At its root, what is sin? This was the question John Piper sought to answer in his message “What Is Sin? The Essence and Root of All Sinning” at our 2015 conference for pastors. Here’s a clip of what he said.
So my definition of sinning goes like this: Sinning is any feeling or thought or speech or action that comes from a heart that does not treasure God over all things. Sinning, sins — actions called sins — are any thought, feeling, speech, action that come like fruit, a branch or shoot out of the root of the heart, that prefers anything to God.
A few years ago I attempted to define sin, therefore, like this. And this is the root of the branch: Sin is:
- the glory of God not honored,
- the holiness of God not reverenced,
- the greatness of God not admired,
- the power of God not praised,
- the truth of God not sought,
- the wisdom of God not esteemed,
- the beauty of God not treasured,
- the goodness of God not savored,
- the faithfulness of God not trusted,
- the promises of God not believed,
- the commandments of God not obeyed,
- the justice of God not respected,
- the wrath of God not feared,
- the grace of God not cherished,
- the presence of God not prized,
- the person of God not loved.
Why is it that people become so emotionally and morally indignant over poverty, exploitation, prejudice, abortion, infractions of our religious liberty, manifold injustices of man to man, and feel little or no remorse or indignation or outrage that God is disregarded, disbelieved, disobeyed, dishonored, and thus, belittled by millions and millions and millions of his creatures?