Tuesday, September 30, 2008

Sin is Not Small

As I’ve been studying Genesis with Community Bible Study for the past few weeks, I thought I’d share a few thoughts I’ve been pondering.

One thing I’ve been really thinking about is that there is no such thing as a ‘small sin.’ Sin is sin. Disobeying God is a big thing, no matter how hard we might try to justify things in our own mind by thinking or saying that something is not so bad. Think about it, Adam and Eve bit a piece of fruit. But the fruit they bit was the one fruit God said not to eat. It was not a mistake, it was not an error in judgment, it was not a character flaw, it was not an addiction. None of those nice-sounding words we use to try to make sin sound like it is not what it is can cover over the fact that it is rebellion against God. And as a result of their rebellion, sin and death entered the world. We all reap the consequences. Every sin has consequences. Even the ones we try to excuse away as small things or not all that bad or not as bad as something else.

And though God in His mercy and grace provided a covering for them and promised a Redeemer, there are still heavy consequences here on earth. The wages of sin is death, but the gift of God is eternal life in Christ Jesus our Lord. The pardon He grants for even ‘small’ sins was very costly indeed.

What I’ve been thinking about is how often I am not serious enough about sin and not serious enough about recognizing it for what it is – rebellion. I’m prone to excuse away a bad attitude or an outburst of temper by blaming it on hormones or on what is going on around me, when the proper response is to agree with God that my attitude and my words have not been glorifying to Him and to confess and repent. That is much more productive than excusing ‘small sins’ away and not recognizing them for what they are.

Those small sins are every bit as much in need of forgiveness, mercy and grace as the ones we would call big sins. To forgive my so-called small failings and small sins cost Jesus His blood every bit as much as murder and stealing and adultery. I am as guilty of breaking His law with a rotten attitude or lack of love as if I had murdered someone. There are no small sins. Nothing less than the precious blood of Christ has made me whole and clean and reconciled to God.

And I have been thinking about how God promised that we would not be tempted beyond what we are able to endure, but that with the temptation would be a way of escape. How often I don’t even look for the escape, especially when it comes to my attitude and how I handle frustration. How often I let worry cloud my thinking, when He has said to be anxious for nothing but in everything by prayer and supplication, with thanksgiving, let my requests be made known to God. That’s something I want to remember. When thinking about how serious every sin is, instead of buying into the kind of thinking that has us flirting with the line and thinking about how like the world I can be with my words and actions, how close to the line I can live, because of a faulty understanding of what freedom means, I’d rather be thinking about how like Jesus I can be - holy, because true Christian freedom means the freedom not to sin.

Praise Him, Hallelujah! What a Savior. That He would look on Christ Jesus and count me as righteous. May I look at sin with proper eyes and not overlook things in my life that dishonor my Lord. By the power of the Holy Spirit in me may I learn to lay aside every weight that so easily entangles and learn to take Him at His word and obey what He has said out of gratitude and love for such a gracious Savior.