Why is sin so serious?

Last updated on February 13, 2024

How can you fight against sin?

“I’ve committed a sin, and I know I should stop it. But I still want to do it again. What can I do? How can I solve this problem?”

We need to grasp that sin isn’t fundamentally a private thing that only affects me, but that sin is abhorrent in God’s sight since God is a holy God, and that sin will also have consequences for us and our relationships.

Disobedient and rebellious

Sin is first and foremost disobedience and rebellion against God. It is very striking that after David has committed adultery with Bathsheba and murdered Uriah her husband (2 Samuel 11), that he says in Psalm 51:4: “Against you [God], you only, have I sinned.” How can David say that he has only sinned against God? Surely, he’s sinned against Bathsheba (in committing adultery with her and in murdering her husband)?

The answer is that while sin is horizontal (it is against other people), it is always firstly, and most seriously, vertical. Sin is rebellion against God.

Why is sin against God so serious?

So why is sin against God so serious? The answer is that God is Holy – he is pure, righteous, and cannot tolerate sin, or even the presence of sin. If a sinful person enters into God’s presence, that person is consumed by God in his holiness. This is what happened in 2 Samuel 6:6-7 when Uzzah touched the ark of God that nobody was allowed to touch:

“And when they came to the threshing floor of Nacon, Uzzah put out his hand to the ark of God and took hold of it, for the oxen stumbled. And the anger of the LORD was kindled against Uzzah, and God struck him down there because of his error, and he died there beside the ark of God.”

Often our problem with sin is that we don’t see sin as serious at all. But it is serious, very serious, as we can see here. Sin is so serious that it means we cannot know God, or be with him; we will be destroyed in the presence of our Holy God because of our sin. Can I suggest you meditate on this passage from 2 Samuel 6, and also Isaiah 6:1-7 (note particularly Isaiah’s response in having seen God in verse 5)?

The reason Jesus had to die

This is why Jesus had to die. Where there is sin, there must be death to pay for that sin (cf. Genesis 2:17, Romans 6:23; Leviticus 17:11); either the death of the person who has sinned or of a substitute (Leviticus 4; Isaiah 53). Jesus died on the cross as our substitute (1 Peter 2:24; 3:18). For the Christian, Jesus’ death means that we don’t have to die for our sins anymore.

When Jesus died on the cross, He bore God’s anger and judgment for each of your sins. Think of Jesus’ anguish as He died on the cross, as He faced God’s wrath at your sins and mine (Matthew 26:36-42; 27:45-46). Every sin we commit, Jesus paid for. Therefore, do we want to be adding to Jesus’ sufferings by willfully sinning in our lives today? By no means.

In conclusion, reflect and meditate on the passages I’ve mentioned. Pray that God will help you to see how serious sin is, and that you’ll begin to hate it as God himself hates it. Long to grow in holiness, for “without holiness no one will see the Lord” (Hebrews 12:14).

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