One of the things that I believe is a struggle for many, believers and non-believers alike, is the severity of sin. Many people, by the world’s standards, live very decent lives, not rocking the boat much, if at all, and they go about their lives, helping others and doing what they can to either make the world a better place or, at the very least, not make the world any worse than it already is.
Many I have come across and have discussed the doctrine of sin with all say the same thing, “I’m a good person. Even though I don’t believe any particular religion, God’s still going to let me into heaven. It wouldn’t make sense for Him not to. I’ve never done anything majorly wrong. Just a few lies here and there, maybe said some nasty things, but that’s about it. Nothing serious.”
The problem that we run into is the fact that we never actually see God as He really is.
For many of us, we see God simply as the loving old grandfather who allows a few sins here and there but because of Jesus, it’s all going to be okay in the end, whether or not you believe in Jesus.
However, that’s only one picture of God.
We have to have the understanding that God is not just loving. He is fair and He is holy. Sin, no matter how small we may perceive it, must be punished. And unless you cling to the cross of Christ and believe on Jesus, God must punish your sin by condemning you to eternal separation from Him and His glorious presence.
“But that’s not fair! I’ve lived a good life! It’s not like I’m a murderer or rapist or something terrible like that!”
The thing is, though, that if you commit even the smallest of sins, you are guilty of committing every sin in the book (James 2:10).
Your sin, no matter how small it may be in your life, is major in God’s life. And it must be punished.
I once read an illustration to show just how severe our sin actually is in the eyes of God. I believe this was used by Kyle Idleman, as well as a few others I have read, but it really makes it clear.
Let’s say you’re in a taxi. You decide to punch the driver as hard as you can. What is he going to do? Odds are good, he’s going to stop his cab and drag you out of this taxi and drive off without you.
Let’s say you are out with your friends. You decide to punch one of your friends. What’s going to happen? Your friend will most likely hit you back.
Or you’re in the mall or somewhere public and you walk up to a random stranger and you hit him. What will he do? He’ll probably hit you back and call up some of his buddies that are nearby to help him kick your butt.
Say you punch a cop. Well, you’re definitely getting hit back, and, depending on where you are in the world, you may suffer severe police brutality by having more cops beat on you and then you’ll be thrown into prison.
Say you punch the president or a foreign dignitary or monarch. You’ll definitely get the crap beat out of you by their protection detail, and you’ll be arrested, thrown in prison and, depending on where you are in the world, be sentenced to death.
You see, in every situation, you do the same action: you punch someone. But in each scenario, the person you punch is different, each one higher on the chain of respectability/importance. The higher up the chain you go, the worse the punishment.
Why shouldn’t it be the same with God, the King of Kings? He is the highest authority in the world and in the universe. Why shouldn’t the punishment He doles out be in response to the Person that He is?
You see, the severity of your sin has nothing to do with what sin you commit or how small the sin seems to be. The severity of your sin has everything to do with the Person whom you are sinning against.