How Much Sin is Too Much Sin?

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hands bound in stocks

The other day my son wanted to play a video game that I had already told him he couldn’t play because of some bad language in it.

He said something that I’ve heard before, many times from mature believers:

“But it’s just a little bit of language, overall it’s a good game.”

I took that opportunity to give him an illustration my father has given many times, and it proved to be effective.

I’ll share that with you in a bit, but I feel it is vital that we answer the question: How much sin is too much sin?

Growing up, my youth leaders were pummeled with questions of where to draw the line in a dating relationship and I remember clearly one youth leader settling that for us by saying, “That is the wrong question.”

The question could be rephrased, “How much can I get away with?” not “What is pleasing to God.”


In the first week of our Good Morning Girls’ Bible study through 2 Chronicles, we read about Solomon’s costly worship.

Solomon didn’t hold back in his worship to God in building the temple, and it pleased God greatly.

The temple is now complete and they’ve dedicated it and consecrated it for service to God alone, and God comes and visits Solomon a second time.

He gives Solomon a very sobering promise:

As for you, if you walk before Me as your father David walked, and do according to all that I have commanded you, and if you keep My statutes and My judgments, then I will establish the throne of your kingdom, as I covenanted with David your father, saying, ‘You shall not fail to have a man as ruler in Israel.’ But if you turn away and forsake My statutes and My commandments which I have set before you, and go and serve other gods, and worship them, then I will uproot them from My land which I have given them; and this house which I have sanctified for My name I will cast out of My sight, and will make it a proverb and a byword among all peoples.

2 Chronicles 7:17-20

So often, we focus on God’s promises, pulling them out of context, and try to use them in our life like genies in a bottle, but God isn’t a genie and the Bible isn’t a bottle.

Each promise in Scripture comes with a condition.

You see, God’s love and grace are unconditional, but his promises are very much conditional. And here, he promises to establish David’s throne, but on a very strict condition.

Solomon must walk before God as David walked.

We all know David wasn’t perfect. In fact, David committed some very horrible sins, but he walked with a repentant and humble heart before God.

Solomon also must be obedient to God and His commands.

But there is already one little fox in Solomon’s life that would prove to be his undoing, and we find that in verse 11 of chapter 8.

Now Solomon brought the daughter of Pharaoh up from the City of David to the house he had built for her, for he said, “My wife shall not dwell in the house of David king of Israel, because the places to which the ark of the LORD has come are holy.”

2 Chronicles 8:11

Solomon had built God a lavish temple, he had followed God’s instructions carefully to the letter; and God was pleased and his glory descended and filled the temple.

But there was one area of Solomon’s life that he would not surrender to God.

Women.

And as we read in other books of the Bible about Solomon’s life, we discover that he had 700 wives and 300 concubines.

But King Solomon loved many foreign women, as well as the daughter of Pharaoh: women of the Moabites, Ammonites, Edomites, Sidonians, and Hittites—from the nations of whom the LORD had said to the children of Israel, “You shall not intermarry with them, nor they with you. Surely they will turn away your hearts after their gods.” Solomon clung to these in love. And he had seven hundred wives, princesses, and three hundred concubines; and his wives turned away his heart. For it was so, when Solomon was old, that his wives turned his heart after other gods; and his heart was not loyal to the LORD his God, as was the heart of his father David. For Solomon went after Ashtoreth the goddess of the Sidonians, and after Milcom the abomination of the Ammonites. Solomon did evil in the sight of the LORD, and did not fully follow the LORD, as did his father David.

1 Kings 11:1-6

The story of Solomon is a devastating story, because he started out so passionate about God. However, this one area of his life remained undedicated to God.

You see, one foreign wife – Pharaoh’s daughter – turned into a wife of one of the nations God had clearly and specifically forbade the Israelites to intermarry with.

Then another, and then another.

And “he clung to them in love”, a love that was clearly greater than his love for Almighty God, because his wives turned his heart away from God to serve what in other places are called “the abominations”.

What transpires from here is a division of the kingdom and a slew of kings that lead both Israel and Judah into rank sin and finally into captivity to their enemies.

So, dear sister, how much sin is too much sin?

That illustration I shared with my son that day goes like this:

“So, if I were to give you a Fanta with a little dog poop in it, would you drink it?”

“NO!!! Gross!”

“But it’s just a little poop. I mean, you could hardly see it. You probably wouldn’t even taste it.”

“I still wouldn’t drink it! I’d probably get really sick or something!”

“But it’s just a speck, just a tiny, tiny bit of poop!”

“No!!!”

And this is what we fail to realize about sin. It’s like a cup of coffee with a bit of poop in it. Maybe not a lot, probably just a little.

Scripture in many places refers to sin as “leaven” or yeast – which we see throughout Jewish culture, particularly during Passover, and it warns us that a little leaven leavens the whole lump.

If you’ve ever made bread, or raised dough, you know this.

You don’t need a lot of yeast, just 1 tablespoon, to raise one loaf of bread.

And the same thing goes for that one little unchecked sin in our life. It gets in there, it’s not dealt with, and just like a bacteria in our spirit, it begins to multiply and spread.

Pretty soon that one friend that we hang out with, with whom we do things we probably shouldn’t do, turns into more. That one curse word, that one instance of them taking Jesus Christ’s name in vain turns into more.

Not long after, we stop even feeling very convicted….

But what’s interesting is, like Solomon, we begin to crave that sin. We “cling to it in love”. And it begins to turn our heart cold toward God.

We skip church, we stop going to Bible study. We stop reading our Bible and praying – or if we do, it is rote and void of the passion we once had.

We get annoyed when our pastor preaches sermons that point out our particular sin.

Instead of engaging in worship, we look around with a critical, skewed eye….maybe make fun of the way some people worship, or think deep inside, “Yea! They are probably hypocrites, sinning during the week and coming in here like that on Sunday.”

I know this is true, because this is exactly how I was during my first two years of Bible school.

I was deep in sin, one small unchecked sin multiplied and took over my life. I couldn’t stand to be in worship and would often get up and go to the bathroom just to get away from it.

I was angry at my professors.

I was annoyed by those who worshiped God passionately.

I was critical of them and judged their intentions, without even knowing anything about them at all.

But this is how sin behaves.

How much sin is too much sin?

Even a speck of sin is too much. And just like with bacteria, the only remedy is full, complete repentance and turning from that sin and turning with our whole heart to God.

Nothing else will ever be enough to cleanse us, heal us, and make us whole.

That is why God said this to Solomon:

if My people who are called by My name will humble themselves, and pray and seek My face, and turn from their wicked ways, then I will hear from heaven, and will forgive their sin and heal their land.

2 Chronicles 7:14

Repentance and seeking God’s face and turning completely from even our micro-sins are the only anecdote for sin.

Left unchecked, we lose control over where it will take us.

I will close with this very sobering quote that is packed with truth:

Vice is a monster of so frightful mien
As to be hated needs but to be seen;
Yet seen too oft, familiar with her face,
We first endure, then pity, then embrace.

– Alexander Pope


Other Articles on 2nd Chronicles

If Your Worship Isn’t Costly, Is It Really Worship?

How Much Sin is too Much Sin?

How to Prepare Your Heart to Seek God

Compromise Will Cost You Everything

Rosilind
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