How Big is a Little Sin?

How Big
is a Little Sin?

In our day, sin is taken very lightly.  It is minimized, ignored, or even the object of jokes.  Society around us hardly gives any thought to sinning—whether we speak of the “large” sins or the “small” sins.  Especially are “smaller” sins taken for granted and people seem to freely indulge in them every day and multiple times during the day.  Although their sins have “piled up as high as heaven” (cf. Revelation 18:5), it seems that most people are largely unconcerned about their importance or consequences. Even professing Christians give little thought to committing the so-called “smaller” sins, assuming that this is part of life and, besides this, God will forgive all of our sins.  One theological persuasion even asserts that all sin—past, present, and future—has already been forgiven by the blood of Christ, therefore we should not take sin very seriously.

We’ve been using “little sin” here, but in God’s sight, no sin is small!  All sin is dreadfully serious!  We know that Catholicism differentiates between sins, calling the more serious ones “mortal sins” and the less serious ones “venial sins.”  Scripture simply says that “all have sinned and fall short of the glory of God” (Romans 3:23), and “the wages of sin is death” (Romans 6:23).  All sin is serious to our Holy God!

The Word of God gives us a true view of sin along with its present ruin and eventual disastrous results.  Paul says, “You were dead in your trespasses and sins” (Ephesians 2:1).  He wrote, “Death spread to all men, because all sinned” (Romans 5:12).  Isaiah says this: “Your iniquities have made a separation between you and your God, and your sins have hidden His face from you so that He does not hear” (59:2).  Paul again writes, “The wrath of God is revealed from heaven against all ungodliness and unrighteousness of men” (Romans 1:18).  Notice that “all” ungodliness and unrighteousness (all sin) causes God’s righteous wrath (anger) to fall on those who are guilty.  Sin, therefore, is universal, it is deadly, it is ruinous, and it separates from a holy God!

Scripture is clear that all sin will prevent one from inheriting the kingdom of God (1 Corinthians 6:9-10; Galatians 5:19-21; Ephesians 5:3-6).  It will result in the dreadful second death and the eternal lake of fire (Revelation 21:8).  It causes a spiritual alienation between a holy God and sinful man (Colossians 1:21; Ephesians 2:12).  In short, sin will prevent one from entering God’s eternal Kingdom and will send one to a Godless, final, and eternal punishment in hell, forever separated from a loving, merciful, wonderful God!

Can we see now how serious sin is to you and me?  Why is it that people seem to think that they have the liberty to dabble in a “little sin” each day, apart from any spiritual and eternal consequence?  Think of the way many of us compromise with this matter of sin:

  • We think that a little lying is permissible and expected—but God doesn’t consider any lie to be a “white lie.”  In reality, “all liars” will have their part in the lake of fire (Revelation 21:8).


  • We assume that a little profanity is fine, as long as we don’t overdo it—but God says to “put aside” all slander and “abusive speech from your mouth” (Colossians 3:8).


  • We imagine that a little anger is perfectly normal—but Scripture says, “Let all bitterness and wrath and anger and clamor and slander be put away from you” (Ephesians 4:31).  “The anger of man does not achieve the righteousness of God” (James 1:20).


  • We suppose that a little lust and covetous eyes will do no harm—but Jesus said that if our right eye makes us sin, “tear it out and throw it from you; for it is better for you to lose one of the parts of your body, than for your whole body to be thrown into hell” (Matthew 5:27-30).


  • We believe that a little immodesty is perfectly normal in our present liberated age—but God says that women are “to adorn themselves with proper clothing, modestly and discreetly” (1 Timothy 2:9).


  • We presume that a little immorality with one of the opposite sex is natural—but God condemns all forms of sexual foreplay, such as kissing, hugging, and much worse; and He tells us the eternal results of all forms of sexual lust (Romans 1:24; Galatians 5:19-21).


  • We take for granted that it is natural to break the civil laws, such as speed limits, with impunity—but God says that “whoever resists authority [of government] has opposed the ordinance of God; and those who have opposed will receive condemnation upon themselves” (Romans 13:1-2).


  • We consider that there is no serious offense in abusing our body with tobacco, eating junk foods, or taking drugs—but Paul says that we are to “discipline” our body and make it our “slave” for we are to present our bodies “a living and holy sacrifice, acceptable to God” (1 Corinthians 9:27; Romans 12:1).


  • We deceive ourselves into thinking that it is fine to spend needless money on personal trifles to gratify our lusts—but God says that the greedy are idolaters who will not inherit the kingdom of God (Ephesians 5:5).


  • We assume that it is entirely natural to waste time, money, and possessions for we think they belong to us—but God says that these things reveal a heart away from Him and His spiritual purposes (Colossians 3:1-5; Matthew 6:19-24).


  • We imagine that a little self-indulgence, a little carelessness, a little compromise is very normal and natural, thus we shouldn’t give another thought to it.  But God says that we should strive for moral and spiritual perfection (Matthew 5:48; James 3:2), and absolute holiness (Hebrews 12:14).

Can we now see the utter foolishness of tampering with sin in any form and to any degree?  God doesn’t just look at a little dishonesty and condone it; he condemns all lying!  The Lord doesn’t just look at a little lust and say it is fine; he denounces all of it!  God doesn’t merely say that a little profanity, vulgarity, or cursing is acceptable in this modern age; he absolutely forbids any trace of it!  We are like the young child who plays with his garden “friend” and brings this friend—a five foot rattle snake—into his house!  All sin is deadly!

Let’s begin to look at all forms of sin and all degree of sin with the same seriousness that God does.  Sin was so serious that God was willing to give His dearly loved Son, Jesus Christ, to be the sacrifice for our sin.  Through the death of the Lord Jesus on the cross, all of our sin can be wiped out and we need not face the spiritual and eternal results of personal rebellion (Romans 5:6-11; 1 Peter 2:24; 3:18; 1 John 1:7; 2:1-2).  If one then continues to “sin willfully” (with any sin) “there no longer remains a sacrifice for sins,” but a terrifying expectation of God’s judgment (Hebrews 10:26-31).  That is how weighty sin is—whether we refer to the “big” sins or the “little” sins. To our holy, righteous, and just God, all sin is serious!

Now is the time for you to determine to put away all sin, of all kinds, and of all varieties.  Be willing to grieve over your sins and repent of all of the “little” sins you commit so easily.  “Let us . . . lay aside every encumbrance and the sin which so easily entangles us” (Hebrews 12:1).  Let us not be “hardened by the deceitfulness of sin” (3:13).  “Cleanse your hands, you sinners; and purify your hearts, you double-minded” (James 4:8).  “Cease to do evil, learn to do good” (Isaiah 1:16-17).  Repent of all your sin and forsake every single compromise in your life (Proverbs 28:13).  God is willing to take all of those sins of your life—even those sins that you thought were small but have now discovered are large—and forgive them by His infinite mercy.  Won’t you begin to look at your life and your sin with the same seriousness that God does!

Richard Hollerman



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