What is sin in Africa?

For some people of Africa who don't know the Bible, the word "sin" can have various meanings. For some it means the breaking of tribal laws: transgressions against other people, against the ancestor spirits. To rectify the guilt is to bring offerings, to be punished etc. "Sin" is not punished in the next world and "doing good" is not rewarded, so they believe.

They don't have a sense of guilt. A person commits sins when his wrong deed is discovered or when a witchdoctor find him guilty. He then regards it as unhappy but he does not feel guilty.

But the Bible as the Word of Almighty God to us, tells us what sin is. The Holy Spirit came to this world to reveal to us what sin really is. John 16:8 says of the Holy Spirit: "And when he comes, he will prove to the people of the world that they are wrong about sin and about what is right and about God's judgment." Sin is not to believe in the God of the Bible and in the Lord Jesus Christ, His son. (See verse 9.)

Sin is to believe the Adversary (Satan) instead of believing God's Word. Sin is to do wrong things when tempted to do so (See James 1:13-15).

It is very important to understand what sin is, because it causes division between us and God (Isaiah 59:2). It causes divisions and strife between people too.

Jesus said the world is guilty of sin because it does not believe in him (John 16:9). Sin is to be disobedient to God and His Word (Romans 5:19). These things are contrary to His will (Galatians 5:1921).

If we want to live and die happily we must know the following things:

1. How great my sin and misery are.

Firstly: We must know our sins, because it is the cause of all our misery. We are punished because of it. We learn what sin is when we study the law of God (Romans 3:20). We must return to God like the prodigal son and admit and confess our sin (Luke 15:18,19). If we haven't done so yet, we are enemies of God and our fellowmen.

2. How I can be saved from my sins.

Secondly: We must know how we can be saved from sin and guilt and misery. The Word of God teaches us how we can be saved. God made it possible when he sent his son Jesus to be the Saviour of sinners. By believing in Him, we are saved (Matthew 1:21). There is no other way (Acts 4:12).

3. How I can thank God for my salvation.

In the third place, it is important to show our thankfulness towards God because He saved us. We can do so by doing good works. By those works we can help our fellowmen to come to Christ.

To sum up, we can say: Sin is to allow Satan to rule our lives. But when we accept Jesus as Saviour, we belong to Him (1 Corinthians 3:23; 6:19: Titus 2:14; 1 Peter 1:1819). The child of God must always do what Hebrews 12:12 teaches.