Devoted to the Propagation and Defense of New Testament Christianity
October 13, 1955

Does Sin Make A Difference?

Foy W. Vinson, Decatur, Texas

By instruction from my parents and a continued study of God's Word I have always been under the strong impression that SIN DOES MAKE A DIFFERENCE. In Ezekiel 18:4 we read that "the soul that sinneth, it shall die." In Romans 6:23 we are told that "the wages of sin is death". The apostle Paul in Romans 7 says that the commandments of God make sin to "appear sin" and "become exceeding sinful". Therefore there is no question as to God's attitude toward sin since He has always manifested a hatred for it. Thus when I posed the above question, I wasn't thinking in terms of God and His disposition about the matter, but in terms of man and in particular those of us who compose the church of our Lord. What do we think of sin? Do we consider it with a deep and serious concern? Or do we pass it by with a casual glance or a passive spirit?

There are certain conditions which exist presently among God's people which lead me to the conclusion that perhaps we don't really think sin does make a difference. The first of these is individual unconcern. Do you know of anyone who is in sin? Do you know of a brother or sister in Christ who has become unfaithful? All of us must answer yes to these questions. But now let me ask the most important question. Are you concerned about their condition? Does it make a difference to you? DOES SIN MAKE A DIFFERENCE TO YOU?? How often do you talk to someone about their sinful condition? Since actions do speak louder than words, therefore, regardless of how loud and long we condemn sin with our mouths, our lives for the most part are speaking even louder and longer that sin doesn't make a difference!

Another of the conditions to which I referred is congregational unconcern. Notice the language of 2 Thes. 3:6. "Now we COMMAND you, brethren, in the name of our Lord Jesus Christ, that ye withdraw yourselves from every brother that walketh disorderly, and not after the tradition which ye received of us." Again in verse 14 of the same chapter, "And if any man obey not our word by this epistle, note that man, and have no company with him, that he may be ashamed." Paul gave these commands because sin makes a difference with the Lord. Now, how many congregations are obeying these commands?? Is it conceivable that there is not a congregation of any size in existence at this hour that doesn't have a "brother that walketh disorderly"? Yet we continue to fellowship such, and often they are found assisting at the Lord's Table or leading a prayer. Brethren, I am seriously concerned! I just don't understand. Do we really believe the Bible or are we just making a pretense?? We condemn the sectarian world for accepting a part of the Word and rejecting other plain Bible teaching. What do we more than others? I believe that if sin really made a difference with us we would not find these commands so difficult to obey. Therein lies the trouble.

The third condition which has caused me to wonder about our attitude toward sin is universal unconcern. Is the brotherhood any longer concerned about right and wrong? About six months ago a gospel preacher was accused of endorsing instrumental music and cooperation with denominationalists in their worship services. If that is true he shouldn't be allowed to take the pulpit for any church in the brotherhood until he has repented and acknowledged his wrong. Thus far I haven't seen such an acknowledgement; yet I notice that he is still holding gospel meetings. Can a man just preach anything he wants to now and get away with it?? Now if this accusation is false then the one who made it is guilty of slander and should acknowledge his wrong. This he hasn't done. Thus the matter is simply left to "hang in the air" and many faithful brethren know not what to do. Why hasn't it been settled? Universal unconcern is the answer. Even more recently we have learned that a brother by deception and trickery endeavored to make it appear that another brother was inconsistent in teaching and practice. This was revealed at a very public occasion. Has the brother denied it? Has he acknowledged his wrong if it be true that he has done such? And are the brethren in general concerned about it? Or do we just intend to forget about it? This brother like the other needs to be disfellowshipped if guilty as accused unless he makes things right.

I trust that most serious thought will be given to these things that we might be impressed again with the exceeding sinfulness of sin. May God help us to remember the injunction of Paul which says "Them that sin rebuke before all, that others also may fear." And may we also realize that by fellowshipping the unfaithful and disorderly we are bidding them "God speed", and "he that biddeth him God speed is PARTAKER OF HIS EVIL DEEDS." SIN DOES MAKE A DIFFERENCE!