As discussed in the doctrine of Humanity, the human condition remains in total depravity because of the Fall. Sin is universal, inherent and inseparable from humanity. Unlike other doctrines, Christianity adheres to original sin (Gen 6:5, Rom 3,5, Eph 2) and acknowledges that it impacts all other aspects in one’s life. We are unable to redeem ourselves because our hearts are no longer naturally inclined to God, but instead to ourselves. Jesus’ death on the cross was the forever redeeming sacrifice to ensure our salvation – but it did not remove the existence of sin from the world. The final defeat of sin is when Satan will forever banned to Hell (Rev 20:7-14). Until then, it remains a real battle in the life of all humans; believers and unbelievers alike.
Sin – anything that is in opposition to God’s commands or desire for us, comes in all forms, and includes sin on an individual and corporate level. Corporate sin occurs within voluntary or involuntary participation in a social context (whether public or not), which provides for a false misconception of safety and anonymity, and perhaps on some removed level, the perception of innocence. The sins of our forefathers, a very real generational rippling-effect of sin, is warned of throughout the Scriptures (Exodus 20:5, 34:7, Lev 26:39-40, Num 14:18, Deuteronomy 5:9, Isaiah 14:21, Jeremiah 14:20). This allows that corporate sin is unavoidable and that even the most well-meaning God-fearing Christian is guilty of the massive inequities of their communities and generational heritage.
Evangelically, this imposes that we must be sensitive and cautious to communicate to believers (and non-believers) that this is not a message of hopelessness only because of Jesus! We are to propose that disciples make a diligent effort to avoid/minimize their involvement in corporate and individual sin and sacrificial Biblically-based self-confrontation is a foundation for that. We must put on the armor of God each day (Eph 6:10-18). It is imperative to the well-being of the Christian walk that we not treat sin (whether individually or corporately) with an “ignorance is bliss” attitude. Sin is powerful and not to be underestimated; as even the smallest sins can lead us directionally away from God.
While there are many ways to refer to and define sin, it truly is characterized most by its opposition to God. Its essence unconditionally allows for a place of separation, not unity, among the person and God, in His perfect will. Sin is not isolated to action only, but is indeed in thought, word and deed (Col 3:17), and sin is never in a vacuum. As the discussion of corporate sin referenced above, both our sins (and our victories in Christ) always affect others. Of course, the wages of sin is death (Rom 6:23), and it is only the Son who can and does set us free from its bondage forever (John 8:36). Yet while we remain on this earth, we can be assured of punishment, consequences, bondage, false thinking and guilt from the burden of our sin. Sin impacts every aspect of our humanity.