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Degrees of Sin

I would rather someone be angry with me than murder me, but that doesn't mean that anger isn't a sin. It is. Jesus did not teach that there are any unimportant sins. On the contrary. In the Sermon on the Mount Jesus went to the heart of overt sin-He showed that it began with an attitude that needed to be changed. For instance, He said: "You have heard that the ancients were told, 'You shall not commit murder' and 'Whoever commits murder shall be liable to the court.' [22] "But I say to you that everyone who is angry with his brother shall be guilty before the court; and whoever shall say to his brother, 'Raca,' shall be guilty before the supreme court; and whoever shall say, 'You fool,' shall be guilty enough to go into the fiery hell." (Matthew 5:21-22 NASB)

Anger is the seed of murder, it is where it begins. It isn't unimportant. By itself it is a terrible sin, but it has the capacity to become a worse sin, it can end in death.

Jesus also said, "You have heard that it was said, 'You shall not commit adultery'; [28] but I say to you, that everyone who looks on a woman to lust for her has committed adultery with her already in his heart. (Matthew 5:27-28 NASB)

Lust is the seed of adultery, it is where it begins. It isn't unimportant. By itself it is a terrible sin, but it has the capacity to become a worse sin, it can lead to adultery.

To Jesus, what is on the inside of a person is important. He is not saying that anger is just as bad of a sin as murder, or that lust is as bad of a sin as adultery. But He is saying that anger and lust are sins. And that a person who commits them is also a sinner just like someone who commits murder and adultery.

We're all sinners, whether the sin is great or small isn't the issue, it is that we've all sinned against a holy God. It wouldn't matter if we drowned in the ocean or in a bathtub, either way, we'd be dead. Whether our sin fills an ocean or a bathtub, we stand in need of God's grace.
 

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