We have been talking about believing in God, and although it is not explicitly stated in John 3:16 (our primary text), we do need to be able to define and explain sin.
The challenge, of course, in this culture is to find a way to do so, firmly and biblically, and yet without our listeners blocking out the discussion because of their religious stereotypes. Now, we have the assurance that it is not our responsibility to convict the world of sin, and that “No one can come to me [Jesus] unless the Father who sent me draws them” (Jn 6:44, NIV). But we still have a responsibility to be as clear and convincing as possible.
So how do you explain sin without using religious language? How’s this?
God had given Adam and Eve one rule, just one rule. By keeping this rule, they were able to show God in a concrete way that they loved him and lived in submission to him; he is God and they are not. The Garden had many different trees with many different types of delicious fruit, all to be eaten and enjoyed. God had created them all, and had created them good. But there was one tree — and we don’t know what type it was; I’m sure it wasn’t an apple tree but that’s just me — and they were told not to eat the fruit on that tree. It was called “the Tree of Knowledge of Good and Evil.