What is sin?

1 Corinthians 15:56  The sting of death is sin; and the strength of sin is the law.

1 Corinthians 15:56 The sting of death is sin; and the strength of sin is the law.

In other words, what things does the Bible teach is wrong for us to do?

Galatians 5:19-21 gives a list of some things that are wrong.

19 Now the works of the flesh are manifest, which are these; Adultery, fornication, uncleanness, lasciviousness,

20 Idolatry, witchcraft, hatred, variance, emulations, wrath, strife, seditions, heresies,

21 Envyings, murders, drunkenness, revellings, and such like: of the which I tell you before, as I have also told you in time past, that they which do such things shall not inherit the kingdom of God.


What in the world do these different terms mean? It would be a big help to look at the definitions of these many different terms.

Adultery – A married person having an intimate relationship with someone other than their spouse.

Fornication – A sexual relationship outside of the bond of marriage.

Uncleanness – Not pure physically or morally.

Lasciviousness – Lustful desires.

Idolatry – Worshipping something that is not God.

Witchcraft – Worship of or entertainment of Satanic forces.


Variance – Contentious, argumentative; (not easy to get along with).

Emulations – Striving to always be better than others.

Wrath – Anger

Strife – To fight.

Seditions – To incite rebellion against authority, usually against government.

Heresies – To lead people by teaching things that do not line up with the Bible.

Envyings – Jealousy; to desire to have what someone else has.



Revellings – Rough and riotous partying.

Verse 21 says that the people who do these things do not inherit God’s kingdom!  This list of the works of the flesh are what we would call sin.  This is not saying that a Christian will never do these things, but it is saying that the Christian’s life will not be characterized by these things.  There should be some consistent victories in the battle against these fleshly lusts in the Christian’s life.

There are some other sins we could look at as well.  The Ten Commandments list a few more.

Exodus 20:7 Thou shalt not take the name of the LORD thy God in vain; for the LORD will not hold him guiltless that taketh his name in vain.

Using God’s name irreverently is forbidden by the Ten Commandments.  We should use the words “God”, “Lord”, and “Jesus” with great respect when we use them in our speech and writing.  Using these words in vain means to use them emptily.  We should not use God’s name unless we are talking to God or about God.

Exodus 20:8-10
8 Remember the sabbath day, to keep it holy.
9 Six days shalt thou labour, and do all thy work:
10 But the seventh day is the sabbath of the LORD thy God: in it thou shalt not do any work, thou, nor thy son, nor thy daughter, thy manservant, nor thy maidservant, nor thy cattle, nor thy stranger that is within thy gates:

There needs to be one day of rest every week that we use to honor the Lord.  After Jesus rose from the dead the early church began to meet on Sunday.  That is why so many churches meet on Sunday today.  For many Christians, Sunday would be considered their day of rest.  God says not to judge a person’s Sabbath day.  This commandment to remember the Sabbath day is still a good pattern for us, however, and I encourage everyone to set aside a time of rest each week.  If you are able, meet with God’s people on Sunday.  God does teach us to assemble together with other believers.

Exodus 20:12 Honour thy father and thy mother: that thy days may be long upon the land which the LORD thy God giveth thee.

God wants us to honor our parents.  This means to give our parents high respect.  Do you speak highly of your parents? The promise is that we will have long life.

Exodus 20:16 Thou shalt not bear false witness against thy neighbour.

To “witness” means to give an account of.  Do not give a false account of your neighbor.  In other words, do not tell lies about your neighbor.

One more sin that many in our society do not seem to realize is against the Bible is the sin of homosexuality as seen in the next verse.

Leviticus 18:22-23
22 Thou shalt not lie with mankind, as with womankind: it is abomination.
23 Neither shalt thou lie with any beast to defile thyself therewith: neither shall any woman stand before a beast to lie down thereto: it is confusion.

Now, if we find that we are guilty of any of these sins what should we do?  First of all, we need to realize that no one can keep all of these commandments in their own strength.

Romans 3:10-12
10 As it is written, There is none righteous, no, not one:
11 There is none that understandeth, there is none that seeketh after God.
12 They are all gone out of the way, they are together become unprofitable; there is none that doeth good, no, not one.

The Bible clearly teaches that no one is good and righteous.  That is why we should repent which means to apologize and turn away from our sins. John the Baptist preached for people to repent of their sins.

Matthew 3:1-8
1 In those days came John the Baptist, preaching in the wilderness of Judaea,
2 And saying, Repent ye: for the kingdom of heaven is at hand.
3 For this is he that was spoken of by the prophet Esaias, saying, The voice of one crying in the wilderness, Prepare ye the way of the Lord, make his paths straight.
4 And the same John had his raiment of camel’s hair, and a leathern girdle about his loins; and his meat was locusts and wild honey.
5 Then went out to him Jerusalem, and all Judaea, and all the region round about Jordan,
6 And were baptized of him in Jordan, confessing their sins.
7 But when he saw many of the Pharisees and Sadducees come to his baptism, he said unto them, O generation of vipers, who hath warned you to flee from the wrath to come?
8 Bring forth therefore fruits meet for repentance:

The Bible compares our actions to fruit from a tree. God wants us to have good fruit and not bad fruit.  John the Baptist tells the Pharisees and Sadducees in verse 8 to bring forth fruit that shows that they are truly repentant or sorry for the wrongs they had done.  In other words, they might have claimed to be sorry for their sins, but their actions proved their words false.  Do our actions prove that we truly want God to forgive us from our sins?

Isaiah 55:7 Let the wicked forsake his way, and the unrighteous man his thoughts: and let him return unto the LORD, and he will have mercy upon him; and to our God, for he will abundantly pardon.

Jesus put it this way:

John 3:19-21
19 And this is the condemnation, that light is come into the world, and men loved darkness rather than light, because their deeds were evil.
20 For every one that doeth evil hateth the light, neither cometh to the light, lest his deeds should be reproved.
21 But he that doeth truth cometh to the light, that his deeds may be made manifest, that they are wrought in God.

Do you really desire for God to forgive you from your sins? Do your actions prove your desire?  Jesus is the light.  If we come to Jesus, He will reprove our sins.

1 John 3:7-9
7 Little children, let no man deceive you: he that doeth righteousness is righteous, even as he is righteous.
8 He that committeth sin is of the devil; for the devil sinneth from the beginning. For this purpose the Son of God was manifested, that he might destroy the works of the devil.
9 Whosoever is born of God doth not commit sin; for his seed remaineth in him: and he cannot sin, because he is born of God.

Verse 7 says that we should not let anyone deceive us.  People will try to deceive by saying that sin does not matter (as long as you are saved).  God says that we should not be deceived.  It is important to understand that this is not saying that Christian will never sin, but it is saying that a Christian’s life is not characterized by sin.  To prove this look at another verse in I John.

1 John 1:8-10
8 If we say that we have no sin, we deceive ourselves, and the truth is not in us.
9 If we confess our sins, he is faithful and just to forgive us our sins, and to cleanse us from all unrighteousness.
10 If we say that we have not sinned, we make him a liar, and his word is not in us.

We cannot deceive ourselves into thinking that we have no sin, but a follower of Jesus Christ must desire to be a righteous person.  We must confess our sins to God and desire God’s forgiveness.  There should be evidence, fruit, in our life showing that we want to be righteous like Jesus Christ.  Jesus Christ never sinned!

Romans 6:19-23
19 I speak after the manner of men because of the infirmity of your flesh: for as ye have yielded your members servants to uncleanness and to iniquity unto iniquity; even so now yield your members servants to righteousness unto holiness.
20 For when ye were the servants of sin, ye were free from righteousness.
21 What fruit had ye then in those things whereof ye are now ashamed? for the end of those things is death.
22 But now being made free from sin, and become servants to God, ye have your fruit unto holiness, and the end everlasting life.
23 For the wages of sin is death; but the gift of God is eternal life through Jesus Christ our Lord.



  1. Mrs. Nancy L. Cavey · · Reply

    I find such fellowship of the Spirit in this post (as usual!). May God use it and that fruit might come out of it.

    1. Thanks so much! I trust God will use it.

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