What’s wrong with mankind?
It’s a question that will bring plenty of responses and opinions. But one explanation that is likely to be frowned on if brought up in polite company is “sin.”
Yet, that’s how the Bible describes the human condition. So what is sin?
In this video by the Bible Project, we’re taken deep into the Bible’s meaning of sin and why it is an excellent explanation of the travails all humans face.
In the Old Testament the word for sin is “khata”, meaning “to fail” or “to miss the goal.”
“What’s the goal?”– the video asks.
The answer comes on page one of the Bible, which says we are all made in the image of God. Every human is a sacred being who represents the creator and is worthy of respect.
Sin is a failure to love God and others and failing to treat people with the honor they deserve.
In the Bible, the people who are often failing don’t know it or actually believe they are succeeding. So a nuance of the word “sin” is how it causes us to easily deceive ourselves into redefining our bad decisions as good ones.
Using the Old Testament definition of sin we learn that failed human behavior and our tendency toward self deception runs deep. It is rooted in our desires and selfish urges that compel us to act for our own benefit at the expense of others.
In the New Testament the word for sin is “hamartia.” It refers to a power or force that rules humans and reveals that we are slaves to sin. In fact, it lives in us.
So the Bible Project answers the question “what is sin” and its impact on the human condition in three points:
- Sin is a failure to love God and others.
- It is our inability to discern if we succeeding or failing.
- It is the deep selfish impulse that drives our behavior.
That brings us to the solution of to our predicament: Jesus.
Jesus did not fail. He did not sin. In fact, he went a step further and took our sins on himself so that we might die to our sins and live to do what is right.