Question on doctrine of sin

According to Psalm 51:4
Against you, you only, have I sinned and done what is evil in your sight; so you are right in your verdict and justified when you judge.
David is writing about his adultery with Bathsheba. Earlier in Genesis 39:9 When Joseph refused Potiphar’s wife he said “No one is greater in this house than I am. My master has withheld nothing from me except you, because you are his wife. How then could I do such a wicked thing and sin against God?" “

The inference from the two examples is that David’s sin was against God and not against Uriah and Bathsheba and that Joseph would sin against God and not Potiphar.

Rom 3:23 All have sinned and fallen short of the glory of God.

I fully understand that ALL sin is against God.

Recently during a study on “How people Grow” one of the topics was How to deal with those who have sinned against us.

This prompted the above verse references and statements that humans can’t sin against one another.

This left me with questions because of the following:

[Mat [6:14-15][NIV] 14 For if you forgive other people when they sin against you, your heavenly Father will also forgive you. 15 But if you do not forgive others their sins, your Father will not forgive your sins.

What did Jesus mean by the above statement? I understand that in other translations it uses the word trespasses but everything I can find about the word trespasses is that it is used interchangeably with the word sin.

Earlier in Matthew when Jesus is giving the sermon on the mount he is addressing how murder begins in the heart with your thoughts he tells the people:

[Mat 5:23-24 CSB] 23 "So if you are offering your gift on the altar, and there you remember that your brother or sister has something against you, 24 "leave your gift there in front of the altar. First go and be reconciled with your brother or sister, and then come and offer your gift.

Why would Jesus instruct the people to stop making an offering at the altar and go be reconciled to there brother or sister unless that person had sinned against them and needed to reconcile that relationship prior to offering the gift?

Later in Matthew Jesus says this [Mat 18:15-16 CSB] 15 "If your brother sins against you, go and rebuke him in private. If he listens to you, you have won your brother. 16 "But if he won’t listen, take one or two others with you, so that by the testimony of two or three witnesses every fact may be established.

My point here is that based on the words of Jesus people can sin against one another and by doing so they sin against God. Is my view on this correct? I would love to hear from the community.

Your Brother in Christ


@John.Wright. I think you are spot on. As I read your introductory statements, the scriptures that you later cite about sinning against our brother are the very ones that came to my mind in answer to the idea that “humans can’t sin against one another.”

Jesus left no doubt that we offend or bless Him according to how we treat others (Matthew 25:31-46). The disciples understood what Jesus taught and repeated it in their letters. I think of John, especially, when he says “he who does not love his brother whom he has seen, how can he love God whom he has not seen?” (1 John 4:20).

The concept of humans sinning against each other and God is no clearer, I think, than in our crucifixion of Jesus. He is the Son of Man and when we killed Him, we sinned against another human. He is also the Son of God and when we crucified Him, we sinned against God. No wonder John writes, “Whoever hates his brother is a murderer, and you know that no murderer has eternal life abiding in him” (1 John 3:15).


Hello @John.Wright .

I appreciate your question and never really thought about the parallel between committing a sin against God and committing a sin against a brethren.

After reading your post the verse that jumped to my mind was the command Jesus gave in

Mark 12: 30 - 31. Love the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your mind and with all your strength.’ 31 The second is this: ‘Love your neighbor as yourself.’ There is no commandment greater than these.”

Jesus shows how strongly he advocates for loving others just as you love God. Think about the cross it has the vertical line (being our connection with God) and the horizontal line (being our connection with humans). :latin_cross:

To add to @dennis.gladden comments. If you take any of the lines away from the cross, then the crucifixion no longer makes sense. He died to atone for ALL sins of the world. Both to God and to each other.

I had to learn this the hard way. I was going through a real trying time when I just started my church . Experienced hurt and betrayal and I was so quick to point the finger and blame everyone else for what I was feeling . I numerously told God that I was going to quit and find another church. Then one day the Holy Spirit convicted me and I heard .

“You cannot love me and not love my church” :worried::cold_sweat:

I then started to search my heart to see where I may have sinned against my brethren and reached out to fix it . I could feel my prayer life and worship change in a bad way because I was sinning against my brothers with bitterness, resentment, and unforgiveness. I felt distant from God whenever I tried to reach him. I could not get any peace until I amended the sin and asked for forgiveness and reconciled .

I hope this helps in anyway.

Grace and Peace :dove:

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First thank you for your responses your answers have confirmed in me what I already knew but someone at church brought this question up during our study and I pushed back with the verses I used above but since this person is an elder in the church I started studying thinking maybe I was mistaken. Ironically we just finished studying 1st and 2nd Timothy. I was raised up under sound teaching so I should trust that.

So again thank you