The wages of sin is death. That’s what the Bible teaches. To many this seems like a harsh penalty just for making a mistake. After all, nobody is perfect and we all make mistakes. Doesn’t it seem reasonable that death is too harsh of a penalty and isn’t it likely that not every sin is punishable by death? Certainly God will forgive our imperfections won’t he? No! Absolutely not! Not a single sin ever committed will ever go unpunished. That is why Jesus Christ had to come into the world and become a substitutionary sacrifice in the place of sinners. There are only two possibilities. Either your sins were punished in the death of Jesus Christ or your sins will be punished in you. So why is it so essential that someone, either Christ or you, must be punished for sin and why such a harsh penalty? That is a reasonable question and one that I will address in a series of several posts.
First of all, it is important to identify exactly what sin is. The catechisms answer the question this way, “Sin is any want of conformity unto, or transgression of, the law of God.” This is very clearly stated in 1 John 3:4, “Everyone who makes a practice of sinning also practices lawlessness; sin is lawlessness.” Sin is not a social construct. It is possible to break social rules, norms, values and even governmental laws and not sin. It is also possible to sin without breaking social rules, norms values or governmental laws. For example, abortion is socially and legally acceptable, however, it is a sin against the law of God and is murder. Sin is defined by God, not man. Since God is our creator and we are His creatures, He has an absolute right over our lives to command us and hold us responsible for obeying Him. He has created us for His purpose and we are responsible to fulfill that purpose. In summary, we are created to love God with all of our being and to love our neighbor as ourselves. When we cease to love God and others the way God commands us to, we sin. In the Ten Commandments we have a further development of the application of what this means. When we don’t do what God commands or do what God forbids, we sin.
Furthermore, we must understand that sin is in relationship to God. Our sin is personal to God and He is personally offended when we violate His law. When you get pulled over by a police officer for speeding, he doesn’t come to the window of your car and discipline you for personally attacking his character and law. The speed limit is not related to the character or personhood of the officer. However, when we break God’s law it is a direct offense to Him. Sin is your personal rejection of Him and His perfect will for your life. That is why the book of James can say, “For whoever keeps the whole law but fails in one point has become accountable for all of it.” The same God who gives one commandment gives the others also. Any sin against God’s law is an offense to Him personally. Until we come to grips with the personal nature of our sin against God, we will never fully grasp the gravity of sin. Our sin is offensive to God and deadly to us.
 Romans 6:23
 Question 14 of The Westminster Shorter Catechism and question 17 of The Baptist Catechism.
 ‘But when the Pharisees heard that he had silenced the Sadducees, they gathered together. And one of them, a lawyer, asked him a question to test him. “Teacher, which is the great commandment in the Law?” And he said to him, “You shall love the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your mind. This is the great and first commandment. And a second is like it: You shall love your neighbor as yourself. On these two commandments depend all the Law and the Prophets.” (Matthew 22:34-40 ESV)
 See Exodus 20:1-17
 James 2:10 ESV