What is Sin in the Bible?

Lupe Wiltshire

Lupe Wiltshire

Why is it important to know what the Bible says?

In the present world, more than any other time before, many people are guiding their lives by their own opinions, those of others, or what is popular at the moment. It is important to know what God has to say, and to set our moral compass inline with His unchanging Word and will. We can learn what God says in the Bible (the Scriptures), which is our source of truth to make us holy. 

Sanctify them in the truth [set them apart for Your purposes, make them holy]; Your word is truth. John 17:17 

The Bible is more than just a book, it is alive and has power. It can reach our souls and spirits to reveal to us what is in our hearts Hebrews 4:12. The Word of God is useful for us to become righteous and be ready to live our lives serving God, not the world. 

All Scripture is God-breathed and is useful for teaching, rebuking, correcting and training in righteousness, so that the servant of God may be thoroughly equipped for every good work. 2 Timothy 3:16-17

What does the Bible say sin is?

The Bible calls sin—lawlessness—in other words, knowingly breaking the laws of God, and not obeying His will. This can happen in more than one way: by actively doing something we know is wrong, by neglecting to do something that’s right, or tolerating sin. 1 John 3:4, James 4:17    

How do we “fall” into sin? We don’t just fall into it. The Bible says we are tempted to sin and it is not God that does it. Before we sin, we feel a temptation to do wrong that comes from our own wrong desires. These thoughts may have come originally from external things we have heard, seen or learned. We sometimes rationalize that the sin is going to be “just this once,” or “it can’t be bad, if it feels so good,” or “is not as bad as what some other people are doing,” or “God will understand.” 

After some time of thinking about these things, our minds entice us to actually commit the sin. Sadly, sin has a way of growing and becoming habitual, which eventually brings death to us, spiritually or physically, or both. James 1:13-15     

The Bible says that,

…for all have sinned and fall short of the glory of God. Romans 3:23

That means, we are all in the same boat, we all have sinned. Only Jesus, although tempted, lived a sinless life, but did not sin. Hebrews 4:15 Also, we can see that “falling short of the glory of God” is also a definition of sin. Thankfully, as we will see later, we can achieve the glory of God, because it does not depend solely on our own efforts!

What are the consequences of sin?

Jesus said,

“I assure you and most solemnly say to you, everyone who practices sin habitually is a slave of sin. John 8:34

Nobody wants to be a slave and much less a slave to sin. Moreover, John the apostle tells us that such a person has not seen nor known God; the very thing that we want to pursue.  

No one who continues to sin has either seen Him [God] or known Him. 1 John 3:6b

When we sin, not only are we separated from God, but our hearts become hardened, blinding us of our condition, which in turn leads us to worse sins than before. Sin is a catalyst for more sin!  

They [sinners] are darkened in their understanding and separated from the life of God because of the ignorance that is in them due to the hardening of their hearts. Having lost all sensitivity, they have given themselves over to sensuality so as to indulge in every kind of impurity, and they are full of greed. Ephesians 4:18–19

The sin of pride has grave consequences because the person is focused on self instead of on God. The opposite of pride is humility, which God rewards. 

“The Lord detests all the proud of heart. Be sure of this: They will not go unpunished…  Pride goes before destruction, a haughty spirit before a fall.” Proverbs 16:5 -18

…Scripture says: “God opposes the proud but shows favor [gives grace] to the humble.” James 4:6

A person who is only concerned with their own pleasures and lusts, neglecting the things of the Spirit, will become corrupt and die spiritually. 

Do not be deceived: God cannot be mocked. A man reaps what he sows. Whoever sows to please their flesh, from the flesh will reap destruction; whoever sows to please the Spirit, from the Spirit will reap eternal life. Galatians 6:7-8

We learned already that sin ultimately brings death! 

…when sin has run its course, it gives birth to death. James 1:15b. 

Unfortunately, our sins do not only affect us, many others, oftentimes our loved ones, may experience harmful consequences because of our wrong actions or inactions. Addictions always create conflicts with those around us. Some of the Commandments given to us by God through Moses are just a few of the many ways others are affected by our evil ways.

“You shall not murder, …commit adultery, …steal, …give false testimony, …covet…” Exodus 20:13-17

All involved with the person that sins can end up experiencing shame, hopelessness, brokenness and emptiness.

What can I do to get rid of my sins and be saved?

Paul the apostle confirms that sin leads to death; however, he speaks of this amazing free gift of God by which we can have eternal life with Jesus.   

For the wages of sin is death, but the free gift of God [that is, His remarkable, overwhelming gift of grace to believers] is eternal life in Christ Jesus our Lord. Romans 6:23

So, in a sense, there is nothing we can do to be saved, because Jesus did it all! God died on the cross to pay for your sins, mine and all the sins of humanity. All we need to do is, believe in Jesus, repent of our sins, and confess them.   

If we confess our sins, he is faithful and just and will forgive us our sins and purify us from all unrighteousness. 1 John 1:9

If you declare with your mouth, “Jesus is Lord,” and believe in your heart that God raised him from the dead, you will be saved. For it is with your heart that you believe and are justified, and it is with your mouth that you profess your faith and are saved. Romans 10:9-10

But if we walk in the light, as he is in the light, we have fellowship with one another, and the blood of Jesus, His Son, purifies us from all sin. 1 John 1:7

Now… Why on earth would God, the Father, sacrifice His own Son? 

But God demonstrates his own love for us in this: While we were still sinners, Christ died for us. Romans 5:8

It was all for love! God loves us that much! It is not because we are “good” or “without sins!” He created us—He is our Father—and He wants for all of humanity to have a relationship with Him. God wants us to come to Him with our weaknesses, guilt and regrets, and depend on Him for healing us, and to walk with His Son, Jesus! 

What can keep me from going back to my sinful ways?

God consists of three persons—the Father, the Son (Jesus), and the Holy Spirit)—which we call the Trinity. After Jesus died, the Father sent us the Holy Spirit as our advocate, counselor, and helper to be with us and in us through our life as Christians. John 16:7, John 14:16-18 

Having the Holy Spirit in us makes it all possible to stay away from our old sinful ways after being saved! Our spirit can have victory over our flesh!

So I [Paul] say, walk by the Spirit, and you will not gratify the desires of the flesh. For the flesh desires what is contrary to the Spirit, and the Spirit what is contrary to the flesh. They are in conflict with each other, so that you are not to do whatever you want. Galatians 5:16-17

After accepting Jesus as our Savior, and deciding to follow Him as our Lord, we can change our old ways. This does not mean that we will never commit a sin, but when we do, we can come confidently to God and ask for forgiveness, and He will forgive us. 1 John 1:9  

Now we are made acceptable to God, and placed in a right relationship with Him because of His love and grace. He makes us to, inwardly, desire to do the right thing and not sin any longer, so we can please Him.

God made him who had no sin to be sin for us, so that in him we might become the righteousness of God. 2 Corinthians 5:21

No one who lives in him [Jesus] keeps on sinning. 1 John 3:6a

Being a friend of God makes us want to have fellowship with other believers. When we do life together, it helps us to stay close to God, be encouraged to learn His Word, and become disciples and followers of Jesus.  We need other believers to stay on track!

And let us consider how we may spur one another on toward love and good deeds, not giving up meeting together, as some are in the habit of doing, but encouraging one another… Hebrews 10:24-25

Is Jesus the only one that can take away our sin and save us?

Yes, the Bible tells us that Jesus is the only way to be saved from our sins, and He only had to be sacrificed once, and that was enough for us.   

Jesus said to him [Thomas], “I am the [only] Way [to God] and the [real] Truth and the [real] Life; no one comes to the Father but through Me.” John 14:6

Salvation is found in no one else, for there is no other name under heaven given to mankind by which we must be saved.” Acts 4:12

For Christ did not enter a sanctuary made with human hands that was only a copy of the true one; he entered heaven itself, now to appear for us in God’s presence… But he has appeared once for all at the culmination of the ages to do away with sin by the sacrifice of himself. Hebrews 9:24-26

What do we gain by confessing our sins?

With true repentance from our sins we can have forgiveness for our sins, we can now lead righteous lives in God, and we receive salvation and eternal life with Him. 

For the grace of God has appeared that offers salvation to all people. It teaches us to say “No” to ungodliness and worldly passions [sin], and to live self-controlled, upright and godly lives in this present age, Titus 2:11-12

When they heard this, they quieted down and glorified and praised God, saying, “Then God has also granted to the Gentiles [non-Jews] repentance [from their sins] that leads to eternal life [that is, real life after earthly death].” Acts 11:18


The Bible has a lot to say about sin. However, God loves us so much that He shows us His plan for the forgiveness of our sins, how to live a righteous joyous life following Jesus without shame and regrets, and have eternal life in Heaven.  

You may now be feeling convicted about your past sins; you have heard in your heart that God is calling you to repent of your sins, and confess them. If you want to follow Jesus, and receive the free gift of God’s forgiveness and eternal life, then I invite you to pray the following prayer…

A Prayer for Salvation

Dear Heavenly Father, 

I confess that I have repeatedly sinned against You. I have pursued my own desires, apart from You. I am broken and in need of Your healing. I am a sinner in need of Your saving grace. 

I trust in You, and You alone, to save me from my sin. I believe that Jesus is the Lord and Savior of the world. I believe that He died so I might have life. From now on, I will put my trust in Jesus and follow Him. 

I surrender my life to You, and want to live for your glory. Please, forgive me of my sin and heal my brokenness.

Thank you for the gift of Your Son, Jesus Christ. Pour out Your Spirit upon me and help me to do the good works You have prepared for me.

In the name of Jesus I pray, Amen

For Related Content, go to Fusion Church’s Message Library and study these Bible Verses about sin:



Other verses in the  Bible about having our sins forgiven and being saved: 

Acts 5:31, Acts 16:30-31, 1 John 3:5, Galatians 2:20, 1 John 2:1-2.

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