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BECOME A MEMBER TODAY! JULY'S VERSE: "As far as the east is from the west, so far has he removed our transgressions from us.” — Psalm 103:12

Why Is Sin So Bad?

Sin Is Our Biggest Problem

by Glenna Marshall

“As far as the east is from the west, so far has he removed our transgressions from us. — Psalm 103:12

“I’ve never murdered anyone!”  

I don’t know about you, but this is the rebuttal I usually get when I talk to an unbeliever about sin. While Christians love the good news from our verse this month, “as far as the east is from the west, so far has he removed our transgressions from us,” it’s because we have come face to face with the weightiness of our sin. Those who have little knowledge of the Bible or Christian teaching, however, might struggle to grasp why Jesus had to die for their sins. 

No matter our background, though, we all live by some kind of moral code, and there are certain actions that are distinctly wrong to most people. It’s not lying or envy that separates the sheep from the goats in our minds. It’s the “big” sins like murder. But speeding in traffic? Cheating on your taxes? Snapping at your co-worker in anger? These aren’t such a big deal. We justify speeding, lying, or being short-tempered because we were tired, stressed, in a hurry. Surely these things aren’t on the same level as murder! 

We ALL Have a Sin Problem

What we fail to understand about sin is that it only takes one act of disobedience to make us guilty before our holy and perfect God. I remember the first time I understood that sin was my problem. I’d shoplifted a piece of candy from the grocery store, and even at the tender age of five, the guilt I felt for my theft burned in my heart until I confessed to my mom what I’d done. From then on, I realized that there was something in me that was broken, and I was unable to fix it. When I was older and began to understand and believe the good news of Jesus, I realized that the broken feelings sin had left in my heart were fractures in my relationship with God. My sin kept me from him.

Our Creator is so pure and other in his nature that no one can approach him or have a relationship while carrying the darkness of unforgiven and unrepentant sin. Because of Adam and Eve’s sin in the Garden of Eden in Genesis 3, we are all born with a bent to disobey God. “Behold, I was brought forth in iniquity, and in sin did my mother conceive me,” David wrote (Psalm 51:5 ESV). The Bible tells the truth about us: we all sin. “For all have sinned and fall short of the glory of God” (Romans 3:23 ESV). We miss the mark of God’s holiness. There’s a gap between him and us that must somehow be bridged if we are going to be made right before him. Our sin formed that gap. And it’s not just murder that qualifies as sin. 

Jesus knew we would measure our own sins against the sins of others. He knew we would try to make ourselves out to be better, somehow. Our litmus test might be murder, but his is perfection (see 1 Peter 1:15). Because he is more concerned about the true state of our hearts than we are, he explained that all sin makes us guilty, not just the “big” sins like murder or adultery. Using God’s law from the old covenant, Jesus revealed that all sin incurs judgment: “You have heard that it was said to those of old, ‘You shall not murder; and whoever murders will be liable to judgment.’ But I say to you that everyone who is angry with his brother will be liable to judgment; whoever insults his brother will be liable to the council; and whoever says, ‘You fool!’ will be liable to the hell of fire” (Matthew 5:21–22 ESV). He goes on to say the same thing about adultery and lust. To be guilty of anger is to be guilty of murder; to be guilty of lust is to be guilty of adultery. Sin makes us guilty, no matter how small our sins may appear in our estimation. This levels the playing field. We are all born sinners, not only those who have murdered (Psalm 58:3). We all sin. And it is against our sin that God’s wrath is coming (Colossians 3:6). 

The God Who Bridged the Gap

Sin is an offense to a sinless God. Sin is bad because it separates us from our Maker. Sin keeps our eyes on ourselves, filling us with darkness and pride. Sin robs us of joy, breaks our relationships, embitters our hearts, pollutes our minds. Sin makes us guilty before God and condemns us to hell—separated from him forever. Our hearts will only rest and find true lasting joy when our sin has been paid for and forgiven. 

God is holy, but he is also kind, and he has provided forgiveness for all our sins through Jesus who died in our place. God had always planned to send Jesus to pay for our sin at the cross (see Ephesians 1:4–10). He had always planned to forgive the sins of those who believed in Jesus for forgiveness. And God does forgive! Thoroughly and completely. “If we confess our sins, he is faithful and just to forgive us our sins and to cleanse us from all unrighteousness” (1 John 1:9). When we have believed that Jesus, the sinless Son of God, died to pay for our sins, then we receive the gift of his righteousness. When God looks at us, he no longer sees all the darkness of our sin and rebellion against him. Now, when he looks at us, he sees all the goodness of Jesus! 

The God Who Removes Our Sin

Sin is our biggest problem in this life, but once we have been forgiven through faith in Jesus, God removes the stain of our sin far from us. Our verse for this month rushes in with the best news possible: “As far as the east is from the west, so far has he removed our transgressions from us.” Think about how far the east is from the west geographically. It just keeps going on and on—it’s not something you can measure! The psalmist is underscoring how thoroughly God has forgiven you. All the things that kept you from God are now removed and the record of sin that stood against you has been canceled, paid in full by Jesus (see Colossians 2:13–14). 

Sin is bad because it wrecks our lives, offends God, and keeps us from having a relationship with him. Sin keeps us from spending eternity with God in heaven. Sin is the problem beneath all our problems. But God has stepped in, offered us a way out through faith in Christ, and has accepted Jesus’ sacrifice for our sins. When he looks at you, he no longer sees all those things that darkened your heart—no matter how big or small they seemed to you. He now sees the goodness of Jesus. 

Glenna Marshall

Glenna Marshall is married to her pastor, William, and is the mother of two sons. She has authored several books, including The Promise is His Presence, Everyday Faithfulness, and Memorizing Scripture. She has a B.A. in Creative Writing from Union University and travels the country teaching women to know God through Scripture. She and her family live in Sikeston, Missouri.

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