What is sin? There are many ways that sin is described in the Bible. Last time I wrote about sin in these articles, we looked at the Hebrew word, chatta’h, and its Greek equivalent, harmatia. We saw that they described sin as missing a mark.
Another word used to describe sin is the Hebrew word pasha. This word sees sin as a broken relationship – a rebellion or a revolution.
The word pasha occurs in a non-theological sense in 1 Kings when Israel rebels against the King of Judah. We read: ‘King Rehoboam sent out Adoniram, who was in charge of forced labor, but all Israel stoned him to death. King Rehoboam, however, managed to get into his chariot and escape to Jerusalem. So Israel has been in rebellion (pasha) against the house of David to this day’ (1 Kings 12:18-19).
Now the Bible is clear that God is the King over all the earth. The Apostle Paul describes God as ‘God, the blessed and only Ruler, the King of kings and Lord of lords, who alone is immortal and who lives in unapproachable light, whom no one has seen or can see. To him be honor and might forever’ (1 Timothy 6:15-16)’.
And if God is King of all the earth then all created human beings are naturally God’s subjects. Isaiah describes our relationship to God with these words: ‘For the LORD is our judge, the LORD is our lawgiver, the LORD is our king’ (Isaiah 33:22).
And if we are God’s subjects we are to obey him. We are to keep his laws and show him due reverence. Thus if we are not obedient to God, our disobedience is rightly called pasha, rebellion. We see this in prophecies like that given by Isaiah: ‘’Hear, O heavens! Listen, O earth! For the LORD has spoken: ‘I reared children and brought them up, but they have rebelled (pasha) against me. The ox knows his master, the donkey his owner’s manger, but Israel does not know, my people do not understand.” Ah, sinful nation, a people loaded with guilt, a brood of evildoers, children given to corruption! They have forsaken the LORD; they have spurned the Holy One of Israel and turned their backs on him. Why should you be beaten anymore? Why do you persist in rebellion?’ (Isaiah 1:2-5)
And our rebellion is important to note because God is a king who punishes rebels, like any good king would. God said through Jeremiah: ‘From the time I brought your forefathers up from Egypt until today, I warned them again and again, saying, “Obey me.” But they did not listen or pay attention; instead, they followed the stubbornness of their evil hearts. So I brought on them all the curses of the covenant I had commanded them to follow but that they did not keep’ (Jeremiah 11:7-8).
We all should be obedient to God, but by breaking his laws we have rebelled against him and deserve to be punished. But how can we pacify our angry king? Thankfully, Jesus became our rebellion at the cross and was punished on our behalf, if we trust in him. God no longer sees us as rebels, but as model citizens because of the work of Christ. So do you trust in Christ? Or are you considered a rebel by God and will one day be rightly punished.