What exactly is sin? The scriptures tell us it is the transgression of God's holy law. (1 Jn. 3:4) Everything which is unrighteous is sin. (1 Jn. 5:7) To know to do good and do it not is also sin. (Jas. 4:17) To do anything apart from faith is sin. (Rom. 14:23) And even the thought of foolishness is sin. (Prov. 24:9)
We live in a day when sin is considered lightly. Sodom need not hang its head in shame when the crimes of this nation and its people are mentioned. On every hand we see the law of God trampled in the dust of human desire and greed. It is truly a sad day, for not only does the world rush headlong to its sure destruction, but alas the churches follow in their train. The major problem among 'professing' Christians today is not merely an abuse of Christian liberty, but a downright lawlessness from the word of God. There is hardly any to be found among church people, let alone the unprofessing world, who know the exceeding sinfulness of sin.
In the midst of the constant exhortation of God's word, to 'be not conformed to the world' (Rom. 12:2), 'come out and be ye separate' (2 Cor. 6:17), and that God's people are a 'peculiar people' (Tit. 2:14), we see 'professors' yet clinging to the ways of the world, and churches rushing madly to see how much like the world they can be and still preserve some manner of sanctity. They have a form of godliness but deny the power thereof. (1 Tim. 3:5) I believe one of the major reasons for this light-hearted consideration of sin is a lack of knowledge of the Holy and Majestic God against whom these crimes are perpetrated.
The awfulness of sin can be seen when we see the One whose law has been broken. If I got angry and shouted at you, it would surely be unsuitable conduct, and I would owe you an apology. But if you sat on the judge's bench in a court of law, and I shouted at you, I would be in contempt of court. The action on my part would be the same in both cases, but the extent of my crime would be greater in the latter case because of the position of honor which you as a judge would occupy. As a judge seated in that courtroom you would represent the authority of the law, and my offense against you there would be against that law which you represent.
When I offended you as my peer, an apology on my part would suffice to appease the offense, but when that offense was made against you in the place of authority, I must satisfy a broken law. Again, let's suppose, for the sake of illustration, that you used my name in an insulting manner as a curse word. If I found out, I would probably be angry over the degradation of my name and would be loath to forgive you unless I saw you filled with genuine remorse and offering your apologies. Then you should have my forgiveness if you asked it with sincere sorrow for your deed, because we are equals as men. (Lk. 17:4) But if you use the name of the infinite God as a curse work then all the apologies you may offer will be of no avail for your offense is an infinite crime. You have not sinned against your finite equal but against the eternal God Himself and His holy, immutable law.
A man may bear his punishment for crimes committed against the laws of men and satisfy those laws by giving what payment they require, for they are but temporal laws. But the transgression of God's eternal law is an infinite crime against an infinite God, whose law's demands may only be satisfied by an infinite payment.
Herein is the exceeding sinfulness of sin; that we as mere men have despised the law of the mighty Lord of glory. Some sins are surely more heinous than others, but any sin, no matter how small or insignificant it may seem to us, is an infinite crime against the Most High God and must bear eternal punishment. My brothers and sisters, we need not look around to find out who has sinned, for every one of us, great or small, young or old have transgressed against the holy commandments. You say you are a moral person, one who seeks to live righteously. It may be so, yet you are a sinner still. For if there were no other commandment than the first and great commandment you stand condemned with the rest of us. That first law is, "Thou shalt love the Lord thy God with all thy heart, and with all thy soul, and with all thy might." (Deut. 6:5) And the second is like unto it, "Thou shalt love thy neighbor as thyself". (Mat. 22:39) Now who among us can honestly say he has kept the law?
Some shall say, "Well from now on I shall seek to live according to that law." I shall not discourage you from trying, but what about the infinite crimes you have already committed? Surely you do not think that your present obedience (which is an absolute requirement anyway) shall satisfy the claims of God's eternal justice. No, it certainly cannot, for as we have said before "a crime against an infinite God can only be paid with a payment of eternal duration or infinite value".
In the death of the Lord Jesus Christ was such a payment made. He who being in the form of God and thinking it not robbery to be equal with God, took upon Himself the form of a servant and was made in the likeness of sinful flesh, and became obedient unto death, even the death of the cross. (Phil. 2:6-8) The Infinite God Himself, in the person of His only begotten Son, did undertake to satisfy His laws' demands against guilty sinners, by dying the death which should have been theirs. Because of the infinite value of His sacrifice He perfectly satisfied the law's requirement in behalf of those who look to Him for salvation. Do you see the exceeding sinfulness of your sin? Does your heart long for deliverance from that malady which sinks the souls of men in eternal ruin? O, I bid you seek refuge from the wrath to come in the Satisfaction of Jesus Christ. Those offenses covered in the blood of that spotless Lamb shall be seen again no more.
But to those of you who “know the judgement of God, that they which commit such things are worthy of death, and yet go on doing the same and having pleasure in them that do them” (Rom. 1:32) sin on. Yes, drink your fill from the cup of iniquity, heap sin upon sin. Though you will not be subdued by the holy law now, yet you shall be subdued. For when the eternal wrath of an avenging God falls upon your head, you shall cry out for the rocks to fall upon you that you may be hidden from His blazing vengeance. You shall cry out in terror, but He shall “laugh at your calamity; and mock when your fear cometh” (Prov. 1:26) on account of the sinfulness of your sin.mam