It is generally agreed that the essence of sin is to do that (or not do that) which displeases God – to disobey Him. And sin separates us from God. It’s not that God turns His back; it’s that we turn our backs on Him when we disobey and choose our own way instead of His.
The remedy for sin is repentance, to turn around from our own path and direct ourselves to God.
In the Old Testament, God laid out several different types of sin, and several types of sacrifice to symbolize repentance.
Now that Jesus Christ has become our Final Sacrifice, we no longer follow the Old Testament sacrifice covenant – it is no longer needed, since Jesus paid the price for sin in full when He died for us.
In 1John 1.9, God tells us, “If we confess our sins, he is faithful and just to forgive us our sins, and to cleanse us from all unrighteousness.”
When we sin, it is important to recognize that we have sinned, acknowledge our sin, confess it to God, and repent. Why is this necessary, if God has already forgiven us through Jesus? Because when we sin, we distort our relationship with God; and we want a right relationship with Him so that we may live life abundantly. (John 15.10, 11 If ye keep my commandments, ye shall abide in my love; even as I have kept my Father’s commandments, and abide in his love. These things have I spoken unto you, that my joy might remain in you, and that your joy might be full.)
- Sin in ignorance
- We don’t even know we sinned, but we did. Examples: Our words may offend when we say something without knowing the situation. We leave the store with something stuck in the cart that we forgot to show the cashier. We forget a loved one’s important date.
For these, we must ask the Spirit to convict us where needed, and confess that we sin in ignorance. Ask the Spirit to show you how to rectify, if needed.
- Give in to temptation
- Sometimes we sin because we are weak.
Ask the Spirit to strengthen you, that you will live in the strength of Him.
- Sometimes we sin in rebellion. (I don’t care if this is wrong! I want it anyway!”)
Pray Psalm 51.10 Create in me a clean heart, O God; and renew a right spirit within me.
- Sin from selfish ambition
- We see something we want (or don’t want to happen), and we manipulate to achieve our goals.
Pray, “Not my will, but Thine be done, O Lord.”
- Sin in our hearts
- When we judge others, it is a sin in our hearts. Other examples: We have a dirty rotten attitude toward a friend or family member and think we’re not sinning because we’re still smiling and being “kind.” Looking with lust. Imagining illicit activities.
Memorize Scripture, let it fill your thoughts. Psalm 119.11 Thy word have I hid in mine heart, that I might not sin against thee.
- Sin in emotional struggle
- Whether in anger or heat of passion, in turmoil or pain, we can say or do things that normally lie outside our personal makeup.
Proverbs 4.23 Guard your heart with all diligence, for from it flow springs of life.
If your heart is pure, then what comes out in a squeeze will be pure.
- Bringing someone else into sin
- We have no right to entice or drag anyone else into sin. Examples: luring someone into an affair; sharing your drugs or pornography or alcoholism; talking someone weaker into evil / having someone do our dirty work.
1 John 4.11 Beloved, if God so loved us, we ought also to love one another.
- Sin from evil ambition
- In our hearts, we wish destruction or evil on another.
Pray Matthew 6.13 And lead us not into temptation, but deliver us from evil: For thine is the kingdom, and the power, and the glory, for ever. Amen.
- Defying God
- Some people willingly, openly, and brazenly act to defy God. They blaspheme the Holy Spirit and set themselves up as gods.
Matthew 12.31 says, “Wherefore I say unto you, All manner of sin and blasphemy shall be forgiven unto men; but the blasphemy against the Holy Ghost shall not be forgiven unto men.”
1John 5.16 says, “If any man see his brother sin a sin which is not unto death, he shall ask, and he shall give him life for them that sin not unto death. There is a sin unto death: I do not say that he shall pray for it.”
- Sin of omission
- If we simply forget to do something, this falls under the first item in the list, Sin in ignorance.
- However, if we know to do something right, and decide not to, that is sin of omission. (James 4.17 Therefore to him that knoweth to do good, and doeth it not, to him it is sin.) Examples: We feel directed to pray for a certain circumstance, and decide not to. God guides our attention to someone in need, and we ignore the need. We know our duty, and neglect it (i.e., reading our Bibles or attending church). Ingratitude falls in this category (1 Thessalonians 5.18 In every thing give thanks: for this is the will of God in Christ Jesus concerning you.)
Pray without ceasing (1Thessalonians 5.17).
- Sin of deceit
- Any one of the types of sin may involve deceit, whether we are attempting to deceive others or deceive ourselves. We may purposefully “forget” to do something we know we should. We may lie to ourselves that “giving in this once” won’t matter. We may lie to people in order to stir up dissension or get something we want.
Proverbs 12.20 Deceit is in the hearts of those who devise evil, but the counselors of peace have joy.
Fall on your face before our mighty and gracious God. Search your heart. Ask God to search your heart: Psalm 139.23, 24 Search me, O God, and know my heart: try me, and know my thoughts: And see if there be any wicked way in me, and lead me in the way everlasting.
Look up Psalm 51. King David wrote it, and he knew sin in his heart. He also knew Who to give it to.