What is sin?

Read Romans 14:13-23

Is drinking alcohol a sin? Is dancing? Eating animals?

Knowing the Ten Commandments gives a diagnostic for sin, and there are some clarifications Jesus gives, but what about “social sins”? What about those behaviors condemned by society or your friends?

In Romans 14, Paul is settling a dispute of whether meat which was sacrificed can be eaten without commuting a sin. Paul’s response was this: “I know and am persuaded in the Lord Jesus that nothing is unclean in itself, but it is unclean for anyone who thinks it unclean.” – Romans14:14.

So if nothing is unclean, are we permitted to do anything? The short answer is no, as Paul elaborates: “For if your brother is grieved by what you eat, you are no longer walking in love. By what you eat, do not destroy the one for whom Christ died.” – Romans 14:15

So in this manner, if what you do causes another person to stumble in their beliefs, then it is sin.

When I was in Jr. High, I wanted to go to a school dance, but had no one to go with. I asked a girl from down the street and she agreed. We went and were awkwardly dancing to the slow dances. I was keeping my space and she, hers. Another couple came and moved our hands to groping positions and told us that was how to dance. Their interference caused me to sin in my mind. This event started a string of me sinning by touching females (whether they wanted me to or not) that lasted into college. Even though I knew and felt it was wrong, I was convinced that was how adults expressed affection. It took intervention and counseling to clear that train of thought.

The rule of thumb concerning sin is that if it feels wrong when you do it, it is sin for you. We are all born with a moral compass, some of us break it sooner than others. If your compass is broke, please seek help repairing it.

“But whoever has doubts is condemned if he eats, because the eating is not from faith. For whatever does not proceed from faith is sin.” – Romans 14:23

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