Everyone who sins breaks the law; in fact, sin is lawlessness. -- 1 John 3:4 (NIV)
- idolatry (Exodus 20:3-5; Ezekiel 18:6, 22:3-4; Galatians 5:20; Revelation 21:8)
- blasphemy (Exodus 20:7; Romans 2:17-24)
- dishonouring parents (Exodus 20:12; Ezekiel 22:7,10)
- murder (Exodus 20:13; Matthew 15:19)
- sexual immorality, impurity, passion, evil desire, covetousness, orgies (Exodus 20:14; Ezekiel 18:6; 22:9-11; Colossians 3:5-6; Matthew 5:27-30; 15:19; Galatians 5:19,21)
- theft (Exodus 20:15, Ezekiel 18:7,18, 22:12-13; Matthew 15:19)
- false witness, slander (Exodus 20:16; Ezekiel 22:9; Matthew 15:19)
- coveting (Exodus 20:17, Luke 12:15)
- cursing (Exodus 22:28, Ecclesiastics 10:20, Leviticus 19:14, Psalm 109:17, Matthew 5:22, Luke 6:28, Romans 12:14, Job 31:29-30, James 3:10)
- occultism, witchcraft or sorcery (Deuteronomy 18:10; Galatians 5:20; Revelation 21:8)
- haughtiness (Proverbs 16:5, 21:4, 26:12; Luke 16:15)
- foolish schemes (Proverbs 24:9; Matthew 15:19)
- oppressing the poor (Ezekiel 18:7, 22:7; Habakkuk 2:9)
- lending with interest (Ezekiel 18:8)
- despise holy things (Ezekiel 22:8)
- bribe (Ezekiel 22:12)
- betrayal (Matthew 27:4)
- divorce (Mark 10:11-12)
- lies (Colossians 3:9; Ephesians 4:29; 1 Peter 3:10; Matthew 5:37; Revelation 21:8)
- partiality, i.e. only care for the rich (James 2:1-9)
- jealousy, envy (Galatians 5:20-21)
- fits to anger, dissensions, divisions (Galatians 5:20)
- drunkenness (Galatians 5:21)
This list is incomplete, but you should get the idea.
People can also sin against each other (Matthew 18:21), for example:
- Laban accused Jacob of theft (Genesis 31:36)
- Josef's brothers betrayed him (Genesis 42:22, Genesis 50:17)
- Pharaoh claiming that he sinned against Moses (Exodus 10:16-17)
Not only is sin the doing of a "wrong thing", but sin is also the absence of doing the "right thing".
Whoever knows the right thing to do and fails to do it, for him it is sin. -- James 4:17
- restores to the debtor his pledge (Ezekiel 17:7)
- gives his bread to the hungry (Ezekiel 17:7)
- covers the naked with a garment (Ezekiel 17:7)
- lends without interest or profit (Ezekiel 17:8)
- executes true justice between man and man (Ezekiel 17:8)
- obey God's laws faithfully (Ezekiel 17:9)
Sin also includes anything you falsely believe is wrong or anything that makes you feel guilty:
The faith that you have, keep between yourself and God. Blessed is the one who has no reason to pass judgment on himself for what He approves. But whoever has doubts is condemned if he eats, because the eating is not from faith. For whatever does not proceed from faith is sin. -- Romans 14:22-23
Sin is still sin even if it was unintentional, because the Israelites had a special sin offering dedicated for that (Numbers 15:27).
Everyone is responsible for his/her own sin as explained by the prophet Ezekiel. Parents cannot pay for their children's sin and children not for their parents (Ezekiel 18:4-20).
In the book of Genesis we read:
Then the LORD God took the man and put him in the garden of Eden to tend and keep it. And the LORD God commanded the man, saying, “Of every tree of the garden you may freely eat; but of the tree of the knowledge of good and evil you shall not eat, for in the day that you eat of it you shall surely die.”
So when the woman saw that the tree was good for food, that it was pleasant to the eyes, and a tree desirable to make one wise, she took of its fruit and ate. She also gave to her husband with her, and he ate. -- Genesis 2:15-17, 3:6 (NKJV)
Eve's mistake was that she allowed the serpent to deceive her:
And the LORD God said to the woman, “What is this you have done?”
The woman said, “The serpent deceived me, and I ate.”
-- Genesis 3:13 (NKJV)
This is confirmed by Paul's understanding:
And Adam was not deceived, but the woman being deceived fell into transgression. -- 1 Timothy 2:14 (NKJV)
But I fear, lest somehow, as the serpent deceived Eve by his craftiness, so your minds may be corrupted from the simplicity that is in Christ. -- 2 Corinthians 11:3 (NKJV)
With the consequence that woman have to submit to their husband for protection against more deceptions (1 Timothy 2:15).
To the woman He said:
- “I will greatly multiply your sorrow and your conception; In pain you shall bring forth children;
- Your desire shall be for your husband, and he shall rule over you.”
-- Genesis 3:16 (NKJV)
God possibly "cursed" the women this way to help them to submit to their husbands as childbearing makes the women extra vulnerable and dependent on their husbands.
Adam on the other hand was not deceived (1 Timothy 2:14), but his mistake was that he idolized Eve. An idol is anything that is regarded more important than God. In this case Eve gave Adam a command (Genesis 3:6) in direct violation of God's command (Genesis 2:15-17). Knowing that Adam still choose to rather obey Eve's command than God's command.
Then to Adam He said, “Because you have heeded the voice of your wife, and have eaten from the tree of which I commanded you, saying, ‘You shall not eat of it’**:
- “Cursed is the ground for your sake; In toil you shall eat of it all the days of your life. Both thorns and thistles it shall bring forth for you, and
- you shall eat the herb of the field. In the sweat of your face you shall eat bread till you return to the ground, for out of it you were taken;
- For dust you are, and to dust you shall return.”
-- Genesis 3:17-19 (NKJV)
- Adam choose Eve to be his idol instead of God, therefore he shall serve Eve with hard work on an Earth with "thorns and thistles" instead of working for God in the Garden of Eden.
- Adam choose Eve's provision above God's provision, therefore he shall only eat of the field than of the abundance of the Garden of Eden which God had provided.
- Adam choose death (sin) that given by Eve above God's eternal life.
What is also interesting is to note that sin follows the men's bloodlines:
Therefore, just as through one man sin entered the world, and death through sin, and thus death spread to all men, because all sinned -- Romans 5:12 (NKJV)
Although Eve was the first human to commit sin, generations inherit sin through Adam which could explain why a "virgin birth" was necessary for the Christ which means he could be born sinless like Adam originally was.
The iniquities done by a wicked man will trap him, and he will be held with the cords of his sin. -- Proverbs 5:22
Sin is a trap and enslaves people (John 8:30-36, Romans 6:6-7, Romans 6:16-21). This is not limited to addictions like drugs, pornography or alcoholism, but any kind of bad "habit", fantasy, lust, condemnation or bitterness may install a sinful lifestyle that leads to addictions that are less obvious.
As a result of this:
- Sin activates curses
- Sin dominates people (1 Corinthians 6:12) by
- Sin bring condemnation (Psalm 1:5; Romans 14:22-23)
- Sin causes health problems (Psalm 38:3), for example
- there was a man with 38 years of infirmity (John 5:5-14)
Sin is considered a "debt" that needs to be paid:
"And forgive us our debts, as we forgive our debtors." -- Matthew 6:12 (NKJV)
The "wage" is death:
The wages of sin is death. -- Romans 6:23; Luke 13:3,5; Ezekiel 18:4,20; Habakkuk 2:10
The consequences of sin are so bad that it is sometimes counted to one's benefit to be crippled in order not to sin. (Matthew 5:29-30, Matthew 18:8-9, Mark 9:43-45, John 9:41)
Often God punish his children while they are still alive:
But the LORD said to Moses... "Nevertheless, in the day when I visit, I will visit their sin upon them."
Then the LORD sent a plague on the people, because they made the calf, the one that Aaron made.
-- Exodus 32:34-35 (ESV)
When I shut up heaven and there is no rain, or command the locusts to devour the land, or send pestilence among My people, if My people who are called by My name will humble themselves, and pray and seek My face, and turn from their wicked ways, then I will hear from heaven, and will forgive their sin and heal their land. -- 2 Chronicles 7:13-14 (NKJV)
Thus the LORD GOD showed me: Behold, He formed locust swarms at the beginning of the late crop; indeed it was the late crop after the king’s mowings. And so it was, when they had finished eating the grass of the land, that I said:
"O Lord GOD, forgive, I pray!"
-- Amos 7:1-2 (NKJV)
This is also true in the New Testament:
By rejecting this, some have made shipwreck of their faith, among whom are Hymenaeus and Alexander, whom I have handed over to Satan that they may learn not to blaspheme. -- 1 Timothy 1:19-20 (ESV)
God punish his children so that "they may learn" their error and repent from their sin.
When you are assembled in the name of the Lord Jesus and my spirit is present, with the power of our Lord Jesus, you are to deliver this man to Satan for the destruction of the flesh, so that his spirit may be saved in the day of the Lord. -- 1 Corinthians 5:4-5 (ESV)
No one, except the Christ, can pay for someone else's sin. Not even Moses could:
So Moses returned to the LORD and said, “Alas, this people has sinned a great sin. They have made for themselves gods of gold. But now, if you will forgive their sin — but if not, please blot me out of Your book that You have written.” But the LORD said to Moses, "Whoever has sinned against Me, I will blot out of My book."
-- Exodus 32:31-33 (ESV)
For I do not understand my own actions. For I do not do what I want, but I do the very thing I hate. Now if I do what I do not want, I agree with the law, that it is good. So now it is no longer I who do it, but sin that dwells within me. For I know that nothing good dwells in me, that is, in my flesh. For I have the desire to do what is right, but not the ability to carry it out. For I do not do the good I want, but the evil I do not want is what I keep on doing. Now if I do what I do not want, it is no longer I who do it, but sin that dwells within me. So I find it to be a law that when I want to do right, evil lies close at hand. For I delight in the law of God, ein my inner being, but I see in my members another law waging war against the law of my mind and making me captive to the law of sin that dwells in my members.
Wretched man that I am! Who will deliver me from this body of death?
-- Romans 7:15-24 (ESV)
Thanks be to God through Jesus Christ our Lord!
So then, I myself serve the law of God with my mind, but with my flesh I serve the law of sin.
There is therefore now no condemnation for those who are in Christ Jesus. For the law of the Spirit of life has set you free in Christ Jesus from the law of sin and death. For God has done what the law, weakened by the flesh, could not do. By sending his own Son in the likeness of sinful flesh and for sin, he condemned sin in the flesh, in order that the righteous requirement of the law might be fulfilled in us, who walk not according to the flesh but according to the Spirit. For those who live according to the flesh set their minds on the things of the flesh, but those who live according to the Spirit set their minds on the things of the Spirit.
- to set the mind on the flesh is death, but
- to set the mind on the Spirit is life and peace.
-- Romans 7:25-8:6 (ESV)
God Himself said in the beginning of the Bible:
You must rule over it... -- Genesis 4:7 (ESV)
But how is it possible if we are enslaved to sin?
The next day he saw Jesus coming toward him, and said, "Behold, the Lamb of God, who takes away the sin of the world!" -- John 1:29 (ESV)
Previously a lamb was sacrificed for people's sins. The "Lamb of God" would refer to God's son who offered himself to be sacrificed for people's sins.
Jesus answered them, “Truly, truly, I say to you, everyone who practices sin is a slave to sin. The slave does not remain in the house forever; the son remains forever. So if the Son sets you free, you will be free indeed. -- John 8:34-36 (ESV)
Once you believe and confessed your sins, repented and got baptized in the name of the Father, Son and Holy Spirit, you will receive the Holy Spirit whom will set you free from sin as Paul explained:
The law of the Spirit of life has set you free in Christ Jesus from the law of sin and death. -- Romans 8:2 (ESV)