In Christianity lots of terms can often be thrown around with an assumption that we know what they truly mean. What about words like sinner or sin? My hope is to help make this concept more simple and easy to understand so that we can truly know the power of salvation in Jesus. We need to understand what we’ve been saved from to know what we’ve been saved for.
A “sin” is an action that is not in alignment with God’s way of doing things, or His will. When Adam and Eve broke relationship with God they separated themselves from connection to him. From that point they did what they thought was right, but without the presence of God they couldn’t know for sure. This is what it means for humanity to be born in sin. It’s not that most people don’t desire to do the right thing, it is just impossible to know what it truly right apart from reconnection to His presence and His heart. God’s goal has always been relationship.
We are born with the same choice that every human being has: to be united with God or to live separate from him. If we choose separation we may do our best to live a good life, but we will only be able to understand secondhand what is truly good because we are not personally connected to the source of truth. Placing a desire for knowledge above relationship is what got us into this mess in the first place. Because of Jesus we actually have the ability to make a choice to exit sin and be “born again” or given a fresh start. Humanity, through Adam, broke covenant with God and God restored covenant with us through Jesus. This is why we come through Jesus to get to The Father. Then the Father gives us His Spirit which serves as our connection where we can now relate to Him directly, heart to heart. Listen to what Paul writes in 1 Corinthians 2:9-10, “What no eye has seen, what no ear has heard, and what no human mind has conceived—the things God has prepared for those who love him—these are the things God has revealed to us by his Spirit…” In other words, the things you couldn’t know when you were separate from God, those are the things you can know now through relationship with the Holy Spirit!
God’s nature is perfect. No matter what, we are not able to achieve perfection on our own. Missing the target by 1 inch or by 1 mile is still a miss. This is why the notion of just “being a good person” falls short. It’s not about our goodness. We can’t be good enough separate from Him. To believe we can is called pride. This is why sin is sin. There is not big sin and small sin. There is just sin; a lack of perfection. There is a caveat though; it’s understood that some sins have greater consequence. If I steal your lunch you’ll be angry with me, if I steal your car I may spend 5 years in prison. Both actions were a wrong way to behave. So whether we are off by 2 degrees or 100 degrees we are still off from the goal. The depth of our depravity doesn’t change the fact that we are “in sin”. What it actually determines is the level at which we damage the people, or community, around us.
In the Trinity there is perfect communion, or community. God encompasses the essence of living in right relationship. We are called to a restoration of community with God and with Humanity without the destructive influence of sin.