What is it? Where did it come from? How is it detrimental? How is it defeated or taken care of? Dictionary: Sin is an act of alienation from God, the rupture of personal relationship with God, a betrayal of the trust He has placed in us. But is that it?
A careful reading of the scriptures will show that there are examples of Sin, sin and sins. These are not all the same. According to Francois Du Toit (Footnotes to Luke 15:1-32 Mirror Bible), “there is only one Sin that stands between God and mankind. Sin (capitalised) is singular- its symptoms are plural. Sin has been the misunderstanding of the concept of our sonship from the beginning. No wonder Jesus says that freedom indeed is found in the truth of our authentic and redeemed sonship. Sin is not about the things you do or don’t do- Sin is missing out on sonship!” When Adam and Eve believed the lie that they were not like God and by eating the forbidden fruit they could become like God, they denied their heritage of God as parent. Thus they denied the fullness of the riches to which they were entitled (sonship) and had the understanding of their authority to subdue and have dominion (Genesis 1:28) removed. They had accepted the authority of Satan and were placed under his domination to be destroyed and killed (John 10:10a). The Good News is that Jesus came and revealed our true identity and redeemed humanity from the captivity we had put ourselves in, thereby dealing with ‘Sin’.
However, another problem arose due to the fulfilment of God’s warning in the Garden in that through denying their true identity, death entered creation (Romans 5:12). Death brought its own problems causing humanity to ‘sin’ (small ‘s’) (1 Corinthians 15:56), for fear entered with Death. This fear of death in its many forms leads us to try to avoid it. In doing so, we will resort to the nature of our captor: we will lie, steal, kill and destroy (John 10:10a). These actions of ours against each other are the ‘sins’ that weigh heavily on our souls with guilt and remorse. ‘Fear not’ is one of the most common directives in the scriptures, and when we consider that Jesus redeemed our identity, our authority, and has dealt with the fear of death by showing us the reality of life eternal – and will eventually cast Death out of Creation forever – then we can rejoice in our forgiveness for our ‘Sin’, and consequently receive and give forgiveness for our ‘sins’.
However, it is still possible for us to wrong our fellow humans, who are also created in His image and likeness. These ‘sins’ need to be addressed. These ‘lowercase’ sins between one person and another have nothing to do with our salvation or awareness of who we are in God and God in us. And if we do fail in our love for others, then it is up to us to make every effort to repair our relationships with those we may have hurt. This may require restitution, repair, and in any other way, redress our failing. It also requires us to accept the forgiveness of others.
Is there an Unpardonable sin? The concept of the ‘unpardonable sin’ is found in Matthew 12:31-32 where it is described as being ‘blasphemy against the Spirit’. Blasphemy can be defined as ‘crediting God’s work to Satan’, or as calling God a liar. This is what we find in the story of the Fall, where Satan called God a liar. Mark 3:28 states that all of the ‘sons of men’ will be forgiven. Only those beings that deliberately declare God a liar will not be forgiven. Although in this life there are people who do so, they will rethink. Satan and his cohorts will never repent, and will never be forgiven.