(A series on lies sin tells us to tempt us and trick us. Read the whole series here.)
We like to restrict God’s definition of sin to make it more manageable.
God doesn’t define sin manageable as just “doing bad stuff,” or “making mistakes.” God says sin is a condition we’re born into. Scripture uses words like infection and impurity to describe how sin permeates not only us, but the world we live in (Isaiah 64:6, Romans 8:22.)
We minimize sin when we act like it’s a condition we can keep under control.
The lie goes like this:
This particular sin isn’t that bad, it doesn’t count.
But in truth, all sin is an offense to God, which damages, if nothing else, our walk with Him.
Often the sins we don’t really “count” are those with subtle or unseen consequences. We figure sin is only really bad if someone gets hurt.
On the flipside of that logic, we believe avoiding the temptation to sin should be profitable for us.
We end up repeating the words Elihu warns against in Job 35:3:
“You ask him, ‘What profit is it to me,
and what do I gain by not sinning?’”
When we think like this about sin and what counts as sin, we put a price on righteousness. We value honoring God based on the scales of self.
Case Study: Little White Lies God says we never have to sin and never ought to. Yet we are all tempted to tell white lies. They smooth things over, make people feel good, and prevent discomfort. Essentially, telling a little white lie tends to gain us a whole lot more than being honest appears to. So we value the self-benefit over the God-honoring truth. Along the way, we often figure white lies hardly count. After all, we’ve appraised them as such. Honoring God isn’t about our gain, but His. His appraisal of sin is more important than our valuation of the benefits of doing right or wrong.
Imagine if Jesus acted as we do! It’s sobering to imagine Jesus diminishing “little sins” and “not counting them” because their consequences aren’t “that bad.”
1 John 1:9 shows us Jesus did not have an attitude of belittling sin.
Rather, Jesus addressed sin head on and with complete assurance:
“If we confess our sins, he is faithful and just to forgive us our sins and to cleanse us from all unrighteousness…”
Would we want Jesus to “miss a spot” when He cleanses us? Would we want to settle for “only” the important parts being redeemed?
Jesus takes stock of our every sin, even the ones we wish didn’t count. He appraises them with just a glance: sin = needs cleansing. Then He turns them all white as snow.
Jesus isn’t satisfied to get us mostly clean. He isn’t one to “miss a spot.”
We have no reason to think He ought to. His cleansing is more than enough, and His grace is sufficient.
Even the “little” sins that hardly seem to count are important enough to Christ for Him to save us from them. He transforms the worst and the “not so bad” into the best for God’s glory.
Let your sin, glaring and subtle, be seen by the One eager to forgive and redeem.
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