August 25, 2009

Thank you, Thomas Watson!

I cannot tell you how often I have sat in bible study groups or Sunday School classes where sin was discussed and the conclusion was (basically) that "All sins are equal in the eyes of God". There is such confusion over "sin". I believe that this confusion is a result of not understanding the difference between: 1) the sin (even the most minuscule) that separates us from God and places us in an hopeless eternal condition in need of a Savior in order to be reconciled to God; and, 2) sin in general--whether committed by regenerate or unregenerate persons. Let us listen to Thomas Watson as he helps clarify this topic. (More to come. The following is just a taste):

Some sins in themselves, and by reason of several aggravations, are more heinous in the sight of God than others.

‘He that delivered me unto thee, has the greater sin.’ John 19:11. The Stoic philosophers held that all sins were equal; but this Scripture clearly holds forth that there is a gradual difference in sin; some are greater than others; some are ‘mighty sins,’ and crying sins.’ Amos 5:12; Gen 18:21. Every sin has a voice to speak, but some sins cry. As some diseases are worse than others, and some poisons more venomous, so some sins are more heinous. ‘Ye have done worse than your fathers, your sins have exceeded theirs.’ Jer 16:12; Ezek 16:47. Some sins have a blacker aspect than others; to clip the king’s coin is treason; but to strike his person is a higher degree of treason.

A vain thought is a sin, but a blasphemous word is a greater sin. That some sins are greater than others appears, (1) Because there was difference in the offerings under the law; the sin offering was greater than the trespass offering. (2) Because some sins are not capable of pardon as others are, therefore they must needs be more heinous, as the blasphemy against the Holy Ghost. Matt 12:31. (3) Because some sins have a greater degree of punishment than others. ‘Ye shall receive the greater damnation.’ Matt 23:14. ‘Shall not the Judge of all the earth do right?’ God would not punish one more than another if his sin was not greater.

It is true, ‘all sins are equally heinous in respect of the object,’ or the infinite God, against whom sin is committed, but, in another sense, all sins are not alike heinous; some sins have more bloody circumstances in them, which are like the dye to the wool, to give it a deeper colour.

Those sins are more heinous than others which are committed with delectation. A child of God may sin through a surprisal, or against his will. ‘The evil which I would not, that I do.’ Rom 7: 19. He is like one that is carried down the stream involuntarily. But to sin with delight heightens and greatens the sin. It is a sign the heart is in the sin. ‘They set their heart on their iniquity,’ as a man follows his gain with delight. Hos 4:8. ‘Without are dogs, and whosoever loveth and maketh a lie.’ Rev 22:15. To tell a lie is a sin; but to love to tell a lie is a greater sin.

Those sins are more heinous than others which are committed under a pretence of religion. To cheat and defraud is a sin, but to do it with a Bible in one’s hand, is a double sin. To be unchaste is a sin; but to put on a mask of religion to play the whore makes the sin greater. ‘I have peace offerings with me; this day have I paid my vows; come let us take our fill of love.’ Prov 7:14, 15. She speaks as if she had been at church, and had been saying her prayers: who would ever have suspected her of dishonesty? But, behold her hypocrisy; she makes her devotion a preface to adultery. ‘Which devour widows’ houses, and for a show make long prayers.’ Luke 20:47. The sin was not in making long prayers; for Christ was a whole night in prayer; but to make long prayers that they might do unrighteous actions, made their sin more horrid.

To be continued...

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