Why Do We Sin?


There are sins that we do simply because we do not know better. These can be called “sins of ignorance” or “unintentional sins.” God has always provided a sacrifice for those sins.

These preparations having thus been made, the priests go regularly into the first section, performing their ritual duties, but into the second only the high priest goes, and he but once a year, and not without taking blood, which he offers for himself and for the unintentional sins of the people. (Hebrews 9:6-7 ESV)

While there are these unintentional sins, we often sin intentionally–in other words, we know what we are doing is sinful and we do it anyway.

The very commandment that promised life proved to be death to me. For sin, seizing an opportunity through the commandment, deceived me and through it killed me. (Romans 7:10-11 ESV)

Paul says here that even when he knew the commandment, he was deceived by sin. How can we be deceived into sinning when we know what God has said?

Sin is our own fault

Let no one say when he is tempted, “I am being tempted by God,” for God cannot be tempted with evil, and he himself tempts no one. But each person is tempted when he is lured and enticed by his own desire. Then desire when it has conceived gives birth to sin, and sin when it is fully grown brings forth death. (James 1:13-15 ESV)

So then, we are not talking about excuses for sin, but reasons. There are reasons why we allow ourselves to be deceived and make a decision to sin.

We sin because we want to do things that are not good.

This a pretty simple idea, isn’t it? But then the question comes, why do we want to do those things when we know that they are against the will of God?

We sin because we feel like we are missing something.

The easiest example of being deceived into sin is Eve.

Now the serpent was more crafty than any other beast of the field that the LORD God had made. He said to the woman, “Did God actually say, ‘You shall not eat of any tree in the garden’?” And the woman said to the serpent, “We may eat of the fruit of the trees in the garden, but God said, ‘You shall not eat of the fruit of the tree that is in the midst of the garden, neither shall you touch it, lest you die.’” But the serpent said to the woman, “You will not surely die. For God knows that when you eat of it your eyes will be opened, and you will be like God, knowing good and evil.” So when the woman saw that the tree was good for food, and that it was a delight to the eyes, and that the tree was to be desired to make one wise, she took of its fruit and ate, and she also gave some to her husband who was with her, and he ate. (Genesis 3:1-6 ESV)

Eve knew the commandment very well and was able to explain it to the serpent. But she still was deceived into sinning. This was because Eve thought that she was missing something that would make her life more complete. It would give her wisdom. She would know things that she did not know before.

We sin because we feel like we are missing experiences.

We may feel like we are missing out on the experiences that most of the world goes through. Why should you be the only one who doesn’t know what it’s like to have sex (you could be patient and wait for marriage, but none of your friends are waiting)? Why can’t you get drunk when you have to hear all the guys at work talking about how much fun they had at the bar over the weekend? Why should you be the only one not stealing from the boss?

These are deceptive feelings. We are not missing anything good. It is like asking why everybody else gets to have AIDS and you don’t. There are some experiences that are not worth having.

We sin because we want to feel like we belong somewhere.

When we feel like we don’t belong, so we try to find belonging with the wrong kind of people.

Now Jephthah the Gileadite was a mighty warrior, but he was the son of a prostitute. Gilead was the father of Jephthah. And Gilead’s wife also bore him sons. And when his wife’s sons grew up, they drove Jephthah out and said to him, “You shall not have an inheritance in our father’s house, for you are the son of another woman.” Then Jephthah fled from his brothers and lived in the land of Tob, and worthless fellows collected around Jephthah and went out with him. (Judges 11:1-3 ESV)

When Jephtha’s family kicked him out for no good reason, he surrounded himself with worthless men. Basically, he became the leader of a gang. When we do not feel wanted by our families, we will turn to those who make us feel wanted, even when we know they are not good.

Women who do not have a good father in their lives will often turn to the wrong kind of men to make them feel wanted. They dress immodestly so that they will feel like men want them and even commit fornication because they are deceived into thinking that will make the man love them.

Men without good mothers in their lives will often turn to the wrong kind of women. If they just feel like women do not want them, they can turn to homosexuality. This can be a reason women turn to homosexuality as well. Basically, we feel like we are missing something in our relationships, so we try to fix it through sin.

We feel like something is missing because we lack faith.

If we really believe God, then what can we want more than what He gives us? With God, we are wanted. We are loved. We do belong. But if we don’t have faith, we will never work on this relationship and will never feel fulfilled.

Do not be deceived, my beloved brothers. Every good gift and every perfect gift is from above, coming down from the Father of lights with whom there is no variation or shadow due to change. (James 1:16-17 ESV)

Do not be deceived. Everything good comes from God. When we stop believing that, and thinking that there is something good that is not from God, that is when we sin.

So let us build our faith. The stronger our faith, the less the temptation. The more we believe that nothing that is not from God is good, the less we will desire it. We still need self-control to keep from doing those things we want to do but know are wrong, but the closer our relationship with God is, the less self-control we will need. May God help us keep growing.