ASK THE QUESTION, What is the essence of sin?
At the very heart of sin is self.
Sin is “me” versus “you” or “you” versus “me” or “we” versus “them,” and so forth.
David had sinned against Bathsheba, her husband, his family, and the nation, but above all others he had sinned against God.
But perhaps you are saying to yourself, “I was under the impression that unbelief was the essence of sin.”
What is unbelief but self versus God?
God speaks, and in unbelief you do not obey.
God ordains, and in unbelief you protest.
God loves, and in unbelief you insist that no one loves you.
Self is more important to the unbeliever than God.
The unbeliever would sooner trust himself than the God who created him.
All sin is against somebody.
Sins are often against more than one but never less than one.
Without any exception, all sin is against God, and in most instances of sin there is at least one person who is sinned against.
Perhaps you wish to dispute this point.
You acknowledge that there are sins which are obviously against others, like David’s sins of adultery and murder.
But you can think of sins which are purely private and personal, sins like secret thoughts of greed, lust, and hostility.
Maybe you argue, “No one is hurt by my private thoughts.
I admit that I have these secret thoughts and perhaps they are sinful, but thy don’t affect anyone else.
Nobody knows about them.”
But I ask, “Are you a wife and a mother?”
“Well, yes, I am both.”
“Don’t try to convince me that those secret sins are against nobody. They are against your husband and your children.”
You say, “No, no, no, they are not the type where I do something; it is just that I think things that are wrong.”
Oh yes, but in thinking things that are wrong, you rob yourself of being the person that God has called you to be, and therefore you rob your children of a godly mother and your husband of a godly wife.
So you have sinned against your husband and against your children even in your secret imagination.
Are you a husband, a father, a brother, a sister, a son, a daughter, an uncle, an aunt?
Whatever your relationship with others, it is damaged by your secret sins.
If you will get down on your knees before God and pray this through, you will see that it is nonsense to think of sin as purely personal. Guest Editorialist: Richard Owen Roberts, Repentance – The First Word of the Gospel, 128-129
“Repent therefore and be converted, that your sins may be blotted out, so that times of refreshing may come from the presence of the Lord” (Acts 3:19).