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The Definition of Sin

The Definition of Sin

What’s the definition of sin? How can we describe it?

If we look at what the Bible says, we understand that sin is breaking God’s laws. But is that really all what it is? Is it only about breaking the Ten Commandments? Or is all sin really something deeper?

Let’s take a look at Jeremiah 2:12-13. “Be astonished, O heavens, at this, And be horribly afraid; Be very desolate,” says the Lord. “For My people have committed two evils: They have forsaken Me, the fountain of living waters, And hewn for themselves cisterns– broken cisterns that can hold no water.”

The Bible likes to talk a lot about living water. Jesus said He came to bring living water to the thirsty. He said we would never become thirsty again if we drank it. He also said that if we abode in Him, our hearts would become fountains of living water, from where it would spring out toward others.

Do you really think that this was talking about real water that we can see? Of course not. Every time living water is mentioned, it’s talking about the love of God. Having living water means finding our entire purpose for our lives in God alone and loving God and your neighbours more than yourself.

The Definition of Sin

What does this have to do with the definition of sin though? Read the verse again. God said that His people committed two kinds of sin. They left Him, and they tried to make cisterns for themselves. If you’re not sure what it is, a cistern is like a well to hold water.

Every form of evil you can imagine breaks down into these two things.

  • Leaving God
  • Trying to be satisfied with something else

These are the two greatest evils a man can do, because they are the only evil man can do. All evil falls into this category.

Think about the first sin. Was it only about not obeying when God had said no? No. Wasn’t it much more about wanting something different than God already was? They wanted to be like God. They weren’t satisfied with who God already was for them. Isn’t it the same for us today?

Think Deeper

Every evil is committed by believing a lie that the sin will be more satisfying than God. We believe that the instant pleasures of sin are greater than what God is to us. This is what God said when the Israelites failed over and over again. They constantly turned to other idols, thinking that the idols were greater than God.

We fall into the same trap. We often place things as more important than God. God should be more valuable to us than our life itself. When we continue searching for that level of love toward God, He will give it to us according to the promise in Hebrews 11:6. That is how Paul was able to say, “For me to live is Christ, and to die is gain.” He loved God more than anything, even life itself.

If we think that anything else will satisfy us more than God, we’ve committed sin. So search and pray for a new level of love toward God that surpasses everything in this life.

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