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A space for resources to help RE teachers and their students explore the Christian faith

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What do Christians mean by the word 'sin'?


Christians often talk about Jesus’ death as a way of bringing forgiveness for sin. But what is sin? Play the game and then read the explanation below. To play the game: The aim of the game is to fire a cannonball from one side of the canyon and to land on the target on the opposite side of the canyon.

  1. Click your mouse cursor inside the game window opposite.
  2. Use the 'Left' and 'Right' arrow keys to adjust the 'Force' with which the cannonball is fired.
  3. Use the 'Up' and 'Down' arrow keys to adjust the angle of trajectory.
  4. Push the Space Bar to fire the canon.
  5. Mind you don't hit the clouds!

What does this have to do with sin? The word used most often for sin means ‘missing the mark’. It means not being able to live up to God’s perfect standards, either by choosing to do something against His laws (such as choosing to steal) or by not doing the good things He asks us to do (such as treating people fairly). This leaves us a long way from God and deserving punishment. The Bible teaches that ‘all [people] have sinned and fallen short’ (Romans 3:23). No one on earth has a 100% success rate in this game. But the Bible says Jesus was without sin – he scored 100%. And the Bible teaches that he is able to transfer his ‘high score’ over to us because of what he did on the cross, so that we are made right with God. (2 Corinthians 5:21)