What is sin? Sin might be thought of as a terrible addiction which afflicts all of humanity. As with all addictions, the first step is recognizing the problem. Because of the temporary damage caused by satan and our first parents, we are all born with an inclination toward doing the wrong thing. (Gen_6:5 ; Ps_51:5) Our Father is watching, however, to see who wants to do right. (2_Chron_16:9a) If he sees that inclination in any person, He directs them to the teachings of his Son and Messiah. (Joh_6:44a) It then becomes very important how we react to those teachings of Christ Jesus.

Still though, does the Bible clearly define for us what sin is? Does the Bible give us directions about what is acceptable behavior? Yes; It clearly does! Basically, the Bible explains that sin includes any action against the good will of our heavenly Father. (Gen_4:7) It has been defined as falling short of the mark of perfection. Since we are all imperfect, we all fall short of perfection: We are all sinners. (Romans 3:23 ; 1 John 1:8) The will of our creator is perfect. (Deu_32:3-4) That defines there can be no improvement to his design. Thus, any deviation from his way of doing things is a move away from perfection; It is sin. (2 Samuel 22:31-33) The terrible conditions we witness in our world today are the result of mankind living apart from God's perfect standards.

Knowing what sin is becomes very important, because sins are actions which can lead to our being judged unfit for life by our Creator. (Deuteronomy 24:16) While all of us sometimes fall short and commit sin, those who desire to follow Christ Jesus must put forth effort not to practice sin. The teachings of Christ help us first to know what sin is, and then, with that knowledge, we can choose to become followers of Christ. If we don't make that choice, we are choosing to become rebellious against his teachings [and thus become willful sinners]. (1 John 2:1-6) Sin, then, is what followers of Christ must strive to avoid. The Bible makes clear what actions we must avoid. (Romans 1:28-32 ; Romans 2:1-2) The Bible also helps us understand, however, we can not be made righteous through laws. We don't want to start to view the teachings of Christ as a law code. We are adopted as righteous sons and daughters of God, not by our obedience to law, but through the love we show for others. Jesus is teaching those who want to do good, how to do good. He is unselfishly demonstrating how to be faithful to God, and why we should. The old testament includes the Jewish law code. That law consists of the ten commandments, as well as hundreds of other laws. It was used for 1500 years before Christ, during which the Jewish nation was guided and protected by that law. That protected nation was then used by God to produce the seed of promise. Jesus was born from that Jewish nation as something far better than the law code. (Matthew 12:5-8) He said he came to fulfill the law, and then to institute the Christian arrangement with it's law of love. (Colossians 2:14) Jesus highlighted love of God and neighbor as the most important thing. (Matthew 22:37-40) He taught if we don't love our neighbor, we don't know him at all. (1 John 3:9-12 ; 1 John 2:1-12) Understanding how to demonstrate love of God and neighbor can sometimes be hard. We must also realize: Being set free of the Law Code by the Christian "law of love," is not an excuse for any action we might wish. (Jude 3-4) While Christians are no longer under the Jewish law, the Christian Greek scriptures (the new testament) give us principles to help us apply the Christian law of love. (1 Corinthians 4:6) The principles Jesus taught us become a part of who we are. They become tied up in our love of God, and we then become a law within and to our own selves: We are judging ourselves based on our response to Jesus's teachings. (Romans 2:14-16) Christian principles are not hard to understand; it is simply a matter of learning what Jesus taught us. (Romans 1:28-32) There is no reason to fight and fuss with others about what is acceptable behavior. Simply learn what the Bible says, and be ready to show others those scriptures. (1 Peter 3:15) It is then the responsibility of every single person to try and live by the Bible's counsel for THEIR own benefit. (Isaiah 48:17) That's the key you see: God is teaching each and every one of us to benefit ourselves. YOU must realize, if others want to try and justify actions defined as bad by the Bible, they are free to do so. (Romans 14:4) If they choose to go against the Bible, and assert good is bad and bad is good, they are free to follow that course. (Isaiah 5:20) God will accept their actions if it is our understanding that is in error; Or, He will correct them; Or, He will finally judge them wicked if they refuse to be corrected. We must always remember: It is God's judgment after all, is it not? (Romans 14:4) The lives of each of us are at stake: Based on our own actions, either in harmony with the teachings of the Bible or in opposition to those same teachings. Only YOU have control over your future, and it is only YOURS you have control over. Make no mistake, no imperfect man [or group of them] can either excuse, approve, or condemn you! The responsibility is yours and yours alone! The gift of a life beyond all you could possibly imagine is yours for the taking, if you will simply choose to obey our Father! (1 Corinthians 2:9 ; John 15:7-10 ; John 13:35)

Please clearly understand this, and do not be deluded: If you are living a lifestyle that is condemned in the Bible, and you are able to persuade every man and woman alive to approve your way of life, their approval will have no merit. If you unrepentantly practice behavior condemned by God, you will be held accountable. Also, be cautious not to presume to judge which of the sins defined by the Bible are greater. If we have defined greater and lesser sins, it is probably our own we have deemed less wicked. Here are some examples of what the Bible makes clear is unacceptable for all who desire to follow Christ. Abandoning such behavior is showing love for others, and will provide happiness (Matthew 5:3) in obedience to our Creator:

1 Corinthians 6:9-11 NWT: 9 What! Do you not know that unrighteous persons will not inherit God's kingdom? Do not be misled. Neither fornicators, nor idolaters, nor adulterers, nor men kept for unnatural purposes, nor men who lie with men, 10 nor thieves, nor greedy persons, nor drunkards, nor revilers, nor extortioners will inherit God's kingdom. 11 And yet that is what some of you were. But you have been washed clean, but you have been sanctified, but you have been declared righteous in the name of our Lord Jesus Christ and with the spirit of our God.

Note the Bible says that is what some of Christ's followers "were", implying they had changed. The Bible teaches you can not practice such things, if you want to become God's friend; And thereby accept the gift of eternal life. Please note some additional teachings of the Bible:

1 Timothy 1:5-7 & 1:8-11 & 1:12-13 & 1:14-16 CEV: (5) You must teach people to have genuine love, as well as a good conscience and true faith. (6) There are some who have given up these for nothing but empty talk. (7) They want to be teachers of the Law of Moses. But they don't know what they are talking about, even though they think they do. (8) We know that the Law is good, if it is used in the right way. (9) We also understand that it wasn't given to control people who please God, but to control lawbreakers, criminals, godless people, and sinners. It is for wicked and evil people, and for murderers, who would even kill their own parents. (10) The Law was written for people who are sexual perverts or who live as homosexuals or are kidnappers or liars or won't tell the truth in court. It is for anything else that opposes the correct teaching (11) of the good news that the glorious and wonderful God has given me. (12) I thank Christ Jesus our Lord. He has given me the strength for my work because he knew that he could trust me. (13) I used to say terrible and insulting things about him, and I was cruel. But he had mercy on me because I didn't know what I was doing, and I had not yet put my faith in him. (14) Christ Jesus our Lord was very kind to me. He has greatly blessed my life with faith and love just like his own. (15) "Christ Jesus came into the world to save sinners." This saying is true, and it can be trusted. I was the worst sinner of all! (16) But since I was worse than anyone else, God had mercy on me and let me be an example of the endless patience of Christ Jesus. He did this so that others would put their faith in Christ and have eternal life.

Remember: It was Paul who wrote the above words. When he said he had previously been a hateful and insolent man, he was talking about the period of his life during which he faithfully kept the Jewish Law Code. (Philippians 3:4-6) Even perfect laws given by God can not make one righteous; And certainly, rules made up by men can never do so. [Be careful of people who want to produce teachings (claiming them to be new spiritual food) beyond what the Bible specifically teaches. (1 Corinthians 4:6) Such people are trying to sperate you from Christ and bring you under the yoke of "their" law. (Galatians 5:4)] To help us better understand sin in light of Paul's statement about his being forgiven for his sin, we might define sin loosely into two categories: Willful sin, and ignorant sin. If we don't know what we should do about some matter, we are ignorant and God makes concession for our ignorance [as in Paul's case mentioned above]. We can not, however, be friends of Jehovah if we are ignorant. That is what knowledge of truth grants us, the ability to become friends with our Creator. (James 2:23) Can you imagine anything more wonderful than being an intimate friend of Almighty God? Knowledge of truth also makes us responsible for our actions: It makes us responsible to be obedient. (1 John 5:3) We become obedient out of love for our Grand Creator, however, not half-hearted obedience forced by law. Knowledge and appreciation of that truth is the gift of life! We must strive not to judge anyone beyond our own selves. (Romans 2:14-16) When anyone knowingly goes against scripture to claim acceptability before God for their actions, they become responsible. (John 15:22) The Bible teaches behavior that is pleasing, and warns about some which is unacceptable to God:

1 John 4:14-21 CEV: (14) God sent his Son to be the Savior of the world. We saw his Son and are now telling others about him. (15) God stays one with everyone who openly says that Jesus is the Son of God. That's how we stay one with God (16) and are sure that God loves us. God is love. If we keep on loving others, we will stay one in our hearts with God, and he will stay one with us. (17) If we truly love others and live as Christ did in this world, we won't be worried about the day of judgment. (18) A real love for others will chase those worries away. The thought of being punished is what makes us afraid. It shows that we have not really learned to love. (19) We love because God loved us first. (20) But if we say we love God and don't love each other, we are liars. We cannot see God. So how can we love God, if we don't love the people we can see? (21) The commandment that God has given us is: "Love God and love each other!"
1 John 5:1-5 BBE: (1) Everyone who has faith that Jesus is the Christ is a child of God: and everyone who has love for the Father has love for his child. (2) In this way, we are certain that we have love for the children of God, when we have love for God and keep his laws. (3) For loving God is keeping his laws: and his laws are not hard. (4) Anything which comes from God is able to overcome the world: and the power by which we have overcome the world is our faith. (5) Who is able to overcome the world but the man who has faith that Jesus is the Son of God?

2 Corinthians 12:19-21 CEV (19) Have you been thinking all along that we have been defending ourselves to you? Actually, we have been speaking to God as followers of Christ. But, my friends, we did it all for your good. (20) I am afraid that when I come, we won't be pleased with each other. I fear that some of you may be arguing or jealous or angry or selfish or gossiping or insulting each other. I even fear that you may be proud and acting like a mob. (21) I am afraid God will make me ashamed when I visit you again. I will feel like crying because many of you have never given up your old sins. You are still doing things that are immoral, indecent, and shameful.

One dangerous sin, overlooked by many who believe they are righteous, is being led to become judgmental because of some imagined superiority over others. Many groups and organizations practice this sin, and religious zealots are the worst offenders. Religious groups practice judgment over others because they become deluded to imagine they are the lone caretakers of truth, and everyone is dependant upon them. Such groups always look to some man or small group in their midst as special, and as the source of their truth. They will judge as unworthy of life any who don't join them in worship of those they have deemed "special." Even if some group is accurate in realizing some people are more righteous than most, judgment belongs only to God. (Revelation 19:9-10 ; 1 Corinthians 4:1-5) The problem for superfine apostles (2 Corinthians 11:5) who render judgment over others is this: They are not following the teachings of Christ! (Matthew 7:1-3 ; Mark 9:38-40 ; Romans 14:1-13) Recognize the Bible as your only source of spiritual truth. It is freely available to everyone who has faith. (Hebrews 11:6 ; Acts 10:34-35) Securing the praise from men may be temporarily comforting, but... (Matthew 6:1-15) Jesus said if persons express faith in other men as the source of their spiritual food, they will be disappointed. (Matthew 7:21-23 ; Matthew 7:1-2 ; Matthew 5:43-48)

Don't cling to your old way of life. Don't even be inclined to do so! It is a lot of refuse alongside the hope set out by Christ Jesus. (Philippians 3:8) Remember too: If something is condemned by God it will not make you happy. If you think something God says is bad will make you happy, you have been persuaded to believe a lie. It will not make you happy! If it would make you happy, that would mean it was good, and God would not condemn it. That is how demons exercise influence over us, if they can get us to believe the lies they spread. (John 8:44) God's spirit, on the other hand, reaches out to help and protect us through the truth of his Word the Bible. Gain the hope of the real life through faith in Christ Jesus. Bible understanding can help us easily see the folly for others when they chase after money, or power and glory and fame, or sex, or drug and alcohol abuse, or any other thing they might seek as a source of happiness. However, seeing sinful inclinations in ourselves can be more difficult than seeing them in others. We say again, and encourage you to remember always: If you believe anything in this world can make you happy, apart from doing the will of our Creator, you have been deceived. There is much joy in many of the activities of life, but only in harmony with what the Bible teaches. If you are to leave your addiction to wicked practices behind, you need to realize they will bring only misery. The application of Bible knowledge can set you free from slavery to what ever wrong desires you might have developed in your heart. Truth can, in other words, set you free of what ever lies you have been persuaded to believe. (John 8:31-32)

1 John 2:22-25 NWT: 22 Who is the liar if it is not the one that denies that Jesus is the Christ? This is the antichrist, the one that denies the Father and the Son. 23 Everyone that denies the Son does not have the Father either. He that confesses the Son has the Father also. 24 As for you, let that which you have heard from [the] beginning remain in you. If that which you have heard from [the] beginning remains in you, you will also abide in union with the Son and in union with the Father. 25 Furthermore, this is the promised thing that he himself promised us, the life everlasting.

Most of the world is trying to convince you there is happiness in sin [in pursuing the ways of the world] and that faith in Christ is foolishness. (1 Corinthians 1:18) It is not so! Do not believe it! (John 8:42-51)

Philippians 3:7-9 CEV: (7) But Christ has shown me that what I once thought was valuable is worthless. (8) Nothing is as wonderful as knowing Christ Jesus my Lord. I have given up everything else and count it all as garbage. All I want is Christ (9) and to know that I belong to him. I could not make myself acceptable to God by obeying the Law of Moses. God accepted me simply because of my faith in Christ.

Matthew 7:12 CEV: (12) Treat others as you want them to treat you. This is what the Law and the Prophets are all about.

It is displaying love for others which marks you in your forehead for salvation, (Ezekiel 9:3-6 ; 1 John 3:9-12 ; 1 John 2:1-12) and that is what will make you happy as well. (Acts 20:35) Once you understand and really believe the things condemned by God will harm you, (Hebrews 11:6 ; Isaiah 48:17) you can easily leave them behind. Best to all those who love our Father Jehovah through their faith in his son Christ Jesus!!! (John 6:44-47)

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