THE CONCEPT OF SIN
Many say 'I have sinned' Very simply!
They do not recognize the significance of the words nor their depth.
We also repeat the same words in the Lord's Prayer,
saying, "Forgive us our sins", and in Psalm 51:4, "Against
You, You only, have I sinned, And done this evil in Your
We say the same in the Trisagion, "Forgive us our sins, our iniquities and our trespasses". We say these words simply without recognizing their serious significance! So, let us know what is sin?
Sin is against God:
The seriousness of sin lies in its being against God.
Therefore David said to the Lord in the Psalm of
repentance, "Against You, You only, have I sinned,
And done this evil in Your sight".(Ps 51:4). And about
sinners David said they, "have not set You before them",
that is: they did not think that You see and hear and watch them. A sinner is like one losing consciousness not
knowing what he is doing. He needs someone to awaken
him, to make him come to his senses and show him what
he is doing.
Sin signifies that you do not feel God's presence.
If you do feel God's presence, you would not
in His eyes without being ashamed! Perhaps this was
what occupied the mind of Joseph the Righteous when he
said, "How then can I do this great wickedness and sin
So, when you sin, you sin against God before anything
else, you resist Him, disobey Him and defy Him. You
grieve His Holy Spirit and defile His dwelling in your
Do you feel all this when you sin or when you confess
your sins? Or you just mention your sin simply without
feeling its seriousness and offensiveness. It is like a sick
person who when asked about his illness replies, 'Oh it is
nothing really!' when it may in fact be cancer or AIDS !!
Sin is lawlessness (1 John 3:4).
It is transgression and
breaking God's commandments, it is lack of concern, and
a breach of God's rights, dignity and fatherhood. Sin has
thus two aspects: with regard to God, and with regard to
With regard to God, sin is revolt against Him.
It is a revolt and disobedience against God. Imagine then that dust and ashes rebel and revolt against God the Creator of heaven and earth!
It is a kind of arrogance that dust revolts against God.
Before breaking the Commandment, arrogance would have broken the heart within.
Sin, thus, is arrogance and haughtiness.
are the words said in the book of Proverbs, "Pride goes
before destruction, and a haughty spirit before a fall"
Through such pride and arrogance man falls. A humble person who lays himself down to the dust would not fall, but the haughty rises up then falls.
Sin is also lack of love to God.
In this regard, St. John the Apostle says, "If anyone loves
the world, the love of the Father is not in him" (1 John
Two ways then are before a person : either
the love of the
world or the love of God. And clearly a sinner prefers
the love of the world to the love of God; or rather he
loves himself more than he loves God (and of course he
loves himself in a way that leads it to perdition).
On the other hand sin is lack of love to God, since a sinner disobeys God and revolts against Him.
Sin is enmity with God or disagreement with Him.
This is evident in the words of St. James the Apostle,
"Do you not know that friendship with the world is enmity with God" (James 4:4).
If the world "enmity" is hard, let us use at least the word "disagreement" as sinners need actually a reconciliation. That is why St. Paul the Apostle said that God "has given us the ministry of reconciliation", so he said, "we are ambassadors for Christ... we implore you... be reconciled to God" (2 Cor. 5:19,20).
If you are a sinner, surely you need to be reconciled to
Being in disagreement, sin is separation from God.
For, "what communion has light with darkness?" (2 Cor.6:14). God is light and sinners live in the outer darkness as they love darkness more than light because their deeds are evil, "For everyone practicing evil hates the light and does not come to the light, lest his deeds should be exposed" (John 3:19,20).
When the lost son loved sin, he left his
father's house and
journeyed to a far country (Luke 15:13), Likewise a sinner is separated from God by his heart, his mind and his deeds. Of such separation the Lord says, "... but their heart is far from Me" (Mark 7:6).
Staying in such separation means that the sinner is not
concerned or keen to associate with God!! So he stops
communing with God and puts an end to his relation with
Him and his communion with the Holy Spirit as long as
he lives in sin.
By sin we grieve God's Holy Spirit (Eph. 4:30).
This is the case of sin from the beginning
as we see in the
story of the great flood; for the Holy Bible says, "the
Lord was sorry... and He was grieved in His heart"
God is grieved when He sees the creation He
made in His
image and likeness being destroyed and defiled before His
When we sin, we do not only grieve God's
Spirit, but we
also resist and disobey Him as St. Stephen the Deacon
said to the Jews on his martyrdom, "You always resist the
Holy Spirit; as your fathers did, so do you" (Acts 7:51).
A sinner may go to the extent that God's Spirit departs from him.
The Holy Bible said about King Saul, "But the Spirit
the Lord departed from Saul, and a distressing spirit from the Lord troubled him" (1 Sam. 16:14). What a hard thing that God's Spirit departs a person!!.
If this is hard for you and you exclaim, 'How can it be that God's Spirit departs from me?', I shall facilitate the meaning for you. I tell you that it is not God's Spirit that departs from you but it is you who departs from God's Spirit. But in both cases there is departing and separation between you and God's Spirit.
St. Paul the Apostle speaks hard words about sin especially about adultery.
He says, "Do you not know that your bodies are members of Christ? Shall I then take the members of Christ and make them members of a harlot? Certainly not!"
(1 Cor. 6:15).
This means that a person, by sin, defiles God's temple.
So the Apostle says, "Do you not know that you are the
temple of God and that the Spirit of God dwells in you?
If anyone defiles the temple of God, God will destroy
him. For the temple of God is holy, which temple you
are" (1 Cor. 3:16,17).
Therefore, when you say 'I have sinned' think about
the words so that you may know what they entail.
Do you realize that they entail the sins we have mentioned before, and the details thereof ? Besides, sin signifies something else :
Sin is a contempt of sonship to God
If you are indeed God's child, created in His image and
likeness you will never sin as St. John the Apostle said,
"Whoever has been born of God does not sin... and he
cannot sin", "and the wicked one does not touch him"
(1 John 3:9; 1 John 5:18). St. John said also about the
Lord, "If you know that He is righteous, you know that
everyone who practices righteousness is born of Him"
(1 John 2:29).
Is a sinner aware, when he is committing sin, that he is
God's child and God's image? Or is he at that time
surrendering this privilege with its attributes? The
Apostle says about this, "In this the children of God and
the children of the devil are manifest" (1 John 3:10).
Therefore St. Paul rebuked sinners describing them as, "illegitimate and not sons" (Heb. 12:8).
Sin is also unfaithfulness to God.
A sinner, by his sinning, is siding with
God's enemies, that
is, Satan and his hosts, against God and even becoming
one of them as the Lord said, rebuking the Jews, "If you
were Abraham's children, you would do the works of
Abraham... you are of your father the devil, and the
desires of your father you want to do" (John 8:39,44).
St. John the Baptist also reprimanded them, saying,
"Brood of vipers!" (Matt. 3:7). He meant that they were
the children of the devil.
Sin is likewise crucifixion of the Lord Christ.
St. Paul the Apostle says in this regard, "For
impossible for those who were once enlightened, and
have tasted the heavenly gift... if they fall away to renew
them again to repentance, since they crucify again for
themselves the Son of God, and put Him to an open
shame" (Heb. 6:4-6).
Or at least, since no sin shall be forgiven
unless carried by
Christ on the Cross, then, by your sins you are adding a
load on Christ's cross and adding bitter drops into the cup
By your sins you put abominations on Christ's Cross.
He carried the sins of all the world to redeem us by His blood (1 John 2:2), among which are the sins you have committed and still commit.
Hear then in fear what St. Paul the Apostle
who has rejected Moses' law dies without mercy on the
testimony of two or three witnesses. Of how much worse
punishment, do you suppose, will be thought worthy who
has trampled the Son of God underfoot, counted the
blood of the covenant by which he was sanctified a
common thing, and insulted the Spirit of grace?"
Consider these words to recognize how offensive sin
Trampled the Son of God underfoot... Counted
of the covenant... Insulted the Spirit of grace... Crucify
again the Son of God and put Him to open shame. It is
indeed unfaithfulness to God and unfaithfulness to the
grace we acquired in baptism, for the Apostle says, "For
as many of you as were baptized into Christ have put on
Christ" (Gal. 3:27).
Or do you think that it was Judas alone who betrayed
Christ? No, everyone who sins betrays Christ, betrays his
own baptism and holy confirmation, and betrays the holy
blood which cleanses us from all sin (1 John 1:7).
Sin with regard to man:
Sin with regard to man sin is losing the divine
We are created in God's image and likeness, and even though we lost that image when our forefathers fell, we restored it by the grace of the New Testament. However, we lose it again every time we sin because a sinner cannot be in God's image, for God is holy.
Sin is also depriving oneself of God...
You are a branch in the vine as long as you
abide in it and
as long as the juice of the vine runs in you and you live and give fruit, God prunes you to give more fruit. But
the branch which is detached from the vine because of
living in sin, will be cast out, and thrown into the fire
When committing sin, you are subjected to the fearful
words said by the Lord to those who practice
lawlessness, "I never knew you; depart from Me"
It is amazing that these words referred to people who had said to Him, "Lord, have we not prophesied in Your name, cast out demons in Your name, and done many wonders in Your name?"
What a painful thing that the Lord declares that He does not know us!!
The same words were said by the Lord to the foolish
virgins, "Assuredly, I say to you, I do not know you"
(Matt. 25:12). He even shut the door and left them
outside, while the wise virgins attended the wedding.
Sin is corruption of the human nature...
You can imagine the condition of Adam and Eve before
the fall. They were in wonderful innocence, simplicity
and purity. But sin changed their heart and sight, "the
woman saw that the tree was good for food, that it was
pleasant to the eyes, and a tree desirable" (Gen. 3:6).
The tree always existed in the garden, and Eve never looked at it so desirably, yet sin changed the way she perceived the tree; and planted lust in her heart and corrupted her innocent nature.
Man entered into the dualism of good and evil and
knowing what is permissible and what is forbidden. He
lost his simplicity, knew the lust of the flesh, the lust of
the eyes and the pride of life (1 John 2:16). Flesh began
to lust against the spirit and the spirit against the flesh
and both contradict one another (Gal. 5:1-7).
Believe me, even the features of the face change by
The look, the smile, the tone of the voice and the whole form of the person change. That is why the Apostle advises us, saying, "be transformed by the renewing of your mind" (Rom. 12:2).
If you meet one of your friends whom you have not seen for a long time, and this friend has been living in sin, you might say to yourself upon seeing him, "This is not the person I knew before. Everything about him has changed, even his features!"
Sin is defeat, failure and weakness...
This is a fact even though a sinner thinks that he has
attained many things from the world, in reality, he has
failed. King Saul was not powerful when he chased
David in the wilderness but rather was defeated by
himself and his jealousy. Finally he felt his defeat and
lifted up his voice and wept, saying to David, "You are
more righteous than I; for you have rewarded me with
good, whereas I have rewarded you with evil"
(1 Sam. 24:16,17).
A sinner is a weak person who fails to resist sin and is
conquered by evil. He is defeated by his lust for sin. He
has become unworthy of God's promises to those who
conquer as mentioned in the Lord's messages to the seven
churches (Rev. 2:3).
Such a person is defeated, not only by sin
that fights from
the outside, but more so by the sin that abides within his
Lastly, sin is death...
I cannot find a more wonderful description than that
mentioned by the Lord to the angel of the church in
Sardis, "you have a name that you are alive, but you are
dead" (Rev. 1:3). The Lord said the same about the lost
son who repented, "For this my son was dead and is
alive again; he was lost and is found" (Luke 15:24).
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