Since it appears defining sin with my friend "Anonymous" is a point of contention. I thought I would present what I feel is a sound biblical definition of what exactly is SIN. This was written by evangelist Winkie Pratney.
SIN is essentially SELFISHNESS:
Basis of Responsibility:
Wrong choices vs sinful “substance” or inherited determinative wrong:
Ez. 18:1-25: Not blamed by God for anothers wrong
Matt. 16:24-25 “If any come .. let him DENY HIMSELF"
• If we are not responsible for our wrong, we cannot acknowledge true guilt.
• No-one ever felt guilty for someone elses wrong unless first taught it.
• Sin is neither solid, liquid or gas, metaphysical or spiritual. It is moral.
• Every word for sin in bothTestaments underlines personal action.
• Sin is rooted in the gift of creative choice turned against God and His law.
SIN IN THE OLD TESTAMENT
Our understanding of God's will is tied to how seriously we see sin. Hebrew words describing sin overwhelmingly show that people are willful in doing wrong and thus genuinely guilty before God. Every type of word used shows sin as both voluntary and vicious: A sinner according to Scripture will:
1. Miss or err from the mark, wander from the path of right planned for man: Ex.20:20; Eze.18:4,20; Dan. 9:5, 15. Note: “to miss the mark” doesn’t mean the mark is too high; but that we aim too low! This is not just ignorance or stupidity but stubbornness.
2. Act perversely, or twist and distort moral character, usually rendered "Iniquity:" Ex. 34:7, 9; Ps. 32:2, 5; Is. 53:6; Ezek. 18:20; Dan. 9:5.
3. Transgress or break away from just authority, be contrary: Le. 16:15-16, 21; Is. 1:2; Eze. 18:30-31.
Involves violating safeguards and boundaries of protection. Gods’ sanctions are wholly sensible.
4. Refuse to obey or hearken, a negative prefix to a verb basically meaning to (not) listen or attend to: De. 28:45; Ne.9:16-17; Dan. 9:10.
5. Refuse to serve God, a negative to a verb meaning to labor, to work, work for another, thus to not worship and serve our rightful Ruler: Deut. 30:17; Josh. 24:14-15; Neh. 9:35.
6. Act treacherously or deceitfully, usually as "trespass." Le. 5:15; 6:2; Josh. 7:1; Neh. 1:8.
7. Be rebellious (to make or tend to make God bitter): I Sam. 12:13-15; Is. 1:20; Neh. 9:17.
8. Be stubbornly disobedient, also rendered to rebel: Num. 14:9; Neh. 9:26; Eze. 2:3; Dan. 9:5.
9. Be wicked or impious (with an idea of strong excitement): I Kgs. 8:47; Is. 57:20; Dan. 9:5, 15.
10. Live worthlessly or without worthy purpose (idea of emptiness or vanity), often rendered "iniquity:" Micah 2:1; ("unrighteous man") Is. 55:7; ("wicked thoughts") Jer. 4:14. (Life minus God = NOTHING.)
11. Spoil or dash to pieces the moral worth God intended): Be outrageously disappointingly in evil Gen. 6:5; Ps. 7:9; 51:4; Is. 1:16; Jer. 4:14
SIN IN THE NEW TESTAMENT
New Testament Greek carries on the same idea of sin shown in the Old Testament as wicked and inexcusable, again using many words with different shades of meaning. "For even though they knew God, they did not honor Him as God, or give thanks, but they became futile in their speculations, and their foolish heart was darkened. Professing themselves to be wise they became fools" (Ro.1:21-22). Sin is to:
1. Miss or err from the mark, to wander from the path of uprightness and honor planned for man, not a mistake but deliberate misdirection of our faculties: Lk.15:21; 18:13; Jn.16:8-9; Ro. 2:12; 3:23; I Jn. 3:4-5.
2. Trespass, fall beside or deviate from the right path of life, stumble: Mt. 6:14-15; Ro. 4:25; Ep.1:7; 2:1.
3. Transgress or step by the side of the prescribed path, overstep or depart from the way of truth: Mt. 15:2-3; Acts 1:25; Ga. 3:19; He. 2:2. (Jay-walk)
4. Be lawless, or refuse to conform to Divine law revealed to increase man's understanding of the right way: Mt. 7:23; II Co. 6:14; Tit. 2:14; I John 3:4.
5. Disobey or be disobedient, disbelieve or refuse belief (willfully or perversely),from a verb to be persuaded, with a negative prefix: so to refuse to be persuaded or comply; be obstinate Jn. 3:36; Ro. 2:8; 10:21; Eph. 2:2; 5:6; Tit. 1:16; 3:3; He. 3:18; 4:6; I Pet. 2:7 -8; 4:17.
6. Do wrong, be unjust or unrighteous: refuse to do right: Ro.1:18; 2:8; ICo.6:9; Col.3:25; IJn.1:9; Rev 22:11.
7. Be ungodly act impiously, without reverential awe toward God: Ro. 1:18; I Tim. 1:9; Tit. 2:12; I Pet. 4:18; Jude 15, 18.
8. Be evil, wicked, or depraved in mind and heart: Mt.12:34-35; 15:19; Ep.6:12; Col.1:21; He.3:12
Sin is not a state, a substance or a spirit. Sin is a violation of revealed moral light, a stupid, selfish and often stubborn refusal to conform to what we know and perceive as God's truth. It brings guilt, shame and blame. While occasionally objectified and personalized, Scripture shows the active nature of sin so many ways no-one can claim it as a mistake or a misunderstanding. The Bible shows a sinner as a rebel against a loving God, not just some subject of pity who cannot help who they are. There is always the idea of voluntary activity in sin, not some static, genetic or demonic causation that makes us helplessly bad. Sin has deeply hurt God as well as ourselves and others. We will never stand before God and be able to blame our genetic descent, our Dad or the Devil for what we did to Him. Everyone is personally held accountable for their own wrong. No definition of sin that tends to remove responsibility from a sinning individual honors God.
INSTANCES OF BLAME-SHIFTING
We are inveterate blame-shifters: This is not new; here are some of many Scripture instances:
Adam; .. The woman whom You gave to be with me, she gave me of the tree, and I did eat. Genesis 3:12
Abram: Say, I pray, you are my sister: that it may be well with me for your sake; and my soul shall live because of you. Gen 12:13.
Aaron: And I said unto them, Whosoever has any gold, let them break it off. So they gave it me: then I cast it into the fire, and there came out this calf. Exodus 32:24
Jacob: And your father has deceived me, and changed my wages ten times; but God suffered him not to hurt me. Genesis 31:7
Saul: Therefore said I, The Philistines will come, so I forced myself … I Samuel 13:12 (Samuel: “So what means this bleating of sheep I hear in my ears?”) “I spared the best for an offering to the Lord “ (the religious excuse)
Anannias & Sapphira: “After it was sold, was it not in your own power? why have you conceived this thing in your heart? you have not lied to men, but to God”. (When revival comes people sometimes die in church) Acts 5:4
Antinomians to Paul: And not (as we be slanderously reported, and as some affirm that we say,) Let us do evil, that good may come? whose damnation is just. Romans 3:8
False Prophets: If a man walking in the spirit of falsehood lies. saying, I will prophesy to you of wine and of strong drink; he shall even be the prophet of this people. Mic 2:11
Old Prophet: He said ..I am a prophet also as you; and an angel spoke to me by the word of the LORD, saying, Bring him back with you into your house, that he may eat bread and drink water. [But] he lied to him. I K 13:18
Humanity: Who changed the truth of God into a lie, and worshipped and served the creature more than the Creator, who is blessed for ever. Amen. Romans 1:25 Pharisees: You are of your father the devil, and the lusts of your father you will do. He was a murderer from the beginning, and abode not in the truth, because there is no truth in him. When he speaks a lie, he speaks of his own: for he is a liar, and the father of it. John 8:44 Babylon: The light of a candle shall shine no more at all in you and the voice of the bridegroom and the bride shall be heard no more at all in you: for your merchants were the great men of the earth; for by your sorceries were all nations deceived. Rev 18:23
GENUINE HONESTY IS EXPECTED OF ALL REAL BELIEVERS
For He said, Surely they are My people, children that will not lie: so He was their Savior. Isaiah 63:8
You shall not steal, neither deal falsely, neither lie one to another. Leviticus 19:11 God is not a man, that he should lie; neither the son of man, that he should repent: has he said, and shall he not do it? or has He spoken, and shall he not make it good? Numbers 23:19
A faithful witness will not lie: but a false witness will utter lies.
Lie not one to another, seeing that you have put off the old man with his deeds; Colossians 3:9
I have not written to you because you know not the truth, but because you do know it, and no lie is of the truth. I John 2:21
If we say that we have fellowship with Him, and walk in darkness, we lie, and do not the truth: I John 1:6
But evil men and seducers shall wax worse and worse, deceiving, and being deceived. II Timothy 3:13
And for this cause God shall send them strong delusion, that they should believe a lie: II Thessalonians 2: 11
And there shall in no wise enter into it any thing that defiles, neither whatsoever works abomination, or makes a lie: Revelation 21:27
THE FIRST VITAL STEP IN RETURNING TO GOD IS CONFESSION: TOTAL HONESTY
Why does God ask us to confess our sins? It is surely not because He didn’t see us doing what was wrong! Confession of sin is not primarily for Him, but for us. As long as we live a life outside of friendship with God, we will not only stay selfish, but grow more stupid. And last of all, we will become unreal. Moral darkness is a state of attempting to conceal our real wrong or representing it to ourselves as well as others as right. God’s laws are descriptions of reality and He never tells a lie. God is utterly real, the foundation of all truth. The consequence of running away from God’s law and voice will not only be guilt and shame; it will be growing unreality.
WE CANNOT BLAME OTHERS FOR WHAT WE DID WRONG: God does not judge us for another’s sins:
Then hear in heaven, and do, and judge your servants, condemning the wicked, to bring his way upon his head; and justifying the righteous, to give him according to his righteousness. I Kings 8:32
Ezekiel 18 - Yet you say, Why? does not the son bear the iniquity of the father? When the son has done that which is lawful and right, has kept all my statutes, and done them, he shall surely live. The soul that sins, it shall die. The son shall not bear the iniquity of the father, neither shall the father bear the iniquity of the son: the righteousness of the righteous shall be upon him, and the wickedness of the wicked shall be upon him. But if the wicked will turn from all his sins that he hath committed, and keep all my statutes, and do that which is lawful and right, he shall surely live, he shall not die. All his transgressions he has committed, shall not be mentioned to him: in his righteousness he has done, he shall live. Have I any pleasure at all that the wicked should die? says the Lord GOD: [and] not that he should return from his ways, and live? Ezek. 18:19-23
But when the righteous turns away from his righteousness, and commits iniquity, and does according to all the abominations that the wicked man does, shall he live? All his righteousness that he has done shall not be mentioned: in his trespass that he has trespassed, and in his sin that he has sinned, in them shall he die. 25 Yet you say, The way of the Lord is not equal. Hear now, O house of Israel; Is not My way equal? are not your ways unequal? 26 When a righteous man turns away from his righteousness, and commits iniquity, and dies in them; for his iniquity that he has done shall he die. Again, when the wicked [man] turns away from his wickedness that he has committed, and does that which is lawful and right, he shall save his soul alive. 28 Because he considers, and turns away from all his transgressions that he has committed, he shall surely live, he shall not die. 18:27-29 Therefore I will judge you, O house of Israel, every one according to his ways, says the Lord GOD. Repent, and turn yourselves from all your transgressions; so iniquity shall not be your ruin. 31 Cast away from you all your transgressions, whereby you have transgressed; and make you a new heart and a new spirit: for why will you die, O house of Israel? For I have no pleasure in the death of him that dies, says the Lord GOD: wherefore turn [yourselves], and live. Ezekiel 18:30-32