8 April 2021
God requires His people to be holy as He is holy (1 Peter 1:15) – holy in our character and conduct, in our desires, our decisions and our delights. As His children, we are to invest all our powers in living a life of grateful worship and loyal service unto Him – a life of faithfulness, uprightness, integrity, and love toward both God and our fellow humans – a life with the purpose of glorifying Him through wise obedience to His revealed will. Total righteousness is called for, expressing total devotion and commitment to Him – nothing less will do. Individually and collectively as His temple (God lives in us), as the bride and body of Christ – it is undoubtedly a requirement that is not only necessary but indispensable.
The purity and uprightness of God’s own character, and His judgements of value, are immutable. God cannot be other than hostile to individuals and communities that flout His law. He cannot do other than visit them sooner or later in displays of retributive judgement, so that all His creatures may see the glory of HIs moral goodness and perfection.
Some sins are intrinsically greater and intrinsically worse than others – but we must be clear that there can be no small sins against a great and majestic God.
Sin (lawlessness, missing the moral mark, failing to practice righteousness with all one ‘s heart and soul) is particularly a serious matter for Christians before a majestic ruler of the universe.
Hearken to what James wrote in James 3: 13-17:
“Who is wise and understanding among you? By his good conduct let him show his works in the meekness of wisdom. But if you have bitter jealousy and selfish ambition in your hearts, do not boast and be false to the truth. This is not the wisdom that comes down from above, but is earthly, unspiritual, demonic. For where jealousy and selfish ambition exist, there will be disorder and every vile practice. But the wisdom from above is first pure, then peaceable, gentle, open to reason, full of mercy and good fruits, impartial and sincere.”
As believers, we may not realise that the source of jealousy, envy, selfish ambition and pride is earthly, demonic – the source is the evil one. We may feel that it is just small sins but whatever comes from the evil one is certainly not to be ignored and treated as insignificant. The enemy is expert in deception and he may make us come to such conclusions without realising the damage it can incur in our lives and in others. Notice that James in chapter 3 wrote about the damage caused by the tongue: the tongue can be used to bless God and to curse people – often jealousy, envy and pride can be detected in our speech and words. James even warned that not many should become teachers, for we will be judged with greater strictness. This is a reminder how leaders, pastors and teachers in the church should approach their responsibility in communicating the truth of God.
The source of wholesome wisdom is from above, from God, and is characterised by purity, peace, gentleness, mercy, sincerity and good fruits in the eyes of the Lord. Let us ensure that we do not fall into the deception from the enemy that small sins are okay – all sins are hostile to God and we cannot rationalise away that God will understand and that we are entitled to fail as humans – true, we cannot be perfect here on earth but the Lord God desires us to make progress in the path to holiness and godliness. Forgiveness is always available to those who repent sincerely but it does not mean that we have the freedom to live a life of continual sins and rebellion against God. The freedom God gives is the freedom to put on the new man and to put off the old man, and the Holy Spirit is always available and keen to enable us and to help us in this quest.