The Relativity of Sin
Text: Jas. 2: 9-13
Keywords: same/consistent one and all
Proposition: We need to see sin as God sees sin. By doing this, we can steer clear of the trap of Legalism.
Objective: For us to see that the playing field is level. Sin is sin.
A. Have you ever considered the neighbors sins keep in the scriptures?
1. vs. 9 of the text favoritism, adultery, murder
a.I Cor. 6: 9-10 covetousness, stealing, effeminates
b.Gal. 5: 19-21 quarrelling, envy, strife (murder & adultery)
c.Eph. 4: 19 greediness, lasciviousness
d.Eph. 5: 3-5 foolish talking, jesting, fornicators
e.Rev. 21: 8 fearful, liars, murderers
2. No one guilty of these has an inheritance in the kingdom of heaven; at the end of each list the bible tells us so.
B. The law (N.T. law) convinces us. Convince = rebuke It renders us guilty and unable to redeem ourselves under the law. What do we do?
1. Hope we die with a prayer on our lips? Or…
2. Do we accept and teach the recurring theme of grace and mercy the latter part portion of this passage undeniably addresses along with others like Matt. 7: 1ff? We must, if the struggling Christian
is to find any hope.
3. If we could ever get over the fear of preaching real grace, we might begin to make headway with many legalistic brethren.
a.Maybe we could make them see the vicious circle they place themselves in and those they impose their ideals upon. Mt. 23: 3-4 & 15
b.Maybe we could make them realize that they paint themselves into corners and leave themselves no scriptural way out and paint themselves as believing their sins aren’t as bad as others.
II. Body “We are all the same, SINNERS and sin is sin!
A. Vs. 10-11
1. There are no “big” and “little” sins
b.Sin is transgression of the law. I Jo. 3: 4
c.God is no respecter of persons. Acts 10: 34 ff
1.)The gospel is for all sinners.
2.)I Jo 2: 2 (Read)
3.)I believe God loves the Adulterer as much as He does the “white liar”, the legalist in denial, and the self righteous Hypocrite and He forgives the adulterer just like He does the person who over indulges at Shoney’s every Sunday morning after services or the compulsive liar or alcoholic who is struggling with his imperfections and dedication to the Lord.
4.) The text tells me that God is no respecter of sinners either.
2. I believe it behooves us to try and see sin as God sees it.
a.There are no degrees of sin.
b.If we look at sin through our eyes and not God’s, we might use earthly consequences to rank sin.
c.This verse tells us that God has leveled the playing field.
1.)God did not stack sin so that when Jesus died it fell in a neat stack and left some not as forgiven as others; Christ’s resurrection had a domino effect; it knocked them ALL down!
2.)Visit a Rehab Center and it won’t take long to see that sin is relative! The sex addict is just as overcome with sex as the depressed is with depression, the alcoholic is with liquor and the food oriented addict is with bulimia, obesity, or anorexia. These people understand the common struggle of unrelated struggles.
d.There is no way to overemphasis the importance of understanding how God sees sin.
3. We cannot know the hearts of men. We cannot know what they are thinking and henceforth we cannot judge another simply on his actions. Remember what Paul said, “That which I would do, I do not; and that which I would not do, that I do.” We would never judge Paul and he admitted he was a sinner; so why are we so quick to judge the actions and intents of others?
a.Do we unconsciously expect others to be perfect but excuse ourselves from our sins because our sins aren’t that bad? Is the answer for them, according to us simply “Quit”?
b.We don’t know the intents of anyone’s heart.
B. Vs. 12
1. The idea here is to live as if the judgment were in the very near future.
a.A Christian should strive to sin less, not to become sinless, in this world because sinlessness, in this world, is impossible.
1.) Phil. 3: 13-15 (Read)
2.) I Jo. 1: 8 “If we say that we have no sin, we deceive ourselves and the truth is not in us.”
b.Love should drive us more than fear: Making the bed for Grandma vs. Mom. Mom made us so we did it but resented it; we did it for Grandma because we loved her, not that we didn’t love our moms, it’s just that Grandma didn’t make us and praised us for doing it.
C. Vs. 13: Mercy saves us, not the law. Refer back to vs. 9 in the text.
1. The N.T. law is a set of ideals that no one can live up to by himself.
a.If we could, Christ died in vain.
b.Mic. 7: 18 God delights in showing mercy. Why do we want to stand in the way of God’s happiness?
c.Grace is God’s way of showing mercy.
1.) We should not abuse God’s grace. Rom. 6: 1
2.) We should humbly accept it ourselves and pray that others receive it also.
d.I Jo. 1: 7-10 - The blood of Christ is the gift that keeps on giving. It is continual.
2. Many dance around this vs. just as they do Matt. 7: 1 ff.
a.You can hide behind the idea of fruit inspection and individual verses without addressing the whole nature of God and find yourself painted into the same corner the Legalist resides in.
b.Every time you point a finger at someone else you have three pointing back at you.
c.Hate my sin but don’t hate me! Damn my sin but pray God’s grace be upon me.
d.Failure to understand this most assuredly will result in our eternal damnation. Whoa!
A. What do I carry with me from this lesson?
1. There is no sin that we can take to judgment that will be excused.
a.Earthly consequences may vary but heavenly consequences will not. Some debate the degrees of eternal reward and punishment. I see the best part of Hell still being Hell and the fartherest corner of heaven still being heaven!
b.We all are going to carry sin to the grave. The sting of death is sin. Being unsure adds to the sting!
c.If we are all in the same sinking boat, then maybe we ought to:
1.) encourage those who are paddling beside us “Bear ye oneone another’s burdens,” don’t add to them.
2.) paddle harder ourselves and stop comparing sins and telling others how easy it is for THEM to stop sinning.
2. Heb. 13: 8 Jesus is consistent in His dealings and pleadings for all who confess His name and strive to be Christians, no matter the individual struggle.
B. Ez. 33: 11 “God does not delight in the death of the wicked.”
C. Don’t patronize sinners by saying I understand, when (in your heart) you condemn them.
1. Rom. 2: 16 God will judge secrets of the heart. This is the time that we better realize that it’s our hearts that will be judged and the other persons actions won’t matter!
2. We better all pray for mercy for us all. If you deem one struggling person unworthy of grace, God has already deemed you unworthy.
3. God’s judgment is righteous, just and final, you or I may be wrong.
WRONG AT THE EXPENSE OF OUR OWN SOULS!