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What Is Sin?

The word sin itself is an archery term, a word used to describe an arrow that falls short of the target. And for the most part, that’s the way the gospel message treats it, as in Romans 3:23, For everyone has sinned; we all fall short of God’s glorious standard.

However, the Bible describes sin in three ways: breaking God’s laws (crossing the line); rebellion against God (the raised fist); and failure to measure up to God’s standards (falling short).

But sin includes more than even these. It also describes a state of being-in sin. The Bible teaches that every person is born a sinner and is at odds with God. It’s as though sin were a principle built into our human nature. Human nature is by definition sinful. It is this state of sin, as well as our individual acts of sin, that puts us at odds with God. We need to be made right with God (reconciled), have our sins forgiven, and receive God’s Spirit within us so we have a new nature.