Just How BIG is One little Sin?

Facts About One Little Sin

 One Sin Makes One a Sinner

The Law of Moses states, “If a man strikes someone with an iron object so that he dies, he is a murderer; the murderer shall be put to death” (Num 35:16) A single act of murder makes a person a murderer. Again, “if a man commits adultery with another man’s wife – with the wife of his neighbor – both the adulterer and the adulteress must be put to death” (Lev 20:10). How many times? Just once is enough to be guilty of adultery. Likewise, “just one little sin” makes one a sinner. “For whoever shall keep the whole law, and yet stumble in one point, he is guilty of all” (James. 2:10). A criminal does not need to break all the laws in order to find himself in jail, one violation can lead to punishment.

 One Sin Cannot Be Nullified by Good Deeds

Let us say a man murders one person, but later saves the lives of 2000 on a ship. Does the man’s saving of many absolve him of the one murder? One is not saved from sin based upon whether his good deeds outnumber his bad deeds. One is saved by grace through faith (Eph. 2:8-10).

 One Sin Brings Judgment

Paul wrote, “for we must all appear before the judgment seat of Christ, that each one may receive the things done in the body, according to what he has done, whether good or bad” (2 Cor. 5:10). And Jesus said, “but I say to you that for every idle word men may speak, they will give account of it in the day of judgment. For by your words you will be justified, and by your words you will be condemned” (Matt. 12:36,37). Not only will a man be judged for every sinful deed and every evil word, but even for every little ungodly thought. Again Jesus said, “but I say to you that whoever looks at a woman to lust for her has already committed adultery with her in his heart” (Matt. 5:22).

 One Little Sin is Serious

One little sin is serious because every single sin brings death or separation from God. “Then, when desire has conceived, it gives birth to sin; and sin, when it is full-grown, brings forth death” (James 1:15). Some will argue, “God will not damn a soul to hell for just one little drink.” He kicked Adam and Eve out of the Garden for just one little bite. Sin, big or small, few or many, still offends God who is Holy. The actions of one man can lead to the downfall of many. “For the Lord brought Judah low because of Ahaz king of Israel, for he had encouraged moral decline in Judah and had been continually unfaithful to the Lord” (2 Chr. 28:19).

Once a sailor was cleaning the ship compass. The tip of the blade broke off and fell into the case. He thought it was just a small piece and would not make a difference. That piece of metal influenced the compass which was used to set the course of the ship and caused it crash into the rocks at the cost of many lives. Sin can shipwreck the faith of many.

 One Little Sin is to Be Avoided

John wrote his epistle to the saints, “that you may not sin” (1 Jn. 2:1). “The aorist, or point, tense in `that ye may not sin’ shows that each act of sin is to be avoided” (W. E. Vine, The Epistles of John, p. 20). Sin is serious enough it must be avoided. We are to “abhor what is evil. Cling to what is good” (Rom. 12:9). It is our duty to “test all things; hold fast what is good. Abstain from every form of evil” (1 Thessalonians 5:21,22).

Proper Response to Little Sins

▸ Reject the Easy Way Out

Perhaps some are motivated to commit just one little sin and minimize its consequences, because they are looking for a easy way out of a situation. Suppose they are at a party. Instead of just saying “no” to drugs or alcohol, it is easier to give into peer pressure. Instead of getting up and going to church, it is easy to pass off one’s laziness by telling yourself that God will not miss you at worship services or Bible Study.
If anyone had a good excuse to take the easy way out of a tough situation, it would have been Daniel’s three friends Shadrach, Meshach, and Abed-Nego. King Nebuchadnezzar had built a large image of gold and commanded all to bow down in worship when the music began. Daniel’s friends refused. The king gave these three a second chance to avoid being burned alive. They would not yield to the pressure, “but answered and said to the king, “O Nebuchadnezzar, we have no need to answer you in this matter. If that is the case, our God whom we serve is able to deliver us from the burning fiery furnace, and He will deliver us from your hand, O king. But if not, let it be known to you, O king, that we do not serve your gods, nor will we worship the gold image which you have set up” (Dan. 3:16-18). Would you commit one little sin of idolatry to avoid a “burning fiery furnace?”

▸ Remember, the Real Issue is Relationship

The real question is not whether we will go to hell for just “a one night stand,” but whether we love our spouse and our God who created marriage. The real question is not whether we will go to hell for just one little white lie, but whether we love the truth. The real question is not whether we will go to hell for just one little sin, but whether we love God. “For this is the love of God, that we keep His commandments. And His commandments are not burdensome” (1 John 5:3).

▸ Repent and Be Reconciled

Brother, you are guilty of “just one little sin”: you are a sinner; you stand condemned for that sin before God and you need to confess and repent of that sin. If sin stains your soul, apply the remedy instead of looking for an excuse. To have forgiveness for that “one little sin” through the blood of Christ, we must confess our sins and comply with the conditions of pardon. “If we say that we have no sin, we deceive ourselves, and the truth is not in us. If we confess our sins, He is faithful and just to forgive us our sins and to cleanse us from all unrighteousness” (1 John 1:8,9).

So, will God condemn a sinner for just that one little sin he commits? What if he commits this sin just moments before he dies and is not given a chance to repent? “The Lord is not slack concerning His promise, as some count slackness, but is longsuffering toward us, not willing that any should perish but that all should come to repentance” (2 Peter 3:9). Do you really think God wants a person to lose their soul? He wants to give every sinner a chance to repent.

▸ Redemption For All

Jesus came down from Heaven to save sinners. He had to live a sinless life. If He committed just one sin He could not have died for our sins. He could only have died because of His sin. When Jesus was tempted by Satan He did not rationalize and give into sin by saying: “Well, it is just one little stone turned into a piece of bread” or “what is one little jump off the Temple” or “just one time I can bow to Satan and have all the kingdoms of the world.” Jesus did not believe in one little sin. If he had committed just one little sin, you and I would still be in our sins and so would everyone else to this very day.


There is no such thing as: “one little sin.” There is not such thing as: “one little sacrifice for sin.” There is no such thing as: “one little soul lost in sin.”

– Daniel R. Vess

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