07 August 2013

'Small' Sins Make Way for Greater Ones

Let not sin therefore reign in your mortal body. (Rom 6:12)
One of Satan's devices is to present sin as less than it is. 'Ah,' says Satan, 'it is but a little pride, a little worldliness, a little uncleanness, a little drunkenness!' As Lot said of Zoar, 'It is but a little one, and my soul shall live.' 'Alas!' says Satan, 'it is just a very little sin that you are troubled by! You can commit it without any danger to your soul. You can commit it and your soul can still live.'

photo credit: VinothChandar via photopin cc
Consider, however, how many 'small' sins have received the greatest wrath: the eating of the fruit, gathering a few sticks on the Sabbath, and the touching of the ark. O the dreadful wrath that these sins brought down on the hearts of men! Small sins make way for greater ones. We do not have the power to keep off sin as we please. By yielding to the lesser, we give opportunity for Satan to tempt us in the greater. Augustine tells the story of a man that was of the opinion that the devil made the fly. One said to him, 'If the devil made flies, then he made worms.' 'True,' he said, 'the devil did make worms.' 'But,' said the other, 'if the devil made worms, then he made birds, beasts, and man.' He granted all. 'Thus,' said Augustine, 'by denying God in the fly, he came to deny God in man and all creation.'

Yielding to 'lesser' sins draws the soul to greater. It is a sad thing to depart from God for a trifle. It is the greatest folly to venture hell for a small matter, and to break with God for a little. The less the temptation the greater the sin. For the love of one little sin, some have lost God, and their souls forever. Many times small sins are more dangerous. Great sins startle the soul, and awaken it to repentance, but little ones breed and work secretly until they trample the soul. Sin grows by degrees until you cannot prevail over it. O that God would open the eyes of a sinner to see the horrid vileness of all sin.

— Thomas Brooks, as quoted in Voices from the Past, ed. Richard Rushing, (Edinburgh: The Banner of Truth Trust, 2009).

Further Reading
To Pursue Union at the Expense of Truth Is Treason to the Lord Jesus
Desmond Tutu Prefers Hell Over a 'Homophobic' Heaven
The Intolerance of the Tolerant: Pastor Receives Angry Backlash for Article Calling Homosexuality Sin


  1. Every sin is offensive to God, no matter how "small" and no sin will go unpunished. We trivialize sins at our peril.

    I recall a quote (though not the source): "There is enough sin in my best most fervent prayer to condemn me to hell for eternity."

  2. Hi EB, Hope your summer is going well.

    Great article. Are there degrees of sin? I thought sin was sin. Anyway, I don't know about anyone else, but I would like to know what is a small sin. Honestly, not being confrontational as it is hard for you to know that I am asking a sincere question through this type of communication. I worry about that a lot. I know the big ones, adultery, idolatry, etc. but sins like the pride of life can creep in unawares in different situations. I have an idea, but I have been wrong before so I try not to rely upon my own understanding. Can you share some examples of the smaller sins so we, I, can examine myself/ourselves? I am still learning the correct Biblical doctrines as I have come out of the apostate church and I am truly thankful for brothers and sisters in the Lord willing to share truth. Really enjoy your blog. I save the "week in review" sometimes to enjoy on Saturday out in the back yard. Great summer reading. =D

    your sister in Christ Jesus,
    Cherie c.

  3. I could not find the quote in the common versions of the Bible that said, As Lot said of Zoar, 'It is but a little one, and my soul shall live.' Can you tell me where that quote was found?

  4. What truth this is, sobering. Convicting. And Sanctifying.

  5. @Anonymous, see Genesis 19 specifically verses 18 through 21. The angels warned Lot to leave the valley and flee to the mountains but he desired to stay near the valley in a little town called Zoar. Lot chose to compromise a clear warning because he was afraid. As it was he later fled to the mountains with his daughters who got him drunk and committed incest with him (see verses 30-38).


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