I believe that “missing the mark” best describes sin. God has a plan and purpose for my life and anytime I fail to align with that I have fallen short or missed the mark. Sin is not just a matter of doing something wrong, breaking God’s moral code. Sin is also a failure to do what God wants me to do, and even when what I am doing is good (James 4:17).
I believe that I am responsible for my own sin. I do not sin because I have inherited a sin nature from my parents. I do not sin because of any outside influence; although that may influence me. I sin because I am selfish and do what I want rather than what God wants of me (James 1:14-15).
I believe that sin originates within each individual and is not an inherited trait from our parents or from Adam, who I believe was likely not an actual individual. Instead I see Adam as representative of all of us, choosing what seems pleasant and desirable to our human nature (Genesis 3:6) rather than living in obedience and communion with God (Genesis 3:17). As a human, like any other material being on this planet, my primary focus is on me: and that, in a sense, is what sin is, focusing on me rather than on God.
I believe that every human who has ever lived, apart from Jesus, is guilty of sin. No matter how good our life might be, or how hard we strive to live up to some moral standard, all of us fall short in our own efforts (Romans 3:20).It is only in accepting by faith Jesus sacrifice for my sins that I am able to escape that life of sin and be in alignment with God’s purpose for my life.
I believe that God has made me to be in relationship with himself but that sin, or my own selfish nature, separates me from him (Isaiah 59:2). My sin separates me from God now, creating a barrier between us. And it will also separate me from God in eternity, leading to my destruction.
I believe that my sin is against God alone (Psalm 51:4), although it does impact me and other people. If sin is indeed falling short of God’s purpose for me, then all sin must be against him. While my actions may impact other people in sometimes terrible ways, my sin is still against God.
I believe that the only way to deal with sin in our culture is by changing individual lives, not by legislating morality. I believe that enacting laws to protect a nation’s citizens is appropriate. But laws that are meant to ensure that we live up to the moral vision of some person, or group of persons, are doomed to failure (Col. 2:21-23). I believe that the only truly effective way to change the way people act is to change their hearts, bringing them into relationship with their creator.