What is the difference between a sin and a transgression?

To sin is to do something contrary to the will of the Lord. It is to be willfully disobedient.  Transgression, on the other hand, is the violation of a law or rule that may or may not be against the will of the Lord. Thus, all sins are transgressions but not all transgressions are sins.

Sin is breaking a law with knowledge that a law is being broken. Adam didn’t have knowledge of good and evil before partaking of the forbidden fruit, so his act was a transgression of the law, not a sin against the law.

The Bible clearly notes a difference between sin and transgression

–          Psalms 25:7 -> “Remember not the sins of my youth, nor my transgressions: according to thy mercy remember thou me for thy goodness’ sake, O Lord.”

–          Joshua 24:19 -> “And Joshua said unto the people, Ye cannot serve the Lord: for he is an holy God; he is a jealous God; he will not forgive your transgressions nor your sins.”

The first mention of sin in the Bible is in regards to Cain.

Genesis 4:6-7 -> “And the Lord said unto Cain, Why art thou wroth? and why is thy countenance fallen? If thou doest well, shalt thou not be accepted? and if thou doest not well, sin lieth at the door. And unto thee shall be his desire, and thou shalt rule over him.”

Adam and Eve’s partaking of the forbidden fruit is referred to as transgression.

Romans 5:14 -> “Nevertheless death reigned from Adam to Moses, even over them that had not sinned after the similitude of Adam’s transgression, who is the figure of him that was to come.”

New Year’s Resolution: Read the Book of Mormon

2008 is just a few days away. Hard to believe, but true. With the change of year, most of us feel some strangely innate need to make the coming year better than the past one in some areas of our lives.

I resolve this year to consistently read the Book of Mormon. Sure, as a born and raised Mormon who served a mission, I’ve read it numerous times. I’m a religious slacker though. I have times when I read the scriptures but those times have become more rare as I’ve aged. The last time I read it was when President Hinckley challenged all members to read it in 2005.

So why should I read it again now? I’m always conflicted on what facet of the gospel or LDS church history to study. What will benefit me most at the time? Scriptures frankly bore me and are a chore to read, probably because as I was growing up, scripture study often interrupted more “fun” things I was doing. I like to read the Ensign and some books written by General Authorities so I often pass this off as my “scripture study.” But let’s be honest – lately I haven’t even done much of that type of study. Anyway, I feel now is a good time to get back to the Book of Mormon for the following reasons:

1) I need to teach my children the Book of Mormon. I don’t want them to be teenagers when I realize that I’ve never read the Book of Mormon with them and they have no idea what the book is about.
2) The LDS curriculum calls for the study of the Book of Mormon in Sunday School this year. So by studying it maybe I’ll actually be able to contribute in class.
3) I need a spiritual boost. I was remembering recently some of the spiritual experiences I’ve had in my life. These almost always occurred when I was doing the right things, studying and actively making God a part of my life.

So this is my plan for this year:

I will read the entire Book of Mormon for my personal gospel study.
I will STUDY the Book of Mormon with my wife and children. By this I mean I don’t care how much we read, I want them to learn while we’re reading it. The main thing is to establish the habit. The best time for us to read is immediately after dinner. This last year we had some times where we studied the New Testament and we would usually only read a few verses but I made sure the kids were listening and we discussed what we were reading. We will do the same with the Book of Mormon.