God Does Not Re-Define Sin Or Righteousness

“Sin is any want of conformity unto, or transgression of, the law of God.”

The human story in Genesis chapters 2 and 3, compressed as it is there, comes to sin right away. Adam and Eve were created righteous, holy, and good. They had the ability to choose righteousness but they chose disobedience and death. The Lord had said, “the day you eat thereof you shall surely die” (Gen 2:17). Human criminal law distinguishes between misdemeanors, felonies, and capital crimes. Sin against God, transgression of his holy law, is a capital crime, however.


The words “felon,” “offender,” “convict,” “addict” and “juvenile delinquent” would be part of the past in official San Francisco parlance under new “person first” language guidelines adopted by the Board of Supervisors.

Going forward, what was once called a convicted felon or an offender released from jail will be a “formerly incarcerated person,” or a “justice-involved” person or simply a “returning resident.”

Parolees and people on criminal probation will be referred to as a “person on parole,” or “person under supervision.”

A juvenile “delinquent” will become a “young person with justice system involvement,” or a “young person impacted by the juvenile justice system.”

So begins a August 11 article in the San Francisco Chronicle describing a non-binding resolution adopted by the San Francisco Board of Supervisors. This is part of a broader social pattern wherein behaviors that God’s Word describes as “sin,” i.e., violations of the law of God. Scripture says:

Everyone who makes a practice of sinning also practices lawlessness; sin is lawlessness (1 John 3:4; ESV).

Building on this verse and the rest of Scripture, the Westminster Divines defined sin thus: “Sin is any want of conformity unto, or transgression of, the law of God.”

The San Francisco Board of Supervisors is obviously, intentionally trying to obscure reality and thereby essentially rejecting the judgment of the courts, the California legislature, and the law. They are re-writing reality to suit themselves. Contrary to impression that the Board of Supervisors is attempting to create, it is not that easy to become a convicted felon. To be sure, there is a reasonable argument to be made that the growth of the American federal legal system is such that otherwise law-abiding citizens unintentionally violate the law. This is not what the Board of Supervisors is addressing. They are re-describing reality in a misguided attempt to redress what they regard as systematic injustice.

Read More