom! Uncomplicated, child-like, peace-giving freedom!
And this freedom makes it easier to admit my sin so I can also tell people about God’s love.
So, what is sin? What God says it is.
Who decides? God decides.
And questions 3 through 8 you’ll have to answer for yourself.
One more thing…
A quote I pray will bless you like it’s blessed me:
“The cross shows us the seriousness of our sin—but it also shows us the immeasurable love of God.” ~Billy Graham
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