In 1977 Wadi Haddad, a mastermind of terrorist hijackings, mysteriously died. According to Saul David in Operation Thunderbolt (and other sources) he ate some chocolates coated with an undetectable, slow-acting poison. A few weeks afterward he began to lose weight. His immune system failed and he died. The death process had actually begun months earlier. What a devastating result from a bite of chocolate!
Just One Bite
So also, for death to enter humanity by the poison of sin all it took was one bite. God had commanded Adam not to eat the fruit of a specific tree or he would die. Whether or not Adam ate the whole fruit, the first bite crossed the line. Romans 5:16 says that “the judgment arose from one transgression, resulting in condemnation.” That day Adam died spiritually even though the poison of sin took many years to kill him physically. Unless there was a way of redemption from the penalty, the ultimate death is eternity in hell. What devastating consequences from a bite of fruit!
Isn’t this a bit over the top? Why would one little bite of a fruit condemn a man for eternity? The reason I ask this question at all is because I don’t comprehend the sinfulness of sin. I don’t comprehend the sinfulness of sin because I don’t comprehend the holiness of God. Then, neither do I truly understand the value of the grace of God. I suspect I am not alone in this.
Offense Against Holiness
Romans 6:23 says, “For the wages of sin is death.” The horrendous consequences of such a “little” sin ought to increase our realization of the holiness of God.
One sin blemished the holy work of God. God made Adam to bear His image perfectly and one sin tainted the whole image. Sin is so vile that it corrupted man’s desires, thoughts, conscience, intentions, attitudes, words, and behaviors. He could never again do anything in total purity of heart. Adam passed the same corruption to his children. “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). Billions of humans–every human in history but One–were corrupted by just one bite!
One sin is rebellion against the Holy Ruler. Even one sin says, “God, I want my way and I reject Your right to determine the rules.” Yet all Adam did was eat, and of a health food, too. That eternal condemnation resulted from the most mundane of actions with something good makes the vital issue clear. No sin is insignificant because the issue is that God is King and we reject His rule. Treason!
One sin attempts to destroy Holy God. Since God rules despite our rejection, He stands in the way of our autonomy, and so we would get rid of Him if we could. Indeed, we acted on that intent. When Jesus came to earth in human flesh He, as God, demanded worship and obedience. Mankind crucified Jesus to get rid of Him and be free of His demands. The crucifixion of Jesus can be traced back to just one bite.
One sin redefines what is good and holy. When we do what we want regardless of God, we demonstrate belief that what we want is good and right. We reject what God has said to be good and right. We declare holy what God declares wicked.
One sin violates infinite holiness. In determining the extremity of the sentence against sin the issue isn’t the type or size or intensity or extent or duration of the sin. The issue is the holiness and infinitude of God. Even one sin is infinitely offensive because it is made against an infinitely holy God, and so it deserves infinite punishment.
If “the wages of sin is death” how great must be the holiness of God.
Wonder at Grace
And if even one sin is so wicked and people have done far more than one sin, how great must be the grace of God because He has made the way for forgiveness. It is just one way, and it is God’s way and not ours, and it is a glorious way.
“The wages of sin is death, but the gift of God is eternal life through Jesus Christ our Lord” (Rom. 6:23).
While just one bite resulted in condemnation to all and completely incapacitated all men from saving themselves, just one payment is acceptable to God–a perfect sacrifice. Only God could provide a perfect sacrifice, so it was a gift. It was promised to Adam in the Seed of the woman (Gen. 3:15). It was given in Christ, the Seed–“He, having offered one sacrifice for sins for all time, sat down at the right hand of God” (Heb. 10:12).
How great His grace! “If by the transgression of the one, death reigned through the one, much more those who receive the abundance of grace and of the gift of righteousness will reign through the one, Jesus Christ” (Rom. 5:17, emphasis added).
Lord, teach us to see how evil is just one sin. Teach us to delight in Your holiness and grace. Teach us to rejoice in Christ the Savior!