But I have been wrestling for a while now with the whole concept of sin. What is sin? I can go to the Bible and from there determine what actions and inactions are sinful, but is that really what sin is? How does fit with the Gospel? Jesus came to die, not from my wrong actions and/or inactions, but from my sin that condemns me to Hell. But how can we call actions a heart condition? We seem to teach something that is contradictory, like there is a disconnect between our doctrine of sin in reference to actions and our doctrine of sin in reference to salvation. And this has bugged me. If sin is merely to "miss the mark", to do what I ought not, or to not do what I ought, how can I be saved from it? I still do things I ought not and fail to do that which I ought. Even the Apostle Paul wrestled with this problem!
But. What is the mark that we are missing? It is the mark the the Holy and Sovereign God of all the universe has established. To sin is to, in essence, to rebel against the Almighty. RC Sproul calls it Cosmic Treason. I do believe this to be an apt term. But it is not a reference to mere actions. Men judge by actions, but God judges the heart. And the root of sin lies in an idolatrous heart. Idolatrous in the sense that when I choose to sin I have placed some person or thing in a place where my worship is directed to them, instead of the God. And all of these in turn end up being self worship. To quote Jonathan Edwards' Law of Free Will, "Free moral agents always act according to the strongest inclination they have at the moment of choice." So anytime I choose to sin, my hearts inclination, my hearts desire, the cry from within me is that I worship my desire as opposed to that of Almighty God. To boil it down, the essence of sin is not what I do or don't do. It is a condition of my heart. A condition that worships me instead of worshiping Jesus. And this deserves the wrath of God.
Will Dole works with South Lake Youth Ministries in Plummer, Idaho. He writes for Genuine Motivations, an eZine for young Christian men. He has a passion for communicating the truth of Scripture to a desperate and dying world. You can read his occasional musing at cdubthinking.blogspot.com