Monday, November 26, 2018

Degrees of Cosmic Treason

That servant who knows his master’s will and does not get ready or does not do what his master wants will be beaten with many blows. But the one who does not know and does things deserving punishment will be beaten with few blows” (Luke 12:47–48a).

All sin is cosmic treason against God, and thus James can write, “Whoever keeps the whole law and yet stumbles at just one point is guilty of breaking all of it” (James 2:10). James is not saying all sins are equally heinous, but rather that God’s Law is, like Himself, a unity. To break any particular law, small or great, is to break the unity of the whole Law. To oppose God in little ways is still to oppose God. To put it as succinctly as possible: All sin is sin.

However, not all sins are equally bad. Murdering someone is far worse than hating him, even though both of these sins fall under the same category. Committing adultery in the flesh is more heinous than committing adultery in the heart, even though both are condemned. Jesus makes this clear in Matthew 23:23, when He says, “You have neglected the more important matters of the law.” Also, when Jesus was asked to state the greatest commandment, He did not say that all laws are equal in weight. Jesus clearly taught that some of the laws were greater than others.

What are some factors that make some sins worse than others? First of all, sins are aggravated that are directly against God. Also, sins against our neighbors are usually worse than sins against ourselves, because such sins damage others. The Westminster Larger Catechism states that sins are aggravated if they are against our superiors in church, state, family, or work; and also if they are against the poor and the helpless.

Sins are aggravated if they are committed by people of influence, and thus lead others to sin. They also are aggravated if they are done with premeditation, committed after warnings from the church, or if they involve breaking vows. All these things, and many others, make some sins worse than others.

Have you ever fallen into the trap of thinking “Since I have given in to the thought, I may as well sin all the way”? While all sin is infinitely below God’s perfect standard, today’s study shows the danger of viewing all sin as equal in God’s sight. This week, critically judge the severity of your sin. Refuse to fall into deeper, more aggravated sin.