Saturday, 29 January 2011

The same, only different

"All sin is sin!"  This truism is frequently employed to make people think that God sees no difference in the seriousness of the sins that people commit, and some times that very sentiment is expressed - "God doesn't differentiate between sins.  The only problem with this view's wrong!

God does not view every sin as being equally serious.  This is not only obvious from our moral intuitions, but it is obvious from the pages of Scripture.  The Lord said to Pilate, "He that delivered Me unto thee hath the greater sin" (John 19 v 11).  He said that it would be more tolerable for some than for others in the day of judgment (Matthew 11 v 20-24).  Some sins are more serious than others, but all sins are serious.  Some sins attract a greater punishment than others, but all sins attract a great punishment.  Some sins will take a person to a deeper hell than others, but all sins will take a person to hell (if not forgiven).

This point is succinctly illustrated by the Lord Jesus in Luke 7 v 41-42.  He speaks of a man with two debtors, one owing 50 pence and the other 500 pence.  They were very different - one owed ten times as much as the other.  It would be wrong to say that both debts were equal.  But although they were so different, yet in another sense they were exactly the same, because they were both in debt, and they had nothing with which to pay.

So it is with us.  In the first three chapters of Paul's letter to the Romans we get a look at idolators and Jews, heathens and cultured, the high and the low.  They are so different, but Paul says that there is one way in which there is no difference, "All have sinned" (Romans 3 v 22-23).  In that one regard we are all the same. 

The 50 pence debtor could say about the 500 pence debtor "He's worse than me", but that doesn't get him off the hook or out of trouble, and it won't get you off the hook or out of trouble either.  Just because you can find someone who has sinned more than you or worse than you it won't cover your sins or cancel your debt.

Thankfully forgiveness is offered, and will be granted on the condition that we admit our bankruptcy and turn to Christ.

You may be different from others, a cut above the rest, but you're still a sinner with a pile of debt wracking up and a load of wrath mounting up (Romans 2 v 5).  It's time to acknowledge your guilt and need, and look for forgiveness to the One who died for sinners and rose again.  He won't deny you, "...He freely forgave..."