What Is The Greatest Sin Of All?

Personally, I don’t really like focusing too much on sin. Not because I deny that people struggle with sin, but because I think our focus should be on Jesus – the solution for our sin – rather than on the problem.

However, someone asked me recently about sin and started suggesting that some sins are worse than others. Ultimately, the conversation turned to the question: “What is the greatest sin of all?”

For some, the greatest sin is homosexuality or being transgender. For other Christians, it’s abortion or voting Democrat. For still others, the greatest sin is to believe the wrong things about God. [Because, for them, Christianity is about being “right” and therefore if the Gospel is about information, then the greatest sin is to have the wrong information about God].

But I reject all of those notions about sin. I don’t believe that any of these sins [and most of them aren’t even really “sins” at all], qualify as the greatest sin.

Why? Simply because sin, by definition, means “to miss the mark”. For the longest time, this was defined by breaking the Law – literally the “Ten Commandments” given by Moses to the Israelites – as a sign of the Old Covenant.

However, those laws are obsolete today because that Covenant is obsolete. [See Hebrews 8:13 and my previous blog post on this subject.] God has given us a New Covenant, and Jesus has given us a New Command [just one].

“A new command I give you: Love one another. As I have loved you, you must also love one another.” – Jesus, [John 13:34]

So, if the command Jesus gave us was to love one another extravagantly [as He loved us], then the greatest sin is to live without love.

Even if you don’t accept my thesis that the Old Covenant Law is obsolete, my conclusion is still true. Because Jesus also said that the entire law could be summed up in the “Great Commandment” which is “To love the Lord your God with all your heart, soul, mind and strength…”, and Jesus adds, “and the second greatest command is like the first one; ‘Love your neighbor as yourself.'” [See Matt. 22:36-39]

He even adds: “All the Law and the Prophets hang on these two commandments.” [v. 40]

So, if the Greatest Commandment is to love God and love others, then the greatest sin is failure to love as Jesus commands us.

Love is our only law.

Now, let’s go out and live it.

**

Keith Giles is the author of several books, including the forthcoming “Jesus Unbound: How the Bible Keeps Us From Hearing the Word of God”, available July 4th, 2018.

He is also the author of the Amazon best-seller, “Jesus Untangled: Crucifying Our Politics To Pledge Allegiance To The Lamb”. He is the co-host of the Heretic Happy Hour Podcast on iTunes and Podbean. He and his wife live in Orange, CA with their two sons.

Please, join me at one of these upcoming events:

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*The Nonviolent Love of Christ: How Loving Our Enemies Saves The World, with Joshua Lawson and Keith Giles on Saturday, June 16 in Portsmouth Ohio. Register here>

*Crucifying Our Politics with Keith Giles on June 24 in Cleveland, OH. Register here>

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What Are Your Thoughts?leave a comment
  • Clayton Gafne Jaymes

    Actually blaspheming the holy spirit would be above being ‘unloving’.
    And aside from that, where does God say to love everything or ever to put him in 2nd place over humans living in sin or otherwise?
    ***
    Here is a list of things Jesus would say are ‘serious sins’. Do you think when he brings these things up it is ‘unloving’ on his part?

    (Mark 7:20-23) Further, he said: “That which comes out of a man is what defiles him. 21 For from inside, out of the heart of men, come injurious reasonings: sexual immorality, thefts, murders, 22 acts of adultery, greed, acts of wickedness, deceit, brazen conduct, an envious eye, blasphemy, haughtiness, and unreasonableness. 23 All these wicked things come from within and defile a man.”

    (Revelation 21:8) But as for the cowards and those without faith and those who are disgusting in their filth and murderers and the sexually immoral and those practicing spiritism and idolaters and all the liars, their portion will be in the lake that burns with fire and sulfur. This means the second death.”

  • Ivan T. Errible

    Church is boring.

  • Jon Laan

    Mushy theology. HOW one loves is the question not some vaporous “love”. Jesus did not come to abolish the law but to fulfill it. Old testament says not to murder; Jesus “fulfilled”, explained, made broader, expanded, etc this particular law by saying “If you think about murdering someone, you have broken the law”. Do not commit adultery, OT; Jesus, “If you think about committing adultery, you have done it”. And He gives us the power, with His help, to obey these laws. The unforgivable sin is the one against the Holy Spirit, and this is not explained in detail in the New Testament. My take is that was done so we silly Christians would be careful to know we can gaily sin and get our reward of heaven if we dutifully avoid that sin against the holy spirit. Good logic??

  • VMWH

    The greatest sin in Judgement. Judging others instead of leaving it up to God to do God’s work in judging is SIN. Judge not lest ye be judged accordingly.

  • Voidhawk

    Matthew 5:
    “17Do not think that I have come to abolish the Law or the Prophets; I have not come to abolish them, but to fulfil them. 18For I tell you truly, until heaven and earth pass away, not a single jot, not a stroke of a pen, will disappear from the Law until everything is accomplished”

  • soter phile

    you said: “However, those laws are obsolete today because that Covenant is obsolete.”
    no, the ceremonial & judicial laws were abrogated at the cross, but not the moral law.
    otherwise, why does Jesus (and the entire NT) keep affirming what *all* of the ten commandments teach.

    you said: “love is our only law,” but that’s not what Jesus said!
    no, love *sums* up the law – and that’s a very different statement.
    at no point does that mean love contradicts the law.
    (on the contrary, it all finds its fulfillment in Christ: Lk.24:27,44; 2 Cor.1:20; etc.)

    the Law helps *define* what Love is, seen most clearly in the person of Jesus.
    it shows us the character of God, the character that drove him to the cross… where he upheld the Law in love.
    that does not mean Christians jettison the moral law, especially not for some self-projected definition of ‘love.’

    the irony here is that you seem to want to pit Jesus against the Word that he came to fulfill & that was constantly on his lips.
    if that’s what you mean by “love”, that is not a Jesus recognizable to history or Scripture – much less the notion that “God is love” as found in 1 Jn.4, a book rife with commands to confess our sins & obey his commands (plural!).

    and that presses directly against what you seem to mean by “sin is a failure to love as Jesus commands us.”
    whose definition of love would we have if not the one Christ gives us, one that upholds the Law rather than ignoring it?

  • ken weaver

    I thought the greatest sins were the unforgivable sins; blaspheming against the holy spirit after receiving grace.