Thursday, August 17, 2017
“A lie is a big sin, but a fib is a little one!” “It is a sin to break the Sabbath by mowing your lawn on Sunday.” “Adultery is a mortal sin, but foreplay is a venial sin.” “Sin is in the eye of the beholder. What is sin for you may not be sin for another.”
Are there “big” sins and “little” ones? It is true that some sins have more consequences than others. Therefore, they are “big” only in that sense. Some “sins” are connected to a misunderstanding of the Bible and one’s culture more than being an offense against God. The “Sabbath” is on Saturday, not Sunday. God did not make Sunday “the Christian Sabbath.” It is more a cultural offense than a biblical one to work on Sunday. “Mortal” and “venial” are manmade designations, but if an action or thought is a sin, it is! Man excuses his sins with fancy sayings, but if it is sin, it is in spite of the sinner’s explanation. If it is sin in God’s sight, it remains sin no matter what argument is used to excuse it.
James informs us, “For whoever keeps the whole law and yet stumbles at just one point is guilty of breaking all of it.” (James 2:10 NIV). If God did classify some “stumbles” as “little” and others as “big,” one is still guilty of breaking all of God’s law, not just one! There is a sin which is and a sin which is not unto death (1 John 5:16). For example, would one ask God to forgive a wayward disciple who was happier being justified by animal sacrifices rather than Jesus’ blood (Hebrews 6:4-6; 10:25-29)? One could pray that he would repent and return to the Lord, not that he would be saved while rejecting Jesus.
Paul tells us, “for all have sinned” (Romans 3:23). Guess what? We don’t stop sinning because we become believers! We go from a lost sinner to being a saved one. Since the wages of sin is “death,” how can that “saved” part be true? The answer is, “the Good News”! Notice Paul’s statement, “For the wages of sin is death, but the gift of God is eternal life in Christ Jesus our Lord.” (Romans 6:23 NIV). Lost receives = wages of sin. Saved receive = gift of eternal life!
We don’t deserve salvation. But God’s love is greater than what we do not deserve (John 3:16; Romans 5:8-11, 18-21))! No one was justified by keeping law. Required? Yes, to teach Israel to be obedient and also the impossibility of being perfect. God sent His Word to become flesh and offer himself as our sin sacrifice (Hebrews 10:9-10). We are saved by God’s grace through our total trust (faith) in Jesus as our Savior (Ephesians 2:8-9). He took all our sins upon himself and bestowed upon us his righteousness (2 Corinthians 5:21). We are clothed in Jesus (Galatians 3:26-228). We die to sin (Romans 6:2). You bury what is dead (Romans 6:3). We are raised with Jesus that “we might walk in newness of life” (Romans 6:4 ASV). Law does not justify us, unless we can reach and maintaining perfect obedience. Those who think they do are liars (1 John 1:8, 10). One sin destroys their bubble! We are justified by faith in Jesus as Savior. To repeat, justification by law keeping is possible ONLY if we keep it like Jesus did (Galatians 2:16)! Reality confesses that we do not.
The wages of sin is death. But, we are alive “in” Christ Jesus! His blood cleanses us (1 John 1:7). Our gift is eternal life, not the wages of sin (Romans 6:23b). Why? Because we are dead to sin and its payment. Our gift from God is continual cleansing and eternal life! So, as a believer, “rejoice in the Lord” (Philippians 3:1). Why? You are a saved sinner! You have been bought and paid for (1 Corinthians 6:20; 7:23)!