I have compiled a list of definitions of "sin".

  • an act of disobedience toward God
  • the separation between God and man
  • the wilful disobedience or imperfect obedience of the Torah*

*Source: Saved by Obedience: Matthew 1:21 in Light of Jesus' Teaching on the Torah. Journal of Biblical Literature. Summer 2013, Vol. 132 Issue 2, p393-413. 21p.

Maybe the word "sin" means all three, because all three definitions of sin are not mutually exclusive?

  • This needs more context. You need to restrict this to a theological perspective, denomination, or biblical support only.
    – user3961
    Jul 23, 2013 at 3:59
  • @DavidStratton A lot of responses on that other question support the act of disobedience/irreverence of God. I wonder how the separation of God fits in, or if that is the result of sin. Maybe in Matthew, Jesus really did advocate perfect obedience of the Torah. If that is the case, then Christians should submit to the Torah?
    – Double U
    Jul 23, 2013 at 3:59
  • Sadly, you'll find nothing but debate based on opinion on those points.Typical mainstream Christian response is that we are separated from God because of our sin. there's more debate on whether perfect obedience is expected. (Most belief system say "no". Only a few say "yes".) Jul 23, 2013 at 4:01

1 Answer 1


A sin is the act of doing something prohibited, or failing to do what is required of us. But, Scripture tells us that it's more than that... that it's our very nature.

Wherefore, as by one man sin entered into the world, and death by all sin: and so death passed upon all mean, for that all have sinned. For until the law was in the world: but sin is not imputed when there is no law. (Romans 5:12 - 13 | KJV)

It's our nature to go astray from the Lord like sheep (Isiah 53:6), and to break His laws and overstep our boundaries (Psalm 51:1, Luke 15:29). The imputation (also meaning to ascribe or attribute) of sin was charged to Adam, who all of humanity is connected to. That doesn't mean that all of us are responsible for what he did, but we share the burden and the guilt of the aftermath. Sin always brings horrendous results, and greatly affects our relationship with God, as well as other people.

Likewise, God can also impute righteousness to the account of a believer, that is the righteousness of Christ (Romans 5:21). When we finally meet Him, our record is made as perfect as Christ's.

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