Westminster Larger Catechism Study

WLC – Q. 24. What is sin?

Q. 24. What is sin?
A. Sin is any want of conformity unto, or transgression of, any law of God, given as a rule to the reasonable creature.

Such a simple question. And as our last answer pointed out the great need to preach about sin and the gospel’s good news about it, the Catechism properly pauses to define it here.

Oh, can we count on being reasonable creatures? Yes it’s true and not only men but angels too.

To what kind of creatures has God given laws? To his reasonable (or rational) creatures, that is, to angels and men..Vos comments:

Where does the Bible come nearest to giving a formal definition of sin? 1 John 3:4: “Sin is the transgression of the law,”

1 John 3:4 Whosoever committeth sin transgresseth also the law: for sin is the transgression of the law.

What inadequate definition of sin is often given by those who believe in total sanctification during the present life? They often define sin as “voluntary transgression of known law… Why is this definition of sin inadequate? Because it omits two forms of sin: (a) original sin, or the sin of our nature with which we are born; (b) the negative sin of want (lack) of conformity to God’s requirements.

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