February 24, 2022

How Do We Know If Something Is Sinful?

Nathan W. Bingham & Gabriel N.E. Fluhrer
How Do We Know If Something Is Sinful?

If someone were to ask you if their actions are sinful, where would you turn to find the answer? Today, Gabe Fluhrer points us in two directions to help identify sin.


NATHAN W. BINGHAM: Joining me this week on the Ask Ligonier podcast is Dr. Gabe Fluhrer. He’s one of the ministers at the First Presbyterian Church in Columbia, South Carolina. Dr. Fluhrer, how do I know as a Christian if something is sinful?

DR. GABE FLUHRER: The first thing to say in answer to that question is the Bible shows us what’s sinful. Now, that’s what we have to ask about anything. Paul says in Romans 7 that he would not know what coveting was if the law did not say to him, “You shall not covet.” So first and foremost, it’s the Scriptures that teach us what’s sinful.

That’s important today because many things that society and the world deems not sinful, or even positively good, are condemned by the Scriptures and are taught as clearly sin by the Scriptures. We have to begin with the Bible.

But then added to that is our conscience. Even those who aren’t believers know something of what that is. They can feel that it’s wrong. They can feel and then sense within themselves that what they’re doing is not right, even if they don’t have categories like sin and grace and Christ and redemption—the categories that we have as Christians.

That even applies to Christians as well. There’s things that we can become desensitized to. Paul speaks of our consciences being seared, so that what we need is a scripturally informed conscience. Once again, we’re back to the Scriptures as foundational for our understanding of what sin is, how to repent of it, and why it’s wrong.