Drippings from the Honeycomb
More to be desired are [the rules of the Lord] than gold, even much fine gold; sweeter also than honey and drippings of the honeycomb. (Psalm 19:10)
It is such a little word; it seems as if the answer would be correspondingly simple.
For many sin is an inconsequential thing. It is not that bad. It is merely a wrong or a bad act. Others differentiate between really bad sins and really small sins (or mortal and venial sins). Mr. Oxford defines it as “an offence against God.” Wayne Grudem defines it as: “A failure to conform to the moral law of God in act, attitude or nature.” Many other Christian and non-Christian definitions have been offered.
What then is sin? The answer, like many, is simple but not simplistic; in fact it is rather more expansive than many people think.
Prior to the act of disobedience in Genesis 3 we actually find the root of sin, which is pride—the desire to be as God (Gen 3:5). This is the opposite of the humility—entire dependence upon God—that Adam and Eve were designed for. Standing at the centre of both the English words sIn and prIde is the letter “I”. So to sin is to be proud, to place yourself ahead of God as the most important object, the centre of attention and worship and the determiner of right and wrong.
Perfect humility is perfect trust. Corresponding to our pride comes the presence of distrust. In pride faith is turned from God to self and the things of this world. Hence it follows that Heb 11:6 says, “without faith it is impossible to please God” and Rom 14:23 says, “whatever is not of faith is sin.” This is a rather more expansive definition of sin! It means that even a good act done without faith is sin. It means we cannot be saved by our works. It certainly means salvation can only come through believing the Gospel. It means even doing the right thing for the wrong reason as a Christian is not pleasing in God’s eyes, it is sin.
Is it any wonder then that we are saved by faith alone in Christ alone. The undoing of our problem could not come through any other means. We must trust in the Gospel of Jesus Christ; the one who was perfectly humble and filled with trust that He went to the Cross to stand in our place so we might go free.
Because of the inter-working of pride and distrust in the heart, this root sin becomes disobedience to God’s Law. He is the great and holy Law giver. To break a single command of His is to sin and be guilty lawbreakers, criminals, rebels, dishonourable, etc, (Ja 2:10). The wages, or consequences, of which can only be death, our due penalty (Ro 6:23a).
The word sin means to “miss the mark.” It is an archery term. We sin through putting ourselves first, distrusting God’s character, commands and promises and ultimately by disobeying His Law.
We truly are great sinners; yet rejoice that Christ is an even greater Saviour!
May we not remain in sin but come to Him for justification and sanctification, forgiveness and holiness.
 In the Garden, though pride and distrust were part of the temptation to sin, these were only realized in the act of disobedience. Now, however, because Jesus teaches sin springs from the heart, the presence of pride and distrust are sin. We don’t sin and so become sinners; we’re sinners and so we sin.
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