Sin, the Falling Away of the Heart from God
Sin is one of the principal concepts of the Bible. Simply stated, sin is the falling away of the heart from God. Every person has a conscience and some kind of understanding of right and wrong. The voice of the conscience, however, is corrupted if it is not joined to God's Word. Knowledge of and reverence for God's Word has dimmed in our time and with it people's concept of right and wrong, of sin, has also dimmed. If teaching about sin ceases, man's awareness of his need for God's grace also ceases.-(LLC Position Statement, Section 2, Item 3)
All Have Sinned
If there were no sin in the world there would not be the need for a Savior from sin. Scripture however testifies that sin was committed already by the first human pair and as a consequence death and corruption came into the world (Rom. 5:12,6:23). The Fall made man inherently evil. With the exception of Jesus Christ, who was conceived by the Holy Ghost, no person has been born into this world without the corruption of inherited sin or been able to live without committing sin either by thought, word, or deed. Scripture bears record that all have sinned (Gal. 3:22, Rom. 3:9,23).
Sin is not simply a lack of knowledge that can be overcome through a higher level of consciousness and self-improvement. Sin occurs in both thought and deed and is preceded by temptation, lust, and enticement (James 1:13-15). It can be described as the falling away of the heart from God. The Ten Commandments give a name to sins against both God and man. They demand that everyone be sinless in order to be acceptable to God and yet mercilessly condemn all who have sinned. When God awakens man to his sinfulness he is driven to seek the Savior (Gal. 3:24,25). Even before God gave the Law through Moses, He had given every person a conscience and “written into his heart” the natural law which is a basic knowledge of right and wrong (Rom. 2:14,15). In the New Testament the Apostle Paul summarily defined sin as “whatsoever is not of faith” (Rom. 14:23). The direct opposite of faith is unbelief, which is the mother of all sin.
Sin and Its Consequences
Through the conscience God “speaks” to the individual. Sin, however, causes one to become spiritually hard of hearing and God's voice to seem faint and distant. For that reason one cannot depend solely on his conscience as the only guide for making spiritual decisions. In order to remain spiritually alive and heaven-acceptable one's conscience must be bound to the Word of God, which is unchanging and eternal.
Sin has serious consequences. In addition to bodily death Adam and Eve experienced fear (Gen. 3:10) of the Creator whom they had previously so loved and obeyed. It caused estrangement from Him, their heavenly Parent, and they no longer trusted in His love. They tried to hide their disobedience and unbelief from Him by covering themselves with fig leaves. Sin also has a disastrous effect on human relationships on all levels. It is the cause of revenge, abuse, failed marriages, dysfunctional families, some forms of mental illness, community and national scandals, and war between nations. It can even cripple a nation (Prov. 14:34). One can subtly become a slave of sin. The most serious and irreversible consequence of sin is spiritual death followed by natural and eternal death, which is damnation and an everlasting separation from God.
It is uncomfortable to think about sin and its consequences. In many church services sin is not even mentioned. In our time some very learned teachers of the Christian religion are offended with the concept that man has a sin-debt and Christ came to pay that debt. Some modern theologians feel that the mission of the early Christian Church to preach the gospel of the forgiveness of sins is no longer fitting for our time, and the focus should be on the social needs of mankind. When sin is no longer preached as sin the need to seek God's grace and a Savior disappears. Sin continues to reign in the world and has not lost its power to separate one from God both in time and eternity and to bring one to destruction.
The Way to Salvation
An individual cannot atone for the evil he has done to others or God. It is a sin-debt assigned to his account. Is it then possible for anyone to be saved? What can be done? (Acts 2:37). It is impossible for man to make himself heaven acceptable, but it is possible for God to do so. For those who are sorrowful over their sins, God has provided a way of salvation through His Son (John 3:16). Through repentance and the forgiveness of sin one can enter the kingdom of God here on earth.