2 Corinthians 5:21
ESV - 21 For our sake he made him to be sin who knew no sin, so that in him we might become the righteousness of God.
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A sin offering was a sacrifice, made according to the Mosaic Law, which provided atonement for sin. The Hebrew phrase for “sin offering” literally means “offering.” for faults committed in O.T. days. All the demands of a holy and righteous God were perfectly satisfied when Christ offered His body without any blemish, and shed His blood without any spot. His was the perfect offering. There is nothing we can add to it because it is just not necessary. Man thought that Jesus was finished, but He shouted victoriously that the work was finished! Salvation comes to us as a free gift because of the finished work on the Cross. A gift cannot be earned, it must only be received. On God's side salvation is all of grace, and on our side it is all of faith. We are not saved "by" good works but "for" good works. Boasting is totally out (Eph 2:8-10). The gospel is a Good News for those who have done their best but failed! The problem of the natural man with human reasoning is in understanding how the greatest of all gifts can be received by simple faith. In his pride and prestige he wants to "do" something and earn it. But God declares, "Done!" The message of the Cross is simply profound and profoundly simple. That's where the religionist stumbles. God made Christ a sin-offering, that man might become righteous (Eph. 5:2; cp. Ex. 29:14; Lev. 4:3; 6:25; Num. 8:8; Ps. 40:6).
I would say that sin as a concept is any thought, word, or action that is disobedient to God's commands as revealed in the Bible (both prior to and after the giving of the Law) (1 John 3:4). Individual sins are the many possible forms and degrees that that disobedience may assume, as well as the inherent natural tendency to commit sin that every human has possessed from birth since the time that the first sin was committed by humans (Psalm 51:5). (However, degrees of sin are only from a human perspective. As the Bible indicates (James 2:10), violation of any of God's commandments is the same in His eyes as violation of them all from the standpoint of rendering us unable to remain eternally in His presence apart from the forgiveness made possible through faith in Christ, who paid the penalty demanded by God for humanity's sins from eternity past to eternity future.)
Great question, George! Sin is transgressing God’s law and includes such things as lying [Lying is listed as a sin in the Ten Commandments--#9: "You shall not bear false witness against your neighbor" (Exodus 20:16)], lust (Jesus made it very clear that it is not alright when a man longs to have an illicit sexual relationship with a woman (and, presumably, the reverse is also true).), cheating (" Instead, you yourselves cheat and do wrong, and you do this to your brothers and sisters." --1 Corinthians 6:9), deceit (1 Peter 2:1 "Therefore, rid yourselves of all malice and all deceit, hypocrisy, envy, and slander of every kind." But in 1 Peter 2:22 Peter speaks of Jesus' sinlessness--“He [Jesus] committed no sin, and no deceit was found in His mouth.”, evil thoughts (Jesus's diagnosis of man's depraved heart: Matthew15:19 For out of the heart proceed evil thoughts, murders, adulteries, fornications, thefts, false witness, blasphemies: 20 These are the things which defile a man: but to eat with unwashen hands defileth not a man., immoral behavior (Amplified Bible says "Run away from sexual immorality [in any form, whether thought or behavior, whether visual or written]. Every other sin that a man commits is outside the body, but the one who is sexually immoral sins against his own body., and more. " In a nutshell, it’s anything we say, think, do or don’t do that is displeasing to God. Now, just imagine if someone sinned only 3 times in a day – one bad thought, one unkind word, one loss of temper about something. You’d probably think that’s pretty good. But 3 sins a day adds up to more than a thousand sins in a year. Imagine standing before a traffic judge with 1,000 transgressions of the law. And yet, we try to stand before an all Holy God whose standard is perfection. But praise God for Jesus for paying the penalty for our sin! JS
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