Transgression or Progression
There are several Greek words used to describe sin. Probably the most common one indicates the “missing of the mark.” There is that path which the “arrow” of our lives must follow to arrive at our ultimate destination. When our life fails to follow the divine path to the target, the result is sin.
There is another word used to describe what sin is, and this word is usually translated “transgress” or “transgression.” The word literally indicates that one has stepped across the line. Visualize the “line” of righteousness—one that runs north and south. We transgress every time we step across that line. We have no right to walk either by going “east or west” of that line. God’s eternal truth is clearly stated and cannot be violated. It is never right to do wrong. An illustration of this is to look at the “north/south” affirmation from God about lying. “All liars shall have their part in the lake which burns with fire and brimstone” (Rev. 21:8). Transgression of that law is done be stepping across the line.
However, there is another interesting Greek word which should be considered. The King James Version says, “Whosoever transgresseth and abideth not in the doctrine of Christ, hath not God” (2 John 9). Later translations reflect the text far more graphically saying, “Whosoever goes onward and abides not in the teaching of Christ, has not God.” These words reflect the import of the original language. The literal rendering of the Greek (the Greek word is pro-ago) is to “go ahead” of the doctrine of Christ. It is obviously sinful to transgress, to go against what God says. What is not so obvious is that it is equally wrong to go ahead of the teaching of Christ. The word used by John is different from the sin of transgression. He used a word that describes sin as pro–gression. God simply does not give us the right to go before His teachings. Sometimes, in our desire to force the Bible to justify our prejudiced study, we have gone on ahead of what God wants. Such progressiveness is sin. We cannot have God if we go ahead of what He says.
Understanding this concept helps us deal with the attitude which says, “Where does the Bible say I cannot do this?” Such an attitude will never lead one to finding truth. God’s will is not stated with thousands of “thou shall nots” but is revealed in simple affirmations of what we should do. We are not at liberty to do everything for which there is not a specific prohibition. Our liberty is reflected in doing only those things for which there is permission.
The maze of denominationalism is the result of individuals going ahead of what God says. This may seem like it is progressive, but it is sinful. We can sin by transgressing His teachings or by going ahead of His teaching. Both are sinful!