For most people, when the word sin is spoken, it is used either in a metaphorical sense or applied to people like Bernie Madoff, Hitler or Stalin, or used for exaggeration purposes, depending on the situation. When we consider our bad behavior or even the intentional harm we’ve caused others, we think of these things mainly in terms of mistakes, accidents or wrongs toward other people in particular … but sin? No, we’re not that bad! (Being facetious of course).
In our time, when we apply the word sin to ourselves in a serious manner, you will sometimes get a funny look. For instance, tell the average person you’re a sinner and it’s probable they will start wondering what major wrong you committed, or in other situations they will just say, “Oh, we’ve all made mistakes,” which is to say, it’s okay to sweep it under the rug, what’s past is past, no need to rehash something that can be left dead. Just move on!
All of the aforementioned situations presume a specific relationship in which the “mistake” plays out: between other people. But the question we must ask that is of the utmost importance is, what is sin as God defines it in His Word? Man has a definition of sin many times, and particularly in our society it is just a mistake or accident or it is very grave, depending on how you use it. But is man’s definition of sin Biblical? Is the relationship of offenses simply limited to other people? Paul lays out clearly what sin is in the book of Romans. Of course sins are committed against other people. But is that where it stops and is that the heart of what sin really is?