What counts as sin?
For God was in Christ, reconciling the world to himself, no longer counting people’s sins against them. And he gave us this wonderful message of reconciliation. So we are Christ’s ambassadors; God is making his appeal through us. We speak for Christ when we plead, “Come back to God!” (2 Corinthians 5:19-20)
What 'counts' as sin? I have actually had some attempt to 'debate' this topic with me. What I found to be at the root of this question was their desire to 'justify' something that they didn't consider 'all that bad', and therefore it wasn't really 'sin'. Truth be told, if our conscience is actually causing us to ask that question, it is likely not the right path for us to be taking! I was raised in a church that 'graded' sin - in other words, there were 'degrees' to the 'badness' of your sin. There isn't anywhere in scripture that actually says sins are 'menial' - all sin is sin (small to large, small compromises or the biggies). As an ambassador of Christ, it is important for each of us to recognize this fact because 'grading' sin is just not biblical and that ALL sin 'counts'.
Does all sin require God's intervention to actually be free of it? I believe the answer to this one is a resounding "YES". We are incapable of wiping away our own sin - we might think we can just push it away and never pursue it again, but the stain of that sin remains. All sin, big or little, creates a 'stain' in our lives. It may not be visible to the naked eye, but there is a stain created within our subconscious and our 'conscience' that isn't dealt with by pushing it away. The only thing capable of removing the stain of that sin is the blood of Christ. We need to bring ALL sin to him and allow him to remove the stain.
Can we actually be free of sin? I know for a fact that sin remains a constant struggle while we live and breathe on this earth. We are asked to compromise time and time again, even when we have no real desire to do so. There will be weak moments when sin gets the best of us. Temptation urges us into compromise, and we oblige. As much as we might think we can never be free of sin, the more accurate way to look at it is that we can never be totally free of temptation. Temptation will remain - even after we no longer desire to follow that path of sin. What we are assured of is that Christ can help us resist that temptation, but we might actually have to do the work of 'fleeing from it'! I Corinthians 10:13 - "The temptations in your life are no different from what others experience. And God is faithful. He will not allow the temptation to be more than you can stand. When you are tempted, he will show you a way out so that you can endure."
Ambassadors do their very best to represent the one they serve. The longer we serve Christ, we will eventually come to the conclusion there can be no room for compromise in our lives. What if we compromise? We confess it, ask forgiveness, and then ask Jesus to give us a plan to not be duped by that temptation again. Then we work the plan! Just sayin!