Definition of . . .

      Quotations from the writings of Ellen G. White with the phrase . . .

                   D E F i n i t i o n    O F    s i n                  (  4  RELATED  PHRASES )                      

                  The  phrase  'Definition of Sin"  appears  24  times in the published writings of EGW                See page on Original site                                               Related Phrase:    Definition of true sanctification  (  )

"It is impossible to explain the origin of sin so as to give a reason for its existence. Yet enough may be understood concerning both the origin and the final disposition of sin to make fully manifest the justice and benevolence of God in all His dealings with evil. Nothing is more plainly taught in Scripture than that God was in no wise responsible for the entrance of sin; that there was no arbitrary withdrawal of divine grace, no deficiency in the divine government, that gave occasion for the uprising of rebellion. Sin is an intruder, for whose presence no reason can be given. It is mysterious, unaccountable; to excuse it is to defend it. Could excuse for it be found, or cause be shown for its existence, it would cease to be sin. Our only definition of sin is that given in the word of God; it is "the transgression of the law;" it is the outworking of a principle at war with the great law of love which is the foundation of the divine government."  {GC 492.2}


What is to bring the sinner to the knowledge of his sins unless he knows what sin is? The only definition of sin in the Word of God is given us in 1 John 3:4. "Sin is the transgression of the law." The sinner must be made to feel that he is a transgressor. Christ dying upon the cross of Calvary is drawing his attention. Why did Christ die? Because it was the only means for man to be saved. . . . He took upon Himself our sins that He might impute His righteousness to all who believe in Him. . . . The goodness and the love of God lead the sinner to repentance toward God and faith toward our Lord Jesus Christ. The awakened sinner . . . is pointed to the law he has transgressed. It calls to him to repent, yet there is no saving quality in law to pardon the transgression of law, and his case seems hopeless. But the law draws him to Christ. However deep are his sins of transgression, the blood of Jesus Christ can cleanse him from all sin. . . .  {OHC 141.3}


"The apostle gives us the true definition of sin. "Sin is the transgression of the law." The largest class of Christ's professed ambassadors are blind guides. They lead the people away from the path of safety by representing the requirements and prohibitions of the ancient law of Jehovah as arbitrary and severe. They give the sinner license to overstep the limits of God's law. In this they are like the great adversary of souls, opening before them a life of freedom in violation of God's commandments. With this lawless freedom the basis of moral responsibility is gone."  Confrontation, page 75.2


It is impossible to explain the origin of sin, or to give a reason for its existence. It is an intruder, for whose existence no reason can be given. It is mysterious, unaccountable; to excuse it, is to defend it. Could it be excused, could a cause be shown for its existence, it would cease to be sin. Our only definition of sin is that given in the word of God; it is "the transgression of the law."  {4SP 316.2}
A terrible doom awaits the sinner, and therefore it is necessary that we know what sin is, in order that we may escape from its power. John says, "Whosoever committeth sin transgresseth also the law; for sin is the transgression of the law" (1 John 3:4). Here we have the true definition of sin; it is "the transgression of the law." How often the sinner is urged to leave his sins, and come to Jesus; but has the messenger who would lead him to Christ clearly pointed out the way? Has he clearly pointed out the fact that "sin is the transgression of the law," and that he must repent and forsake the breaking of God's commandments? . . .  {FW 117.2}
The love of God ever tends to the fear of God -- fear to offend Him. Those who are truly converted will not venture heedlessly upon the borders of any evil, lest they grieve the Spirit of God and are left to their own way, to be filled with their own doings. The Word of God is the Guidebook; turn not from its pages to depend upon the human agent. That Book contains the warnings, the admonitions, from God, the rebuke of every evil, the clear definition of sin  as the transgression of the law which is God's great standard of virtue and holiness. . . . Not one who will study the Word of God and apply its teachings will miss the way.-- Letter 4, Dec. 23, 1893, to "Dear Brethren and Sisters."  {UL 371.7}


Whosoever committeth sin transgresseth also the law: for sin is the transgression of the law." This is the only definition of sin given in the Holy Scriptures, and we should seek to understand what sin is, lest any of us be found in opposition to the God of heaven. We are required to be in a position of obedience to all of God's commandments. Our salvation cost our Lord too much for us to be found going on in uncertainty when eternal interests are involved, therefore we should open our minds and search the Scriptures, so that we may know for ourselves how we can stand under the banner of Prince Immanuel. God requires at this moment just what he required of Adam in paradise before he fell--perfect obedience to his law. The requirement that God makes in grace is just the requirement he made in paradise. We want to understand the claims of God upon us that we may reach the hearts of men, and teach them what God's word requires of them in order that they may have eternal life. We must live by every word that proceedeth out of the mouth of God. Our Saviour has told us that in these last days there would be false doctrines and false teachers who would lead the people to accept fables and customs and practices of men, instead of the commandments of God, and that our world would be flooded with heresies. Are we bringing in heresies to turn souls from the truth of God's word? We want the truth of God's word on every point, and we need to practice it. Those who follow the course of error and live in transgression of the law of God, will not follow that course alone; there will be others who will imitate their example.  {RH, July 15, 1890 par. 2}
But now we want to present to you the words of Christ, how He taught His disciples to preach repentance and remission of sin. And we read that Paul went from house to house teaching the people. He says, "I have not failed to preach to them 'repentance toward God, and faith toward our Lord Jesus Christ'" (see Acts 20:21). Now this is the work we are to do, and we want to have this testimony borne everywhere. You need not talk about getting along without any law, and yet know what sin is. The only definition of sin given in the Bible is: "Sin is the transgression of the law" (1 John 3:4). But you must repent toward God. And why? Because you have broken His law. And then you must have faith toward our Lord Jesus Christ. We see there is nothing in [the] law to save us, but Christ has become man's substitute and surety. He has worked out man's redemption. Then what must man do? He must repent, because he has broken God's holy law. It is just as necessary that we should keep that law as it was for Adam and Eve to keep that law in Eden. . . .  {9MR 249.1}




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Related Information

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