Theology Thursday

Q. 14. What is sin?

A. Sin is any want of conformity unto, or transgression of, the law of God.

Westminster Shorter Catechism

The Church I grew up in didn’t talk about sin much, but when it did, there was one common analogy; an archer shooting an arrow and missing the bullseye. It’s not a bad one. It comes from the literal Hebrew meaning of sin.

And it’s true. God made us to be straight shooters, doing the right thing and abstaining from wrong. We have missed on both counts. We do not do what we should and we do what we shouldn’t. 

It’s worth remembering both aspects of the bullseye. We, like the rich young ruler, may claim to follow God’s law by not stealing, murdering etc. But often, the problem is what we didn’t do. We didn’t trust God in all things and we didn’t love our neighbour as ourselves.

The only problem I have with only using the arrow analogy is that it feels a bit… whoops! I missed! But sin is the deliberate breaking of the law. It shows contempt for God and for humanity. Sin is a cosmic crime against our making and His creation. It’s a lot more than whoops.

And seeing the seriousness of sin should affect how we feel about sin. We should feel about sin the way we feel when we hear of someone drunk-driving and killing a child. Sin is the breaking of the law of the holy God and to truly understand how much we have been forgiven, we must understand how terrible sin is.

For Today:
  • How bad do you think sin is?
  • How have you sinned in the past? What have you failed to do?
  • How have you sinned today?

  • Praise the Father for His holiness and mercy. 
  • Give thanks for the forgiveness of Christ who dies for our sins. 
  • Ask God to help you and others flee sin and pursue righteousness.

Passages: Leviticus 5:17, James 4:17, 1 John 3:4, Romans 14:23

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