A Brief Doctrine of Sin

As we finish up our Brief Doctrine series, we turn our attention to the Doctrine of Sin. The first thing I want to note is that this doctrine cannot be established in a vacuum. The Doctrine of Sin interplays with many other doctrines, as we saw in the last post, The Doctrine of Man.

As we move forward, we will continue seeing how the Doctrine of Sin affects our understanding of other doctrines. So let’s jump in.

What is Sin?

First, we’ll define terms. Sin has many names throughout Scripture. These names include ignorance, error, missing the mark, transgression, iniquity, rebellion, perversion, abomination, etc.

The term “ignorance” and one of its modern-day equivalents, “stupidity” are often pushed back against in Christian circles, yet Scripture uses these terms when it refers to sin. Consider the idea that both innocent and willful ignorance are sinful. Two examples of this idea would be Romans 1:13 and Ephesians 4:18, respectively.

Innocent & Willful Ignorance

Perhaps, one of the most vivid pictures of willful ignorance comes from Jeremiah 10. In this chapter, God refers to Israel as “stupid” not once but on three separate occasions. In one instance, he refers to them as being “stupid and devoid of knowledge,” yet we know that He is speaking to the house of Israel; to those who had His Law.

Therefore, to understand what is right (i.e. following the statutes of God) but choose not to know do it (i.e. turning a blind eye to those statutes), this is considered willful ignorance and therefore sin.

Missing the Mark

“Missing the mark” is another common term used concerning sin. Proverbs 19:2 speaks of “hasty feet” that “miss” the way. This is one of the more literal uses of the Hebrew term chatá (sin). Meanwhile, in the New Testament the word “hamartia/hamartano,” which mean to miss the mark or to err, commonly refers to sin.

In Acts 25:8, this word is rendered in English as “to offend,” and in Acts 2:38 Peter calls for the men of Israel to repent of their “sins;” we see is this same term. My point in pointing out these two particular passages of Scripture is that sinning, to miss the mark of God, is to offend God. And, as we see in Acts 25:8, when we are not sinning we can make the case that we are not an offense.

With these brief definitions, let’s move to the source of sin.

Sinning--to miss the mark of God--is to offend God. Click To Tweet

Source of Sin & Original Sin

Within our Doctrine of Sin, it is essential to note that sin entered the world through Adam, we see this explained for us by Paul in Romans 5:12. It’s also important to note that we are tempted to sin by our lusts and desires and through the work of an enemy, however, we are never enticed to sin by God (James 1:13). This brings me to Paul’s pivotal point in Romans 3:23, “All have sinned.” This “all” is without exception.

Within the Doctrine of Sin comes the discussion of Original Sin. It’s my conviction that Romans 5:12 communicates that though sin entered the world through Adam, “all” die because “all” sin. Paul, in Romans 5, does not appear to communicate that we are all guilty of Adam’s sin. Instead, I believe he is communicating that we are each guilty of our own.

In Scripture, we see that the result of sin is death. The only answer, the only antidote, to that death is the life that is given by Jesus Christ on the cross.

The Apostle Paul does not appear to communicate that we are all guilty of Adam's sin. #originalsin Click To Tweet

Summing Up

In review, we have learned that sin is “missing the mark.” We understand that the consequence of missing the mark is death. Indeed, even now, the effects of sin are felt—guilt and separation from God. But thanks be to Christ Jesus who takes away the sin of the world.

Let’s Talk

How has understanding the Doctrine of Sin helped you in your Christian walk? I’d love to read your thoughts down in the comment section below. Want to talk this out? Feel free to email me at nathan@nathanfranckhauser.com.

Thanks be to Christ Jesus who takes away the sin of the world. #doctrineofsin Click To Tweet

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