There are many who do not seem to understand what sin really is, or when something should be considered as sin. Some think that an act is not sinful as long as it is unknown by others. A man may drink, lie, steal, or any other act and have no sense of guilt or shame. He seems to think that his actions are acceptable because he is able to keep them hid from others. When his actions are exposed, the only thing he seems sorry of is that he “got caught.”
There are others who seem to think that a thing is not sinful if everyone else is doing it. The common practice of a thing tends to make it acceptable in the eyes of the majority. Sometimes even members of the church tend to become tolerant of things that should be considered sinful simply because the majority of the people have accepted them. Some who are guilty of sinful acts may be led to think that their actions are not wrong because they are accepted by members of the church without question or rebuke. Paul rebuked the church at Corinth for not putting away one from among them who was guilty of immorality (1 Cor. 5). This man was not made to feel ashamed or guilty at all because the church was not questioning his action, but was actually glorying in such (1 Cor. 5:6).
Some think it isn’t sin if the deed one is doing is considered to be a good thing to do. For instance, instrumental music sounds good, and it even helps one stay in tune. So, how can this be sin? It’s sin because it transgresses what the law of Christ commanded about singing (Eph 5:19) Many will eat in the church and say to themselves, how can feeding someone who is hungry be considered a sin? It is a sin because it transgresses the law which prohibits anyone from eating in the church (1 Cor 11:22,32). Some think that church supported colleges and orphanages can’t be a sin because of all the good it does. However, Paul commanded giving each Lord’s day for the saints (1 Cor 16:1-3). This practice was continued in Paul’s second letter to the Corinthians (2 Cor 9:12). This includes perfecting, edifying, and aiding the needy saints, and the work of the ministry (Eph 4:12).
The same applies to denominational doctrine. It sounds good to change baptism from immersion to pouring or sprinkling when the one needing baptism is incapable of being immersed. However, the bible is quite clear that baptism clearly means immersion. Such was the case of the Ethiopian Eunuch (Acts 8:38,39). Special circumstances never changes the law. Yes, life is short and can change on a dime. Thus it behooves each of us to obey the gospel today, and not put it off until tomorrow (2 Cor 6:2). Remember Felix (Acts 24:25)?
This too can be illustrated by those who cling to the thief on the cross. They think he “believed only” and was saved. Sounds good, but truly it is sin. (Jam 1:19,20,24,26) Therefore, they think that all the conversions thereafter which mentions baptism can be negated. Wrong! Wrong because God is not a respecter of person (Col 1:25). What applied to one, applies to all. Jesus commanded belief and baptism in order for anyone to be saved (Mk 16:15,16). This was preached to every person in all the world (Col 1:23) Secondly, the thief died before the law of Moses had fully ended. Therefore, he was not even subject to the law of Christ which clearly included baptism (Acts 2:37-47 ff; Acts 8; Acts 9; Acts 10; Acts 16). Thus, the thief has nothing whatsoever to do with our salvation. This is why his name or circumstance was never once mentioned in any of the biblical conversions.
The Bible teaches that sin is the transgression of God’s law (1 Jn. 3:4). If a thing is contrary to the teaching of God’s word, it is sin. It may be hid from men, it may be accepted by the majority, you may not be questioned by anyone, but it is still sin! Sin is against God. When we learn this very important lesson, then we will be ready to examine our lives in the light of God’s word and will allow it to guide us in whatever we may do. iF a thing is right, then we will do that which is right even in the majority does not do so or ever opposes us in the doing of that which is right. If a thing is contrary to the word of God (sinful), we will refrain from such. Yes, sin is always sin.