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What is the greatest sin?

All sin is evil, and many would agree that some sins are worse than others. In the eyes of most people, stealing a pen from work is not as bad a thing to do as murder or rape. Some churches teach that there are 'major' sins and 'minor' sins. I do believe that not all sins carry the same consequences down the road. I do agree that the temptation to list one sin above all others is strong and possibly even scriptural. In other words, does God hold one sin as worse than all the others? If so, what is it?

Let's assume for the sake of argument, that there is one, "unforgivable" sin. Whatever the sin is called, it has not changed over the years. In other words, the greatest sin described in the Old Testament will be the same greatest sin described in the New Testament.

The sin would be described in three separate places:
a. The Old Testament, as part of the commandments given through Moses. Here, the message is being given to a people that have just been persecuted for their culture for decades, and have now been set free. The freedom comes with a label "God's People" and with a set of rules to follow.
b. The New Testament, as given by Jesus to his apostles. Here His message is being given to those Jews that have chosen to believe that He, Jesus, is their Messiah. At this point, Jesus was not talking to those outside the group known as "God's People".
c. In Revelations, as given by Jesus in a vision to the seven churches. Again, He is talking to those that have chosen to accept Him as the Jewish Messiah, and have also accepted that He is their own personal Messiah in the same way.

Using the point above, one can view this ' greatest' or 'worst' sin from the three views given of it. Getting three different answers negates none of them. Without looking at all three descriptions, one doesn't have enough information to properly decipher the sin. Like looking at a three-dimensional object drawn on paper, if you view it from only one side, your view is potentially very inaccurate. One must look at it from multiple sides to determine it's true shape. In fact you can get a more in-depth view of this concept by reading my analogy "The One True Shape".

Let's look at each of those three view points to see what each one reveals, shall we?

Old Testament

(Exodus 20:1-17 NKJV) "And God spoke all these words, saying: "I am the LORD your God, who brought you out of the land of Egypt, out of the house of bondage.

1. "You shall have no other gods before Me."
2. "You shall not make for yourself a carved image, or any likeness of anything that is in heaven above, or that is in the earth beneath, or that is in the water under the earth; you shall not bow down to them nor serve them. For I, the LORD your God, am a jealous God, visiting the iniquity of the fathers on the children to the third and fourth generations of those who hate Me, but showing mercy to thousands, to those who love Me and keep My commandments."
3. "You shall not take the name of the LORD your God in vain, for the LORD will not hold him guiltless who takes His name in vain."
4. "Remember the Sabbath day, to keep it holy. Six days you shall labor and do all your work, but the seventh day is the Sabbath of the LORD your God. In it you shall do no work: you, nor your son, nor your daughter, nor your male servant, nor your female servant, nor your cattle, nor your stranger who is within your gates. For in six days the LORD made the heavens and the earth, the sea, and all that is in them, and rested the seventh day. Therefore the LORD blessed the Sabbath day and hallowed it."
5. "Honor your father and your mother, that your days may be long upon the land which the LORD your God is giving you."
6. "You shall not murder."
7. "You shall not commit adultery."
8. "You shall not steal."
9. "You shall not bear false witness against your neighbor."
10. "You shall not covet your neighbor's house; you shall not covet your neighbor's wife, nor his male servant, nor his female servant, nor his ox, nor his donkey, nor anything that is your neighbor's."

Note that as the Ten Commandments are given, that only one has a positive re-enforcer attached (number 5, about our parents) and two have a negative re-enforcer (numbers 2 and 3, about idols and taking His name in vain) (For an in-depth look into the 3rd commandment, read my article entitled: "What does it mean?")

Could it be that God emphasized those commandments by adding those re-enforcers? I believe so. Before analyzing these further, let's look at our next set of commandments.

New Testament (Before Jesus ascended)

(Matthew 19:19 NKJV) "'Honor your father and your mother,' and, 'You shall love your neighbor as yourself.'""

(Matthew 22:39 NKJV) ""And the second is like it: 'You shall love your neighbor as yourself.'"

(Mark 12:31 NKJV) ""And the second, like it, is this: 'You shall love your neighbor as yourself.' There is no other commandment greater than these.""

(Luke 10:27 NKJV) "So he answered and said, " 'You shall love the LORD your God with all your heart, with all your soul, with all your strength, and with all your mind,' and 'your neighbor as yourself.'""

(Romans 13:9 NKJV) "For the commandments, "You shall not commit adultery," "You shall not murder," "You shall not steal," "You shall not bear false witness," "You shall not covet," and if there is any other commandment, are all summed up in this saying, namely, "You shall love your neighbor as yourself.""

(Galatians 5:14 NKJV) "For all the law is fulfilled in one word, even in this: "You shall love your neighbor as yourself.""

(James 2:8 NKJV) "If you really fulfill the royal law according to the Scripture, "You shall love your neighbor as yourself," you do well;"

(Matthew 12:31-32 NKJV) ""Therefore I say to you, every sin and blasphemy will be forgiven men, but the blasphemy against the Spirit will not be forgiven men. "Anyone who speaks a word against the Son of Man, it will be forgiven him; but whoever speaks against the Holy Spirit, it will not be forgiven him, either in this age or in the age to come."

(Mark 3:29 NKJV) ""But he who blasphemes against the Holy Spirit never has forgiveness, but is subject to eternal condemnation";"

(Luke 12:10 NKJV) ""And anyone who speaks a word against the Son of Man, it will be forgiven him; but to him who blasphemes against the Holy Spirit, it will not be forgiven."

Basically, I see two things here. One talks about 'loving our neighbor as we love ourselves' and the other is to not 'blaspheme the Holy Spirit'. At times I get the impression that these are two ways of saying the same thing, but before we go deeper into this, let's see what is told to the churches several decades later.

New Testament (After Jesus ascended)

(Revelation 2 NKJV) ""To the angel of the church of Ephesus write, 'These things says He who holds the seven stars in His right hand, who walks in the midst of the seven golden lampstands: {2} "I know your works, your labor, your patience, and that you cannot bear those who are evil. And you have tested those who say they are apostles and are not, and have found them liars; {3} "and you have persevered and have patience, and have labored for My name's sake and have not become weary. {4} "Nevertheless I have this against you, that you have left your first love. {5} "Remember therefore from where you have fallen; repent and do the first works, or else I will come to you quickly and remove your lampstand from its place; unless you repent. {6} "But this you have, that you hate the deeds of the Nicolaitans, which I also hate. {7} "He who has an ear, let him hear what the Spirit says to the churches. To him who overcomes I will give to eat from the tree of life, which is in the midst of the Paradise of God."' {8} "And to the angel of the church in Smyrna write, 'These things says the First and the Last, who was dead, and came to life: {9} "I know your works, tribulation, and poverty (but you are rich); and I know the blasphemy of those who say they are Jews and are not, but are a synagogue of Satan. {10} "Do not fear any of those things which you are about to suffer. Indeed, the devil is about to throw some of you into prison, that you may be tested, and you will have tribulation ten days. Be faithful until death, and I will give you the crown of life. {11} "He who has an ear, let him hear what the Spirit says to the churches. He who overcomes shall not be hurt by the second death."' {12} "And to the angel of the church in Pergamos write, 'These things says He who has the sharp two-edged sword: {13} "I know your works, and where you dwell, where Satan's throne is. And you hold fast to My name, and did not deny My faith even in the days in which Antipas was My faithful martyr, who was killed among you, where Satan dwells. {14} "But I have a few things against you, because you have there those who hold the doctrine of Balaam, who taught Balak to put a stumbling block before the children of Israel, to eat things sacrificed to idols, and to commit sexual immorality. {15} "Thus you also have those who hold the doctrine of the Nicolaitans, which thing I hate. {16} 'Repent, or else I will come to you quickly and will fight against them with the sword of My mouth. {17} "He who has an ear, let him hear what the Spirit says to the churches. To him who overcomes I will give some of the hidden manna to eat. And I will give him a white stone, and on the stone a new name written which no one knows except him who receives it."' {18} "And to the angel of the church in Thyatira write, 'These things says the Son of God, who has eyes like a flame of fire, and His feet like fine brass: {19} "I know your works, love, service, faith, and your patience; and as for your works, the last are more than the first. {20} "Nevertheless I have a few things against you, because you allow that woman Jezebel, who calls herself a prophetess, to teach and seduce My servants to commit sexual immorality and eat things sacrificed to idols. {21} "And I gave her time to repent of her sexual immorality, and she did not repent. {22} "Indeed I will cast her into a sickbed, and those who commit adultery with her into great tribulation, unless they repent of their deeds. {23} "I will kill her children with death, and all the churches shall know that I am He who searches the minds and hearts. And I will give to each one of you according to your works. {24} "Now to you I say, and to the rest in Thyatira, as many as do not have this doctrine, who have not known the depths of Satan, as they say, I will put on you no other burden. {25} "But hold fast what you have till I come. {26} "And he who overcomes, and keeps My works until the end, to him I will give power over the nations; {27} 'He shall rule them with a rod of iron; They shall be dashed to pieces like the potter's vessels'; as I also have received from My Father; {28} "and I will give him the morning star. {29} "He who has an ear, let him hear what the Spirit says to the churches."'"

(Revelation 3 NKJV) ""And to the angel of the church in Sardis write, 'These things says He who has the seven Spirits of God and the seven stars: "I know your works, that you have a name that you are alive, but you are dead. {2} "Be watchful, and strengthen the things which remain, that are ready to die, for I have not found your works perfect before God. {3} "Remember therefore how you have received and heard; hold fast and repent. Therefore if you will not watch, I will come upon you as a thief, and you will not know what hour I will come upon you. {4} "You have a few names even in Sardis who have not defiled their garments; and they shall walk with Me in white, for they are worthy. {5} "He who overcomes shall be clothed in white garments, and I will not blot out his name from the Book of Life; but I will confess his name before My Father and before His angels. {6} "He who has an ear, let him hear what the Spirit says to the churches."' {7} "And to the angel of the church in Philadelphia write, 'These things says He who is holy, He who is true, "He who has the key of David, He who opens and no one shuts, and shuts and no one opens": {8} "I know your works. See, I have set before you an open door, and no one can shut it; for you have a little strength, have kept My word, and have not denied My name. {9} "Indeed I will make those of the synagogue of Satan, who say they are Jews and are not, but lie; indeed I will make them come and worship before your feet, and to know that I have loved you. {10} "Because you have kept My command to persevere, I also will keep you from the hour of trial which shall come upon the whole world, to test those who dwell on the earth. {11} "Behold, I am coming quickly! Hold fast what you have, that no one may take your crown. {12} "He who overcomes, I will make him a pillar in the temple of My God, and he shall go out no more. And I will write on him the name of My God and the name of the city of My God, the New Jerusalem, which comes down out of heaven from My God. And I will write on him My new name. {13} "He who has an ear, let him hear what the Spirit says to the churches."' {14} "And to the angel of the church of the Laodiceans write, 'These things says the Amen, the Faithful and True Witness, the Beginning of the creation of God: {15} "I know your works, that you are neither cold nor hot. I could wish you were cold or hot. {16} "So then, because you are lukewarm, and neither cold nor hot, I will vomit you out of My mouth. {17} "Because you say, 'I am rich, have become wealthy, and have need of nothing'; and do not know that you are wretched, miserable, poor, blind, and naked; {18} "I counsel you to buy from Me gold refined in the fire, that you may be rich; and white garments, that you may be clothed, that the shame of your nakedness may not be revealed; and anoint your eyes with eye salve, that you may see. {19} "As many as I love, I rebuke and chasten. Therefore be zealous and repent. {20} "Behold, I stand at the door and knock. If anyone hears My voice and opens the door, I will come in to him and dine with him, and he with Me. {21} "To him who overcomes I will grant to sit with Me on My throne, as I also overcame and sat down with My Father on His throne. {22} "He who has an ear, let him hear what the Spirit says to the churches."'

So, what does that mean to us. What did each side of the coin say?

Old Testament: God is #1 in your life or else. Also, don't claim to be 'of God' and act like you aren't.

New Testament: - Love your neighbor as yourself, and don't blaspheme the Spirit.

Revelations: - Don't leave your first love, nor be lukewarm about your relationship with God.


How do we mix this together, to have it say one thing, without compromising any of the three? Three? I see SIX things up there, don't you? We actually had two major issues in each part! Instead of three ways of looking at this peak, we have six.

Two of these mention love, as in not leaving the 1st love and loving our neighbor.
One of these mentions that God must have top priority in our life, another mentions that we should not blaspheme the Spirit.
Two of these mention our relationship with God, not being lukewarm nor behaving like we don't really belong to God.

Since I offer that these six are different ways of saying the same thing, I must find a way that they blend into one. I believe that I have found that one thing. It is this: refusing God's forgiveness for our sins.

From the Hebrew point of view: Only God can forgive sins, and if we refuse this gift, we are also saying that God is not that important to us, nor is He really the Creator He claims to be. We reject God when we reject God's forgiveness.

From the Christian point of view: Since Jesus paid the price for the forgiveness, by rejecting Him we also reject the forgiveness offered. If you think God is still out to get you, of course you are not passionate about Him. You can easily become lukewarm if you won't go near the fire!

From both: If you don't accept your own forgiveness, how can you truly forgive another? Not another that you love and adore, but the one that is near you, your neighbor? To love your neighbor as yourself, and to keep that relationship going as much as you can, at least in part means to accept them as they are and forgive them. It means accepting that it has already been done for you AND them by God, too.

Can you say you are one of God's people if you deny the fact that God has forgiven your sins? Can you stay neutral toward God if God has done that much for you, personally? Can you accept the fact that God has accepted you totally, just as you are, because you are forgiven?

Can you accept the fact that you are totally forgiven of all your stupidity and errors and sins? Do you reject being forgiven? Do you reject the forgiveness of God? Are you convinced that God doesn't even exist? Do you want to hold on to what you want to believe instead of the truth? If so, you may not have a life after this one! (As I understand it.)