There are basically two ways of
looking at sins. In the first,
we classify them. We find murder, treason and rape in such a list. These particular sins were punishable by death in the Old Testament. We also
have sins like lying and stealing. These are considered smaller sins with a smaller penalty. We therefore, have 'big' sins and 'little' sins.
The other way of looking at sins is that all sin is sin. To sin is to have an evil bent of heart. We, therefore, have seeking 'good' or seeking 'evil'.
Bringing this home, as Christians, how are we to view sins in our conduct?
How Does God See It?
I remember hearing a Christian excuse a 'little' sin as of no real importance saying, "Well, it's only a little sin." This reasoning follows through
with the thought, "We're in a battle to stay on the straight and narrow. We can focus on the big things and not get overwhelmed, or picky about
little things." Is this a biblical perspective?
This world looks at sin in degrees. That's the basis of the law. Eventually, at the Judgment, it'll boil down to God's view. Have we sought
righteousness, or do we consider what we can get away with, if it's easier?
A good place to start looking at sin, from a Christian perspective, is in hell. If a loving God finds hell a necessity to purge wickedness from His
world, how can we treat any sin lightly?
We need to look at things from God's point of view, instead of reasoning from human experience. How does God see it? The existence of hell
shows very clearly how He sees it. Remember Isaiah:
But we are all as an unclean thing, and all our righteousnesses are as filthy rags; and we all do fade as a leaf; and
our iniquities, like the wind, have taken us away. Isaiah 64:6
"All our righteousnesses are as filthy rags". Our good deeds (those righteousnesses) are considered garbage, how much more our 'little'
Ask yourself, "Is any sin small for which Jesus was crucified?" We may lower our eyes a little and acknowledge, "Yeah, I know I shouldn't do
it," but do we really care? If a repentant heart isn't there, woe to us. Jesus said about being on fire for God:
I know thy works, that thou art
neither cold nor hot: I would thou wert cold or hot. So then because thou art lukewarm, and neither cold nor hot, I will spue thee out of my mouth.
Cold is being totally gone, lukewarm is despicable. If you're going to deny Him, openly do so and get out of here! Quit pretending a state of love
that isn't really there. Hot, now that speaks of fiery love for God. Zealous for Him. Can a fiery love for God tolerate 'little' sins in one's life? Can a
little deceitfulness, a little uncleanness walk compatibly with the only condition Jesus indicated was acceptable?
Because it is written, Be ye holy; for I am holy. I Peter 1:16
If your love has grown cold, so you don't really care, there's a solution. God will grant a repentant heart if you ask Him in truth.
The Undermining Effect
Take us the foxes, the little foxes, that spoil the vines: for our vines have tender grapes.
Song of Solomon 2:15
What's that mean? Something small, like 'little' sins, can destroy the large fruitful plant. Jesus said as much when He said:
He that is faithful in that which is least is faithful also in much: and he that is unjust in the least is unjust also in
much. Luke 16:10
A little dishonesty is not really all that different from a lot. Is the heart corrupt or is it not?
This is what it boils down to: A pure heart won't tolerate evil, 'little' or otherwise. A corrupt heart does good of necessity, but where it sees no
looming threat of getting caught, or punished, it'll do as it pleases. If we tolerate a little sin, then we really don't believe a little fox can destroy a
nice strong bough. We either don't believe or we don't care. If we don't care, then indeed, we're not hot, we're either cold or lukewarm.
The Power Of A Little
Your glorying is not good. Know ye not that a little leaven leaveneth the whole lump? I Corinthians 5:6
A little leaven leaveneth the whole lump. The danger of 'little' sins is illustrated with leaven in bread. Just as a little leaven leavens a loaf of
bread, so a little sin corrupts the whole thing. That 'little' cannot remain separate in us and the rest of us remain pure, undefiled and holy.
Jesus said to cut off the offending member, lest our whole body be thrown into hell:
Wherefore if thy hand or thy foot offend thee, cut them off, and cast them from thee: it is better for thee to enter
into life halt or maimed, rather than having two hands or two feet to be cast into everlasting fire. Matthew 18:8
Jesus identified the 'little' sin as a part of us that would lead to total condemnation. The only way to remove the blanket condemnation is to
remove the 'little' sin.
Does this mean we must be perfect to be right with God? Yes and No. Yes, in that our heart must be perfect following God in obedience of what
we know. No, in that God tolerates the sin we commit in ignorance. God works to clear up those ignorances though:
I press toward the mark for the prize of the high calling of God in Christ Jesus. Let us therefore, as many as be
perfect, be thus minded: and if in any thing ye be otherwise minded, God shall reveal even this unto you. Philippians
He Will Help!
It boils down to, "What rebellion abides in our hearts?" God understands the weakness of our flesh. Fortunately, Gods merciful and considers our
weakness. He will help us, and He's given all He can to enable us to overcome:
Nay, in all these things we are more than conquerors through him that loved us. Romans 8:37
God nurtures us along like the fruitful vine. Do we receive His corrections? Do we conquer our own rebellious nature through Him? Do we strive
to be conformed to His image? If we love God, we know what the answers will be. We know we shall overcome!