Sin is anything we do that defies the ways of God.
There are a variety of sins that are identified in the Bible.
Do you believe that dishonoring your parents is worse than gossip?
What about murder being worse than stealing?
Many people will talk about a hierarchy of sin – that some sins are worse than others. They might say that lying isn’t as bad as committing adultery or gossip isn’t as bad as murder. They will justify their actions by this assumption.
The Bible does not identify a hierarchy of sins.
There are six things that the Lord hates,
seven that are an abomination to him:
haughty eyes, a lying tongue,
and hands that shed innocent blood,
a heart that devises wicked plans,
feet that make haste to run to evil,
a false witness who breathes out lies,
and one who sows discord among brothers.
– Proverbs 6:16-19
The hard part for me has been seeing the flaw in my own thinking. For many years, I had seen a type of hierarchy, but I saw it a little differently.
I believed that not believing in and trusting in Jesus as Savior and Lord of my life was the greatest sin of all. I knew that I had believed and trusted, so, I believed that I was not committing the greatest sin.
However, God recently gave me a new understanding about this.
The greatest sin of all is the sin of unbelief. Unbelief is what will keep you eternally separated from God. (Romans 3:23 and 6:23) We have eternal life with God when we believe that He is God and that His Son Jesus Christ died for the forgiveness of our sins and was raised from the dead. (Romans 10:9-10)
A few weeks ago, I was reading with our daughter in John 9 about the healing of the blind man. The disciples had asked Jesus if the man was blind because of his sin or his parents’ sin. Jesus’ answer was neither, but that “the words of God might be displayed in Him.”
When the Pharisees got word of this miracle, they questioned the man. They questioned his parents. Then they questioned the man a second time. The man testified that the man who healed him, Jesus, had to be from God in order to heal him. The Pharisees continued to refuse to believe what they were being told.
When we were discussing the passage, I was reminded that this was not the first time nor the last time that the Pharisees did not believe what they were told. In fact, Jesus would tell them that He was the Messiah. Yet, they remained unchanged.
This discussion led me to consider how Adam and Eve were the first people who chose not to believe what God had said. When they made that choice, their unbelief resulted in what we know as sin.
I wanted to connect the dots for our daughter so I asked her one of her catechism questions that she has learned. “Why did Adam and Eve eat the forbidden fruit?” The answer is “they did not believe what God had said.” I asked her who else she could think of from the Bible that did not believe what God had said.
We began thinking of examples from the Bible like Moses, Abraham, and Peter. Moses did not believe what God had said when he struck the rock rather than speaking to the rock. Abram did not believe when he chose to have a baby with Hagar rather than Sarai. Peter refused to believe that he would deny Christ three times before the rooster crowed just as Jesus had told him.
When you choose not to believe and trust in Jesus Christ as your Lord and Savior, you are committing the sin of unbelief. You are also committing the sin of unbelief when you lie, gossip, steal, commit adultery, or murder.
Therefore, the sin of unbelief is the root of all sin.
When you choose not to believe what God has said, you are saying to God that you know better than He does. You are saying that you should be God. You are choosing to be eternally separated from God.
You must choose to believe what God has said about who He is and receive forgiveness for your sins of unbelief in order to have eternal life. Choose today to believe.
How will you choose to believe today?
Share your thoughts – leave a comment below!
photo: Ricardo Sousa via freeimages.com