What is sin? Throughout the Bible, sin is a main topic. As a matter of fact, from the first story in Genesis to the last in Revelation, and even to this day, sin plays a crucial role. Since the topic of sin is so important, it is wise to understand what it really is.

In the town where you live, its laws most likely include such prohibitions as murder, robbery, kidnapping, and rape. Breaking any of these laws means you have committed a crime. A crime is an offense you commit against one another; it is an offense against your law. Those who commit crimes are called criminals.

Like your town, Jehovah God Almighty, the Creator of the universe, has also established laws to govern the people on Earth. Breaking any of His laws means you have committed a sin. So a sin is a violation of God's laws as a crime is a violation of manmade laws. Those who commit sins are known as sinners. In Jehovah's laws, He prohibits people from harming others, so most crimes are sins, including the ones mentioned earlier.

All of God's laws, known as commandments in the Bible, are based upon two main laws. Breaking these two commandments causes sin. These most important commandments are:

1. Thou shalt love the Lord thy God with all thy heart, and with all thy soul, and with all thy mind, and with all thy strength.
2. Thou shalt love thy neighbor as thyself.
There is none other commandment greater than these. (Mark 12:30-31, American Standard Version)

For example, if you keep the second commandment, you wouldn't commit murder, robbery, rape, etc, because you wouldn't treat yourself so badly. In other words, you should treat others the way you want to be treated. Don't like people lying about you? Then don't lie about others. Don't want your significant other to cheat on you? Then be faithful to your significant other yourself.

If you keep the number one commandment to love Jehovah, you would also be keeping the second commandment, and in turn, any and all other commandments. Why is this so? Because when you truly love Jehovah, you would do what He approves of. What He approves of is for you to keep all of His commandments. It is like in any parent-child relationship; when the child loves and honors his father and mother, he would show it through his obedience. When we love Jehovah, we would avoid sinning.

Now that we know what sins are and how to avoid committing them, let us briefly go over some of the sins God tells us about through the Bible, His written communication to us. I will list the sins under their categories below.

Sins Against Jehovah: While all sins are against Jehovah one way or another, these are offenses directly against Him.

• Not acknowledging of His existence, but rather believing in the big-bang theory and evolution
• Idolatry, which is worshipping false gods. Jehovah is the one and only true God; all other gods are manmade. To credit false gods for God's own creations is not only shamefully wrong but is also quite foolish. Could manmade gods of wood and stone talk or hear, let alone create us? Idolatry is also an act of crowding out God in our lives, replacing Him with other things, such as wealth and fame. Wrong priorities is idolatry. Jehovah should be our main priority in life.
• Believing Him, yet worshipping false gods at the same time. Since Jehovah is the only true God, He alone should receive our fullest devotion and praise.
• Using images or objects to worship Jehovah. Jehovah is an invisible Spirit whom no one has seen, so we should not use any objects or images to represent Him during worship.
• Using His name or "God" in vain. We take Jehovah's name in vain when we use His name or "God" in meaningless ways, such as saying, "God bless you" when people sneeze, exclaiming "Oh, my God!" as an interjection, and cursing, "God d*** it." We also take His name in vain when 1) we do something bad and say God told us to do it, 2) blame Him for our problems, 3) do anything sinful in His name, 4) joke about Him, His name, His nature, and His plans and purposes; and 5) when we do not honor Him for who He is.
• Believing in Him, yet not loving or caring much about Him. It is similar to kicking a starving beggar out when he asks for food at your restaurant. It would be hard not to believe in his existence when he's standing right in front of your eyes, but your belief does no one good when you don't have love for him.
• Denying His only begotten Son, Jesus Christ, our Messiah. How could you truly honor the Father when you don't honor His Son?
• Cursing Him which is called blasphemy
• Ignoring His commandments
• Adding or subtracting words from the Bible

Family Sins: Sinning against your family

• Not honoring your father and mother, and that includes hitting and cursing them
• Mistreating your husband or wife
• Not caring for your children
• Not providing for the needs of your household
• Divorce, except in cases of marital unfaithfulness and abuse

Social Sins: Sinning against people in general

• Mistreating and taking advantage of the fatherless, widows, the poor
• Oppression
• Cheating employees of their wages
• Giving false testimonies or being a false witness
• Stealing
• Murder
• Bribe
• Hatred
• Rebelling against authority
• Slander
• Being jealous of others
• Not forgiving others
• Kidnapping
• Selling people
Abuse of any kind
• Not warning people of sins
• Not rebuking or correcting people when they have sinned
• Not praying for others
• Ignoring the needs of others
• Partiality or judging people based on their social status, background, looks, etc.
• Profanity
• Gossip and spreading rumors

Sexual Sins: Breaking God's commandments on sexual issues. Sexual relations are blessings God bestows upon a man and a woman married to each other; marriage should be kept strictly holy, especially because it symbolizes our relationship with God and His Son. All believers are called the "bride of Christ," and we must be clean as virgins before uniting with him on his second coming to Earth. Those who abandon God and His ways are called spiritual adulterers.

• Adultery (cheating on your spouse; having sex with a married person)
• Rape and sexual assault
• Homosexuality
• Incest (sex with close relatives, such as between parent and child)
• Bestiality (sex with animals)
• Sexual abuse
• Fornication (sex before marriage, sex between people not married to each other, and all other sexual sins not listed here)
• Prostitution

Miscellaneous Sins

• Love of money, greed
• Laziness
• Witchcraft, spiritism and divination through mediums, including astrology, horoscope, numerology, tarot cards, fortunetelling, and palm-reading. All of these activities are acts of demon-worship. Read Deuteronomy 18, 1 Samuel 28, and Acts 16 in your Bible.
• Pride
• Hypocrisy
• Dressing immodestly
• Flattering people for personal gain
• Not valuing the gift of life
• Excessive drinking and getting drunk

How should we react to sin?

We should absolutely hate sin and treat it as our number one enemy. However, we shouldn't hate the sinner, for we are all sinners. Yes, every one of us is a sinner. So if we hate sinners, we hate ourselves.

How should we deal with sin?

To treat your personal sin, follow these steps:

1. Repent of your sins. True repentance means:
a) Admit what you did is wrong
b) Feel truly sorry about what you did
c) And never repeat the same sin again
2. Pray to Jehovah for forgiveness. In your prayer...
a) Confess your sins and apologize
b) Ask for God's forgiveness
c) Ask for His help in keeping you from sinning again
d) Commit your life to His ways and laws
3. Accept Jesus Christ as your Master and Savior. Jesus died for all sinners to save us from the eternal penalty and power of sins. The penalty of sins is eternal death: "Therefore, as through one man sin entered into the world, and death through sin; and so death passed unto all men, for that all sinned." (Romans 5:12)
4. Develop a lasting relationship with God and His Son by praying and studying the Bible regularly, and applying the Bible teachings to your everyday living. Simply reading the Bible will do you no good--only when you do what it teaches will you be able to defeat sins.

Those who diligently follow the above steps, which result in the spiritual born-again experience, will be resurrected on God's appointed time unto eternal life of love and bliss in fellowship with Jehovah and Jesus. Then and only then will life be free from sin and suffering caused by sin. Right now, we have a constant battle with sins. However, remember that Jesus's personal sacrifice has saved us from the power of sin to give us the strength to be a victor, not a loser, of sins, right now.

To treat sins in others, follow these steps to lead them to the born-again experience:

1. Gently but firmly rebuke and correct others when they have sinned. It is our responsibility to correct one another. If you see a train charging in someone's direction, would you not warn them of it? Likewise, if you see someone heading in the wrong direction, you are saving them from a tragedy. It is a sin not to warn them. God said: "When I say unto the wicked, O wicked man, thou shalt surely die, and thou dost not speak to warn the wicked from his way; that wicked man shall die in his iniquity, but his blood will I require at thy hand. Nevertheless, if thou warn the wicked of his way to turn from it, and he turn not from his way; he shall die in his iniquity, but thou hast delivered thy soul." (Ezekiel 33:8-9)
a) Let them know what they did is a sin
b) Show them that sin is wrong by using the Bible
c) Direct them to repent for their sins
2. Help them receive forgiveness from Jehovah
a) Have them pray to Jehovah for forgiveness
b) Let them confess their sins to God
c) Have them ask God for protection from future sins
3. Teach them about Jesus Christ, and help them accept Christ as their Master and Savior
4. Assist them in developing a lasting relationship with Jehovah and His Son.
a) Urge them to pray and study the Bible on a regular basis
b) Have them apply Bible teachings to their daily living. They need to be doers, not hearers only: "But be ye doers of the word, and not hearers only, deluding your own selves. For if any one is a hearer of the word and not a doer, he is like unto a man beholding his natural face in a mirror: for he beholdeth himself, and goeth away, and straightway forgetteth what manner of man he was. But he that looketh into the perfect law, the law of liberty, and so continueth, being not a hearer that forgetteth but a doer that worketh, this man shall be blessed in his doing." (James 1:22-25)

God's Promise to Those Who Truly Repent

"If we confess our sins, he is faithful and righteous to forgive us our sins, and to cleanse us from all unrighteousness." (1 John 1:9)

"The Lord is not slack concerning his promise, as some count slackness; but is longsuffering to you-ward, not wishing that any should perish, but that all should come to repentance." (2 Peter 3:9)

But "if we say that we have no sin, we deceive ourselves, and the truth is not in us." (1 John 1:8)

Your destiny is up to you. Would you want to honor your Heavenly Father by conforming your life to His ways, or would you want to destroy yourself by continually going on your dark path?

Life or death is before you: which road will you choose?

"See, I have set before thee this day life and good, and death and evil; in that I command thee this day to love Jehovah thy God, to walk in his ways, and to keep his commandments and his statutes and his ordinances, that
thou mayest live and multiply, and that Jehovah thy God may bless thee in the land whither thou goest in to possess it.

"But if thy heart turn away, and thou wilt not hear, but shalt be drawn away, and worship other gods, and serve them; I denounce unto you this day, that ye shall surely perish; ye shall not prolong your days in the land, whither thou passest over the Jordan to go in to possess it.

"I call heaven and earth to witness against you this day, that I have set before thee life and death, the blessing and the curse: therefore choose life, that thou mayest live, thou and thy seed; to love Jehovah thy God, to obey his voice, and to cleave unto him; for he is thy life, and the length of thy days; that thou mayest dwell in the land which Jehovah sware unto thy fathers, to Abraham, to Isaac, and to Jacob, to give them." (Deuteronomy 30:15-20)

May Jehovah and Jesus give you the desire and power to choose life!

(All Bible quotations are from the American Standard Version of 1901 unless otherwise indicated.)

For other basic facts about the Bible, visit "Bible FAQs" at http://www.shirleycheng.com

Author's Bio: 

Shirley Cheng (b. 1983), a blind and physically disabled award-winning author (with 21 book awards, including nine Parent to Parent Adding Wisdom Awards), motivational speaker, self-empowerment expert, poet, author of nine books (including "Do You Love Jehovah? God Almighty's Infinite Love & Wisdom to Propel You to Greatness"), contributor to 22, and a parental rights advocate, has had severe juvenile rheumatoid arthritis since infancy. Owing to years of hospitalization, she received no education until age eleven. Back then, she knew only her ABCs and very simple English; other than that, her book knowledge was non-existent. However, after only about 180 days of special education in elementary school, she mastered grade level in all areas and entered a regular sixth grade class in middle school. Unfortunately, Shirley lost her eyesight at the age of seventeen. After a successful eye surgery, she hopes to earn multiple science doctorates from Harvard University. Visit http://www.shirleycheng.com for more inspiration.

Do you have questions about the Bible? Something you don't understand? Do you need a bit of guidance in developing a relationship with Jehovah? Then Shirley would like to help you! Please contact her via her site at http://www.shirleycheng.com and she would be more than glad to do her best to answer your questions! Never hesitate to ask questions, for no question about the Bible is ever too small or stupid.