This might seem like a simplistic question to ask of people who claim to be Christians. However, it appears by what has been happening in the USA, Canada, and other countries around the world, that the concept of sin or the understanding of what it is, is totally lacking.
To those of us familiar with the Bible, our answer would be, “Sin is the transgression of the law,” or — as it is phrased in the NKJ version — “Sin is lawlessness” (1 John 3:4).
The next logical question would be, what law is John referring to? We understand that he is talking about the Ten Commandments, as well as the many biblical principles or injunctions given by God and Christ that explain and magnify the Ten Commandments. For example, Proverbs 6:16-19 lists things which God hates. A proud look is one of them. If God hates a proud look, one has to conclude that pride is sin, yet pride is not listed as one of the Ten Commandments. I use this as an illustration to show that sin goes beyond the literal bounds of the Ten Commandments.
Another example is 1 John 5:17, “All unrighteousness is sin.” Recently, same sex marriages were made legal in some Canadian provinces. The Bible says that such conduct is an abomination. We know of “non-Christian” cultures, having no knowledge of the Bible, that do not allow this kind of behavior or union to take place. Some professing Christians who endorse such conduct could learn a lesson from people whom they would look down on as “pagans.” Romans 2:14-16 gives us an interesting warning in that regard.
Romans 1:26-32 shows how God abhors and hates homosexual deeds, condemning them in His Word. This passage also shows that those who perform or approve of such deeds are not guiltless in His sight. This is a real description of our times.
Another recent incident, illustrating the sinful world in which we live, involves a large denomination in a US Church appointing someone to the office of bishop who is known to be openly homosexual.
What does the Bible tell us about the office of a minister? 1 Timothy 3:1-7 states that a minister must be blameless, the husband of one wife and of good behavior, just to name a few requirements.
To appoint an openly gay man as bishop makes a mockery of the Word of God and of God Himself. In Revelation 21:8, God gives us a list of those who will not be in His kingdom. One of the categories of people listed includes those described as sexually immoral. Unless those engaged in sexually immoral conduct repent and recognize the seriousness of their lifestyle and ways, they will not be in the kingdom of God.
Brethren, we know what sin is. We are neither deceived nor ignorant of what is sin or how God views sin, knowing full well that God absolutely hates sin, yet He loves the sinner. It is apparent that the lessons of sinning and the havoc it causes are yet to be learned by the nations of this world. Those striving to obey God and to overcome sin can be comforted, however, by the words of God in Revelation 21:7, “He who overcomes (sin) shall inherit all things, and I will be his God and he shall be My son.”