Everyone who sins breaks the law; in fact, sin is lawlessness.
— 1 John 3:4

This verse is one of the clearest definitions of sin found in the Bible. The word for sin in the New Testament is hamartia which means, “missing the mark.” It refers to missing the true end and scope of our lives, which is God. When we sin, we miss God in the process. We miss His will for our lives, we miss His blessing and there’s always a consequence when we do so. John says when we sin we break the law. So, sin is lawlessness. We become an outlaw.

When I was young I used to go to the movies almost every Saturday morning for the double feature at the theater. For less than twenty-five cents I got into the movie and had enough left over for a box of popcorn and a coke.

One of the movies was always a western and starred either Hopalong Cassidy, Gene Autry, Roy Rogers, or the Lone Ranger. Do any of you remember those days? “Hi-Yo, Silver—Away!” If that’s not your era, sorry you missed out. Those were the days my friends!

I still remember the names of their horses and their side-kicks because they were the good guys. Those superheroes were always chasing outlaws—lawbreakers. Who were the outlaws? Bad-looking dudes who often had a patch over one eye, missing teeth, and a scraggly beard and were filthy, dusty, and always swigging a bottle of whiskey. Justice demanded they be caught and punished and thrown in jail.

Well—that’s not a bad caricature of us when we sin. But there is one difference.

But you know that He appeared so that He might take away our sins. And in Him is no sin. — 1 John 3:5

In those movies, the good guys always caught the bad guys, took them to jail and threw away the keys, and then rode off into the sunset singing, “Happy trails to you, until we meet again.” In our lives, however, one extremely good guy came to our jail cell, paid our fine, opened the prison door, set us free, and invited us to come and be His sidekick forever. He even put a new song in our mouths (Psalm 40:3) and will let us ride on a white horse (Revelation 19:14). His name is Jesus! — Maranatha!

“God is good all the time. All the time God is good!”

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