We have made “sin” a list of things. It makes it easy to define the “insiders” and the “outsiders.”
The people banging on about “sin” are those who think it’s someone else’s problem. — NT Wright, The Day the Revolution Began.
But “sin” isn’t about our definition. We have to put the word in its context. Within the context of the story the Bible is telling, what IS sin?
The normal Greek word for “sin,” namely harmartia, means “missing the mark”: shooting at a target and failing to hit it. This is subtly but importantly different from being given a long and fussy list of things you must and mustn’t do and failing to observe them all. — Wright, The Day the Revolution Began
Israel had been called for a purpose. That purpose wasn’t about keeping a list of rules. It wasn’t about “going to heaven.” It was about being image-bearers. They were called to reflect the praises of creation back to the Creator. It was a call to a royal priesthood. It is a call that still comes to us.
Sin is the failure to be the image-bearer of God in this world. It is a failure of worship.
The purpose of the cross is to take us back, from where we presently are, to that intended goal. — NT Wright, The Day the Revolution Began