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WHAT IS SIN? by Pastor George Burkinshaw

Updated: Sep 19, 2019


JOB 13:23 "How many are mine iniquities and sins? make me to know my transgressions and my sin."




What is Sin? Webster's dictionary defines sin as the transgression of the law of God, and that is exactly what the Bible teaches. "Whosoever committeth sin transgresseth also the law: for sin is the transgression of the law." 1John 3:4 While most understand this simple truth, the Bible also tells us in the book of Romans that every person has sinned before God. "For all have sinned and come short of the Glory of God." Romans 3:23 Yet today, many people claim they are not sinners. This attitude should be considered extremely disturbing and alarming to us, for people who think in this manner must either be a law unto themselves, or so ignorant of moral right and wrong that they should be considered dangerous and detrimental to a lawful people.


Sin is and always has been the violation of God's laws that govern our morality and instruct us in that which is right or wrong. To claim that a person has never sinned at some time, or many times in their life, is nothing more than a bold lie and extreme ignorance of morality. 1John 1:8 "if we say that we have no sin, we deceive ourselves and the truth is not in us." Both liars and willfully ignorant people are detrimental to the common good of our nation and community. If freedom as we have known it is to last in this nation, it is imperative that men understand sin and its detrimental effect on all men, whether it be in this life or in the life to come.


Godly wisdom instructs us to understand that the most wicked of mortal men are those who refuse to admit that they have ever violated divine law. Those who refuse to admit sin or error ensure they will never be able to receive correction or instruction because of their attitude of rebellion. Job said of these: "For he addeth rebellion unto his sin, he clappers his hands among us, and multiplieth his words against God." Job 34:37. The reason many refuse to admit sin and accept God's moral standard in their lives is they have set their own personal standards above God's. Malachi 3:14 "Ye have said, It is vain to serve God: and what profit is it that we have kept his ordinance, and that we have walked mournfully before the Lord of hosts?" Also we find in Proverbs 15:10 that "Correction is grievous unto him that forsaketh the way: and he that hateth reproof shall die." To me, it seems strange that many mortal men with short and limited life spans believe they know more than an eternal God who has created the universe and them. Yet, many men do. Proverbs 14:12 "There is a way which seemeth right unto man, but the end thereof are the ways of death."


This, then, is most often a man's basis for complete rejection of a Holy God to rule over his life and the reason scriptures condemn men to eternal damnation. Proverbs 15:31-32 "The ear that heareth the reproof of life abideth among the wise. He that refuseth instruction despiseth his own soul:" It is not that God is not merciful to our sins, or unable to forgive our transgressions that many receive eternal damnation. It is man's unwillingness to acknowledge his sin and accept God's moral righteousness above his own that alienates man from God. The correct attitude is found in the words of the Psalmist. "Wash me throughly from mine iniquity, and cleanse me from my sin. For I acknowledge my transgressions: and my sin is ever before me." Psalm 51:2-3


God has provided man a complete and righteous means of reconciliation through the death, burial and resurrection of His Son, our Lord and Savior, Jesus Christ. The Biblical way of redemption and reconciliation is simply the substitute of a righteous, sinless man for sinful men. 2Corinthians 5:21 "For he hath made him to be sin for us, who knew no sin; that we might be made the righteousness of God in him."


Now then, what is Sin? I believe most people understand that sin is the violation of God's commandments. Where this is true, the problem in our modern world of Biblical ignorance is that many people limit sin only to the first ten commandments found in the book of Exodus. those that do so, error greatly in not fully comprehending God's word and the doctrine of sin. This can lead individuals to develop a false belief that he or she is not guilty of committing sin because they have not broken a major commandment. this is a grave error, for the Bible clearly declares that the violation of any law is to be considered a violation of all. James 20:10 "For whosever shall keep the whole law, and yet offend in one point, he is guilty of all."




The first Ten Commandments are only set apart in that they are the basis of all moral law. This does not mean that other laws are inferior or to some degree less important. In fact in the realm of retribution, many of God's other laws have even more severe penalties. For example, the eighth commandment, "Thou shalt not steal", is found to only carry a penalty of restitution which is a pay back of five times for grand theft and four times for petty theft. Exodus 22:1-4 "If a man shall steal an ox, or a sheep, and kilt, or sell it; he shall restore five oxen for and ox, and four sheep for a sheep,". While sins such as striking mother or father and kidnapping demanded a death penalty from the courts of law, Exodus 21:15-16 "And he that smiteth his mother or father shall surely be put to death."


Sin begins when a man does not love God with his whole heart, mind, body and soul. Matt 23:37 "Jesus said unto him, Thou shalt love the lord thy God with all they heart, and with all they soul, and with all thy mind." If men were true to the first commandment then men would never sin. Jesus also said the same when he said that if we loved him we would keep his commandments. Therefore, sin enters into us when we fail to love our God supremely as required by the first commandment.


Once sin enters into the heart of men they then begin to develop a secret pride due to training, success, appearance, birth, sex, etc. Biblical examples of malignant pride are: King Nebuchadnezzar, Dan 4:30 "The King spake, and said, is not this great Babylon, that I have built for the house of the kingdom by the might of my power, and for the honor of my majesty?" Which shows that the king in all his arrogant pride, like most men, knew little of God or the Bible. Deut 8:18a "But thou shalt remember the Lord thy God: for it is he that giveth thee power to get wealth."


The first ever sin committed was a sin of pride and rebellion against God by the devil himself. Isaiah 14:12-19 "How art thou fallen from heaven, O Lucifer, son of the morning! how art thou cut down to the ground, which didst weaken the nations! For thou hast said in thine heart, I will ascend into heaven, I will exalt my throne above the stars of God: I will sit also upon the mount of the congregation, in the sides of the north: I will ascend above the heights of the clouds; I will be like the most High. Yet thou shalt be brought down to hell, to the sides of the pit. They that see thee, and consider thee, saying, Is this the man that made the earth to tremble, that did shake kingdoms; That made the world as a wilderness, and destroyed the cities thereof; that opened not the house of his prisoners? All kings of the nations, even all of them, lie in glory, every one in his own house. But thou art cast out of thy grave like an abominable branch, and as the raiment of those that are slain, thrust through with a sword, that go down to the stones of the pit; as a carcase trodden under feet." So the word of God warns man in Proverbs 18:12 that, "Before destruction the heart of man is haughty and before honor is humility."


From here the course of man is degenerative as he now develops and fosters an independent, important spirit set aside from God. Non will show this irreverent attitude better than Pharaoh, Exodus 5:2 "And Pharaoh said; Who is the Lord, that I should obey his voice to let Israel go? I know not the Lord, neither will I let Israel go."


Jesus taught that Sin is more than just the violation of God's commandments. It is much deeper. Matt 5:27-28 "Ye have heard that it was said by them of old time, Thou shalt not commit adultery: But I say unto you, that whosever locket on a woman to lust after her hath committed adultery with her already in his heart." Sin, then, must simply be the unrighteous and unholy attitude within the heart of men against the authority and holiness of God and his moral laws. It must be obvious my now that men would never devise a law against lust or adultery since all men by their nature have participated in the first and many others in the second.This sin is most often committed with complete disregard to the many innocent and helpless victims that will be hurt while those in transgressions satisfy their personal desires! "A scorner loveth not one that reproveth him: neither will he go unto the wise." Proverbs 15:12


Now men are to hold other men accountable for open violations of God's laws as well as establishing necessary laws instituted by men for the welfare of all. this is done by setting up governments to restrain and punish the violators of the law and NOT by self appointed enforcers. In America, the great majority of our laws come from the Bible, but not all Bible laws are the laws of America. This is important to understand. For, while the citizens of America do not hold men accountable for the violation of all Biblical sins, God still does and will. At Judgement Day, God will hold all men accountable for every violation of individual moral conduct.


Our founding forefathers did not disregard the twenty-three death penalties of the old testament law because they believed them harsh or unjust, but felt that the potential for misuse by men was greater than the benefit their enforcement would be to humanity. Example: Exodus 22:18 "Thou shalt not suffer a witch to live." Black witchcraft has always had at the center of its worship human sacrifice along with many other immoral acts. Therefore the Bible justly held a death penalty for the practice of witchcraft. In the dark ages the state churches very often brought charges of witchcraft against many that disagreed with them in theology. Many individuals of different creeds found themselves tried as witches. This religious fervor also found itself in America with the Salem witch trials. Therefor our Government, desiring to grant relies freedoms to all, has no penalty for the practice of witchcraft.


As an American citizen practicing religious freedom, I am very happy we have chosen this course for our nation. As a Biblical pastor, it is my duty to warn men that God still considers witchcraft an immoral sin as well as homosexuality, beastiality, kidnapping, adultery, rape, incest. etc. To express it another way, ...because its legal in America does not mean it is moral or accepted by God!


Are you a sinner?! Christ Jesus came into the world to save sinners. Jesus said "I have not come to call the righteous but sinners to repentance!" What does God want from a man? Only to acknowledge his sins and turn from them. "For I will declare mine iniquity; I will be sorry for my sin!" Psalm 38:18

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