What Is Sin?
Once you were dead because of your disobedience and your many sins. You used to live in sin, just like the rest of the world, obeying the devil--the commander of the powers in the unseen world. He is the spirit at work in the hearts of those who refuse to obey God. All of us used to live that way, following the passionate desires and inclinations of our sinful nature. By our very nature we were subject to God's anger, just like everyone else. Ephesians 2:1-3
Sin means "to miss the mark." You have had thoughts that were embarrassingly sinful. You have said things that hurt others. You have done things you knew were wrong. Maybe you were caught and punished. Maybe no one saw your misdeed. It doesn't matter. You know and God knows that you sinned.
Sin is more than making mistakes or disobeying some rules. Sin means that you miss the mark of God's perfect standard. Sin takes many forms including rebellion, disobedience, selfishness, corrupt and immoral behavior, and indifference toward God. When Adam and Eve sinned, the human race was infected (Romans 5:12). Like poison at the beginning of a stream contaminates the entire stream, so sin from Adam and Eve flows through the stream of humanity. We don't become sinners because we sin; we sin because we are sinners. Every person is born with a sin nature that leads to sin and the judgment of God (Ephesians 2:1-3; Romans 3:10-18)
Sin can be placed into two broad categories: omission and commission. Sins of omission are the things we know we should do but refuse to do them. Sins of commission are the things we know to be wrong but do anyway. The Bible says, "If anyone, then knows the good they ought to do and doesn't do it, it is a sin for them" (James 4:17, NIV). At the end of the day whether your sins are of commission or omission, you miss the mark of the glory of God.
How does the image of "missing the mark" help you recognize sin?