All Sin Is Against God
By Richard Owen Roberts
When King David finally felt deeply convicted of having committed adultery with Uriah’s wife, Bathsheba, and of having Uriah killed, he cried to God, “Against Thee, Thee only, have I sinned, and done this evil in Thy sight: that Thou mightest be justified when Thou speakest, and be clear when Thou judgest” (Psa. 51:4). These words, when weighed carefully, are more than astonishing. David had sinned against himself. David had sinned against Israel over whom he ruled as king. David had sinned against his own family. David had sinned against Uriah. David had sinned against Bathsheba. Yet when the great error of what he had done fully broke upon his conscience with awful clarity, he saw the truly great evil of his sin as being against God.
Have you faced the fact that the great error of all sin is exactly this: it is against God. Oh, how we need to feel deeply that the greatest evil of every sin, no matter how small man may judge it, is that it is against God. Joseph, in fleeing the temptation of Potiphar’s wife, was able to pinpoint the evil in the proposed act by asking, “…How then can I do this great wickedness, and sin against God?” (Gen. 39:9). Do you realize the great evil of all your sin? Have you faced with trepidation the realization that it is against God that you have sinned, and in the face of His mercy committed all your evil?
Perhaps, like other deceived persons, you are satisfied that all your sins are of very minor proportion, especially when compared with David’s. While you are ready to acknowledge an occasional and unimportant infraction of the law of God, do you doubt seriously that your sins are bad enough to constitute a major problem? How big does a sin have to be to be heinous? Consider these sobering words, “For whosoever shall keep the whole law, and yet offend in one point, he is guilty of all” (Jas. 2:10). Do you realize that if you just break one tiny fraction of the law of God – one least point – your guilt before God is as great as if you broke the entire law?
You may say, “I consider such a view unjust and I refuse to accept it.” Such a response reveals, at best, the great deception under which you live. You have learned to accept this very principle in many insignificant areas of life. All games and sporting events have rules. How far out of bounds does a basketball player have to be before the play is voided and the basket not counted? How far off sides must the football player run before a justified penalty occurs? Many a score has been voided by a minor infraction of the rules and many a game has been lost because the least of the laws was violated. Surely, the God who made man has more right to make and enforce laws than do the designers of mere games. Face it honestly, even the tiniest infraction of God’s law has earned you the permanent brand of desperately wicked sinner.
God Sets the Standards
But are you really such a little sinner as you pretend? Are not your sins far more grave and more numerous than you have yet admitted? Didn’t you arrive at this view of the insignificance of your sins by comparing yourself with someone else? Nearly everyone can find someone who looks worse than they do. A businessman, who faithfully supports his wife and children, can compare himself with a drunkard lying in the gutter and congratulate himself on his outstanding life of uprightness, but let that same man compare himself with the absolute standard – Jesus Christ the Lord – how will he then measure up? If the housewife, who has never actually cheated on her husband and has only occasionally considered it and not all that seriously, compares herself with the worn-out prostitute plying her trade downtown, she will look good indeed, but if she stands beside Christ, she will appear so shabby and unworthy that she will burst into tears. The drunkards and prostitutes and murderers of the world are not the standards of righteousness. God sets the standards. Jesus Christ, the incarnate God, fleshed these standards out and showed us in His own life how God expects us to live. No one has any right to compare themselves with anyone other than Christ, and no one can compare themselves with Christ and come away looking or feeling good.
If you insist on thinking your little sins are just against yourself and only occasionally against people, you can keep on weighing the seriousness of your sin by examining its effect upon yourself and others. A person thus deluded may ask, “If I tell this little lie, whom will it hurt?” It may appear no one will be hurt and thus a lie is justified. It is popular in our day to examine and determine the propriety of sexual relationships by asking two things: is the relationship between consenting adults? and is anyone being hurt? In the minds of many, any form of sexual conduct is acceptable if it is freely engaged in by those who are old enough to decide if they want to do it, if it is enjoyable, and if no one is greatly harmed by the act.
But suppose that instead of weighing conduct in human balances, we let the God who created sex lay down the law governing all sexual conduct. Nowhere did the Creator tell us we were at liberty to determine right or wrong on the basis of enjoyment or hurt to others. In fact, nowhere are we told we even have the right to determine good and evil at all.
God sets the standards. God lays down the rules. The law of God is fixed and we are free neither to violate it nor to alter it. Whenever we do so, even in what may seem to us to be very minor ways, we sin against God. All sin is sin against God. All sin against God is grievously wicked and requires immediate repentance.
However, you may still not be ready to admit any serious difficulty with sin. Perhaps you believe you have never murdered or committed adultery or done any of the awful things of which so many others are guilty and therefore you have no problem. Are you aware that Jesus made the thought of sin as wicked as the act of sin. Consider His words, “Ye have heard that it was said by them of old time, Thou shalt not kill; and whosoever shall kill shall be in danger of the judgment: But I say unto you, That whosoever is angry with his brother without a cause shall be in danger of the judgment.... Ye have heard that it was said by them of old time, Thou shalt not commit adultery: But I say unto you, That whosoever looketh on a woman to lust after her hath committed adultery with her already in his heart” (Matt. 5:21-22, 27-28). Do you have the gall to say you have never been angry with your brother or looked after another person with lust?
Acts of Omission
And what about all the things you should have done that you never bothered to do? Sin is not only violating the law of God in acts of commission, but in acts of omission also. When Jesus was tempted by Satan in the wilderness, He was taken to a very high mountain and shown all the kingdoms of the world and the glory of them. Satan said to Jesus, “All these things will I give Thee, if Thou wilt fall down and worship me.” Jesus responded declaring, “Get thee hence, Satan: for it is written, Thou shalt worship the Lord thy God, and Him only shalt thou serve” (Matt. 4:8-10). Can you say that you are worshiping the Lord now and that you have never served anyone but Him, not even yourself – not even for a little while? Can you, with integrity, stand before God and say the consistent pattern of your life from earliest childhood has been to worship and serve God and you have never wavered in this?
In summarizing the entire law, Jesus said, “Thou shalt love the Lord thy God with all thy heart, and with all thy soul, and with all thy mind. This is the first and great commandment. And the second is like unto it, Thou shalt love thy neighbor as thyself” (Matt. 22:37-39). Do you really love God this way? Have you ever really loved Him this much? In your present condition, can it even be hoped you ever will love God more than yourself, your own desires, or your possessions? Do you love your neighbor as yourself? Is the welfare of others always as important to you as your own welfare? If you have not even kept these two commandments which Jesus insisted were primary, how can you feel, even for a single moment, that your sins are not a serious problem?
If you are not concerned enough about your own sins to seriously face their depth and extent, what hope can you entertain for your eternal future? Do you not realize that if at any time in your entire life you have failed to love God with your entire being, you have sinned the gravest kind of sin? God has always been good to you. Year after year He has mercifully given you life and breath. Blessings upon blessings have been showered upon you. Have you demonstrated thankfulness by consistent and perfect worship? Does your spirit of repentance demonstrate your gratitude or does your spirit of pride demonstrate your insensitivity?
Responsible for Christ’s Death
Every unbelieving sinner is responsible for Christ’s death. It was your very own sin that hung Christ on the Cross. His precious blood was shed because of your wickedness. All the awful agony of the crucifixion of Jesus Christ was your fault. You yourself caused it. So terrible were your sins in the eyes of God that He sent His only begotten Son to suffer and die in your place. Can you view all this and still think of yourself as a little sinner scarcely needing repentance?
True Biblical Repentance
When one recognizes the awfulness of his own sin and sees Jesus as the Lamb of God who died in his place, the great question becomes: What appropriate response can I make to Him? Will a mere expression of thanks be sufficient? Can some trinket satisfy? Will a little time and a little money given to others in acts of charity suffice? Certainly not if you have faced the real facts: you were sentenced to eternal death because of the awful wickedness of your life, but Jesus died in your place. He who knew no sin became sin for you. The innocent Lamb of God took your sins upon His own shoulders and suffered for them. He gave His life for you. It was a life exchanged for a life – the life of the Son of God exchanged for the life of a miserable, hell-deserving sinner. And what response is appropriate to such a sacrifice? Is not the giving of your life to Him the only appropriate response? This is true biblical repentance.
Such repentance is not an option. Repentance from both dead works and sin is a biblical demand. Are you truly repentant? Does your repentance show? Is God Himself pleased with your repentance?
This is the great truth revival must emphasize. Without repentance, the Body of Christ is doomed to limp when it was designed to fly, to drag when it was called to draw, to drift when it should set its sails to catch every wind of the Spirit of God.
– Condensed from the book Revival. Copyright © 1982 by Richard Owen Roberts. Used by permission.