Thursday, May 25, 2017

Is there a ‘worst’ sin?



God does not think the same way I think. In my mind, the people responsible for bombs and destruction of young lives will suffer the very worst condemnation because that is such a horrible sin. But that is not what His Word says.

The big picture is that everyone sins because we are all sinners. Sin is going our own way, which can lead us to simple ignore God or far worse. Either way, sin is sin and not measured like we measure it.

However, John 3:16 is wonderful. It says God loves us so much that He sent His Son into the world so our sin could be forgiven and we could receive eternal life. Yet even this well-known verse has a caveat: God’s holy nature cannot tolerate sin and merely save sinners. Something must change — our attitude toward Him and toward sin. This pivotal point is about who we trust, not about sinning less and less.

“For God did not send his Son into the world to condemn the world, but in order that the world might be saved through him. Whoever believes in him is not condemned, but whoever does not believe is condemned already, because he has not believed in the name of the only Son of God.” (John 3:17–18)

“The Father loves the Son and has given all things into his hand. Whoever believes in the Son has eternal life; whoever does not obey the Son shall not see life, but the wrath of God remains on him.” (John 3:35–36)

Today’s devotional from Donald Fortner is strong. He says that the greatest sin in all the world is the sin of unbelief. I agree. The Bible is clear that God can and will forgive any sin, even the worst we can do or imagine, but not that one. Since our salvation is based on believing in the Son, there is no salvation for those who refuse to do so.

Fortner says that unbelief makes God a liar. Unbelief says the gospel is a lie. Those who do not believe it have determined that the Son of God is not worthy of their trust. Unbelief exposes a prideful distain of God. It says, “I will do as I please. I will be religious (or not) as I please. I do not need Jesus.”

Here is where faith in Christ slams against my natural inclination. I assume horrid sins ought to fall under the wrath of God more than other sin, and normal people caught in the blast of horrid sin do not seem to fit in the same category. Human judgment assumes that those who do the unthinkable evils in this world are worse sinners than those who simply go about their lives without God.

However, this is not what Jesus said. Again, “Whoever believes in him is not condemned, but whoever does not believe is condemned already, because he has not believed in the name of the only Son of God . . . Whoever believes in the Son has eternal life; whoever does not obey the Son shall not see life, but the wrath of God remains on him.”

My eternal destiny is not about my sins of word and deed because they can be (and are) forgiven. It is decided on the basis of faith, on the basis of what I do with Jesus Christ.

The stock response is: “But what about those who have never heard of Jesus?” My response is: God knows the human heart. If a sinner acknowledges their sin and their need of salvation, God is perfectly able to reveal to that person whatever they need to know and believe. Evangelism is important, but it is also useless without the work of the Holy Spirit. In other words, God is not limited; He can save whoever calls out to Him.

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Jesus, my desire for justice so easily overrides Your desire for faith. I know that folks who go deep into sin are abhorrent to You, but also realize that those who merrily go their way without giving You a thought are in grave danger as well. No matter if I rate sins on a scale — unbelief is the universal sin. Give me a broken heart for the lost, whoever they are, but also the ability to hope. Help me to speak up when I must, but to trust You — I cannot open hard hearts. Also, keep me aware that without You, we are all under the same condemnation, but with Your grace, whosoever will may come and receive the gift of everlasting life.


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