“What is sin?”
That was the question I asked when I first began to understand the crucial relevance of the Bible, and the reality of Saviour Yahushua Messiah [the Hebrew name for Jesus Christ].
I think I’m not alone with this basic question, “What is sin?”
Those who have had little or no exposure to the teachings of the Holy Scriptures, do not understand what God requires for us to walk with Him.
In my early years, I was far from any understanding of the Creator of the Universe. But, when I became Born-Again, and met the Saviour, Yahushua Messiah, then He opened my eyes to begin to understand the Scriptures, and my life changed dramatically.
As I studied the Words of the Bible, I had an inner thundering ‘Yes!’ within my soul, to the truth of the Scriptures! The words of the Bible confirmed my innermost thoughts about countless things; thoughts that I had previously pondered and recognized, yet I chose to ignore and deny.
However, the question, “What is sin?” remained a mystery to me.
I knew that sin was something to avoid. But I wondered . . .
Was committing sin merely making a mistake? Was sin overstepping of an invisible boundary? Was it a matter of ‘missing a target’? Was sin something that seemed bad to some, but was okay to others?
More important, “How does God define sin?”
I wondered what it meant for Yahushua to ‘take away my sin’ (1John 3:5).
And if I am to ‘confess my sin’ (1John 1:9), then I need to know what sin is!
It became clear to me that understanding ‘what sin is‘ is a basic and necessary factor for abiding, and staying in, my relationship with my heavenly Father, the Holy One of Israel, Yahuwah Elohim [the Hebrew name for the LORD God].
But the question remained, “What exactly is sin?”
For me, the break-through came when I discovered a verse in the Bible in 1John, chapter 3. It was there that I found God’s definition for sin:
Whosoever committeth sin transgresseth also the law: for sin is the transgression of the law. (1John 3:4)
That little verse made everything so much clearer!
Transgression means to violate or break God’s law or boundary — sin is violating or breaking God’s Law.
I soon learned that this English word ‘law’ stands for the Hebrew word Torah.
Sin is breaking Yahuwah’s Torah.
So I began to search, and I began to learn what ‘Torah’ means.
Once I began to understand that the English word for ‘Law’ is the Hebrew word for ‘the Torah of Yahuwah’, then I began to truly understand what sin is! I began to understand that many times I had unknowingly committed sin. But now, I could begin to avoid those things, by His grace and mercy!
The Hebrew word ‘Torah’ means — Father’s loving teachings, instructions, and guidelines.
The Torah is God’s eternal teachings, commandments, and instructions for His children! In other words, the Torah reveals Father’s ‘House Rules’ for His family.
And, as the Scriptures tell us, any transgression (disobedience) of Yahuwah’s Law [His Torah] is sin.
Transgression of the Torah
When we commit a sin [transgression of the Torah of Yahuwah], whether knowingly or unknowingly, we have gone our own way, we have strayed off God’s pathway, and, most likely, stubbornly refused to follow God’s good and right way. Thus we are separated from Yahuwah Elohim.
Why are we separated?
Because God is the holy, pure, righteous, and sin-less Creator.
Sin is abhorrent and detestable to Yahuwah [the LORD]! Sin makes you and me unfit for fellowship with God — unfit for everlasting life (John 3:36).
Sin is entirely grieving and abominable to Father, and therefore sin separates us from the presence of the pure and holy God:
But your iniquities [sins] have separated between you and your God, and your sins have hid his face from you, that he will not hear. (Isaiah 59:2)
Your sins have withheld good things from you. (Jeremiah 5:25b)
As the Scriptures tell us, our sins cause the Father to hide His face from us, so that He will not hear us.
But . . . because He loves us dearly, He does not want this separation that our sin causes!
Yahuwah, the heavenly Father, wants to END this separation between Him and us! He has sent us His Word to explain to us how to end the separation. The separation ends when we submit to Yahuwah, and receive His remedy for reconciliation.
Father’s reconciliation comes only through the Saviour, Messiah Yahushua, who is without sin! Yahushua [Jesus] came to this earth in order to completely remove our sin (1John 3:5)!
Yahushua came to redeem us [purchase us] by His precious blood (1Peter 1:18-19) and reconcile us to God!
Consequently, when we come to Yahushua with a truly repentant heart, and we confess our sin to Him, then we can receive Father’s forgiveness and be cleansed: He is faithful and righteous to forgive us our sins, and to cleanse us from all unrighteousness (1John 1:9).
The LORD [Yahuwah] is nigh [near] unto them that are of a broken heart; and saveth such as be of a contrite [sorrowful] spirit. (Psalms 34:18)
As this verse tells us, it is our true repentance and brokenness over our sin that brings us back into closeness — back into a loving relationship with Yahuwah.
The next time we wonder or agonize over the question “What is sin?”, let us remember God’s definition of sin:
Whosoever commits sin transgresses also the law: for sin is the transgression of the law. (1John 3:4)
With this definition, we need only to search the Scriptures [from the beginning, where the Torah begins], to see what we can do to avoid sin.
What God considers to be sin is so important for us to understand.
All of us, at one time or another [more often than we would like to admit], have committed sin (1Kings 8:46a; Isaiah 53:6a)!
All of us should earnestly want to avoid sin!
Once we truly understand what sin is, we have a greater and more perfect understanding of our need to learn [and obey] God’s ‘Law’ — that is, learn and obey the ‘Torah’ of Yahuwah! The Torah is Father’s guidelines and instructions for His children (See Psalms 119:1-4; Psalms 119:34,100).
With Father’s help [His grace], we can be obedient to His Word, and thereby, avoid any separation from Him. That’s why He has told us:
He which has called you is holy, so be ye holy in all manner of conversation [conduct or behaviour]; Because it is written, Be ye holy; for I am holy. (1Peter 1:15, 16)
It is in the ‘Old Testament’ writings where we learn many of Father’s ‘House Rules’ [the Torah], as well as learn to discern His wishes for His children!
The Torah is where we learn Yahuwah’s guidelines and instructions.
Therefore, we must learn Father’s Word, from the beginning, so that we can learn how to live a life that is holy — a life that is truly pleasing to our heavenly Father, by observing His Ways:
My son, give me thine heart, and let thine eyes observe my ways. (Proverbs 23:26)
And whatsoever we ask, we receive of Him, because we keep His commandments, and do those things that are pleasing in His sight. (1John 3:22)
Learning what is in both the Old and the New Testaments is essential in our walk with Father, as the above verses teach us. Learning, and following, Father’s full instructions brings into a greater understanding in our walk with Messiah.
The FULL counsel of the Scriptures is why the apostle Paul tells us:
ALL Scripture is given by inspiration of God, and is profitable for doctrine, for reproof, for correction, for instruction in righteousness (2Timothy 3:16).
For I delight in the law [Torah] of God… (Romans 7:22a).
The apostle Paul knew that the instructions from the Torah, along with the conviction of the Holy Spirit, would reveal any sin in his life.
To maintain his closeness with Messiah, Paul knew the fundamental principle of 1John 1:7-9:
If we walk in the light, as He is in the light, we have fellowship one with another, and the blood of Yahushua Messiah [Jesus Christ] His Son cleanses us from all SIN [disobedience of Torah]. If we say that we have no SIN [disobedience of Torah], we deceive ourselves, and the truth is not in us. If we confess our SINS [our disobediences of Torah], He is faithful and just to forgive us our SINS, and to cleanse us from all unrighteousness (1John 1:7-9).
Showing Our Love
When we begin to learn what the Torah says, we can then begin to be obedient.
Being obedient, by Yahuwah’s enabling grace, is the key to knowing the many wonderful things that Father desires for His children. We will also have a deeper understanding of how to show our love for Father:
If you love me, keep my commandments. (John 14:15)
And hereby we do know that we know Him, if we keep His commandments. He that says, I know Him, and keeps not His commandments, is a liar, and the truth is not in him. But whoso keeps His word, in him truly is the love of God perfected: hereby [by this] we know that we are in Him. (1John 2:3-5)
As these verses teach us, Yahushua Messiah — Who is the Living Torah, the WORD made flesh, the Living Bread from Heaven (John 1:14 and 6:32, 33, 48, 51) — told us The Way we can show our love for Him — by keeping His commandments!
Our obedience is the measure of our love for Him.
Even when we fail in our obedience, Father has graciously provided forgiveness for our sins whenever we confess and forsake them (Proverbs 28:13; 1John 1:9).
The cleansing of our sins by the precious blood of Yahushua enables us to return to our closeness with Father, and restore our relationship with Him.
As we grow in our knowledge and obedience to Father’s commandments, we can, more and more, walk in what Yahushua calls “The Patience of the Saints”:
Here is the patience of the saints: here are they that keep the commandments of God, and the faith of Yahushua [Jesus]. (Revelation 14:12)
It is truly a delight and a blessing to be obedient to the Torah of Yahuwah (see: Deuteronomy 28)!
Knowing and keeping the Law [the Torah], is a central and vital key to doing those things that please Father (1John 3:22).
As I have said, it is in the Torah where we learn Father’s ‘House Rules’ for His family, and thereby we can learn and understand what sin is — the transgression of the law [Torah].
By knowing and obeying Father’s House Rules, we can seek to avoid sin, and thus maintain our closeness with Yahuwah.
If we will seek Father’s help and grace with a true and sincere heart, then by His mercy, we will be enabled to keep ourselves pure, and we can avoid what sin is!
- If You Are Not Sure If You Born-Again, see: Good News
- “Sin No More”
- Learn More About Keeping His Commandments: That It May Be Well With You
- A Further Look at Scripture regarding Sin: Sin: According to the Scriptures
- Forgiveness: A Two-Way Street
- What Is The Purpose of The Torah?
- The Ten Commandments
- The Fountain of The Water of Life
- Be Ye Therefore. . .
- Turning From Darkness to Light – a key safeguard for Father’s children
- Overcoming Sin? Just Do It!
- Light Arises in the Darkness for the Upright