Can we “rank” sin?

Can we “rank” sin?


 Well known singer-songwriter Jack Johnson released a song back in 2004 called ‘Good People’, and a part of it went like this:

Well it’s bad, getting worse
Where did all the good people go?
I’ve been changing channels, 
I don’t see them on the TV shows,
Where did all the good people go?

He poses a very good question, and it’s one that looking around us we might actually struggle to answer. There are some pretty awful things happening in the world today. Not just the world, but in our own country, right here in our own back yard. You won’t need to be reminded of the Jimmy Saville affair, damning allegations coming from the Hillsborough enquiries, the Boston bombing and now the horrific murder of the soldier in Woolwich, London. The world has been shocked by these instances of depravity, and it’s only right that we all join together in calling for the right and proper form of justice and punishment to be handed to the perpetrators of these dreadful crimes.

Do you know how God would answer Jack Johnson’s question? Well, He already has; in Romans 3:12, He tells us that no one does good, not even one. You see, God’s definition of “good” is sinlessness; in other words, perfection. One answer not enough for you? Well God gives you and I another emphatic reply to the question in 1 Kings 8:46…there is no one who does not sin. So that is God speaking – there are definitely, categorically, unconditionally no good people in this world.

All of this has got me thinking. It is striking in day-to-day life how often we are guilty of “ranking” sin, and trying to convince ourselves that we are actually good people. If you’re not totally sure what I mean, here is the attitude that I’m driving at:

“Sure, I do bad things. But none of mine are the really bad things that people do. I’d never commit those. Like murder. Or adultery. Mine are smaller stuff like bad thoughts, losing my temper, spreading a little gossip, or being impatient and irritable. Everybody does that stuff.”

I really want to share with you what God thinks though. Check it out…Romans 3:23 says this: all have sinned and fall short of the glory of God. So the Bible is telling us that all of us have the same problem; we all come short of meeting God’s standard, which is total perfection. That therefore means that whoever you are, and whatever you may or may not have done, you are a sinner.

It’s really not nice to hear that sort of thing, but it’s true. The reason it’s not particularly pleasant for you to hear it or read it is ­pride. Now when we rank sin, I can guarantee you that pride doesn’t come very far up your list. Humanly speaking, we would put dozens of other sins higher up the scale. Murder. Adultery. Theft. Child abuse. All deeply shocking things. But let’s take a step back for a moment and consider pride from God’s point of view.

Let’s establish first of all that pride, before God, is a sin. Does He take it seriously? Of course He does! Every sin is serious before God, and Proverbs 21:4 tells us that a high look, and a proud heart, is sin. You can’t really get it much clearer than that. That’s not all though, because Proverbs 16:5 tells us what pride is to God: everyone who is proud in heart is an abomination to the Lord; assuredly, he will not be unpunished. So the attitude of pride is repulsive to God. Repugnant. Abhorrent. It is as vile to God as any other sin that you would care to mention.

So…where did all the good people go? I’m hopeful that you can see that the answer to Jack Johnson’s question is that they are nowhere to be found. You may think you are a good person, but I urge you from God’s Word, the Bible, to reconsider your position.

Frankly, every single member of the human race is in a dire situation because everyone has sinned, however “big” or “small” those sins may be. But there is a way out of this terrible mess that we’re in. You know, God is a God of love. We deserve to be left in our sins; we have done nothing to deserve being rescued from them – but God has provided a way back to Him from our sin through His only Son, Jesus Christ. The Lord Jesus wasn’t just a historical figure. He is the only man to ever have walked this planet who could lay claim to being a “good person”. But it wasn’t His good works and exemplary life that can save us from our sin and its consequences; when He was 33 years of age, He was crucified for crimes that He did not commit.

On that Roman cross, in 3 hours of intense worldwide darkness, God laid on His one and only Son, Jesus Christ, the entire sin of the world: past, present and future. He was the only one who could do that because He was the only person to have ever lived a sinless life. Then, after those 3 hours, after He had exhausted all of God’s totally righteous and justified wrath and anger against sin, Jesus Christ cried out it is finished and voluntarily gave up His own life. He went into death, and experienced the worst that man and Satan himself could throw at Him.

So is that the end then? Of course it isn’t! If Jesus Christ were still dead and buried, there would be no point in me writing this post. There would be no true Christianity. The Bible tells me in 1 Corinthians 15:17 that if Christ has not been raised, your faith is futile and you are still in your sins. Three days after His death, God raised His Son from the dead! You see, when the Lord Jesus was raised from the dead 3 days after His death, God was validating the work He had done on the cross. God was saying “MY SON HAS DONE ENOUGH TO SAVE THE ENTIRE WORLD FROM THEIR SIN. I AM PLEASED WITH HIM. HE HAS DONE EVERYTHING I ASKED OF HIM AND MORE.” Right now, Jesus Christ is in Heaven, exactly where He belongs…and He is waiting for your response to what He has done at Calvary.

So how can you be saved from your sin?

Many people say that you don’t have to do anything to be saved – in fact, salvation does require one thing – belief. In the book of Acts, a man asked Paul and Silas “What must I DO to be saved?” They didn’t reply “Nothing”. Instead, they said “Believe on the Lord Jesus Christ, and you will be saved”. You need to:


  • Acknowledge you are a sinner before God.
  • Believe that the Lord Jesus Christ and His perfect work on the cross of Calvary is enough to save you from your sins.
  • Repent of your sin. This is a complete change of mind and direction, to consider the horror of your sins and to make a deliberate decision to turn from them.

I hope you’ve seen what I’m trying to communicate in this post. This is massively important. You may not be a murderer or anything so drastic, but your sin still repulses God and separates you from Him. He has offered you a way back. Won’t you accept it?

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