But whoever has doubts is condemned if he eats, because the eating is not from faith. For whatever does not proceed from faith is sin. (Romans 14:23. ESV.)
While in my favorite ladies bible study group a few years back, I recall we discussed the definition of sin according to God’s word. When I was researching this to write my post this evening I looked to my favorite teacher, John Piper, for his input. He wrote,
“The most penetrating and devastating definition of sin that I am aware of in Scripture is the last part of Romans 14:23: ‘Whatever is not from faith is sin.’ The reason it is penetrating is that it goes to the root of all sinful actions and attitudes, namely, the failure to trust God. And the reason it is devastating is that it sweeps away all our lists of dos and don'ts and makes anything, from preaching to house-painting, a candidate for sin. In the original language, this is stressed even more than in our versions: it says, ‘Everything which is not from faith is sin.’ Anything, absolutely any act or attitude which is owing to a lack of trust in God is sin, no matter how moral it may appear to men. God looks on the heart.” (Piper, John. “Whatever Is Not from Faith Is Sin”. 1980.)
What a sobering reality! No matter what I do, if it does not come from faith in my Sovereign King and His precious Son Christ Jesus, it is sin! Further, James 4:17 teaches, “So whoever knows the right thing to do and fails to do it, for him it is sin.” Thankfully, as John Piper reminds me, God sees my heart.
1 John 3:21: Beloved, if our heart does not condemn us, we have confidence before God;
Psalm 44:21: …he knows the secrets of the heart.
Jeremiah 17:10: "I the LORD search the heart and test the mind, to give every man according to his ways, according to the fruit of his deeds."
Hebrews 4:13: And no creature is hidden from his sight, but all are naked and exposed to the eyes of him to whom we must give account.
Luke 16:15: And he said to them, "You are those who justify yourselves before men, but God knows your hearts. For what is exalted among men is an abomination in the sight of God.
1 Samuel 16:7: For the LORD sees not as man sees: man looks on the outward appearance, but the LORD looks on the heart.
1 Chronicles 28:9: …know the God of your father and serve him with a whole heart and with a willing mind, for the LORD searches all hearts and understands every plan and thought.
Proverbs 21:2: Every way of a man is right in his own eyes, but the LORD weighs the heart.
Proverbs 16:5: Everyone who is arrogant in heart is an abomination to the LORD; be assured, he will not go unpunished.
Romans 8:27: And he who searches hearts knows what is the mind of the Spirit, because the Spirit intercedes for the saints according to the will of God.
1 John 3:20: for whenever our heart condemns us, God is greater than our heart, and he knows everything.
1 Thessalonians 2:4: …but just as we have been approved by God to be entrusted with the gospel, so we speak, not to please man, but to please God who tests our hearts.
Romans 8:6: For to set the mind on the flesh is death, but to set the mind on the Spirit is life and peace.
How mindful I must be of all that I say and do…being careful it originates from my faithfulness to my King so as not to sin.