Everyone makes mistakes. But most people don’t like to call their mistakes “sins,” even though that’s what they are. In this Plan, we’ll learn what sin is, why we do it, and how we can choose to live differently. We can stand on the hope that no matter what we’ve done in our lives, there is no sin we can commit that God won’t forgive.
Missing the Mark
Thus the heavens and the earth were completed in all their vast array.Genesis 2:1-25 NIV
By the seventh day God had finished the work he had been doing; so on the seventh day he rested from all his work. Then God blessed the seventh day and made it holy, because on it he rested from all the work of creating that he had done.
This is the account of the heavens and the earth when they were created, when the LORD God made the earth and the heavens.
Now no shrub had yet appeared on the earth and no plant had yet sprung up, for the LORD God had not sent rain on the earth and there was no one to work the ground, but streams came up from the earth and watered the whole surface of the ground. Then the LORD God formed a man from the dust of the ground and breathed into his nostrils the breath of life, and the man became a living being.
Now the LORD God had planted a garden in the east, in Eden; and there he put the man he had formed. The LORD God made all kinds of trees grow out of the ground—trees that were pleasing to the eye and good for food. In the middle of the garden were the tree of life and the tree of the knowledge of good and evil.
A river watering the garden flowed from Eden; from there it was separated into four headwaters. The name of the first is the Pishon; it winds through the entire land of Havilah, where there is gold. (The gold of that land is good; aromatic resin and onyx are also there.) The name of the second river is the Gihon; it winds through the entire land of Cush. The name of the third river is the Tigris; it runs along the east side of Ashur. And the fourth river is the Euphrates.
The LORD God took the man and put him in the Garden of Eden to work it and take care of it. And the LORD God commanded the man, “You are free to eat from any tree in the garden; but you must not eat from the tree of the knowledge of good and evil, for when you eat from it you will certainly die.”
The LORD God said, “It is not good for the man to be alone. I will make a helper suitable for him.”
Now the LORD God had formed out of the ground all the wild animals and all the birds in the sky. He brought them to the man to see what he would name them; and whatever the man called each living creature, that was its name. So the man gave names to all the livestock, the birds in the sky and all the wild animals.
But for Adam no suitable helper was found. So the LORD God caused the man to fall into a deep sleep; and while he was sleeping, he took one of the man’s ribs and then closed up the place with flesh. Then the LORD God made a woman from the rib he had taken out of the man, and he brought her to the man.
The man said,
“This is now bone of my bones
and flesh of my flesh;
she shall be called ‘woman,’
for she was taken out of man. ”
That is why a man leaves his father and mother and is united to his wife, and they become one flesh.
Adam and his wife were both naked, and they felt no shame.
Now the serpent was more crafty than any of the wild animals the LORD God had made. He said to the woman, “Did God really say, ‘You must not eat from any tree in the garden’? ”Genesis 3:1-24 NIV
The woman said to the serpent, “We may eat fruit from the trees in the garden, but God did say, ‘You must not eat fruit from the tree that is in the middle of the garden, and you must not touch it, or you will die.’”
“You will not certainly die,” the serpent said to the woman. “For God knows that when you eat from it your eyes will be opened, and you will be like God, knowing good and evil.”
When the woman saw that the fruit of the tree was good for food and pleasing to the eye, and also desirable for gaining wisdom, she took some and ate it. She also gave some to her husband, who was with her, and he ate it. Then the eyes of both of them were opened, and they realized they were naked; so they sewed fig leaves together and made coverings for themselves.
Then the man and his wife heard the sound of the LORD God as he was walking in the garden in the cool of the day, and they hid from the LORD God among the trees of the garden. But the LORD God called to the man, “Where are you?”
He answered, “I heard you in the garden, and I was afraid because I was naked; so I hid.”
And he said, “Who told you that you were naked? Have you eaten from the tree that I commanded you not to eat from? ”
The man said, “The woman you put here with me —she gave me some fruit from the tree, and I ate it.”
Then the LORD God said to the woman, “What is this you have done?”
The woman said, “The serpent deceived me, and I ate.”
So the LORD God said to the serpent, “Because you have done this,
“Cursed are you above all livestock
and all wild animals!
You will crawl on your belly
and you will eat dust
all the days of your life.
And I will put enmity
between you and the woman,
and between your offspring and hers;
he will crush your head,
and you will strike his heel.”
To the woman he said,
“I will make your pains in childbearing very severe;
with painful labor you will give birth to children.
Your desire will be for your husband,
and he will rule over you. ”
To Adam he said, “Because you listened to your wife and ate fruit from the tree about which I commanded you, ‘You must not eat from it,’
“Cursed is the ground because of you;
through painful toil you will eat food from it
all the days of your life.
It will produce thorns and thistles for you,
and you will eat the plants of the field.
By the sweat of your brow
you will eat your food
until you return to the ground,
since from it you were taken;
for dust you are
and to dust you will return.”
Adam named his wife Eve, because she would become the mother of all the living.
The LORD God made garments of skin for Adam and his wife and clothed them. And the LORD God said, “The man has now become like one of us, knowing good and evil. He must not be allowed to reach out his hand and take also from the tree of life and eat, and live forever.” So the LORD God banished him from the Garden of Eden to work the ground from which he had been taken. After he drove the man out, he placed on the east side of the Garden of Eden cherubim and a flaming sword flashing back and forth to guard the way to the tree of life.
for all have sinned and fall short of the glory of GodRomans 3:23 NIV
There may be some sins of which a man cannot speak, but there is no sin which the blood of Christ cannot wash away. — Charles Spurgeon
Sin. It’s a word that Christians don’t like to mention because it makes us feel ashamed. We prefer to use words like struggle or mistake. But dealing with sin honestly will help us find victory from it in our future. Before we dive in, let’s answer a couple of questions that many people have about sin:
What is sin?
If you look at the Greek—the original language of the New Testament—the word for sin is hamartanō,and it means “to be mistaken.” But the definition that most scholars use is “to miss the mark,” which refers to archery. If an arrow doesn’t land in the center of a target, or the bullseye, the arrow has “missed the mark.” Sin is like that.
The mark is the standard God gave us to follow. It’s His perfect way. And we’ve all missed it according to Romans 3:23. Not one single human can claim perfection. Whether we miss the mark by a little or a lot, it’s a sin.
Where did sin come from?
Sin entered the world because of the first humans, Adam and Eve. In the Old Testament book of Genesis, we read that God told Adam and Eve that they could eat from any tree in the Garden of Eden except one—the Tree of the Knowledge of Good and Evil. Guess what? They ate from that tree. Because of that one act, all human beings are born with a depraved heart, and we sin the moment we have the ability to do so.
We’re all born with a sinful nature because of someone else’s choices. Seems unfair, doesn’t it? There is great news, however. Much like sin was brought into the world by one man, Adam, salvation came into the world by One Man, Jesus. God sent His Son to die on the cross for our sins. Because of Jesus’s finished work on the cross, we can have victory in our lives over sin. While we won’t achieve perfection, we can make choices that will make our lives richer and fuller.
Over the next four days of this Plan, we’ll discuss why we sin and ways to stop the cycles of sin in our lives. We’ll dive into comparing our sins with others as well as choosing to love others over retaliating. And finally, we’ll learn how to live forgiven and free—because that’s what we are.
- Is it difficult for you to admit that you sin? Why or why not?
- Think about an issue you struggle with. Call it what it is—a sin. Ask God to help you overcome this.