An understanding of sin is central to our embrace of Christianity and the saving work of Jesus Christ. Scripture clearly teaches that “the wages of sin is death; but the gift of God is eternal life through Christ Jesus our Lord” (Romans 6:23). Thus, knowing what sin is and repenting of it are essentials to the Christian walk.
According to the Westminster Shorter Catechism, “Sin is any want of conformity unto, or transgression of, the law of God.” Similarly, the Catechism of the Catholic Church, quoting Saint Augustine, defines sin as “an utterance, a deed, or a desire contrary to the eternal law.” Both Reformers and Catholics agree that the measure of sin is God’s law and His commandments.
This understanding of sin should be Christianity 101. But in July, there was quite a buzz on the blogs when a Chicago Sun-Times reporter posted the text of a 2004 interview he conducted with then State Sen. Barack Obama. The interview focused on spiritual matters, and many of Obama’s answers should shock orthodox Christians.
When asked to define sin, Obama replied that sin meant “being out of alignment with my values.” As for the consequences of sin, Obama averred: “if I’m true to myself and my faith then that is its own reward[;] when I’m not true to it, it’s its own punishment.” ...