Five-year old Blessy came back from school scared that day. The Dictation answer sheets had been distributed in class and she had committed two mistakes, thus losing two marks. She thought she had written all correct spellings and hoped to score full marks. Now what awaited her was a nice piece of her mother’s mind. She debated within herself whether to show the answer sheet to her mother or hide it. Finally she decided to show it. After all, her mother was going to find it sooner or later! With shaky hands and lowered eyes, she extended the answer sheet to her mother after dinner – all the time thinking what excuse she could give. Her wise mother brought out the text book from the school bag, turned to the chapter, showed Blessy the correct spellings and explained that anything other than those mentioned spellings, are wrong.
We use these words interchangeably in our everyday lives to indicate any deviation from the norm. Anything that is not correct, is considered incorrect. Anything that is not right, is considered wrong. To declare whether something is incorrect or wrong or erroneous, we need to have the knowledge of what is correct or right or the norm. Absence of standards renders mistakes/errors/wrongs into irrelevance – just as without traffic rules, adherence to / violation of traffic rules is insignificant.
AN UNCHANGEABLE STANDARD
Violation of absolute moral laws put in place by the Creator is called sin. All moral law begins with God. We cannot speak of sin without mentioning God. It is because of the presence of a self-existing and pre-existing God, that there are absolute moral laws in place for the whole of mankind even before civilizations emerged. Culture defines civilizations. Education and development refine human functioning. Awareness empowers the human mind. The Constitution of a country establishes the law of the land. All such standards are very essential for the civilized functioning and growth of the human race. However, they are subject to modifications and amendments according to the changing times. To give an example – today we have Cyber Crime cells in place, in the law and order systems of most countries; decades before, they were non-existent. God’s moral laws, however, are uniformly meant for the entire mankind for all times to come irrespective of nationality, ethnicity, sex, race, caste, language, socio-economic status or occupation. That is why God’s laws are absolute! His standards are unchangeable even in the changing times. This is because, God Himself doesn’t change.
In the Bible, God declares, “For I am the Lord, I change not.”
Hence, violation of God’s standards, is sin.
ALL SIN IS SIN AGAINST GOD
We cannot substitute words like ‘mistake’, ‘error’, ‘wrong’, for sin. These substitute terms hold good for violation of human standards. But, not to refer to the violation of the absolute moral standards of God. Hence, mere euphemisms do not reduce the gravity of violating God’s standards. All sin, whether it harms us or others or no one in particular, is ultimately against the Holy God.
A PERVERSION OF GOD’S DESIGN
Human beings have been created in God’s image to reflect His glory. What a high mandate for us! No sin dwells in God. Hence, no sin ought to find place in our lives. But when we sin, we mar the very image of God and raise our hands against God’s glory. We attempt to distort God’s design!
NO EXCUSE FOR SIN
The legal frameworks of many countries have the provision of not convicting people accused of legal aberrations if they are in the ripe old age. The heads of countries and certain government officials enjoy legal immunity till they are in power, for any action of omission or commission. However, there is no excuse whatsoever for sin against God. A sinful man is without excuse. Sin is sin irrespective of the age at which it is committed or the circumstances under which it may be committed. Because we have been created in the image of God, we have His moral law etched in our hearts. This rules out ignorance / lack of awareness as an excuse for sin.
The Bible says, “For since the creation of the world God’s invisible qualities—his eternal power and divine nature—have been clearly seen, being understood from what has been made, so that people are without excuse.”
SIN CAN NEVER BE HIDDEN
“For there is nothing hidden that will not be disclosed, and nothing concealed that will not be known or brought out into the open.”
All sinful deeds committed under the table, behind closed doors, in the darkest corners, in mountain holes or in the deep seas stand exposed before the Omniscient God. People around us may remain ignorant of the petty or humongous misdeeds committed by us. But, you and I can never escape the All-seeing eyes of the One who watches everything.
SIN HAS CONSEQUENCES – ON EARTH AS WELL AS IN ETERNITY
A spelling mistake in exam would result in less marks and scolding from parents/tutors. A typo in an important document would lead an employee to wash his/her hands off the job. A misprint in the wedding invitation card may lead guests to land up at the wrong venue. Similarly, sin’s consequences are inescapable. To give an example – A person fiddling with multiple sexual partners is bound to suffer from STDs, apart from other social and emotional consequences.
“For God will bring every deed into judgment, including every hidden thing…”
INTENSITY IS NOT THE DEFINING PRINCIPLE OF SIN
A sin is a sin if it violates God’s standards, no matter whether it is measured as big or small by the world. And God’s standards are really high. The Bible says –
“You have heard that it was said to the people long ago, ‘You shall not murder, and anyone who murders will be subject to judgment.’ But I tell you that anyone who is angry with a brother or sister will be subject to judgment.”
“You have heard that it was said, ‘You shall not commit adultery.’ But I tell you that anyone who looks at a woman lustfully has already committed adultery with her in his heart.”
So, if we have been categorizing murder, robbery, rape as grave sins and dismissing petty lies, cheating, anger, bribery as circumstantial acts of misdeed, it’s time for a reality check!
As long as we are in the flesh, we are susceptible to sin. The Bible says, “…each person is tempted when they are dragged away by their own evil desire and enticed. Then, after desire has conceived, it gives birth to sin…”
It is easy to brush aside this whole concept of sin which tends to make one pretty uncomfortable. But, it is not right to live each day ignoring the fact that we may be sinning in multiple ways. Such an understanding would ultimately lead to a doomed eternity, as our sinful thoughts, words and actions are bound to come before us one day. Sin calls for repentance and repentance leads to seeking forgiveness from God and man.
Friends, living in sin equals to dying to God. Let’s not mess with sin. Let’s seek to remove the shadow of sin from our lives.