A question answered in many ways: What is sin?
"For all have sinned and fall short of the glory of God." Romans 3:23
What is sin? That question would undoubtedly be answered in many different ways. Each answer would depend greatly upon one’s view of God and of God’s word. Of course there would be those whose answers would be based solely on their view of the world and of man.
If man evolved from an ape, then there is no such thing as sin. Recently a person told me that he believe that humanity can mature and that greed and other destructive motivations aren’t permanent features of human nature.
Of course there is certain behavior that is recognized as being "wrong" simply because it has no apparent regard for the preservation of society. That kind of thinking is pervasive even in the most uncivilized peoples of the world.
Those in the civilized part of the world deal with this "wrong behavior" by passing laws and trying to do a better job in education so that "man can mature" and rid himself of selfish destructive behavior.
This education process is often called "character education." Such instruction is merely an appeal to human behavior as the foundation of what they would call morals. Their whole premise is summed up in these words, "This is the kind of conduct that works best in society, therefore, good citizens will practice this kind of conduct." The dangerous flaw in this kind of thinking is that it substitutes human experience and conduct as the basis of morality rather than the law of God.
The things they advocate may very well be some of the things that Christians advocate, but as I have pointed out their basis is humanistic rather than Biblical. In other words, they teach that it is wrong to steal, lie and murder because it is detrimental to society rather than because it is against the law of God. There is a vast difference between the two views. It is the difference between so-called immoral behavior and sin.
Sin is not mere "brute" behavior. It is much more serious than that. Sin is not the "brute" in us but rather the "man" that is in us. It is the fallen man in us.
When Adam sinned, he sinned as the representative of the entire human race.
This means that when he sinned, he plunged the entire human race into sin. The Bible makes this truth unmistakably clear. "Therefore, just as through one man sin entered into the world, and death through sin, and so death spread to all men, because all sinned " ( Rom 5:12)
"Sin is any want of conformity unto, or transgression of the law of God." Those words are taken from the Shorter Catechism, but they are true to what the Bible teaches concerning sin.