Have we not well-nigh lost our sense of the exceeding sinfulness of sin? We refer not merely to “crime,” though it is to be feared that many are becoming so familiar with the records thereof that their sensibilities are being blunted. Not only the profane world, but the professing world, too, looks upon it with little or no deep concern. Sin is far too lightly regarded by our careless and heedless generation. We need a fresh realization of it as awful and abhorrent, as cursing and damning. We ought to recoil from sin as we would from a deadly serpent. We ought to avoid sin as we would the repulsive filth in which the sow wallows and as the vomit of a dog. And we would, if we really perceived that it is sin which gave death its throne and the right to reign as universal monarch (Romans 5.14) – that it is sin which has totally ruined the soul (Ephesians 4.18) – that it is sin which exposes all to “everlasting destruction from the presence of the Lord” (2 Thessalonians 1.9).
Now, we are entirely dependent upon the Holy Scriptures for an accurate and adequate conception of sin. They, alone, make known how it first entered into this world. They, alone, acquaint us with how sin appears in the eyes of the thrice Holy One, as that “abominable thing” which He “hates” (Jeremiah 44.4). They, alone, tell us the nature of the “wages” it pays (Romans 6.23), only the first small installments of which are received in this life. They, alone, reveal how salvation from it is obtainable. The writings of the ancients and the works of modern heathen will be searched in vain for any real light upon these momentous facts. And is it not because the present generation is getting farther and farther away from the written Word of God that it views sin so lightly and has such an altogether inadequate conception of its enormity?
What is sin? It is that in the fallen creature which ever works against God and against the soul’s own interest and comfort. It is not only a disease, but a crime – the transgression of God’s righteous law – and, therefore, it has done more than pollute our being. It has brought us under the just condemnation of God. The least variation and deviation from the revealed will of God is sin. It is a species of self-love – pursuing those gratifications and fulfilling those desires that make self our chief end and aim. Sin is an internal evil, though it is manifested in many external effects. The whole seat of sin is in the will, though it spreads its evil influence throughout every faculty and member of the entire man. Sin, then, is an aversion to God, a turning away from the Chief Good to evil. Sin is open opposition to God, not only a turning from but a turning against Him. It is the soul hating God as a lawgiver.
None can know the utmost evil there is in sin but God Himself. Sin entails infinite guilt because it is committed against an infinite object and, therefore, a finite mind is incapable of fully grasping its magnitude. It needs to be most carefully considered that the vileness and guilt of sin lie in its being committed against God. Let us endeavor to exhibit the force of this. Were I to approach a stranger and, without the slightest provocation, spit in his face, knock him down, and trample upon him, that would be a grave offense. But suppose that, instead of being a stranger, he was one who had often befriended me. Then, my guilt would be so much the greater. But suppose that it was my own dear father, and that he had ever treated me with the utmost consideration and kindness. My guilt would be that much the more aggravated for, in proportion to my obligation to show him respect would be the enormity of my disrespect. – Arthur Pink (1886-1952)
From: Studies in the Scriptures, Volume 32, Number 1 (January, 1953), reprint pp. 22-23.