Beth Armstrong

Christian wife, mom, & author. Doing life with my eyes fixed on Jesus. I walk, I stumble, I fall. But God is big. And this is what I write about… Thanks for stopping by!


What is sin? It’s an ugly word, isn’t it? Matter of fact, it’s taboo in many circles, and sadly in many churches as well. If the word does enter into conversation, people squirm. Maybe we don’t squirm as much if we mention it in passing or discuss it at arm’s length as if it doesn’t relate to us. But, when it starts getting personal, when we are forced to look deeply into our own sin, we start getting uncomfortable. But what is it exactly? What is sin?

What is sin? On a surface level, sin is:

  • Blowing it
  • Messing up
  • Making a mistake
  • Breaking a rule
  • Hurting someone
  • Using a curse word

And “surface level” is where we like to keep our definition. It’s far easier to deal with if we identify our sins as “mistakes.”

But it goes much deeper than that. And this is where it gets ugly…and uncomfortable. What is sin? Let’s dig deeper. At the depths of the definition, sin is:

  • Total disregard for what God wants us to do or refrain from doing
  • Shaking our fist in the face of God, saying “Forget You…I’m doing it my way”
  • A breach in our relationship with the One who made us
  • Separation from the God of the universe who longs to be in relationship with us
  • Substantial damage to our souls

What is sin? The reason the word sounds ugly is because it is ugly. We are sinful people. And get this…we were born that way. Ouch! That’s not comfortable. That’s not something I want to shout from the mountain tops.

What is sin? It’s a condition of the heart. It’s a daily condition we live with. According to Genesis 4:7 “…sin is crouching at your door; it desires to have you, but you must master it” (NIV). Sin is eager to control us. Sin’s desire is to devour us. If we don’t rule over the sin in our lives, the sin in our lives will rule over us. Plain and simple. It will slowly but surely wreak havoc on our heart, soul, and mind.

Here’s the thing…although we are sinful, we are not without hope. 1 John 1:9 says, “If we confess our sins, He is faithful and just to forgive us our sins and to cleanse us from all unrighteousness” (ESV). You see, in acknowledging our sins before God, two things happen. First, we are forgiven. No matter how big, bad, or ugly. Confession leads to forgiveness. And second, restoration of our relationship with God begins. We are forgiven and cleansed by God’s amazing grace. And to be restored to right relationship with the God of the universe is beyond what we can comprehend, but it is amazingly true.

Right relationship with us is what God longs for.  Wouldn’t it be amazing if right relationship with Him is what we also longed for?


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