• 6 April 2003

    • Q.14

      1 John 3:4, James 4:17 & Romans 3:23

      The Westminster Shorter Catechism

      Q. 14. What is sin?

      A. Sin is any want of conformity unto, or transgression of, the law of God.

      Scripture References:

      1 John 3:4
      James 4:17
      Romans 3:23
      Romans 2:15

      The Westminster Shorter Catechism in Modern English:

      Q.14. What is sin?

      A. Sin is disobeying or not conforming to God’s law in any way.


      1. What is the Law of God and where is it to be found?

      The Law of God is the commandments God has given for man’s rule of obedience. The Law of God is found written in the Word of God though there was a copy of it on the heart of man in his innocence before the fall. The Word teaches that some part of it is still written on the hearts of men, but to a great extent the knowledge of this Law has become marred or obliterated.

      2. How does man show want of conformity unto the Law of God?

      By not doing all the things written in the Book of the Law (Galatians 3:10).

      3. What sins are included in lack of conformity unto the Law of God?

      The sins included are (1) Original sin and that natural enmity in the heart against the Law of God. (2) All sins of omission and commission.

      4. How can one prove that transgression of the law is sin?

      The Bible teaches this in 1 John 3:4 “Everyone who sins breaks the law; in fact, sin is lawlessness.”

      5. Are all the laws mentioned in the Old Testament to be kept today?

      No, not all the laws of the Old Testament are to be kept. The ceremonial law is no longer binding since Christ came in the flesh, and many of the judicial laws - as they had reference to the state of the Jewish nation - are laid aside. But the moral law is binding on all mankind (Psalm 119:160).

      6. Could you answer the question “What is sin?” in simple language?

      Dr. William Childs Robinson states: “Sin is stepping across one of God’s commandments.” It is not simply a wrong done to one’s fellow man, but it includes both guilt and pollution. Sin involves not only outward acts, but the thoughts, affections and intents of the heart as well.