For whatever does not proceed from faith is sin. (Romans 14:23 ESV)
"Sin" is the topic of chapter 24 in Wayne Grudem's SYSTEMATIC THEOLOGY which covers 20 pages! He begins with "The Definition of Sin" and wraps things up with "The Punishment of Sin", no less. Immediately, I think of Romans 6:23,
For the wages of sin is death, but the free gift of God is eternal life in Christ Jesus our Lord.
But what, exactly counts as sin? Jerry Bridges wrote my second favorite book (next to the bible) called RESPECTABLE SINS, in which he lists a few. Fantastic reading, by the way! I highly recommend it! And why do a lot of people hate talking about sin? I do not know.
Sin includes not only individual acts such as stealing or lying or committing murder, but also attitudes that are contrary to the attitudes God requires of us. We see this already in the Ten Commandments, which not only prohibit sinful actions but also wrong attitudes... Therefore a life that is pleasing to God is one that has moral purity not only in its actions, but also in its desires of heart. In fact, the greatest commandment of all requires that our heart be filled with an attitude of love for God: "You shall love the Lord your God with all your heart, and with all your soul, and with all your mind, and with all your strength" (Mark 12:30). (Pg. 490)
God can see my heart. And when it has a hint of tarnish, impure motives or ugliness, He knows it!
I thank you, Lord, for this understanding of sin and for Your laws and expectations of me, Your humble servant.