What is Sin?

Note: This topic has been written on a sixth-grade level in order to provide understanding to both adults and children.

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Sin is the result of disobeying God’s laws. Romans 3:23 says, “For all have sinned, and come short of the glory of God.” (KJV) What will happen if we sin?

The Bible tells us what will happen based on our decision to sin, or not to sin. (Romans 6:23) “For the wages of sin is death; but the gift of God is eternal life through Jesus Christ our Lord.” (KJV) “Death” does not necessarily mean that if you lie, you will die. This just means that a person that chooses to live a life of sin will end up dying a spiritual death. In other words, they will spend their eternity in hell.

Sin separates us from God. (Isaiah 59:2) “But your iniquities have separated between you and your God, and your sins have hid his face from you, that he will not hear.” (KJV) “But there is a problem—your sins have cut you off from God. Because of your sin, he has turned away and will not listen anymore.” (NLT)


Cain: He murdered his brother, Abel. Because of his sin, God banished Cain from his home and made him a wanderer (Genesis 4:8-12).

The Flood: The people in Noah’s day were so wicked that God decided to destroy everyone who was not righteous. Noah’s family members were the only survivors (Genesis 6:5-22).

Israelites at Mount Horeb: The golden calf that they created upset God so much that He wanted to destroy them! Moses had to ask God not to do this to His people (Exodus 32:1-10).

Sodom and Gomorrah: The destruction of these two cities was a direct result of the sins of the people who lived there (Genesis 19:24-25).

Lot’s wife: Because she would not choose to turn from her life of sin and looked back with longing at Sodom and Gomorrah, God turned her into a pillar of salt (Genesis 19:26).

Moses and Aaron: They did not follow God’s exact instructions when He chose to provide water for the complaining Israelites. Because of this, they were not allowed to enter the Promised Land (Numbers 20:1-13).

Judas: He betrayed Jesus and went against everything that he knew was right. During Jesus’ trial, Judas realized he had made a mistake. However, in his mind, it was already too late and there was no hope. Judas hanged himself, not realizing that Jesus would have forgiven him had he just repented of his actions (Mark 14:43-46; Matthew 27:3-5).

Parable of the Wedding Garment: There was a wedding feast, and the master had given all of the guests a special garment to wear. One of the guests would not wear his garment. Because of this, the master had him taken away from the feast (Matthew 22:11-14).

Lazarus and the rich man: The rich man would not recognize Lazarus’ need for food and comfort. When both men died, Lazarus went to Abraham’s bosom, and the rich man went to hell. The rich man wanted Lazarus to go and warn his brothers (for they were most likely very wicked, too), but God would not allow Lazarus to go (Luke 16:19-31).

Peter: Jesus had told Peter that he would deny that he knew Him. Just as Jesus had said, Peter did do this! It was a very sad thing; however, Peter realized his error, repented, and Jesus forgave him. Peter was the mighty preacher who spoke on the day of Pentecost; he was also the first to proclaim the doctrine of repentance, baptism in Jesus name, and receiving the gift of the Holy Ghost (John 18:15-17; John 18:25-27).

We are human, and we will always make mistakes. Because it is our nature to sin, we must continually ask His forgiveness (Psalm 51:5). However, He is always faithful to forgive us if we ask Him to do so (I John 1:9)“If we confess our sins, He is faithful and just to forgive us our sins, and to cleanse us from all unrighteousness.” (KJV)

(Colossians 3:24-25) Just as God will punish the unjust, He will also reward those who obey His word and are faithful. We may receive a punishment, but if we repent and continue to follow what we know is right, we will be rewarded by Him, both here on earth and in heaven.

Copyright © 2003 Growing with God by Mark and Glenda Alphin

Scripture quotations marked (KJV) are taken from the Holy Bible, King James Version.—Electronic edition of the 1769 edition of the 1611 Authorized Version.—Oak Harbor, WA : Logos Research Systems, Inc., 1995

Scriptures marked (NLT) are taken from the Holy Bible [computer file]: New Living Translation/Tyndale House Publishers.—electronic ed.—Wheaton: Tyndale House, 1997, c1996.