Glen Scrivener: What is the Essence of Sin?

Glen-321AGlen is an evangelist and director of Speak Life. He is the author of 321 – The Story of God, the World and You and blogs at Christ the Truth. He lives in Eastbourne with his wife, Emma, and daughter, Ruby.  At our church we give away copies of 321 to  visitors, it really is a fantastic resource.  I am thankful to Glen as he launches this guest post series for Foundations.


What is the essence of sin?

Is it “climbing onto the throne of your life”?
Is it “stealing the crown for yourself”?
Is it “shaking your puny fist in the face of God”?
Is it saying “Shove off God, I‘m in charge, No to your rule”

Well, yes. But is it deeper than that? You bet!

You see, if we define sin as “self-rule” what do we say to the Iranian refugee working his fingers to the bone, sending back every penny to the family?

What do we say to the woman serially abused by the terrible men she invites into her life?

What do we say to the drug addict whose only remaining desire is the hell-bent drive to throw his life away?

What do we say to the down-trodden mother who’s completely lost herself in her family?

What do we say to the self-harmer consumed by self-loathing?

All these people are sinners. But is their sin best captured by a definition of “self-rule”? Surely not. And the Bible knows this, which is why its teaching on sin goes far deeper than “self-rule.”

In the Bible we are dominated subjects in Satan’s kingdom (Ephesians 2:1-3). We are captives in the strong man’s house (Mark 3:27). We are helpless slaves to sin (John 8:34). We are whores besotted with terrible lovers (Ezekiel 16). We are sheep following after bad shepherds (Ezekiel 34). We are lost and must be found (Luke 15). We are snake-bitten and need healing (John 3:14f). We are dead and need raising (John 5:24f). We are famished and need Bread (John 6). And so Jesus diagnoses the world’s deepest problem: “they do not believe in Me.” (John 16:9) This is the heart of sin.

And once we have properly defined our problem, we can preach the solution: We have refused Christ, we must receive Him. We have resisted Him, we must trust Him. And when we do, His message to us is not “Get off the throne.” Incredibly He tells us “Hop on!”

“Even when we were dead in our trespasses, God made us alive together with Christ—by grace you have been saved— and raised us up with him and seated us with him in the heavenly places in Christ Jesus.” (Ephesians 2:5-6; cf Revelation 3:21)


This is an excerpt from a longer post at Glen’s blog –


One thought on “Glen Scrivener: What is the Essence of Sin?

  1. ‘For sin taking occasion by the commandment…..killed me’. Rom 7.11. Here sin is described as a malevolent third party rather than just my choice to be bad.

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