Because God is infinitely holy, He cannot condone the smallest sin (although there are no small sins, for all sins are great sins).
To emphasize the awfulness of sin in the sight of a holy God, we have but to go back to the first sin of the human race. You will recall the story. Adam and Eve had eaten of the fruit of the tree which God had prohibited. Now that, of course, seems in itself but a little thing. We would call it mere petty larceny, eating one fruit from a forbidden tree. In the estimate of men, and according to our moral standards, that was only a little sin. We would hardly inflict the death penalty upon an individual for taking one fruit from a tree which had been forbidden. But God did not consider it as such, for God knows nothing about ‘little’ sins.
Listen, friend, so great was that sin in the sight of God that He not only cursed man from the garden, imposed the penalty of death upon him and upon all his offspring, but God even cursed the entire creation, the earth, the birds, the animals, and every creature over which Adam was placed as the federal head. God did not wait until man had committed murder before He cursed him, but this so-called ‘LITTLE SIN’ was the occasion for God’s awful penalty and judgment Sin is never a little thing, even though men may belittle it and call it by any other name.
Has it ever struck you, as it has me, that the world has tried desperately hard to rid itself of even the very mention of the word sin? It has almost entirely disappeared from the world’s vocabulary. We can pick up our newspaper or magazine and read all the accounts of violence and atrocity and murder and dishonesty, but seldom are these things called ‘sin.’ Writers talk about crime and violence and death and murder and immorality, but the word SIN is carefully avoided.
Now all of this becomes very significant, for we believe it to be an attempt, consciously or unconsciously, to get rid of the idea of sin. But sin is still sin, and until there is a revival of preaching against sin in all of its awfulness, as a filthy damning rebellion against God, which it is there cannot be a revival, but the world will continue getting worse and more rotten and more sinful than ever.
By the grace of God, we, therefore, shall lift our voice against sin, not merely as a human weakness, not merely as the mistakes of a race trying to climb upward by evolutionary processes, but as that vicious, selfish, filthy thing which lies at the basis and root of all of man’s troubles and trials, and which is a rebellion against a thrice-holy God, which must result in the punishment of the sinner in an eternal hell, unless it is taken care of by the blood atonement of the Son of God. That is why we preach on the subject of the blood, the only God-given remedy for sin.
Failure to realize the true, awful nature of sin lies also at the root of man’s denial of eternal punishment. Man revolts at the idea that a loving God will punish His creature in an eternal hell. Modern preachers love to tell us that God is love, and that He will do no such thing at all; but all such talk is silenced immediately when we get a true picture of these two things: GOD’S HOLINESS, and the AWFULNESS OF SIN.
Sin is not a little thing. We repeat it without apology. It is the cause of every sorrow in the world. It blights lives, breaks homes, kills children, beclouds reason, slays the body, and damns the soul.
See its effect in the home, the one place that was designed and patterned after the family of heaven, with Father, Son and Holy Spirit in perfect love and accord. And yet the home has become the scene of the greatest battles in the world. In the home, because of sin, more hearts are broken, more tears are shed than anywhere else.
Sin has permeated the business world. Think of the crookedness, the exploiting of the poor, the graft, the hypocrisy, the ravenous competition, the cut-throat methods, the greed of those who by the sweat and blood and toil of others amass their polluted fortunes, only that they themselves may plunge the deeper into sin.
Think of what sin has done to the family of the nations. We remember the indescribable, horrible conflicts of recent memory, when the whole world of nations engaged in the most awful conflict of all history. Think of the plight of the nations today, their national bankruptcy, insecurity and division, the starving widows and orphans, the cries of the wounded and dying, the hunger and the cold and starvation, as the result of war, and we can explain it all by only one single world, S-I-N. ...
But let us make this thing more personal. Go with me to yonder hospital, and listen for just a moment to the cries and moans of the sick and the suffering, and you will hear just one word in the background, SINS. See the red eyes wet with tears, and think of the bleeding hearts behind those tears as they carry that loved one away.
Go with me to yonder prison and see the young lives blighted and shriveled with sin, caged up like wild animals, and again we hear the whisper in the background--SIN.
Follow me now to yonder asylum, and listen to the unintelligible jargon of those poor, pitiable souls with their aberated reason and deranged minds, probably because of an act committed by their grandfather when he had his fling, and the very walls seem to whisper the word, SIN, S-I-N.
But leave the confusion of the hospital and the cursing of the prison, and slip with me into the night to yonder home where lights are still lit early in the morning. See that sobbing mother as she stoops over a little crib where lies, cold and pale, that little darling, who only a little while ago was vibrant with joy, its little body throbbing and pulsating with unrestrained life. And now there it lies in the chill stillness of death. And again we hear the word in the background, SIN, for ‘the wages of sin is death.’
But hush! Go with me now in the gloaming, and follow that man and the little flaxen-haired maiden at his side, as they silently went their way through the sighing pines along the little gravel path among the city of the dead, until they reach a fresh little mound of earth; and there, tenderly placing a little bunch of fading flowers upon that grave, and watering them with scalding tears, they turn away to the loneliness and the bleakness of their little home, where mother’s voice will never be heard again.
Ah, yes, all these experiences cry aloud one single message which cannot be forgotten: ‘The wages of sin is death.’
I challenge you to give me any other reasonable explanation for all of the misery and heartache and suffering in this old world.
But the result of sin does not even end at the grave. According to the Word of God, the penalty of sin goes on into eternity because sin is a transgression, not only against society or an individual, but against a holy, infinitely holy God. To the sinner who dies without accepting God’s atonement, God’s only remedy for sin, there awaits in addition, the prospect of an eternal hell. I do not care to describe or dwell upon the awful fact of hell, and the Bible picture of the abode of the lost, except to say that Jesus, the gentle Saviour, pictures it as a place of outer darkness where the fire is never quenched and the worm never dies.
Ah, but someone says, that preacher is altogether too dramatic in his depiction of this subject. Dramatic? Dramatic? Is not the whole history of mankind a drama? To be born, to toil, to seep, to laugh, to rejoice, to mourn, to become old, to die, what is this but a great drama of reality?
But if any of you are inclined to think me too dramatic, then come with me to Calvary, and I will give you God’s dramatic picture of the awfulness of sin. What does God think of sin? The answer is Calvary, for there you see the PRICE OF SIN that God demanded. Calvary is to me the most awful, the most conclusive proof of the gravity of sin. See what it took to pay the penalty. God hates sin with an indescribable hatred, and Calvary reveals not only God’s love for the sinner, but back of that, His hatred for sin. It must be fully paid. And so, nineteen hundred years ago God sent into the world His Son, the Lord Jesus, to PAY FOR OUR SIN. Calvary is, therefore, more than a picture of God’s love. It is a picture of sin, for without sin there would never have been a Calvary. ...
The only thing Jesus ever was afraid of was sin, and so He asks the Father, ‘Let this cup pass from me.’ Must I drink that awful thing? And God seems to answer, ‘No, no, My Son, You do not have to, but if You don’t, then all the others will be lost. The only way that sinners can be saved is for You to take their sin upon Yourself, and carry it to the Cross, for sin must be atoned for. There is no other way.’
And so with the picture of the lost world before Him, and the realization of what sin had brought about, He lifts that reeking, stench-filled cup of the world’s sin, that we might be saved. ...
It is a tremendous commentary on the righteousness of God, and the awfulness of sin.
‘He that spared not his own Son, but delivered him up for us all...’ (Rom. 8:32).
What a remarkable statement! Why could not God have spared not His own Son? Because that Son had taken our sin upon Himself, and after God had laid upon Jesus our sin, even God the Father could not spare His own Son. How God, therefore, must hate sin, and this hatred for sin by a Holy God becomes the necessity for the atonement by blood. Sin must be punished, even though it be God’s own Son, for He ‘became sin for us, who knew no sin.’
Sinner, how do you expect to escape? How do you expect God to spare you if you refuse God’s atonement for sin, and insist upon standing before a holy God without having had your sin taken care of by another.
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