Sin 1: Missing the Mark

Posted by Worldview Warriors On Friday, March 18, 2022 0 comments

by Charlie Wolcott

After writing my series on what it means to be a Christian, I contemplated what to write next, and I think I need to go into the Christian life even deeper. This is going to be a dark and depressing series for some, but I feel compelled to write about the nature of sin. This will take several posts, but hopefully not a lengthy series because sin is not a fun topic. It is, however, very necessary to address because we’ve truly lost what it is. As a result, we do not take it seriously. What I want to do in this series is to showcase what sin is in general, the false views of sin that have infiltrated the church, and what the true view of sin is. Once we have that full backdrop of knowing what sin truly is, then we can truly appreciate the work of the cross. This post will just be a quick introduction to the series and then we’ll get into the meatier issues.

What is “sin”? The word sin means to “miss the mark.” It’s an archery term. To “sin” in archery means you missed the target. In science, we talk about precision and accuracy. Precision is the ability to hit the same spot. Accuracy is the ability to hit the actual target. When we sin, we miss the mark. We miss hitting the target. I’m not merely talking about hitting the bullseye, though that plays a role; we are missing the target entirely.

In academia, if we get every point correct, we get a 100%. Anything less than that and we get a lower grade. But in academia, a 70% is considered passing. A 90% is considered mastered. Yet when it comes to God’s standards, only 100% is acceptable. James tells us that if we break just one of the least of the commandments, it is as though we have broken the entire law. This is true in the legal system.

When someone commits a crime, they go through the justice system, are found guilty, and are labelled a criminal. It does not matter if it is rape, murder, theft, assault, etc. Breaking just one of the laws still gives us the same punishment: jail time. Some crimes have more weight than others and yield more jail time than others, but if you are in jail, you may be in jail for one crime or another, but you are still a criminal. Likewise, whether someone lies, cheats, steals, commits adultery, or worships idols, they have broken just one of the commandments, and they are treated as sinners. They are treated as one who has broken the entire set.

When Adam and Eve were in the Garden of Eden, they only had one restriction: don’t eat from that one tree. They could have eaten out of any other tree, but they went after that one. How did the serpent tempt them? Clearly, they were eyeing that tree and wondering what it was all about. But the game was over the moment Eve missed the mark when she added to the Word of God. God never said not to touch the fruit. He simply said not to eat of it. The moment Eve added to the command, she missed the mark and the serpent had her. It was just a matter of sealing the deal from that point further.

Adam and Eve were just the first to miss the mark. Their son Cain also missed the mark. We tend to picture Cain as this rebelling defiant youth, and while that would be accurate, he was also a religious person. He sought to make his sacrifice as required. While I can picture Abel preparing his properly and Cain watching, only to scramble to do his as well, Cain wanted to worship God his own way, not God’s way. He missed the mark.

Nadab and Abihu were the two highest priests besides Aaron, the next in line. But they offered strange fire, that which God did not prescribe, and God killed them on the spot. They missed the mark. King Saul went out to wipe out the Amalekites upon command but instead spared the king and the best of the cattle and spoils. He missed the mark. David was so excited about bringing the Ark of the Covenant to the new capital, Jerusalem, that he put the ark on a cart instead of on the shoulders of Levites. When the ark was about to tumble, Uzzah put his hand on it to protect it. God killed him. Both David and Uzzah missed the mark.

Four of the “good” kings of Judah, Joash, Amaziah, Uzziah, and Jotham, were marked as good for at least part of their reign. But they had a strike against them. They did not tear down the high places of idol worship. They missed the mark. Ananias and Sapphira wanted to join the gracious giving of the church. But they only wanted to give part of the funds while wanting the impression of giving all. They missed the mark. Simon the sorcerer saw the power of the Holy Spirit and thought he could buy that power. He missed the mark.

The Bible gives us many more examples of missing the mark. Each of us have missed the mark as well. Each of us has sought to please God in our own way, and we have missed the mark. But there was one man who did not miss the mark. There was only one person who did not sin and fall short of the glory of God: Jesus Christ. He was the only one who fully and perfectly obeyed all of God’s commands and never once missed the mark. And because He fully fulfilled each task and never once fell short, including going to the cross, He has been proclaimed the King of all kings with the name above all names. And it is in Christ who intercedes on our behalf. It is Christ who took on our imperfection and gave us His perfection in its place. That is what the Gospel says.

This is actually just an introductory post, so I’m going to stop here. The nature of sin goes much deeper than just “missing the mark.” The examples I gave didn’t merely just miss the target; they actually intentionally aimed for a DIFFERENT target. Over the next few weeks, I’m going to explore what sin truly is, what the popular false views of sin are, and once we know what sin truly is, we’ll be able to explore what the cross really did. This series is going to be depressing for a while, but once we see how dark we are, we’ll appreciate how bright Christ is all the more.

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