The term “sin” has often been commonly related to an archaic archery term that meant to miss the mark [target]. But this term is more effectively translated as falling short of the target.
However, when we casualize sin in this way, we blind ourselves to the truth of how God defines sin. It is certainly written in Romans 3:23 that “all have sinned and fall short of God’s glorious standard,” and must realize that nobody who has ever lived, or will live, apart from Jesus, did so without sin. But there’s more to the context of this passage than just a passing reference.
But while “falling short” does match the archery term in the same way, this really just becomes analagous to saying “nobody’s perfect.” Admitting that you are not Jesus is certainly no revelation. But it’s more important to understand that sin is, in fact, the practice of aiming everywhere but the target.
How then can one claim to have missed the target, or have fallen short of the target, when no attempt is even being made to point your arrow in the direction of the target at all?
Now, certainly as Christians, our arrows do frequentlyperhaps only occasionallyhit the target (though likely not the bulls-eye). But more often than not, we do fall short. But we do see the target of Christ’s perfect example. And we tend to know what we’re aiming for. But those who live apart from Christ can’t see the true target, and so their arrows fly aimlessly at everything else, haphazardly finding alternate places. And when one of these stray arrows lands, it is always at the center of a lie.
But those whose stray arrows meet the same targets will gather together in celebration and comradery, reveling in the good fortune of having their efforts strike in accord. They will stand proudly in their accomplishments, claiming that this was precisely what they set out to achieve. But within themselves, they are disappointed because they are aware that this was not what they were aiming for, and frustrated that they do not know where to point their arrows. Indeed, they are all searching to point their arrows at the one true target, but its exact location seems to elude them.
Perhaps if others are watching me, they may see what I’m aiming at. But I wonder… if I never even raise my bow, how will they know?