Taking Sin Seriously

“Let me never forget that the heinousness of sin
lies not so much in the nature of the sin committed,
as in the greatness of the Person sinned against.”
The Valley of Vision

Is this how we view our sin? Don’t we usually rank sins by their effect on others, either toward individuals or on society as a whole? For instance, we consider murder or rape to be a “worse” sin than complaining or thinking impure thoughts or being ungrateful in our minds.

But God’s Word says differently. To Him, the great Judge over all creation, all sins are equally heinous. All sins equally reject His authority in our lives and place our own desires above His. Consider these words penned by William Wilberforce in his book Real Christianity:

“Most educated, professing Christians either overlook or deny the corruption and weakness of human nature…

There appears in the minds of most nominal Christians a profoundly inadequate idea of the guilt and evil of sin. It is as if religion were supposed to be no more than an affair for the police. Offenses are seen only as injuries to society, but not as offensive to God…

But the Word of God estimates actions by a far less accommodating standard. There we read of no little sins…

Scripture considers sin rebellion against the sovereignty of God. Every different act of sin equally violates His law.”

And think about the words of the apostle Paul, in his first letter to the Corinthians: “Do you not know that a little leaven leavens the whole lump?” (1 Corinthians 5:7). Just as a tiny bit of leaven – or yeast – makes an entire loaf  of bread leavened, so a single sin makes the whole person a sinner.

True, different sins have different consequences. No one else may ever know the sins you commit only in your mind, while those who commit sins against society (murder, theft, adultery) will face the judgment of society (prison, community service, loss of a job).

But in God’s eyes, both persons are equally sinners. In His eyes, both have rejected His way for their own ways. Whether through inward or outward actions, both have proclaimed that their own desires must be fulfilled above all else.

I challenge you (and I am working on this too) to sit down with a pen and paper, and write down some ways you have been overlooking sin in your own life. It may be through a complaining spirit. It may be through exaggerating or telling so-called “white lies” to make yourself look good to others. It may be through sharing more details than are necessary with a friend, hence falling into the sin of gossip. It may be through failing to pray about a situation in your own life, or failing to intercede for a friend.

Remember, Scripture tells us that “none is righteous, no, not one” (Romans 3:10). You may not realize all of the sins you are guilty of committing, but if you are serious about seeing all sin as equal before God, He will show you the areas of your life where He is not being glorified.

And we can start by praying these words from Psalm 139:23-24 –

“Search me, O God, and know my heart!
Try me and know my thoughts!
And see if there be any grievous way in me,
and lead me in the way everlasting!”

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