Let us labor the point a little further. The enormity of an offence is not only increased by my obligations to the person against whom it is committed, but also by the status and authority of that person. The difference is at once perceived between my committing an uncalled-for assault upon a private citizen and upon an officer of the law. But how much greater would be the criminality were I to smite the person of the king! The dignity of the person against whom an offence is committed vastly augments the guilt. Now, combine the two thoughts. God is vested with supreme authority, being the King of kings and, therefore, having the right to demand complete subjection from us. Moreover, He is our creator and benefactor – the One who gave us being and has cared for us every moment of our lives. We are, therefore, under the deepest obligation to love, honor, and serve Him. Because He is endowed with infinitude, we are under infinite obligation to Him and, therefore, all sin against Him involves infinite guilt.
God is infinitely perfect, the sum of all excellence, and it is infinitely more criminal not to love and respect Him than to have no love or regard for all creation. It is an infinitely greater criminality to oppose or hate God, in any way and to the slightest degree, than to oppose and hate all His creatures. If it were possible for a man to be so bloodthirsty, and with the power so to execute his murderous intentions, that he succeeded in slaying the entire human race, and could he do so without any rebellion against or opposition to God, even that incalculable crime would be far less than the least degree of opposition to God Himself. It was the realization of this awful truth which broke the heart of convicted David, making him cry out, “Against Thee, Thee only, have I sinned and done this evil in Thy sight” (Psalm 51.4). The realization that he had defied the authority of heaven and trampled upon the laws of the Almighty dwarfed all other considerations.
The heinousness of sin, then, is not to be gauged by the littleness or greatness of the act itself, but by the offence which is done to God, and that, in turn, is measured by the light with which we are favored, the opportunities granted us, and the privileges we have enjoyed. What are all the sins of the heathen world in comparison with those of Christendom? “And thou, Capernaum, which art exalted unto heaven, shalt be brought down to hell: for if the mighty works which have been done in thee had been done in Sodom, it would have remained until this day. But, I say unto you that it shall be more tolerable for the land of Sodom in the day of judgment than for thee” (Matthew 11.23-24). But, who is there today who really believes this? The same fearful truth is emphasized in, “He who despised Moses’ law died without mercy under two or three witnesses: of how much sorer punishment, suppose ye, shall he be thought worthy who hath trodden under foot the Son of God and hath counted the blood of the covenant, wherewith he was sanctified, an unholy thing, and hath done despite unto the Spirit of grace?” (Hebrews 10.28-29).
But, descending to a lower plane, we may see the heinousness of sin with regard to ourselves, by what it has done for and wrought in us. It has defiled our nature: “But we are all as an unclean thing” (Isaiah 64.6), and this to such an extent that, as God said concerning Israel of old: “From the sole of the foot even unto the head, there is no soundness in it, but wounds and bruises and putrefying sores” (Isaiah 1.6). And, as the apostle to the Gentiles declared: “I know that, in me (that is, in my flesh), dwelleth no good thing” (Romans 7.18). It has degraded our nature: “Nevertheless, man, being in honor, abideth not; he is like the beasts that perish” (Psalm 49.12). Man fell from the fair estate in which his Maker placed him and has become like the beasts – void of spiritual understanding, guided only by natural instincts. It has enslaved our nature, bringing us into bondage more cruel than the Hebrews suffered in Egypt. As it is written: “His own iniquities shall take the wicked himself, and he shall be held by the cords of his sins” (Proverbs 5.22). – Arthur Pink (1886-1952)
From: Studies in the Scriptures, Volume 32, Number 1 (January, 1953), reprint pp. 23-24.