I am not very good at darts. I hit the board most of the time. Sometimes I can even get fairly close to the bull’s eye. But I have never hit that tiny little red spot in the middle of the dart board. It is definitely far beyond my skill and ability. It doesn’t matter if I hit the wall or get within an inch of the bull’s eye. I still missed the mark.
Every person who has ever lived has “missed the mark.” For all have sinned and fall short of the glory of God. See Romans 3:23. The following discussion on the meaning of sin is taken from God’s Truth Revealed, a 12-session Bible study for spiritual seekers and new Christians.
Various Hebrew and Greek words in the Bible have been translated as the word “sin.” In the Old Testament, the Hebrew word chata is frequently used to describe disobedience towards God. It means to “miss the way” or “fail.” According to The Complete Word Study Old Testament, chata carries the idea of being off-target or coming up short of the goal. The Complete Word Study New Testament identifies hamartia as the Greek word used for sin. This word for sin, defined as “missing the true goal and scope of life,” specifically points to “offense in relation to God.”
So just what is this goal or target that we miss? It is the perfect image of God. God created mankind in His image. God’s intended purpose for us was to bring Him glory by reflecting His image here on earth. Sin is anything less than the perfect image of God. A wrong act. Failure to act. An attitude, motivation, thought, or word that is different than God’s. In his book, Systematic Theology, Wayne Grudem defines “sin” this way:
Sin is any failure to conform to the moral law of God in act, attitude, or nature.
Even our best efforts to be good are tainted by sin. My noble acts and good deeds are marred by prideful attitudes, selfish motivations, and self-righteous thoughts. The Bible says that all our righteous acts are still like filthy rags to God (Isaiah 64:6). In fact, I am so steeped in sin that I cannot even come to God on my own. “No one can come to me (Jesus) unless the Father who sent me draws him” (John 6:44).
The price of sin is high. My sin – and yours – deserves spiritual death and eternal separation from God. “For the wages of sin is death…” (Romans 6:23a). But as we will see in future posts, our merciful, loving God has provided a way to be saved. “…but the gift of God is eternal life in Christ Jesus our Lord” (Romans 6:23b).
Today, let’s acknowledge we are sinners and thank our gracious God for the Savior.