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The contrariety of sin

 ·  ☕ 7 min read  ·  ✍️ noel

A few days back, I was thinking about the topic of sin. Exactly, what is sin? I thought about what people think sin is. Then I examined the bible to derive a definition of sin. What I found, I found to be very peculiar. In this blog, I will try to summarize my findings. So here we go.

What does sin mean? The common or popular meaning of the word “sin” is “doing something bad” or “doing something wrong”. At least, I think so.

Now, I’d like to mention what bible says about sin. Because, the concept of sin has it’s origin in the bible. Where in the bible does it originate? Let’s take a look at the fist verse in bible which contains the word “sin”.

Genesis 4:7: Is it not true that if you do what is right, you will be fine? But if you do not do what is right, sin is crouching at the door. It desires to dominate you, but you must subdue it.” (NETtext)

I am aware of one more verse in the bible that I think, defines sin.

James 4:17: So whoever knows what is good to do and does not do it is guilty of sin. (NETtext)

In Genesis 4:7, there is nothing written about doing something wrong or bad. There is no word like “wrong”, “bad” or “evil”. Though, the word “right” is used twice in the same verse. The verse says, if you do what is right, you will be fine. If you do not do what is right, only then sin comes into the picture.

In James 4:17 it says pretty much the same thing. However, introduces a new concept. The concept of knowledge. It says, knowing what is good and then not doing it, is sin. The definition of sin according to the bible can be stated like this: Presuming the knowledge of what is right, ceasing to do what is right is sin. (You might notice I did a trick there! I used the word “cease”. Keep that in mind. I will explain that trick later.)

So here are the definitions: * Popular definition: Doing something bad or doing something wrong. * Biblical definition: Presuming the knowledge of what is right, ceasing to do what is right is sin.

Notice that, in biblical definition, the anchor used to give definition to sin, is in fact, positive. In the first verse it uses the word “right”. In the second, it uses the word “good”. But the popular definition is not based on anything good. It is based on “bad” or “wrong”. Such contraries! When I see something like this, two questions come into my mind. Why and how.

However, in this case, I do not want to go into questions of why and how. Because if I were to cover them, I would have to write a very long post. And even after that, most of the answers would be guesswork. And that I don’t want to do. So instead of answering why and how, I’d like to focus on what does it mean to have these two different definitions. Are they pretty much the same thing or is there any difference between them. And if there is, what is it? There is a difference. The difference is this:

There are only 3 ways you can spend your time.

You can spend your time doing 1. Good things 2. Nothing 3. Bad things

But if you think about sin, there is no middle ground. Either you are doing sin, or you are not doing sin. Now according to the biblical definition, doing anything except what is right is sin. According to the popular definition, doing bad things is sin. So the difference is, biblical definition says idleness is also a sin. Popular definition says, doing nothing is ok. It is not a sin.

You might ask, wait a minute, are you saying that doing nothing is a sin? Yes and No. Yes, if doing nothing is wrong. For example, at your home, you have some work to do. However, you are not doing it but are lying in bed. Thinking about talking ponies and flying monkeys. So in fact, you are not doing anything. For that particular case, doing nothing is wrong. And because it is wrong, it is a sin.

The answer would be no if there is a good reason to do nothing. Like resting after a long day of work. When you are tired. But laziness is a sin. I think that is why bible also talks about a right time for everything in the third chapter of the book of Ecclesiastes. So that we understand when doing nothing is right and when it is wrong.

But, does doing nothing only includes laziness? No. Remember James 4:17. If you see someone doing something wrong, stopping them would be the right thing to do. Everybody knows that. But if you do not do anything to prevent that bad thing from happening you are also sinning along with the person who is doing the bad thing. Popular definition seems to say that it is ok to turn your eyes from injustice or inequity.

I think the current state of society is the consequence of this popular definition of sin. As long as you yourself don’t do anything wrong, you are a fine person. So it is ok when there is injustice done to someone else. As long as it is not you or your relative/friend, who cares?

But bible tells us something different entirely. Bible tells us to stand against injustice. I think we need to go back to the bible if we are to improve this corrupt society. We need to change our perspective about the basic topics as sin.

Now that we have established the differences and consequences of each definition, I’d like to come back to the biblical definition. Remember the trick? Well that is no trick at all(I do not do tricks. I’m a programmer not a magician). If you really think about it, if you “cease” to do what is right, you are certainly doing something wrong. But there is one another reason for me to use the word cease. It is this:

John 5:17: But Jesus answered them, My Father has worked [even] until now, [He has never ceased working; He is still working] and I, too, must be at [divine] work. (AMP)

God never stops working. He is always working on something. Something good. If our main goal as christians to be like Christ, we shouldn’t cease to do what is right either. And if we are to improve the current state of world, we need to be tireless. Relentless in our pursuit of righteousness.

So, now that we have finished the discussion, I’d like to address one more issue. How do we know when it is right to do nothing and when it is wrong? Let me tell you about a little test which I use to identify sin.How do I identify sin when I’m not sure? I ask myself two questions. 1. After doing this, will it make me want to hide myself?

It is important to note that after committing the very first sin, Adam hid himself. I don’t think he hid himself because he was naked(I think that was just his excuse for hiding from God, without revealing he did what God had forbidden), I think he hid himself because he was ashamed of himself. So if anything makes you hide yourself, it is a sin. 2. if someone finds out I did this, will I be making excuses in my defense?

You never have to defend your actions if you are right. The urge to defend your actions only comes when you have done something wrong. So if the answer to this question is yes, the action you are thinking about is probably wrong. So, this question is also another indicator of sin.

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