Displaying items by tag: consequences

Saturday, 21 February 2015 14:36

Seriousness of Sin

Sin is not a popular topic in modern Western culture these days. Sadly, most people do not have a proper understanding of the seriousness of sin. In fact, in many churches today it is rare to hear about the subject of sin, its consequences, and ramifications. It comes as no surprise then from inspecting the state of those claiming to be Christians in America these days (divorce rate, social conformity, dishonesty, etc.) that it appears that most believers do not have a correct understanding of sin and its impact on their lives.

With moral relativism gaining popularity in our culture, most people believe the consequences of sin matter only if:

  1. it is illegal according to the codified law of the land and,
  2. You get caught.

To see this in action, just drive down the interstate and take note of how many people are actually driving within the legal speed limit. Most likely, the majority of drivers are speeding unless there is a police car in sight. Another popular thought runs this course: “as long as no one gets hurt, it isn’t really sin, is it?” or “If I don’t harm anyone, what does it matter?” So goes the view of sin from the morally relativistic perspective.

What about sin as God sees it?  Does a loving God really care about all sins?  Without a doubt, He cares about the big ones like genocide, murder, and rape.  What about “little” sins like “white lies” or not taking responsibility for causing a door ding in another person’s car in the parking lot (and not owning up)?  Surely, those “little” sins don’t really register on God’s radar - or do they?

Consider these scenarios:

  • If you were to sin against a dog, for example, by squirting it with a water gun – it’s not such a big deal; probably no negative legal repercussions from that act.
  • If you were to assault a person in the same way, you might get into some trouble.
  • What if you were to assault a police officer?  That act would definitely cause you some unpleasant consequences.
  • However, if you were to assault the President of the United States (POTUS) – even with just a squirt gun - you would most certainly end up in legal trouble and most likely would have to pay a heavy price. 

Even though the sin in all these cases is the same act of assault with a water gun, the penalties incurred are different.  How can that be?  The principle here is this: the greater the authority of the person/entity you have sinned against, the greater the consequence/price you will have to pay - even if it’s just a “little” sin or if no real physical harm was done.

I think that most would agree that God is the highest authority in the universe.  In light of the principle discussed earlier, consider a sin against God.  What would the penalty be for a sin committed against the Most High? 

Of interest to us in this topic is that the Bible indicates that all sinis against God.  King David wrote concerning his sin with Bathsheba:

Psalm 51:2-4 ESV - [2] Wash me thoroughly from my iniquity, and cleanse me from my sin! [3] For I know my transgressions, and my sin is ever before me. [4] Against you, you only, have I sinned and done what is evil in your sight, so that you may be justified in your words and blameless in your judgment. (Emphasis added)

Those familiar with the story know that David had an affair with Uriah’s wife Bathsheba that resulted in a pregnancy.  To cover this misdeed, David plotted and had his servant Uriah murdered so he could then marry Bathsheba, in hope of hiding his sin.  While this act was heinous by any standard, how was this sin against God? 

Imagine that you got a speeding ticket and now have to pay the associated fine.  The fine for the ticket isn’t for the police officer that issued it to you.  The offense wasn’t committed against the officer, you didn’t break his law.  No, the officer is just an agent representing the authority that made the law.  The fine goes to the entity that owns the law that was broken; in this example, some level of government.  In the same way, since God defined moral absolutes, anytime we break one of His commandments we therefore commit a sin against Him.

God is the ultimate authority, the ultimate Holy being.  Referring back to the earlier example, if the price of a “little” sin against the POTUS is high (who is but a mere man), how much higher is it when you sin against the all-powerful, infinite, creator God?  Just as you would not be let off the hook for assaulting the POTUS, so it is with sinning against God…even more so, because God is perfectly just.

How much is the price for sinning against an eternal God?  The price is infinitely, or eternally, high. 

Jesus stated:  

Matthew 25:41 ESV - [41] "Then he will say to those on his left, 'Depart from me, you cursed, into the eternal fire prepared for the devil and his angels. (Emphasis added)

This is why sin is such a serious, BIG deal.  Our limited, finite, fallible minds cannot understand the seriousness of sin as seen through the eyes of God.  As such, there is no possible way for any of us as imperfect, finite beings, to pay the penalty satisfactorily.  Trying to “make good” on our sin by doing good deeds is like someone killing your child and then offering to compensate you for your loss by giving you $5 and then walking away nonchalantly.  God requires an infinite price for any sin against Him.  Only an infinite being could pay the price of sin against an infinite being. 

Thankfully, for this reason God sent His only Son, Jesus of Nazareth, to pay the price – the ultimate price – for all of humanity’s sin.  Only a truly loving God would make a sacrifice like that and offer it for free to anyone willing to receive it.

While many people admire and respect the person of Jesus Christ, many do not accept His teaching.  Jesus declared:

John 14:6 ESV - [6] Jesus said to him, "I am the way, and the truth, and the life. No one comes to the Father except through me. (Emphasis added)

So while forgiveness is free, it is conditional.  One cannot just say some words of contrition and then continue living in habitual sin.  To receive this forgiveness - to be able to have the infinite price of sin paid in full - we are required to confess and repent (turn away) from our sin and receive the gift of salvation by accepting His Son as our Lord; thereby genuinely submitting our lives and our obedience to His commandments and will.