If I were to ask you, “What is the greatest sin in the world,” there is no doubt some of you would say murder. But Paul, who was responsible for the murder of many Christians, was saved and in turn, became a remarkable Christian (1 Timothy 1:12-17). The cruciﬁers of Christ were murderers, but it is probable that many of them were saved on the day of Pentecost. The Bible says there will be no murderers in heaven, but some who have been murderers will be there, their souls saved and their sins washed away in the blood of Christ. Some will say that theft is the greatest sin, but the thief on the cross heard Jesus say to him, “Today thou shalt be with me in paradise” (Luke 23:43). Some thieves go to prison, hear the gospel, and are saved. There will be no thieves in heaven, but those who have been thieves and who have had their sins forgiven will be there (1 Corinthians 6:9-11). Some will say that adultery is the greatest sin, yet Jesus forgave the woman who was taken in that sin (John 8:1-11). And the woman who had ﬁve husbands and was still living in adultery believed in Jesus after her wonderful interview with Him at the well near Sychar (John 4:28-29). There are no adulterers in heaven, but many who have committed this sin will be there, having experienced the remarkable transformation of salvation through Jesus Christ.
So what is the greatest sin in the world? It is simply the rejection of the Lord Jesus Christ. Are you a sinner? God loves you and He gave His Son to die on Calvary’s cross for you. Now He offers this wonderful salvation to you. He offers to save you for this life and for eternal life. You may reject that Glorious One, you may trample Him underfoot, you may do nothing with Him and live without any thought of Him, but in so doing you have committed the greatest sin and you will pay the highest price for your rejection. If it is such a grievous sin, what exactly does someone do when they reject Christ?
In Rejecting Christ a Person Shuts the Door to Their Highest Possibilities
God has a great question: “What shall I do with Jesus which is called Christ?” (Matthew 27:22). Until you have said “yes” to Jesus you cannot possibly rise to the highest potential of your own life. No one is at their best until they have linked their own life to the power of Christ. Someone asked a noteworthy man this question: “How may I become successful?” This was the answer he received: “Commit your life to a great cause and give your best to that cause.” Find a man who is doing the most good for God and the world, and you will ﬁnd a man who has consecrated his life to Jesus. There are several people who are making no contribution to the world, simply because they have not devoted their lives to Christ. If you will cut loose from sin and obey Him, His power will be your power; you can rise to your highest possibilities. But if you reject Him and hold on to your sin, you will never rise to your best and you will be lost. The only reason Paul could say what he did in Philippians 4:13 (“I can do all things through Christ which strengtheneth me.”) was because he had linked his life to Jesus. Christ gave him the ability to be his best.
In Rejecting Christ a Person Puts Themselves in the Way of Christ
When you look at an eclipse of the moon, you see the shadow of the sun moving in front of the moon, blocking its light. Here is Christ, the Light of the World (John 8:12), but someone is looking at you. If you are not a Christian, you become a shadow moving between that someone and Christ. You cut the onlooker off from that Light. No man goes to Heaven or Hell alone. You have an inﬂuence on someone. Someone is following your example. Are you lifting that someone up or pulling him down? Sometimes parents get in the way of their children, and some of those parents are not Christians. Some had formerly been active in the Lord, but have slid back into the world. They married and had children; they stayed away from the fellowship of God’s people; they drifted into the world, and their lives stood in the way of their children. Parents should rededicate themselves to God because they are responsible to present the right inﬂuence to their children. Asaph wrote, “For he established a testimony in Jacob, and appointed a law in Israel, which he commanded our fathers, that they should make them known to their children: That the generation to come might know them, even the children which should be born; who should arise and declare them to their children: That they might set their hope in God, and not forget the works of God, but keep his commandments: And might not be as their fathers, a stubborn and rebellious generation; a generation that set not their heart aright, and whose spirit was not stedfast with God” (Psalm 78:5-8).
A preacher told of his experience in one of his gospel meetings. Every night a godly minded 16-year-old boy was at the meeting and seemed to be deeply interested. The preacher said to him one night, “I notice that you have been interested in the sermons. Why don’t you obey Christ?” The boy replied, “My father is a doctor. He never comes to the assemblies. He is not a Christian and he is the best man I know. I am going to follow him. He says by his example that the gospel isn’t worthwhile.” The next morning the preacher went to the doctor’s ofﬁce and told him, “I want to talk to you about your boy. I have never known a ﬁner child, but I am worried about him. He has been to our meeting and is interested in the salvation of his soul, but now he has put the matter aside. I talked to him last night and he told me that you were his example, that he was going to follow in your footsteps, which would mean that he would not become a Christian. You owe something to this boy. You have too much at stake to let this matter drop.” The doctor grew distraught and said, “That is a heavy blow. When will you have your next service?” The preacher replied, “We meet again tonight at 7 o’clock.” “I will be there,” said the doctor, “I know just what to do.” The doctor came that night. He listened to the sermon and when the invitation was given he walked down the aisle, wanting to be baptized. As the preacher took his hand he said, “Doctor, look behind you.” As the doctor turned around he saw his son coming down the aisle to obey the gospel. The boy hugged his father and said, “I have wanted to be a Christian, but I waited for you, and now you have made it so much easier for me.” If you are not living as you should for Christ, think of the others on whom you cast a shadow. Are you standing in their way?
In Rejecting Christ a Person Puts Themselves on the Devil’s Side
If you reject Christ you are taking the side of the devil. There is no middle ground — you are either on Christ’s side or on Satan’s side. Christ said, “He that is not with me is against me; and he that gathereth not with me scattereth abroad” (Matthew 12:30; cp. Luke 9:50). If you reject Christ, you and your inﬂuence are on the side of the evil one.
In Rejecting Christ a Person Insults God
God is a great Father. He loves every creature in the world. Paul encouraged Timothy in 2 Timothy 2:19 that “The Lord knoweth them that are his.” If He knows those who are His, then He knows those who are lost and are going to Hell. So in His great love, He said, “I will save you, and I will help you, even though it may cost me my only begotten Son. I will give Him up freely for you” (John 3:16; Romans 5:8). So He gives His Son to die on the cross for you. If you turn your back on Him, if you reject Him, you are saying, “I don’t care anything for God or His Son.” This is an insult to the Almighty God. If you continue in this course there is no hope for you (Hebrews 10:26-31). An atheist ﬂaunts himself in the face of God and says, “If there be a God let Him strike me down.” You shudder when you hear this and you say that the man is insulting God. But have you ever done anything worse? You are an intelligent person, you hear the gospel, you know there is a God, and that He gave His Son to die for you. If you reject Him, your insult is just as bad as the blasphemy of the most blatant inﬁdel.
In Rejecting Christ a Person Crucifies the Son of God Afresh
No man ever suffered as did Christ on the cross. His was threefold suffering — physical, mental, and spiritual. That suffering and sacriﬁce was for every man. “And he is the propitiation for our sins: and not for ours only, but also for the sins of the whole world” (1 John 2:2). His suffering, therefore, was for those who accept Him and in like manner for those who reject Him. When a person rejects Christ, they crucify the Son of God afresh (Hebrews 6:6).
In Rejecting Christ a Person Seals Their Doom in Hell Forever
Several passages provide shocking details about Hell (Matthew 8:12; 25:41; Mark 9:4448; John 3:18, 36; Hebrews 10:31; Revelation 14:10; 20:15; 21:8). Here is a man-made in the image of God (Genesis 1:27). He is a man with wonderful, spiritual potential in his life (Philippians 3:14). God recognizes this potential and gives him every possible opportunity to be saved — He calls him to eternal life through Christians, through the Bible, and through the gospel. But that man considers himself completely sufﬁcient. He goes his way of rejecting Christ and leaving God out of his life. He goes his way holding on to his sin. What does this man have waiting for him at the end of the way when Christ takes the upper hand at the judgment? Nothing but doom. A preacher once presented a sermon on Hell. A man in his audience asked after the assembly, “Where is hell?” The preacher wisely answered, “Hell is at the end of a Christless life.” It is true — in rejecting Christ a man seals his doom in Hell forever (John 12:48).
You need Christ. Do not tragically reject Him! Obey the Savior, live for Him, and know the greatest joy and happiness that comes to any person. There is no greater sin than turning away from the Savior.