The word translated sin in the Old Testament is the Hebrew word ‘chata’ and in the New Testament the Greek word ‘hamartano’; both have the meaning literally ‘to miss the mark’. The ‘mark’ in scripture is the commandment(s) of God. Sin is the disobeying of the commandments of God.
The sentence imposed by God for sin – disobeying his commandment(s) – is death. Adam disobeyed God in Eden and the sentence of death was passed upon both him and his descendents.
Genesis 2:16 And the LORD God commanded the man, saying, Of every tree of the garden thou mayest freely eat: 17 But of the tree of the knowledge of good and evil, thou shalt not eat of it: for in the day that thou eatest thereof thou shalt surely die.
Genesis 3:6 And when the woman saw that the tree was good for food, and that it was pleasant to the eyes, and a tree to be desired to make one wise, she took of the fruit thereof, and did eat, and gave also unto her husband with her; and he did eat.
Genesis 3:17 And unto Adam he said, Because thou hast hearkened unto the voice of thy wife, and hast eaten of the tree, of which I commanded thee, saying, Thou shalt not eat of it: cursed is the ground for thy sake; in sorrow shalt thou eat of it all the days of thy life; 18 Thorns also and thistles shall it bring forth to thee; and thou shalt eat the herb of the field; 19 In the sweat of thy face shalt thou eat bread, till thou return unto the ground; for out of it wast thou taken: for dust thou art, and unto dust shalt thou return.
Death has been the lot of mankind ever since because we are of Adam’s nature. When we are old enough to be morally accountable, we die also because we disobey the commandments of God.
Romans 5:12 Wherefore, as by one man sin entered into the world, and death by sin; and so death passed upon all men, for that all have sinned:
At the time of Moses God brought Israel out of Egypt and wrote his law in Ten Commandments on two tables of stone.
The inability to keep these commandments without breaking just one in a lifetime proves to mankind that they are sinners and they cannot save themselves from death.
Ezekiel 18:4... the soul that sinneth, it shall die.
Romans 6:23 For the wages of sin is death...
The Law convicts everyone.
Romans 7:7 What shall we say then? Is the law sin? God forbid. Nay, I had not known sin, but by the law: for I had not known lust, except the law had said, Thou shalt not covet.
Galatians 3:21 Is the law then against the promises of God? God forbid: for if there had been a law given which could have given life, verily righteousness should have been by the law. 22 But the scripture hath concluded all under sin, that the promise by faith of Jesus Christ might be given to them that believe.
God is the only one who could provide a way of escape. This he did by fathering a son Jesus, made of a woman and tempted to sin in every way that we are but with sufficient strength of character to resist.
Jesus lived and died without sinning once. This ensured his resurrection from the dead.
1 Peter 2:22 Who did no sin, neither was guile found in his mouth:
Acts 2:24 Whom God hath raised up, having loosed the pains of death: because it was not possible that he should be holden of it.
Jesus living a sinless life and dying was insufficient to save others. He could only save others by voluntarily giving his life for them.
John 10:18 No man taketh it from me, but I lay it down of myself...
John 15:13 Greater love hath no man than this, that a man lay down his life for his friends. 14 Ye are my friends, if ye do whatsoever I command you.
Jesus’ voluntary death made it possible for God to impute his righteousness to those sinners who would accept him, so that sin could be forgiven.
John 8:24 I said therefore unto you, that ye shall die in your sins: for if ye believe not that I am he, ye shall die in your sins.
Romans 5:19 For as by one man’s (Adam’s) disobedience many were made sinners, so by the obedience of one (Jesus) shall many be made righteous.
Jesus fulfilled the Law (the Old Covenant) and replaced it with the New Covenant. The commandments under the New Covenant are in reality the principles of the Old covenant which was given as a National Law, modified to be kept by individuals of any nationality:
Mark 12:30 And thou shalt love the Lord thy God with all thy heart, and with all thy soul, and with all thy mind, and with all thy strength: this is the first commandment. 31 And the second is like, namely this, Thou shalt love thy neighbour as thyself. There is none other commandment greater than these.
This is the law of love. The law of love automatically covers all the commandments except that of keeping the Sabbath which is suspended.
Romans 13:9 For this, Thou shalt not commit adultery, Thou shalt not kill, Thou shalt not steal, Thou shalt not bear false witness, Thou shalt not covet; and if there be any other commandment, it is briefly comprehended in this saying, namely, Thou shalt love thy neighbour as thyself.
In Christ our neighbour includes our enemy so that we are required to show the love of God to everyone.
Matthew 5:44 But I say unto you, Love your enemies, bless them that curse you, do good to them that hate you, and pray for them which despitefully use you, and persecute you
In Christ, God has given us a covering for our disobedience. If we believe the gospel, repent and are baptised, all our sins up to that point are washed away.
Mark 16:15 And he said unto them, Go ye into all the world, and preach the gospel to every creature. 16 He that believeth and is baptized shall be saved; but he that believeth not shall be damned (condemned).
With baptism we begin a new life. If we live this new life with integrity, loving others as ourselves, then we can receive ongoing forgiveness for any sins we commit due to the weakness of our nature.
1 John 1:5 This then is the message which we have heard of him, and declare unto you, that God is light, and in him is no darkness at all. 6 If we say that we have fellowship with him, and walk in darkness, we lie, and do not the truth: 7 But if we walk in the light, as he is in the light, we have fellowship one with another, and the blood of Jesus Christ his Son cleanseth us from all sin. 8 If we say that we have no sin, we deceive ourselves, and the truth is not in us. 9 If we confess our sins, he is faithful and just to forgive us our sins, and to cleanse us from all unrighteousness.
Faith in God’s promises will be imputed to us for righteousness.
James 2:23 And the scripture was fulfilled which saith, Abraham believed God, and it was imputed unto him for righteousness: and he was called the Friend of God.
Romans 4:23 Now it was not written for his (Abraham’s) sake alone, that it (righteousness) was imputed to him; 24 But for us also, to whom it shall be imputed, if we believe on him that raised up Jesus our Lord from the dead;
Belief and baptism into Christ does not prevent us dying in this life but ensures our resurrection from the dead to life again when Christ returns. If we have remained faithful the reward is eternal life in the kingdom of God.
Hebrews 9:28 So Christ was once offered to bear the sins of many; and unto them that look for him shall he appear the second time without sin unto salvation.
I hope you have found this helpful.
May God bless you,