Wednesday, November 5, 2008

Degrees of sins

I cringe everytime I hear the phrase, "to God, all sins are equal." To that, I have to say, "yes and no."

I accept that sin is what nailed our precious Lord to the cross, yet, you cannot convince me that an illicit thought is on par with incest, nor a lie the same as sodomy.

Jesus, as He raised the bar under grace told us that even a lustful thought is the commission of adultery and a harboring of hatred is the same as murder. Yet, we find that society, church governance, natural consequence and even the frown of heaven differ from one sin to another.

A convicted rapist, terrorist, embezzler, murderer or child abuser has reservations for a stay in the graybar motel. Depending on the sleaze of his/her laywer and the fatness of their bank account, they will do the time for the crime.

However, providing a wolf-whistle or a cat-call to a passing female will usually get you only a dirty look. Celebrating Miller Time will set nobody in Ol Sparky. The sin of missing church may get you the cold shoulder from your clergy, but little more.

Let's look at the Bible's clear teaching on the degrees of sin:
Psa 19:12 Who can understand his errors? cleanse thou me from secret faults.
Psa 19:13 Keep back thy servant also from presumptuous sins; let them not have dominion over me: then shall I be upright, and I shall be innocent from the great transgression.

The progression from bad (all sin is bad!) to worse is clear!

1. Errors (shegîy'âh) moral mistakes (common sins of passion that crop up in the course of living - anger, jealousy, gluttony, etc.)
2. Secret Faults - hidden failings (the human weaknesses which vary from one to another. Those sins which do so easily beset us)
3. Presumptous sins - Arrogant sins ("I'll do this and I know I can get away with it")
4. The Great Transgression (the egregious sin which causes irreparable damage)

It is obvious that the motives and penalties for these 4 different types of sin are progressive. One seems to lead to another if not dealt with. Additionally there are crimes of passion and then there are premeditated offenses, for which human government and the Lord have varying punishment.

In conclusion, God is grieved by any and all sin. Christ Died to provide pardon for sins, big and little. All sin is hurtful - some are more destructive than others. When we trangress God's law, in any sense, we are guilty of breaking His standard - the perfection of His Son, Jesus. It is because of origional sin (our sin nature) that we all stand guilty before a thrice holy God. Therefore God offers forgiveness for any and all sin through the sacrifice of the innocent Son of God on the cross.

Let us be filled with the Holy Spirit so we will not bow to the will of the flesh. By God's strength, may we all forsake and avoid all sin.
"Father, forgive us our sins and we forgive others their sins against us, and lead us not into temptation and deliver us from evil, Amen!"

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