People don’t seem to be able to understand why small sins are so big to God. Most people don’t think it seems right that God would damn someone to eternal hell for everyday run-of-the mill kinds of sins.
If you ask somebody if they’re a bad person they will inevitably say NO! Then if you begin to point out some of their sins, they’ll start making excuses. The most common excuses are, “Ah, come on! Everybody does that!” Or, “I’m not nearly as bad as some people.”
This shows that people don’t really understand the seriousness of sin. The reason sin doesn’t seem like such a big deal to us is because we are not precision moral agents. But God is! He is the ultimate precision moral agent. He can spot a tiny little sin a thousand miles away. But we hardly notice them even when they hit us in the face.
Maybe this will help. Sin is kind of like dust. If a little speck of dust gets on your $25 bathroom mirror, not only will you not care, you probably won’t even notice. In fact, it won’t be until thousands of pieces of dust collect on it that you’ll begin to think about cleaning it.
Those little particles of dust are like your sins. And your bathroom mirror is like you. A bathroom mirror is very forgiving when it comes to particles of dust because it’s not a precision mirror. Same with people. Most people are very forgiving when it comes to sin because they’re not precision moral agents. Bathroom mirrors are made very quickly, by slapping a reflective coat of tin and silver onto the back of a piece of glass. It can be made with corrupted glass and it will still function fine for most of our needs.
(Notice how the guy inspecting the mirror at 4:00 – actually touches it with his hands. On a precision telescopic mirror this would destroy it)!
What if instead of a bathroom mirror, you had a precision telescopic mirror? In this case, you would need the most pure mirror we know how to make. The raw power of any telescope is determined by the size and purity of its main optical mirror. This telescope will be used to view objects that are billions of light years away. This mirror has to be a pure and precise instrument, completely unlike the “blunt” object you use in your bathroom every day. This mirror has to be absolutely perfect because the type of work it’s going to do is so much more precise than what your bathroom mirror is made to do. One mirror will peer billions of light years into space and the other only needs to reach a few inches to your face.
The mirror that will fly aboard NASA’s next-generation James Webb Space Telescope is the most expensive, sophisticated and pure mirror ever made by man.
“They will be precise enough to capture single photons. And the slightest speck of dust or greasy fingerprint could ruin them.”
One of the most difficult parts of making this kind of mirror – and one of the factors that makes it so incredibly expensive – is the requirement that not a single speck of dust, not even a speck the size of a micron can ever touch it. Why? Because the mirror has to be so pure that even a micron of dust will destroy it.
At 8.7 BILLION the James Webb space telescope mirror is the most expensive mirror ever made! Not only would the tiniest speck of dust be noticed on such a fine precision instrument – the tiny speck of dust would render it completely unusable. That tiny impurity that’s nothing to your $25 bathroom mirror, would ruin an $8.7 billion mirror.
Yet, no one says to the multi-billion dollar mirror, “Come on – let me just put one tiny piece of dust on you! Surely, you can forgive one little piece of dust. A little piece of dust never hurt anybody.” No one says that! Why not? Because they fully understand that the mirror has to be absolutely pure.
And so it is with God – who is the ultimate in moral purity. When your little sins, the ones you hardly notice, bump up against the pure and holy God – He takes great notice. He notices it like an $8.7 BILLION mirror notices a tiny speck of dust or a tiny smudge or a hairline scratch. Your tiniest sin is a huge deal to God – just like a tiny scratch or speck of dust is a huge deal to a precision multi-billion dollar mirror.
That’s why even the smallest of your sins must be dealt with and paid for before you can enter the kingdom of heaven. The kingdom of heaven is absolutely pure and not even the smallest sin can enter it. Before another person, your small every day sins appear inconsequential. But before a completely pure and holy God – they bear eternal consequences.
The reason we don’t understand the seriousness of our sins is not because we don’t understand sin, but because we don’t understand the absolute purity and holiness of God.