Paul defines sin, as “…for whatsoever is not of faith is sin.” (Romans 14:23) Now we can see why it is so important to have a non-contradictory definition of faith. Faith believes in something we can’t see or hasn’t happened yet. Faith looks Long Term because it knows the causes. It doesn’t focus on the effects and give in to a short-term mentality. Faith is built through knowledge and experience.
Therefore, sin is anything we do that does not look Long Term. Sin is an action, attitude, or thought that is wrong because it is done apart from knowledge and experience. That is, anything done apart from what the individual knows is right due to their knowledge or experience.
“Therefore to him that knoweth to do good, and doeth it not, to him it is sin.” (James 4:17)
This is not an objective list of actions, like The Law. We don’t live under The Law. Sin is now dependent on the individual! If it is wrong for the individual, then it is sin for the individual alone.
It is not our responsibility to point out what is sin in other people. If we judge others unjustly, justice will require a value from us. We shouldn’t be concerned with whether others are “getting away with something”. Sin causes guilt. If it is sin for the individual, the individual will have guilt. People who sin are getting a penalty whether you see it or not.
Actually, it is Just of God for us to be designed so that sin causes guilt. Our goal should be to follow God’s influence in our life. When we don’t operate in grace, we should desire to know this. Guilt is our objective way of knowing we aren’t following God.
Actually, the individual’s response to guilt becomes an expression of their will. Do they want to follow God, remove the guilt and grow? Or do they want to follow their flesh, pursue comfort, and try to ignore or transfer the guilt? Let’s look at the problem of guilt…
When we act apart from what is right and just, we experience guilt. Sin is the cause and guilt is the effect. God has built everyone in a manner that causes us to experience guilt when we’ve sinned. This is done so we know we need to take action. How we respond to guilt is in our control.
As humans, we have a need to remove this guilt and this leads to all types of strange behavior. Some people convince themselves they can earn the right to remove guilt by punishing themselves. Whether this is reciting words or committing physical acts, this cult-like behavior is meant to relieve the individual of guilt.
Some people respond to guilt by trying to blame others. In fact, it can lead these people to do harm to others who are innocent in hopes of convincing themselves that it is someone else’s fault.
Still others will fill their life with activities so they don’t have time, or are unable, to think about their guilt. For example, there is nothing wrong with hobbies or alcohol in and of itself. However, when these activities are used to prevent the individual from dealing with their guilt, these activities can be the cause for failing grace.
As you can see, guilt becomes a cause. Ultimately, guilt results in pain, and pain results in fear. That explains the reason behind the psychiatrist’s process of helping the individual. They start with the fear and work backwards until they identify the guilt.
What people need in their day to day lives is a way to remove guilt. The inability to remove guilt effectively causes much of the hurt individuals do to each other.