The past several weeks, our church has had a series titled “God Never Said That“. Today, I really learned something that I had mistakenly believed – all of my life – was part of God’s word … and it was not. Now, I’ve been a Christian since I was 9 years old, and have never known life without God in it. I guess that’s why I was so caught off guard to realize that I had believed something incorrectly all these years that is really quite important.
The cultural misbelief I had about sin is this: “All sin is the same”. Now, I don’t mean that murdering someone is the same as telling a lie. What I had believed is that it doesn’t really matter what you did — but that “sin is sin” no matter how you look at it. What was revealed to me this morning is that the way we live our lives influences:
- consequences on earth
- rewards in heaven
- punishment in hell
An example of ‘a greater sin’ can be found here:
John 19:11 New Living Translation (NLT)
11 Then Jesus said, “You would have no power over me at all unless it were given to you from above. So the one who handed me over to you has the greater sin.”
Luke 20:47 New Living Translation (NLT)
47 Yet they shamelessly cheat widows out of their property and then pretend to be pious by making long prayers in public. Because of this, they will be severely punished.”
WOW! I had never really noticed that before. Not only are there ‘greater sins’ but ones that will result in being ‘severely punished’. Like there are also levels of punishment … perhaps even in hell. WOW! A key point he made sure to make, however, was that “All unforgiven sin leads to eternal death.”
Romans 6:23 New Living Translation (NLT)
23 For the wages of sin is death, but the free gift of God is eternal life through Christ Jesus our Lord.
My pastor also said another thing that I heard in a new and different way. That if we think we have only a little sin in our lives, it shows how much sin actually is in our lives, because it has clouded and desensitized us from hearing God in our lives. Sin slips in and gets bigger and easier. The more sin that is in your life – the less you hear the voice of God. The more we confess our sins to God, the more we realize just how sinful we are and how much we need to have forgiveness.
“Spiritual maturity isn’t about how much we know, it’s about how much we live out what we know – in our lives.” -Pastor Craig Groeschel
This sermon really has me thinking about things, specifically ‘sin’, in a new and different light. I’m sure I’ll be mulling this one over all week long – if not even longer.