God says in Romans 6:23a that, "The wages of sin is death...."
Most readers are familiar with this verse and apply it to personal salvation. We know that our sin is the cause of our ultimate physical death. We know that without salvation through the cross of Jesus Christ, sin is also the cause of our spiritual death. Likewise for the Christian, there is a death penalty for sin and the cost is very high indeed. Do you know its calculation?
Christians and the world alike tend to categorize sin. There are the big 7 of Proverbs 6:16-19. Then there are the little ones we tend to neglect. But notice that Romans 6:23 speaks of sin in the singular - not sins. What does this mean?
God does not look at sin in categories. He wraps them all up into one and they look like this:
I John 3:4 - "Whosoever committeth sin transgresseth also the law: for sin is the transgression of the law." Both of the words "sin" and "law" are again in the singular form. There are not separate laws for separate sins in the sense we speak of here today. While there are indeed separate commandments (laws) for different transgressions (sins) as we are familiar in the Ten Commandments, this point is separate and distinct from "sin and law". In fact, the difference is so great, that I believe there are few who know it, understand it, and are obedient to it. Here is the critical difference:
God says in James 2:10, "For whosoever shall keep the whole law, and yet offend in one point, he is guilty of all."
Did Jesus die for all the sins of the world? You bet. Did He die for the sin of the world too? Indeed. And the magnitude of the second does not equal the sum of the first.
Every sin we commit, whether great or small, equals a complete transgression of the entire law. In God's eyes, we are guilty of not just the point transgression, but as if we had transgressed every single law in the Book. Why?
For the answer, we must go back to the beginning in Genesis 3 to understand just what sin is.
Satan said to Eve in Genesis 3:5, "For God doth know that in the day ye eat thereof, then your eyes shall be opened, and ye shall be as gods, knowing good and evil." Eve responded in kind, accepting both the half truth and the lie. Her flesh turned to its desire to be as god, just as Satan did in Isaiah 14:13-14.
"For thou hast said in thine heart, I will ascend into heaven, I will exalt my throne above the stars of God: I will sit also upon the mount of the congregation, in the sides of the north: I will ascend above the heights of the clouds: I will be like the most High."
The root of all the sins we commit is single and it is this: our fleshly desire to be god of ourselves. Some call it pride. It is rebellion against God, a direct turning of His very first commandment which is His establishment of Himself as God to a people who hitherto did not know Him: "I am the LORD thy God, which have brought thee out of the land of Egypt, out of the house of bondage. Thou shalt have no other gods before me." (Exodus 20:2-3)
Therefore, when God says that the offense in one point makes us guilty of all, we suddenly see that the magnitude of our sin is infinite. Do you see it yet?
God says in Hebrews 10:12, "But this man, after he had offered one sacrifice for sins for ever, sat down on the right hand of God." The sacrifice of Jesus on the cross was forever sufficient for all sin. The cost is unsurmountable any other way. No sin is too small that it did not deserve the penalty of the cross. Look at it this way.
Suppose as a Christian you commit, in your mind, a small sin. "No big deal," you say. "I'll deal with it later." But God says that that one small sin equals a complete transgression of the entire law because it is rooted in your fleshly desire to be god.
Jesus was asked what He believed to be the greatest commandment. He responded in Matthew 22:37-40, "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 neighbour as thyself. On these two commandments hang all the law and the prophets." Here He simply restates, as God did in Deuteronomy 6:5, the first commandment. And then He adds, "On these two commandments hand all (emphasis mine) the law and the prophets."
Are you beginning to see the weight of the sin that Jesus bore for you on the cross? I tell you truly that until you do, you may still be in bondage, as Peter warned in II Peter 1:9, "But he that lacketh these things is blind, and cannot see afar off, and hath forgotten that he was purged from his old sins."
When the Holy Spirit convicts me of sin nowadays, I immediately reckon its weight and know that just as I was powerless to save myself, I am just as powerless to deliver myself from sin's stronghold as a Christian. Only a god will go on thinking otherwise. But God, through the blood of His Son Jesus Christ, atoned for all our sin forever. And whenever we as Christians do sin, we must transact upon this same line - the cross of Jesus Christ.
As Oswald Chambers said, if you can get a man right with God through any other way than the cross, then the sacrifice of Jesus Christ was a useless farce (I paraphrase here).
Finally, let's do the math. One little sin equals the disproportionate sum of the entire law in terms of the cost. That cost is death and it is the death of Jesus Christ. Likewise, in getting right with God, it costs you a complete death as well. Romans 6:11 commands, "Likewise reckon ye also yourselves to be dead indeed unto sin, but alive unto God through Jesus Christ our Lord." Galatians 2:20 says likewise, "I am crucified with Christ: nevertheless I live; yet not I, but Christ liveth in me: and the life which I now live in the flesh I live by the faith of the Son of God, who loved me, and gave himself for me." This death to self is not just the little bit of self that committed the little sin. Could you even identify that part of you?
Indeed, it is your heart. And only God can know it and make it right for He says in Jeremiah 17:9, "The heart is deceitful above all things, and desperately wicked: who can know it?"
Practice this truth Christian, and you will be free indeed. Enjoy the spiritual blessings of Jesus (Ephesians 1:3)!