There are rankings for everything it seems today. Top ten movies, songs, teams, players and the list goes on and on. However, it is not only the best that are ranked but now there is the bottom ten or whatever number people want to work with.
People in the church also do rankings and it normally applies to what sin is the worst. Murder used to top many lists, but now it might be politicians or homosexuality or abortion, but where did it all begin?
To begin to understand sin’s top ten or maybe even just one, let’s look at Genesis 1 and 2, which describe the beginning of human history in its perfect, uncorrupted state. There was nothing wrong with the world that God had made, and at this time there was nothing wrong with man for there was no sin.
“In the beginning, God created the heavens and the earth…And God saw everything that He had made, and behold, it was very good…” (Genesis 1:1, 31, ESV). In the second chapter of Genesis, God tells us with more specificity of the beginning of man and woman, how they fit together and what they were to do.
Then in Genesis 3, there is a dramatic change in the course of human history, and it’s not for the good. When God created the Garden of Eden, the humans He created were free to eat of every tree that had fruit except for one – read the words of Genesis 2:16-17, “And the LORD God commanded the man, saying, ‘You may surely eat of every tree of the garden, but of the tree of the knowledge of good and evil you shall not eat, for in the day you eat of it you shall surely die” (ESV).
There you go – everything was provided for them for their good and continued sustenance. The only thing they were not allowed to do is eat of one tree that was planted in the middle of the garden. We can infer from verse 17 that to eat of it would allow man or woman to know what good and evil was, which was not what God desired for His creation. However, it is only an inference and was not clearly spelled out for us. We know, however, that when a person comes to know God through His Son, Jesus, He is clearly only out for our good and not for us to trip up and sin against Him.
As you know, the woman was approached by a talking serpent and this is how that conversation went: “He said (the serpent) to the woman, ‘Did God actually say, you shall not eat of any tree in the garden?’ And the woman said to the serpent, ‘We may eat of the fruit of the trees in the garden, but God said, ‘You shall not eat of the fruit of the tree that is in the midst of the garden neither shall you touch it, lest you die. But the serpent said to the woman, ‘You will not surely die. For God knows that when you eat of it your eyes will be opened, and you will be like God, knowing good and evil.’ So when the woman saw that the tree was good for food, and that it was a delight to the eyes, and that the tree was to be desired to make one wise, she took of its fruit and ate, and she also gave some to her husband who was with her, and he ate” (Genesis 3:3-6, ESV).
There is much to be said here but not for this article. But two things must become evident to the reader – one, there were lies involved and two, there was disobedience. The serpent first lied to the woman about what God had said to her and then she added to God’s words in her reply to the serpent. It is dangerous to take away or add to God’s word, as can be seen in one of the earliest scenes in human history.
For the sin of disobedience, Adam and Eve were sent out of the Garden of Eden, never to return. After this one seemingly insignificant act of defiance, sin then explodes onto the scene in Genesis 4 when Cain murders his brother Abel in a jealous rage.
Then we arrive at Genesis 6:5, “The LORD saw that the wickedness of man was great in the earth, and that every intention of the thoughts of his heart was only evil continually.” After Cain killed Abel, God told Cain, “If you do well, will you not be accepted? And if you do not do well, sin is crouching at the door. Its desire is for you, but you must rule over it” (Genesis 4:7, ESV).
Sin is right at the door and it is ready to burst through and take dominion over every person. Sin is a harsh and heartless task master and will never relent in its assault. The only way it is defeated is when one comes to faith in Christ Jesus.
When one compares the “ranking” of sins today, “disobedience” does not seem to show up in the lists. But it was this one sin that erected a wall of separation between God and man. Man does not seek for God but only for self, self, self. We look at the world around us and we see Genesis 6:5 lived out in ultra-high definition.
In the New Testament book of Romans, Paul the apostle is speaking of different sins, yet he does not rank them. Sin is sin. Romans 1:18-32 refers to homosexuality as sin, but it does not rank it as worse than any other sin. Read what Paul wrote in Romans 1:28-32; “And since they did not see fit to acknowledge God, God gave them up to a debased (corrupt) mind to do what ought not to be done. They were filled with all manner of unrighteousness, evil, covetousness, malice. They are full of envy, murder, strife, deceit, maliciousness. They are gossips, slanderers, haters of God, insolent, haughty, boastful, inventors of evil, disobedient to parents, foolish, faithless, heartless, ruthless. Though they know God’s decree that those who practice such things deserve to die, they not only do them but give approval to those who practice them” (ESV).
There are more than ten sins and they are not ranked in the Bible and the eyes of God. It began with one act of disobedience which burst forth into a tsunami of sin. What can be done to stem the tide? To put an end to sin?
Glad you asked! Jesus Christ was sent to be the Savior of the world. “For God so loved the world that He gave His one and only Son, that whoever believes in Him will not perish, but have everlasting life” (John 3:16). To turn from sin is simple; turn to Jesus for salvation from sin. Believe in your heart that God raised Jesus from the dead and confess with your mouth that Jesus is Lord and you will be saved. It’s not rocket science. To be sinless in the eyes of God, obey His Word, receive His Son, and lay your sinful nature at the feet of the cross. When one turns to Jesus for salvation, God sees them as He sees His Son – perfect.
Wouldn’t you like to be seen by God like that? You can today by turning from your sin to Jesus and you will be saved forever!