Jim Wilson is the retired director of Community Christian Ministries in Moscow, Idaho. He will be posting regularly, so check back in soon!

Wednesday, March 22, 2017

Little Sins & Big Sins

Have you ever wondered how men who have been Christians a long time or who are leaders in the church of Jesus Christ have fallen into sexual immorality or divorce, or have been dishonest or unethical in conduct? One answer Christians have given me is that these leaders are special targets of the Enemy because they are so greatly used.

I have difficulty with this answer (although it is possible) because of the statements in 1 Corinthians 10: “So if you think you are standing firm, be careful that you don’t fall! No temptation has seized you except what is common to man. And God is faithful; he will not let you be tempted beyond what you can bear. But when you are tempted, he will also provide a way out so that you can stand up under it” (1 Cor. 10:12-13).

In this passage, there are statements about man, temptation, and God. If a man sins, it is not because of the greatness of the temptation; the temptation is common. Nor is his sin caused by God’s unfaithfulness; God is faithful. Why does man sin? He thinks he is strong. He is not careful. He is caught off guard and sins.

I believe this is true with the little sins as well as the big ones. However, the little sins precede the big ones. “Whoever can be trusted with very little can be trusted with much, and whoever is dishonest with very little will also be dishonest with much” (Luke 16:10). Jesus makes it clear that the test for trust in big things is an observation of trust or dishonesty in little things.

We see the same sort of progression in Psalm 19:13. “Keep your servant also from willful sins; may they not rule over me. Then I will be blameless, innocent of great transgression.” Innocence is guaranteed by two prior victories: first, being kept from willful sins by God and, second, not being controlled by willful sins.

We do not need to watch out for the big temptations or the big sins. If we are kept by God from willful sins, we will not have to be worried about big ones. The pastor or Christian leader who falls to big temptations has already fallen to many little ones. He has not confessed the little sins. If he had, the big sin would not have happened.

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