Have you ever stopped to think how often you sin? As we read the Bible, we see that it doesn’t just label actions as sin, but also thoughts. For example, Jesus said: “But I say unto you, That whosoever looketh on a woman to lust after her hath committed adultery with her already in his heart.” (Matthew 5:28)
Neither is ignorance bliss when it comes to sin. Sin is a sin whether we know it is or not. Even if I didn’t know that the Lord commanded us not to worry, I still am sinning when I worry because I am disobeying his command. It doesn’t work to tell the trooper I didn’t know what the speed limit was, and it doesn’t work to plead ignorance before God.
In addition to all that, sin is not just doing something God forbids. It’s also not doing what he commands. “Therefore to him that knoweth to do good, and doeth it not, to him it is a sin.” (James 4:17) That means I’m sinning when I don’t love my enemies, when I don’t bless those who are persecuting me. I’m sinning when I don’t love my neighbor as I love myself. (Wouldn’t “as yourself” mean I would spend just as much time and money on them as I do myself?)
I don’t know about you, but I sin a lot. Those flashes of anger at the driver ahead of me, the selfishness of doing what I want to do rather than what my spouse wants to do, my less than honoring thoughts about the government. . .on and on it goes. Just for discussion sake, say I peg my sinning rate at one a minute during my waking hours (which is way too conservative). That equals more than 21 million sins in a span of 60 years!
To make matters worse, the Bible says, that even one sin is very, very serious. “For whosoever shall keep the whole law, and yet offend (LDS Bible footnote – stumble, err) in one point, he is guilty of all.” (James 2:10) One stumble = full guilt. If that is the result of one sin, what does 21 million sins result in? It is crushing to think of standing before God with one count of sin against me – much less 21 million counts.
That is why I am so thankful that Jesus took my place and faced the Father’s wrath for me. I testify that Jesus, by paying for all my sins, paid my debt to God’s justice. I testify that because of Jesus’ sacrifice, God remembers my sins no more. I testify that Jesus gets all the credit for my having eternal life and living forever with Heavenly Father.