What is sin?
Sin is any want of conformity unto, or transgression of, any law of God, given as a rule to the reasonable creature. (1 John 3:4, Gal. 3:10,12)
The above quote is from the Westminster Larger Catechism (see citation below), which is one of the standard formulations of Protestant Christianity.
It's good stuff, from question 1 to question, well, I'm not even sure. I've not read the whole thing in a long time, I can't remember how many questions there are.
This one, though, caught my attention and I wanted to share it.
We have this habit, especially in American Christianity, to pick certain sins to dislike. There are some that get the gloss-over, some that get the "oh my" treatment, and others that we rank as, well, pretty rank.
For example, we Baptists find alcohol consumption and gambling as awful, but downplay critical attitudes and pride. Methodists have rightly seen ignoring social problems as sinful, yet allow many moral issues to slide. We could spend hours delineating some of these issues, but the point I want to make is that doing so is a complete waste of time.
It's important for us to remember that one sin is no worse than another. That no person is less a sinner than another. Whether as nice as Mother Theresa or Gandhi or as evil as (insert your favorite evil person here. I like to use politicians, but I'll refrain from naming names) we are all sinners. When Billy Graham passes away, he'll answer to the same God and find himself short of the same standard that the most recent executed murdered will find himself short of attaining.
God's perfect holiness. Sin is anyway we fail to obey the law of God and the law is not just a list of "Don't do this's" it's also a set of positive expectations. Even if you never do a don't there's a do that you'll miss.
As such, we all need forgiveness and cleansing. And we all need to accept that the Blood of Christ is enough for us, but also was needed for us. That my sin wasn't easier to forgive than yours nor yours easier than mine.
That doesn't mean we don't look out for each other and try to help ourselves and our fellow Believers to escape sin, but we do so humbly and patiently. We do so allowing for much understanding of individual conscience and personal faith. And we do so knowing we may need the help next week.
The Westminster Larger Catechism : With Scripture Proofs. (Oak Harbor, WA: Logos Research Systems, Inc., 1996).
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