Big Sins and Little Sins? Equal Opportunity?
I remember being a child and hearing the term “Little white lie.” I had no idea what the term meant. I had always been taught that God sees all sin the same. Sin is sin, right? Or are some sins worse than others?
Matthew 5:21-28 talks about the issue of big sins and little sins. Jesus says, “‘You have heard that it was said to the people long ago, “You shall not murder, and anyone who murders will be subject to judgment.” But I tell you that anyone who is angry with a brother or sister will be subject to judgment. Again, anyone who says to a brother or sister, “Raca,” is answerable to the court. And anyone who says, “You fool!” will be in danger of the fire of hell. Therefore, if you are offering your gift at the altar and there remember that your brother or sister has something against you, leave your gift there in front of the altar. First go and be reconciled to them; then come and offer your gift. Settle matters quickly with your adversary who is taking you to court. Do it while you are still together on the way, or your adversary may hand you over to the judge, and the judge may hand you over to the officer, and you may be thrown into prison. Truly I tell you, you will not get out until you have paid the last penny.’”
In this verse, Jesus is equating having lust in your heart with adultery. Then He goes on to compare having hatred with committing murder. Does this mean that all sins are equal? Is lusting just as bad as actually committing adultery? No. Jesus is saying that lust is still sin, even if the act of adultery is not carried out. In the same way, Jesus is not saying that hate and murder are equal. Even though they are both sin, there are degrees to sin. God is interested in your heart. Matthew 12:34 says, “The mouth speaks what the heart is full of.”
Big Sins and Little Sins? Eternal Consequences?
In regard to eternal consequences, big sins and little sins are the same. In the eyes of a Holy God, even the smallest sin is worthy of an infinite and eternal punishment. Romans 6:23 says, “For the wages of sin is death, but the gift of God is eternal life in Christ Jesus our Lord.” This is talking about physical and spiritual death. Isaiah 59:2 says, “But your iniquities have separated you from your God; your sins have hidden his face from you, so that he will not hear.”
Even the little sins are too big for God to simply look away. Habakkuk speaks of a Holy God, “Your eyes are too pure to look on evil; you cannot tolerate wrongdoing. Why then do you tolerate the treacherous? Why are you silent while the wicked swallow up those more righteous than themselves?” (Habakkuk 1:13).
Can God Forgive my Big Sins?
The consequence of all sin—both big and little sins—is death. Romans 6:23 says, “For the wages of sin is death, but the gift of God is eternal life in Christ Jesus our Lord. No matter how small the sin is, it is missing the mark of holiness set by God.
Thankfully, Jesus died to pay the penalty for all sins—big sins and little sins. 1 John 2:2 says, “He is the atoning sacrifice for our sins, and not only for ours but also for the sins of the whole world.” 2 Corinthians 5:21 says, “God made him who had no sin to be sin for us, so that in him we might become the righteousness of God.”
For God’s children, there is not a sin so big that God cannot forgive it. All sin was forgiven at the cross. God asks the sinner to repent and turn to Him, “If we claim to be without sin, we deceive ourselves and the truth is not in us. If we confess our sins, he is faithful and just and will forgive us our sins and purify us from all unrighteousness.”
What is your response?
Yes, today I am deciding to follow Jesus
Yes, I am already a follower of Jesus
I still have questions