To give a working understanding of the definition of "sin", and how sin has changed everything.
Please read the following out loud as a group:
Before was can understand just how influential sin has been over creation, we must first create the narrative understanding of what "sin" actually is. As Christians we tend to throw around the concept of sin very haphazardly without fully knowing the theology of this... well concept. You see, sin is not a substance, it is not matter, it is not energy, it is not something physical that can be thrown at you, but rather, sin is a concept. You may find it interesting that something found only to be a concept has wreaked so much havoc on the human race, but "sin" is just that. Sin is in a way a great paradox...
... you can't see sin, though you see it's affects everywhere.
... you can't taste sin, though sin was first understood through the eating of a fruit.
... you can't hear sin, though the echo of sin hasn't stopped ringing over the planet since that day in garden.
... you can't capture sin, or remove it from something, nor can you keep sin from impacting you... it simply is.
It's the concept of sin that we must first wrestle with, and define, before we can learn just how bad it is, and how we can overcome it, something that you alone do not actually have the power to do until Jesus has entered your life story. Sin is so incredibly difficult to understand we must first make it easy enough for a little child to grasp, but that is only the beginning of understanding such a juggernaut of theology. A simple definition of sin is "missing the mark", and you will hear that often from Christians worldwide, but that barely scratches the surface. The reason is because the concept of "missing the mark" is a 30,000 foot view of that which has caused each and every one of us to have death stamped over our lives since birth. The apostle Paul spent the majority of his time explaining sin when he penned the book of Romans, and yet the definition of sin can't be found anywhere in his magnum opus. What Paul gives us is the heritage of Sin (through Adam), the consequences of sin (death and separation from God), how to navigate being a sinner (by grace alone), and how to overcome sin (through faith in the Cross of Jesus and His resurrection).
As disciples who are called to mature in our understanding of the kingdom of God, and so that we can powerfully share the good news of how to overcome sin, we should all strive to have a deeper understanding of the concept of sin, first for ourselves, and then for others. Take a moment to read the following description and definition of sin, and then answer the discussion questions below.
"The broad concept of sin as failing to live up to an expected standard of conduct or as a violation of cultural customs or laws can be seen in every culture and society throughout history. Various religions also see sin as a violation of the divine will. This concept has developed in various ways in different societies. By examining the background of the Old Testament and the New Testament, as well as the ancient Jewish and Christian canons themselves, we can see particular ways in which early Jews and Christians came to understand sin.
In some contexts, particularly in some Old Testament texts, the term “sin” is primarily used in reference to external actions performed by human beings (e.g., murder, adultery). In other parts of the Bible, the term “sin” is expanded to include the inner actions of humans, such as their thoughts and desires. Sin is also often portrayed as an entity not dependent on human actions, such as a state of being in alienation from God or an impersonal force acting within humans or societies against God." - Lexham Bible Dictionary; 2016
Scripture: 1 John 3:1-6
See how very much our Father loves us, for he calls us his children, and that is what we are! But the people who belong to this world don’t recognize that we are God’s children because they don’t know him. 2 Dear friends, we are already God’s children, but he has not yet shown us what we will be like when Christ appears. But we do know that we will be like him, for we will see him as he really is. 3 And all who have this eager expectation will keep themselves pure, just as he is pure.
4 Everyone who sins is breaking God’s law, for all sin is contrary to the law of God. 5 And you know that Jesus came to take away our sins, and there is no sin in him. 6 Anyone who continues to live in him will not sin. But anyone who keeps on sinning does not know him or understand who he is.
Why is understanding the definition of sin important to a disciple of Jesus?
Have you ever wrestled with the "what" of sin is in your life? What intellectual and/or emotional challenges did you encounter?
How does our society influence how we perceive sin? Is the influence something we need to be aware of everyday?