What is Sin?
“Sin is independence from God.” When Rev. Tom Skinner gave the pastor’s conference his definition of sin, he surprised me. I wasn’t expecting him to describe sin as a list of bad behavior. I expected him to go back to the basic meaning of the word translated sin in the New Testament, hamartia speaking about how sin is missing the mark. It is like shooting for the bull’s eye but missing the target. But, instead of an active definition highlighting action he defined sin based on our state of being. By stating that sin is at its root, independence from God, he much included much good, even Biblical action as sinful if they are independent of God.
Is Skinner’s definition Biblical? Are missing of the mark actions is not connected to God sin? Skinner’s definition includes all sin based on the meanings of hamartia. But what about its inclusion of more things as sin? Romans 14:24b says, “Whatever is not of faith is sin.” In writing this, Paul was speaking about a believer’s decision about what he or she could eat. Paul did not appeal to Old Testament law or Jewish dietary customs. Instead, he said if eating did not come from obeying God’s word, faith, eating is sin. Apostle Paul states if actions are not the result of one’s communication with God, they are sin.
What should we do? We need to focus much more on our state of being in a relationship with God than to our actions. This includes are our actions aligned with the Bible and Christian doctrine but not based on what God is saying to us. God does not want us to be a group of autonomous drones claiming to do his will with no connection to the head, Jesus Christ. All Christians need to cultivate a relationship of fellowship, communion, and communication with God. Christians need to know God’s voice and do what he says. The true Christian disciple lives a life depending on God.