What is Sin? Part 1


Video from 3 Minute Theology


Psalm 51:5 5 Behold, I was brought forth in iniquity,

and in sin did my mother conceive me.


Sin was not part of the original creation, nor was it decreed by the Creator’s will. But what is sin? You and I both have it and do it, it comes naturally! But can we articulate what it is and what it does to us and our world?

The Bible makes it clear "Sin" did not originate with mankind but our common ancestors succumbed to it. Lucifer later called Satan (the accuser) was originally created good, as are all things created by God. Ezekiel 28:15 points us toward the origin of sin: “You were blameless in your ways from the day you were created till wickedness was found in you.” Isaiah 14:12-14 further indicates that Satan (Lucifer) sinned in his pride by his coveting of God’s throne. When he rebelled against God, Satan was ejected from heaven (Ezekiel 28:15-17; Timothy 3:6).

Ezekiel 28:13- 15 13 You were in Eden, the garden of God;

every precious stone was your covering,

sardius, topaz, and diamond,

beryl, onyx, and jasper,

sapphire, emerald, and carbuncle;

and crafted in gold were your settings

and your engravings.

On the day that you were created

they were …


Sin then is described in the Bible as transgression of the law of God (1 John 3:4) and rebellion against God (Deuteronomy 9:7; Joshua 1:18). Sin has traditionally been separated into 3 types which you and I have. Inherited sin from Adam, Imputed sin and personal sin.

All humans, from Adam to Moses, would die, not because of their sinful acts against the Mosaic Law (which was not created yet), but because of their own inherited sinful nature. After Moses, humans were subject to death because of inherited sin from Adam and imputed sin from violating the laws of God.

Sin sometimes is defined as the absence of good or a broken Will.

Theologian Elenore Stump defines our sin this way: "The problem with a defect in the will is not that there is an inability to will what one ought to will because of some external restraint on the will, but that one does not and will not will what one ought to will because the will itself is bent towards evil. Consequently, changing the will is the end for which we are seeking the means; if one were willing to change one’s will by willing what one ought to will, there would be no problem of a defect in the will. Self-repair, then, is no more a solution to the problem of a defective will than is God’s miraculous intervention."


God used the principle of imputation to benefit mankind when He imputed the sin of all believers to the account of Jesus Christ, who paid the penalty for that sin (death on the cross). Imputing our sin to Jesus, God treated Him as if He were a sinner, though He was not, and had Him die for the sins of the entire world (1 John 2:2).


It is important to understand that sin was imputed or credited to Christ, He did not inherit it from Adam. He accepted the penalty for ALL sin, but He never became a sinner. His pure and perfect nature was untouched by sin. He was treated as though He were guilty of all the sins ever committed by the human race, even though He committed none. Imagine for a moment every sin perpetrated by every human from the beginning of time until the second coming, and Christ experienced the pain, shame and disgust of all of them all at once!

In exchange, God the Father then credited the righteousness of Christ to all believers and credited our lives with His righteousness, just as He had credited our sins to Christ (2 Corinthians 5:21).


How then does Adam’s sin effect us since our history with sin predates us.

Immediately after the fall God the Son became our mediator and the plan for salvation was set in motion. Remembering now that by virtue of God's attributes he sees all of Humanity in Time all at once and His ongoing plan is present to Him all at once.

We can see throughout the Old Testament how the pre-incarnate Christ Jesus was active and present, (The Angel of the Lord etc.) helping us along until his incarnation and even now Christ is active in all things!

How then did Adam’s sin become ours? How is it that “one trespass led to condemnation for all mankind,” that “by one man’s disobedience many were made sinners” (Romans 5:18–19)?

Our representative failed to stand up against Lucifer's temptation to do what he did, to rebel and sin.

This is the result: “None is righteous, no, not one; no one understands; no one seeks for God. All have turned aside; together they have become worthless; no one does good, not even one” (Romans 3:10–12). Our hearts are deceitful above all things and desperately sick (Jeremiah 17:9). We are born in sin (Psalm 51:5).

We have all been born into the slave market of sin. This world has been allowed by God to be ruled by the powers and the principalities but only per his plan. They were defeated but they continue as we Christ's Disciples work with Him and the Person of the Holy Spirt to bring the Lost to salvation.

You see we are so used to being sinful by nature we think its normal but it is NOT! When we forget we are born into sin, guilty and corrupt through Adam we become tacit followers of Satan. Our need for Jesus changes based on circumstances and we then are tempted, intellectually or practically, with the false notion that we can earn God’s acceptance by our good works.

"Original sin’s deniers like to claim that the doctrine does bad things, or at least discourages us from doing good things. It deals death. So they tell us. But over and over in Jacobs’ account, we meet well-intentioned characters, only to find their happier, gentler anthropologies turning sour, leading to (or at least abetting) anarchy, eugenics, despair. Perhaps the greatest irony in this history is the discovery that knowledge of original sin gives life—by revealing us to ourselves, yes, but also by grounding a sense of universal human kinship.... Truly a revolutionary thought—that the roots of our common humanity might be found, not in our dignity or even our potential, but in our depravity." From the book: Original Sin: A Cultural History by Professor Alan Jacobs


Now there are some who will argue with the Doctrine of Original Sin, in Part 2 we will look briefly at that point of view.

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