I was asked, by a friend, to answer the following questions:
1. What is sin?
2. Are all people sinners?
3. Do people become sinners because they sin or do they sin because they are sinners?
4.What is God's penalty for sin, if any?
5. Are there penalties that occur on earth for sins in a person's daily life?
The following are my responses:
1. Sin is what one does when willfully violating the laws and morality in the Bible.
2. Yes, except Jesus b/c if Jesus had been a sinner then God could not have sacrificed him. In the Old Testament all sacrifices had to be the most pure gifts. Logically then, God could not sacrifice anything, including Jesus, that was less than pure.
3. No one is a born sinner. To say one is born a sinner is to say that free will does not exist. Sin is a product of mans free will. But you would not be able to classify one as a sinner, who didn't know the difference, if whether or not a sin was committed. When the Bible says, let no man judge, it's b/c no man can know what the defendant knows, except God.
4. God's penalty for sin should be clearly ascertainable in the Bible - hell. But God gave us an out, b/c he knew no one could keep his laws/morality. That out is Forgiveness. When we ask for forgiveness, what we are actually saying is, "I recognize I screwed up, which means you must be honest with yourself." What that means, is that you are consciously recognize God's law as supreme which is what he wants in the first instance, and in the second, he would like for you to follow his law to the best of your ability.
5. No - I think it's clear in the Bible that all men (persons) will be called to account on judgment day. Any mis-fortunate event, if it's cause is attributed to some so called "sin" , would be erroneous.