THE EVIDENCE OF UNBELIEF IS DISOBEDIENCE
The evidence of unbelief is disobedience. The apostle John defined sin when he said: “…SIN IS TRANSGRESSION OF THE LAW.” 1John 3:4
That is the scriptural definition for sin --and there is no other. God did not lay a mine field for His people so they could be destroyed by stepping into some unknown sin. He gave us a clear definition of our duty to Him when He gave us the Ten Commandments.
Therefore, when Paul said: "whatsoever is not of faith is sin" He was saying: WHATSOEVER IS NOT OF FAITH IS TRANSGRESSION OF THE LAW.
When we look at that phrase in its context it is clear that Paul was not trying to define sin. Instead, he was saying that a person is guilty of sin (transgression of the law) if he eats food which he believes God has forbidden him to eat. Here is the complete verse:
Romans 14:23 "And he that doubteth* is damned if he eat, because he eateth not of faith: for whatsoever is not of faith is sin."
The person who deliberately eats food he believes God has commanded him not to eat has committed sin by breaking the first commandment:
"Thou shalt have no other gods before me". If a person willfully does something that he believes to be forbidden by the word of God, then he has in effect made himself a "god" by refusing to accept the rule of the Creator.
WHY IS THIS IMPORTANT?
We must understand John's definition of sin ("Sin is the transgression of the law) in order to comprehend the true meaning of three other verses found in the same passage which describe those who "commit" sin.
1 John 3:6 "WHOSOEVER ABIDETH IN HIM SINNETH NOT"
1 John 3:8 "HE THAT COMMITTETH SIN IS OF THE DEVIL"
1 John 3:9 "WHOSOEVER IS BORN OF GOD DOTH NOT COMMIT SIN"
If we do not correctly define "COMMIT SIN" as the deliberate breaking of the Ten Commandments, we will not be able to know who is born of God and who is of the Devil.
* doubteth Or, discerneth and putteth a difference between meats. (Marginal reading.)
Adam Clarke writes:
And he that doubteth - This verse is a necessary part of the preceding, and should be read thus: But he that doubteth is condemned if he eat, because he eateth not of faith. The meaning is sufficiently plain. He that feeds on any kind of meats prohibited by the Mosaic law, with the persuasion in his mind that he may be wrong in so doing, is condemned by his conscience for doing that which he has reason to think God has forbidden.”