This photo is not faked. It shows a real shepherd…
It’s true. It’s not a dirty word. Sin itself can be dirty, no doubt.
But I love what I’ve learned from sin: most of all the wisdom of not sinning.
“Wisdom is the principal thing; therefore get wisdom: and with all your getting get understanding” (Proverbs 4:7, NKJV).
I thank God that I’ve come to understand the following:
- Sin is not a dirty word. It’s a critical concept to understand.
- The more I recognize my own sin, the more I depend on Christ.
- The more I turn away from sin, the more I can embrace what is good.
1. Sin is Not a Dirty Word. It’s a Critical Concept.
If you hate the word “sin” or think the whole idea is bogus, you’re not alone.
The word “sin” is often misunderstood and misrepresented. Often, it’s perceived as a judgmental insult when we describe any behavior as sinful. Perhaps we as a Christian people are partly to blame in how we’ve used it. Maybe we can do better at explaining it.
Understanding sin is about understanding happiness. When we understand sin, we can avoid it, including all of the painful consequences. If we don’t understand sin or don’t believe that it exists, we fall victim to it (and the consequences). Sin is an eternal reality whether we believe in it or not.
All world religions teach the concept of sin. In Hindu lingo, the word sin means “taking in or drinking impure water, polluted water or poison.” Wow, I love that. What a great explanation! In the Bible we also read:
“For the wages of sin is death; but the gift of God is eternal life through Jesus Christ our Lord” (Romans 6:23, NKJV).
Why Sin Matters
When we drink poison, we die. Through Jesus Christ, we receive the antidote—the medicine that saves. In ways that are hard to recognize at first, we die a little every time we sin. Sin is slow-acting poison. We gradually distance ourselves from God, our creator. We lose touch with his light in our life. We eventually feel icky, disoriented, and unhappy.
Any behavior that’s contrary to the nature and character of God is sin. The whole point of the Bible is to help us (1) understand good versus evil, (2) learn to love God (good) and resist Satan (evil), and (3) come to Christ to get out of our sinful mess. Here’s another great scripture:
“See, I have set before you this day life and good, and death and evil . . . I command you this day to love the LORD your God, to walk in his ways, and to keep his commandments . . . that you may live and multiply: and the LORD your God shall bless you . . .” (Deuteronomy 30:15-16, NKJV).
Now, after that nice scripture, who says the Bible is hard to understand?! (Well, it is, I agree.) This verse in the Old Testament is super righteous and clear, is it not? God wants you to see. He puts the choice before you, he said. And he wants to bless you. Just like any caring parent, he’s trying to teach us right from wrong so we can be happy. His commandments and teachings are like guide rails on a dangerous, windy road.
Clearly, sin is not a dirty word. We just need to look at it correctly.
I love the concept of sin because I now understand the reality of how this earth life works and I understand good versus evil. Those are valuable, dear reader, wouldn’t you agree?
2. I Depend on Christ
What happens when we don’t really believe or care that we are sinning? We feel okay for a long time. We’re having fun. “It’s all good, man!”
Until it’s not all good.
Well, happy day. It’s wake up time.
How many times have you heard of people hitting rock bottom, changing their lives, and then becoming that point of hope and encouragement for others? They testify to the happiness, stability, and clear vision they now enjoy.
It is a seriously happy day when we truly believe that we are sinful and that we can’t un-poison ourselves on our own.
How Christianity is Different
This is where Christianity differs from many world religions and their views of sin. We need to take the yoke of Jesus on us, which means we join with him like two oxen in an old-fashioned yoke and let him do a lot of the pulling! (See views from Judaism, Islam, Hinduism, Buddhism. These articles have very insightful analogies and explanations but notice that they miss the importance of Christ.)
The apostle Paul described man’s struggle with sin and Christ’s words to him:
“He said to me, ‘My grace is sufficient for you, for My power is perfected in weakness.’ Therefore I will boast all the more gladly in my weaknesses, so that the power of Christ may rest on me” (2 Corinthians 12:9-10, NKJV).
This is how we all can feel. It’s a lovely thing to recognize that we are weak and we sin—because we’re waking up to reality. But we should also recognize that we can’t overcome our sins alone. Forget it. Don’t torture yourself. Put your head in the yoke with Christ “so that the power of Christ may rest on you.” You begin this process by deeply believing in him.
3. I Love How Turning from Sin Helped Me Embrace What’s Good
Sin has helped me understand the nature of “goodness.”
We need to really get it. See it. Comprehend that there are opposites in the universe and see it in our own lives.
I’ve had to really look bad behaviors straight in the face: embarrassing behaviors, things that hurt other people, immature behaviors, things that offended God. You name it, we have to see it for what it is, own it, fess up, and be willing to get rid of it with the help of God.
This passage says it all.
“Throw off your old sinful nature and your former way of life, which is corrupted by lust and deception. Instead, let the Spirit [meaning the Spirit of God] renew your thoughts and attitudes. Put on your new nature, created to be like God—truly righteous and holy.” (Ephesians 4:22-24, NLT, brackets added).
Apples and Oranges
We can’t follow this counsel unless we understand what behaviors are sinful. How can you sort apples from oranges if you don’t know the difference?
And how about that statement: “Put on your new nature, created to be like God—truly righteous and holy.” There it is! That’s why we were created.
Jesus taught two things that should always be taught together. The first sounds scary. The second puts it in perspective.
- “Be you therefore perfect, even as your Father who is in heaven is perfect” (Matthew 5:48, NKJV).
- “Take my yoke upon you, and learn of me; for I am meek and lowly in heart: and you shall find rest unto your souls” (Matthew 11:29, NKVJ).
The english word “Perfect,” as used in this scripture means we are complete and whole and we function as we were intended to function. It does not mean that we never make mistakes or never sin. Jesus wants us to learn how to act like our Heavenly Father would act, which means we are functioning as we were intended (or created) to function. But that takes time and it takes Jesus. (See an excellent article about “perfect” here.)
My sins helped me understand the nature of God—after I repented, believed deeply in Jesus, and committed to following Him each day.
Yes, I love what my earth experience has done for me—sins and all. It’s all been worth it to truly learn right from wrong and good from evil.
Estimated Reading Time
4 – 5 minutes