A Primer on Sin

Jeff Munroe

READ : Judges 2:11-23

They abandoned the Lord and served the Baals and the Ashtaroth. (v. 13)

Judges 2 serves as a summary of the book and also a primer on sin. Have you ever wondered what sin really is? It’s a word with complex theological meanings. A great thing about working at Western Theological Seminary is that when I have a deep theological question, I simply walk down the hall and get expert answers.

I asked a theology professor for a one-sentence definition of sin and was surprised by the answer: “Sin is disordered love.” I didn’t really understand what this meant, so I asked for clarification and was told, “Love that turns us away from God instead of toward God is disordered love and as such is sin.” That definition, the professor said, comes from Augustine of Hippo, the great fourth-century theologian in his autobiographical, Confessions. But one could say there is a lot of Judges 2 in that definition as well. The people of Israel sinned when they abandoned the Lord and started worshipping the gods of the surrounding cultures. They gave their hearts, souls, minds, and devotion to another. They forgot the God who had delivered them from Egypt. Sin, in this instance, is more about focus and direction than anything else.

It is quite easy to see the applications for us. Where are our hearts, souls, minds, and devotion focused? To what extent have we been swayed by the gods of the surrounding culture? Is God first for us?


Lord, help us stay focused on you.