The Big Danger In Small Sins

The Big Danger In Small Sins

Preacher Huijun - 6 August 2022

Weekend Devotion: The Big Danger In Small Sins

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We often like to compare with others. Even in the matter of sinning, some people know they have sinned before God, but because they think there are others worse than them, they feel their sins are still alright. For example, they know they love the world, but they comfort themselves to say that at least they are unlike others who are greedy; or they have lustful thoughts, but they think at least they are not as bad as those who got into extramarital affairs; and so they feel their sins are not so serious. All these are dangerous thinking. We must not think that it is alright just because the sins committed are “small” or trivial, because sin can multiply easily and swiftly. If sins are not decisively eradicated, even small sins can soon turn into strongholds and completely stumble us.

 

The Bible has often warned us to be mindful not to let trivial problems escalate.

(Gal 5:9) “A little yeast works through the whole batch of dough.” (Songs 2:15) talks about “little foxes” that bring ruin: “Catch for us the foxes, the little foxes that ruin the vineyards, our vineyards that are in bloom.” These “little foxes” could be what we see as “small” sins such as a white lie, some “harmless” jokes, etc. However, if we do not deal decisively with small sins, they may lead to serious ruin later. Also, (Ecc 10:1) says, “As dead flies give perfume a bad smell, so a little folly outweighs wisdom and honor.” So a “little” folly can corrupt and render a good thing useless. And the Bible often associates “folly” with evil and contempt for God (cf. Ps 14:1; Isa 32:6). Lastly, (Jas 2:10) warns, “For whoever keeps the whole law and yet stumbles at just one point is guilty of breaking all of it.” So even if a person thinks he is generally “good” and has only sinned a “little”, he is still guilty. Thus, we see that the Bible constantly reminds us of the great damage little sins can do to us.

 

To a certain extent, “small” sins may be more dangerous than big sins.

1) Defining “small”.

The “small” here does not refer to a smaller or lighter penalty, because all sins, whether big or small, are offensive to God. Even if a person only committed a small sin, he will still face eternal judgment if he does not repent. Just as (Jas 2:10) tells us that keeping the whole law but breaking only one renders a person guilty as well. Thus, in God’s holy and righteous standards, the punishment for big and small sins is the same hell, unless a person is cleansed by the blood of Christ. However, the “small” here refers to sins which are deemed as trivial, unobvious, and not so serious in the eyes of man. But that is only small by human standards; yet what is small to man may not be trivial to God. For example, man often thinks that disliking someone is a small sin, only murder is a huge sin; and that having lustful thoughts is small sin but only adultery is a big sin, etc. Yet, God’s standards are very different (Mt 5:21-22, 27-28; 1 Jn 3:15).

 

2) “Small” sins are not easily detected.

On the contrary, big sins are obvious, they easily invite the condemnation of people, and their consequences are more direct and severe. Thus, people tend to be more mindful to stay away from big sins. However, small sins feel very “normal”, such that a person may not even realise that he is sinning. In fact, the best scheme of the devil is to lead someone to hell without any tell-tale signs at all, making a person unknowingly enslaved by sin.

 

3) “Small” sins are more easily tolerated.

Just now I mentioned that small sins are not easily detected, but even if found out, small sins are also more easily tolerated by people. So people often ignore small sins, finding excuses for them. For example, if a person blatantly steals, he will be taken to task and charged by the law; but if someone habitually gossips or spreads rumors, people tend not to have much drastic reactions. Yet, precisely because the guilt brought by small sins is very light, people have no qualms about repeating those sins. So we see that people very frequently and mindlessly commit little sins. Thus, small sins can multiply especially fast.

 

“Small” sins actually prime our hearts to commit big sins.

Often, a sin starts with a little thought, but with one more glance, one more touch, one more moment of lingering, it can quickly escalate to a real sinful action before we know it. And if being ignored, one act can turn into a series of actions, and a one-time sin can become a habitual one. Satan likes to desensitise us to “small” sins so as to embolden us to commit big sins. As we keep committing small sins, our spiritual conscience will grow numb and our will to resist sin will become weaker. We will slowly get used to sinning and tolerating those sins, even feeling comfortable to sin without any struggle. Then one day when a great temptation comes, we will not be able to withstand it. Small sins not only will cause us to fall big time in future, but they also harm us in the present. Because unresolved sins, no matter how small, will adversely affect our relationship with God, and make us lose the heart to pray; even if we pray, we also cannot get God’s answers. As a result, our spirit will grow colder and drier. So we must not be deceived, there is no such thing as “harmless sin”. All sins are evil.

 

If we do not deal with even the smallest sin in our lives, we cannot have spiritual growth and breakthrough.

A small sin is still a sin that has its consequences. Regardless of the magnitude of sin, the presence of sin means a person has disobeyed God. Every sin is a contempt toward God, and each sin causes a rift between man and God. Thus, if we do not repent from small sins, we cannot really enjoy true peace. The Bible tells us that sins will hinder God from hearing our prayers. (Isa 59:1-2) Surely the arm of the Lord is not too short to save, nor his ear too dull to hear. But your iniquities have separated you from your God; your sins have hidden his face from you, so that he will not hear. And if sins separate us from God who is the source of blessings, then how can we still be happy? Therefore, we must be sensitive to even the smallest sins in our lives, and once we discover them, we must not leave them alone. Instead, we must do all we can to eradicate them from our lives. In fact, through the Holy Spirit, God has already empowered us to reject sins. May we be willing to cooperate with the Holy Spirit to overcome the big and small sins in our lives!

Preacher Huijun
Preacher Huijun
huijun@lifechurchmissions.com

Huijun joined The Life Church and Missions (Singapore) as a preacher in 2012. She is effectively bilingual and preaches occasionally at the Chinese service. She graduated from Singapore Bible College and currently lives in Singapore with her husband, Chengji.

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