Little sins mean a lot. Interestingly, it is our natural tendency to categorize them. In fact, the Catholic Church has what’s known as mortal sins and venial sins. Here’s what the Catechism of the Catholic Church states:
“Mortal Sin destroys charity in the heart of man by a grave violation of God’s law; it turns man away from God… by preferring an inferior good to him. Venial sin allows charity to subsist, though it offends and wounds it.”
But, why is this not true? Because a “venial” sin of eating the forbidden fruit is what turned Adam and Eve away from God. It’s what led to death for all mankind, and eternal damnation in Hell for those who did not believe in Him by faith. That doesn’t sound minor to me.
Now, don’t get me wrong, the effects of eating of the fruit were not the same as the effects of rape, murder, abuse, etc. But, in God’s Kingdom all sins are worthy of eternal death. Each may get a different level of punishment in Hell, but all result in eternal death.
John Piper states:
Ask yourself, do you deserve the wrath of God forever? If your mind right now is saying, “I don’t think so. I think that hell would be an overreaction to what I’ve done and the kind of person that I am.” If that’s the way your mind is working right now, let me just have you consider four things.
- It was one sin alone that brought the entire world under the curse of God as we know it today with tsunamis and floods and pestilence and cancer and arthritis and blindness and deafness and death. One sin! Ponder that.
- James 2:10 says, “Whoever keeps the whole law but fails in one point has become accountable for all of it.” And you have not committed one sin — you have committed tens of thousands of sins. Each one is the breaking of the whole law.
- Galatians 3:10: “All who rely upon works of the law are under a curse, for it is written: ‘Cursed be everyone who does not abide in all things written in the book of the law to do them.’” God’s wrath and curse falls upon one failure, not many, merely.
- Consider that any offense, any dishonor against an infinitely worthy, an infinitely valuable, an infinitely dignified, an infinitely beautiful being is an infinite sin and deserves an infinite punishment.
Let me say that again, because if you were to press me and say, “How can an eternity of suffering be an appropriate response to a finite amount of time of sinning?” If you just take time as the measure, you’d say, “That’s out of proportion. I sinned for 80 years, and I’m getting endless ages of punishment? How can that be an appropriate response?”
I’d say, if all you had to measure by was time, it wouldn’t be. That’s not what measures the grievousness of sin. The grievousness and heinousness of sin rises to its infinite proportions, not by the extent of time covered in an act of sin but by the one whom we dishonor. If you dishonor a toad, you’re not very guilty. If you dishonor a man, you’re very guilty. If you dishonor God, you are infinitely guilty because he is infinitely worthy of every millisecond of worship in your life. We don’t give it, therefore we multiply the storehouse of wrath.
Therefore, I conclude: the wrath of God will be eternal, and the wrath of God will be terrible, and the wrath of God will be deserved, right, just.
We love to compare ourselves with others (I’m not as fat as she is. I’m not as dumb as that Redneck. I’m not a slimy scumbag like that person begging over there. I’m not as bad as those people I see on the news every night). Remember the Pharisee in Luke 18 who compared himself with wicked people, and then specifically with the tax collector at the Temple. The tax collector was on his knees, beating his chest, begging God for forgiveness. The comparing, “moral”, unrepentant Pharisee left self-justified but still guilty of his sins. The tax collector left justified and accepted by God.
But, if we come to God in true repentance of even our minor sins, then He sets us free!
- I. Corinthians 15:20-22 But now Christ has been raised from the dead, the first fruits of those who are asleep. For since by a man came death, by a man also came the resurrection of the dead. For as in Adam all die, so also in Christ all will be made alive.
- I. Corinthians 15:54-57 But when this perishable will have put on the imperishable, and this mortal will have put on immortality, then will come about the saying that is written, “DEATH IS SWALLOWED UP in victory. “O DEATH, WHERE IS YOUR VICTORY? O DEATH, WHERE IS YOUR STING?” The sting of death is sin, and the power of sin is the law; but thanks be to God, who gives us the victory through our Lord Jesus Christ.
- Do you feel victorious today?
- If not, then you need to spend more time in the Word. The Word is very convicting. It is also very depressing if you only focus on the negatives. But, God doesn’t leave you with the depressing end results of sin without a way out through Jesus Christ! The more you read, the more you see that He is victorious and has made us to partake in His victory! That should excite you each and every day! It’s as the late Paul Harvey used to say, “the rest of the story”.
- Do you find that you compare yourself with others?
- The Bible tells us to compare ourselves with God and His standards, notwith sinful, fallen, imperfect humanity.
- There are ugly people going to Heaven and gorgeous, “perfect” people going to Hell.
- There are dumb people (or those with lesser IQs) going to Heaven, and geniuses going to Hell.
- There are gross, smelly, dirty, hygiene-challenged people going to Heaven and prim and proper people going to Hell.
- Psalm 143:2 tells us that “For in Your sight no man living is righteous”, but because of Jesus, II. Corinthians 5:21 says “He made Him who knew no sin to be sin on our behalf, so that we might become the righteousness of God in Him.”
- Take time now to confess the sin of comparison that so ensnares you as it will either lead you to:
- Judge yourself better than others, or…
- Judge yourself as not as good as others, but it never…
- Realizes that Jesus is your righteousness, and you are victorious and accepted (only) because of Him.
- All sin is sin. Do you find that you’ve fallen for the lie that says that certain sins you do aren’t that big of a deal? ____________________
- Do you truly believe in eternal damnation as taught in the Bible? _______________________________________________________
- Why or why not? _________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________
- Consider now that Jesus taught on Hell almost as much as He taught on Heaven.
- Christian: We have a Heaven to gain and a Hell to shun through eternal life in Jesus Christ!
- One of Satan’s many messages is that you are not worthy of God’s mercy; of eternal life with Him. Well, you aren’t. But, what Satan doesn’ttell you is that you receive God’s mercy because of His grace (i.e. getting what you don’t deserve) because God chose you and loves you. He loves you despite who you are (in the flesh) deep down inside. That’s real love!
- Christ died to set enslaved sinners free. You and I are told to merely spread the Good News of His death, burial, and resurrection, and He will get the increase. Be bold telling others about Him this week knowing that the results of your evangelism are not in your hands, but in His!