What is sin? If you search it up, Google defines sin as “an immoral act considered to be a transgression against divine law.” A transgression is basically an act that goes against a rule or law. But what law do we follow? Who defines what’s “right” and “wrong”?
Before we go into what or who our standard of righteousness is, let’s go back a bit and discuss why we sin in the first place? What does being “sinful” mean?
We all know the well-known story revealed to us through Genesis, where Adam and Eve, the first humans God created, sinned against God by eating the fruit He specifically told them not to. The consequences are that they are banished out of the Garden of Eden, and because humans have fallen into this wickedness called sin, the once intimate relationship with God is lost. As humans, we are born with a sinful nature. Sin is a condition or state that we are all stuck in. Our hearts have been tainted, and we have turned away from God.
So back to the question. What defines as “right”? Since we humans are sinful, we cannot decide for ourselves (Proverbs 3:7). So who is our standard of holiness?
God is holy. When I say “holy”, I don’t mean it in a light-hearted way. God is the definition of holiness - and because God is holy and righteous, He hates evil.
Not only because God is holy and righteous that He hates evil, but because He is good and loving, and a good God will hate evil. Once we truly understand the seriousness and danger of sin, then we will realize the helplessness of us sinful humans.
Because what’s the point of asking for salvation from God when you don’t know the reason why you need salvation?
Dig a little deeper
A few years ago, my dad and I were in the backyard, where we spotted some roots slightly pushing above the surface. Apparently, these roots were the remains of a tree that had beencut down before we moved in. On the surface, the roots looked pretty small and flimsy; however when we pulled them up, there was a good amount of root revealed, much larger than I had expected.
And I guess it's a bit like that with sin.
We all know the “obvious” sins that we should avoid. However, the more dangerous sins are the ones that we do without realising. They slowly build up until it's too late, and before we know it, we have fallen into the spiralling hole of temptation and have become slaves to sin. As Romans 6:23 says, “For the wages of sin is death, but the gift of God is eternal life in Christ Jesus our Lord." As sinners, our rightful and just punishment is death. And thisreality is truly terrifying.
But that’s not the end of the story. Because we are born with a sinful desire, it's impossible for us to be perfect. But there was one human who lived a perfect life. Galatians 2:16 tells us that we can be justified before God through Jesus Christ’s death on the cross as our spotless and pure sacrifice, instead of facing God’s wrath.
And this truth is what makes Christianity different to other religions. All of Christianity's principles are based on the fact that Christ has done it before us.
Of course, that doesn’t mean receiving salvation will suddenly turn you into a “holy” person. In our everyday lives within this sinful world, we will certainly face temptation and fall into sin. And sometimes, there will be times when we don’t know what’s right or wrong. Therefore, when we understand why we need salvation, the more willing we are to ask God for strength to obey His will and for the Holy Spirit to work in us. And the more we obey God, the more we are able to discern the right thing to do.
Romans 6:11 tells us, “In the same way, count yourselves dead to sin but alive to God in Christ Jesus.” That’s how we, as Christians, still can have hope despite the reality of sin. The closer we get to God and to understanding His character and being transformed by it, the more we will also hate evil.