Can a single drop of cyanide poison the Great Lakes? Yet a single drop of tasty rebellion poisoned the whole sea of humanity. In all creation there was only one fruit that God forbid, and of that fruit Adam ate. Adam’s one defiant bite of food corrupted us all. “Through one man sin entered into the world, and death through sin, and so death spread to all men, because all sinned” (Rom. 5:12).
Wait! How can one little bite of a peach (to give the apple a rest) be all that bad? From one angle, look at what it produced. Adam’s first son, Cain, murdered his brother. That rebellious bite of fruit in very short order bore the heinous fruit of murder. The two may differ in degree, but not in kind; both are rebellion. Both are idolatry because they violate the first great commandment–love God with all your being. Therefore, both sins earn death, not just physical but also eternal separation from God.
Wait! How can one little bite of a fruit deserve eternal death?
I hope that we ask for understanding, not in indignation. After all, we are the created, not the Creator. Do creatures have the wisdom or the right to determine the degree of significance of one sin over another?
Not only are we created, we are fallen. Our thinking is distorted, flawed, not in perfect accord with reality (Is 55:8-9). We do not have the purity to evaluate righteously.
Being impure, how could we ever adequately pay for even one sin? All payment would be unacceptable, insufficient, even insulting–an offering to the Holy One of what is less than perfect.
Here is a most significant reason. One “small” sin is absolutely abominable because that sin expresses rebellion against an infinite God who is infinitely holy. It is not the particular sin but the one offended that determines the degree of awfulness. Insulting a king or president is taken far more seriously than insulting a John Doe Citizen. Since the smallest infraction violates God’s infinite holiness, it deserves an infinite punishment.
Then there is the price that God paid for the forgiveness of those who repent. Jesus, His only Son, He who is love, who is grace and truth, in whom are all the treasures of wisdom and knowledge, who never sinned even one time–He died as the perfect sacrifice to pay the penalty for those who trust Him. And we minimize our sins?
Our low view of sin is a terrible commentary on ourselves. Oh how we need to see our own sins as God does and take them more seriously!
But, God demonstrated His love toward us in that while we were enemies, Jesus died for us (Rom. 5:8). Pure, Jesus was a perfect sacrifice. With an infinite nature, He could make infinite payment.
Then He rose from the dead, having completed the payment. There is forgiveness through the Lord Jesus! God grants forgiveness not for our works but by His grace alone through faith alone in Christ alone (Eph. 2:8-9). If you haven’t already, please turn from your sins and pray to God for His mercy, that He might apply the payment of Christ to your account and save you from the eternal penalty. Trust Him to do so.
For the forgiven, there’s more! “If by the transgression of the one the many died, much more did the grace of God and the gift by the grace of the one Man, Jesus Christ, abound to the many” (Rom. 5:15). Jesus came to give “much more.” His work is not just about neutralizing the poison so we can go on as we were before. Rather, the Holy Spirit regenerates those who follow Christ, giving them a new nature. They can pursue righteousness out of a joyful desire to please the One who gave them life. If you have trusted in Christ alone for your salvation, put off sins and live for Him with fervor.
One tasty nibble corrupted everyone in the sea of humanity. But the blood of the One perfect Man cleanses and removes all stain of corruption. “The wages of sin is death but the gift of God is eternal life in Christ Jesus our Lord!” (Romans 6:23). Thanks be to God for His indescribable gift of Jesus Christ, the One powerful enough to redeem from the curse and produce in His followers life abundant!