What does the Bible say about Sin? The question is a large task. The purpose of this article will be to survey the Biblical doctrine of sin (hamartiology) and provide further insight into what the Bible says about sin. Specifically, it’s reality and effect in relation to mankind and God.
Sin is a Biblical concept, directly spoken of in Scripture. Sin is not a debatable topic to any reader of the Bible. The Bible starts with the account of creation in Gen. chapters 1-3. In Gen. 1-3 God immediately reveals that His creation is synonymous with being good (טוֹב). God repeats this phrase 7 times in chapter 1 alone (Gen. 1:4, 10, 12, 18, 21, 25, 31).
Furthermore, God created mankind in His own image, which makes mankind unique and separate from all other creation. It is no mistake that God created man on the 6th day (Gen 1:27-31), the highest point of His creation. Man stands on top of all creation and is completely separated, unique, and special in comparison to all other creation. God’s design teaches that mankind is supposed to act according to God’s behavior and attributes. To fail is sin. God mandates man to rule over the earth and to rest. We are in the image of God and are held to His perfect character and standards (Matt 5:48).
However, man is inherently born with sin (Rom 3:23), man is sinful in life (Jer 17:9), and man needs righteousness to come from God (Rom 10:9-10). The doctrine of sin helps man understand his struggle and need for God righteousness (2 Cor. 5:20-21), not ours. Studying man in the Bible shows mankind how the fall has made all suffer from sin and communion with Him (Gen 3:14-24). Sin shows that God alone is worthy, and man needs to confess Jesus as Lord and that God raised Him from the Dead (Rom 10:9-10) to be in communion with God, to be made righteous. Sin must be a doctrine that compels every man to Christ. There is no point in doing research on sin without mentioning God, Christ, or Salvation. There is no research in the Bible or orthodoxy of Christendom that is complete without the mention of sin. There is no Gospel context or Testimony in the Bible without the mention of sin.
Sin is a direct statement on relationship and existence. Sin is a state of being. No man apart from the Lord Jesus Christ has not sinned, not been found guilty, and is not deserving of a just punishment. Sin is so deep into our being and lives that it exists within every culture, time, people group, and kingdom. There has never been a prosperous people without sin and there has never been a righteous people completely without sin. After all, “sin is rebellion against God’s very being, against His explicit word, against His wise and ordered reign. It results in the disorder of creation and in the spiritual and physical death of God’s image bearers.”1
Is the payment of sin finished (Jn 19:30)? In fact, salvation is not a doctrine unless sin is. Calvin wrote The Institutes of Christian Religion to a sinful generation amidst false religion and papacy misconduct. This is why modern research of Biblical sin and what it has to say must be done in lieu of current affairs; not afraid of pragmatism that welcomes sinners into the Church through the unbiblical and heretical practice of ‘seeker sensitive’ services.2 There is no historical person that allows man to place tradition, councils, bishops, and theologians over the inerrant and infallible word of God.3 The doctrine of sin is controversial because it is Biblical. Modern churches are striving to push sin out of their doctrine, fearing that Love will not triumph (1 Cor. 13). However, speaking in Biblical terms these doctrines (sin & love) co-exist and both must be mentioned. Yes, God is loving and His love is not done apart from a just punishment of sin. Thankfully, that’s what Jesus came and accomplished.
References:  Gerald Bray et al., Fallen: A Theology of Sin, ed. Christopher W. Morgan and Robert A. Peterson (Wheaton, Illinois: Crossway, 2013), 23.;  Don H. Compier, John Calvin’s Rhetorical Doctrine of Sin (E. Mellen Press, 2001), 72–73.;  David L. Smith, With Willful Intent: A Theology of Sin, First Edition edition (Wheaton, Ill: Victor Books, 1994), 14.
David J. Lupinetti is the Associate Pastor at Bloomfield Hills Baptist Church in Michigan. He has a passion for Expository Preaching, Biblical Counseling, Discipleship, and Evangelism.