The Layman's Bible

Biblical Interpretation from Someone with no Training in Biblical Interpretation

Little Sins and Big Sins

"Hey bird-man, you are actually keeping track of this, right?"

“Hey bird-man, you are actually keeping track of this, right?”

By nature we all rank our activities- what’s good, what’s great, what’s bad, what’s terrible. In some cultures everything is ranked and your numeric values follow you around all the time. No matter where you’re from though, it is natural to assume things are not black and white, but rather a vivid array of color; with justifications, reasons, motivations, and everything else lighting up what we do. In the same way we tend to rank our disobedience toward God (that is, sin). For example, two consenting adults some fun between the sheets probably isn’t that bad, whereas murdering your whole family is probably hell-worthy even for someone who was saved by Christ, right? Much like we do, God ranks our sins, and the Holy Spirit showed me a passage in Amos that helps outline how God sees our varied disobediences.


For this portion of the article, we’ll be using the following format:
Kind of sin (based on its most noteworthy location)

Passage pertaining to said sin

Extrapolation of the sin
Extrapolation of the punishment

Alright then, let’s get started!


Damascus Sin

This is what the Lord says:
“For three sins of Damascus,
Even for four, I will not turn back my wrath.
Because she threshed Gilead
With sledges having iron teeth,
I will send fire upon the house of Hazel
That will consume the fortresses of Ben-Hadad.
I will break down the gate of Damascus;
I will destroy the king who is in the Valley of Aven
And the one who holds the scepter in Beth Eden.
The people of Aram will go into exile to Kir,”

Says the Lord (Amos 1:3-5).

Sin: Hurting strangers/ enemies
Punishment: Fiery destruction and exile


Gaza Sin

This is what the Lord says:
“For three sins of Gaza,
Even for four, I will not turn back my wrath.
Because she took captive whole communities
And sold them to Edom,
I will send fire upon the walls of Gaza
That will consume her fortresses.
I will destroy the king of Ashod
And the one who holds the scepter in Ashkelon.
I will turn my hand against Ekron,
Till the last of the Philistines is dead,”

Says the Sovereign Lord (Amos 1:6-8).

Sin: Slave trading
Punishment: Destruction


Tyre Sin

This is what the Lord says:
“For three sins of Tyre,
Even for four, I will not turn back my wrath.
Because she sold whole communities of captives to Edom,
Disregarding a treaty of brotherhood,
I will send fire upon the walls of Tyre
That will consume her fortresses” (Amos 1:9-10).

Sin: Breaking contracts/treaties
Punishment: Fiery destruction


Edom Sin

This is what the Lord says:
“For three sins of Edom,
Even for four, I will not turn back my wrath.
Because he pursued his brother with a sword,
Stifling all compassion,
Because his anger raged continually
And his fury flamed unchecked,
I will send fire upon Teman
That will consume the fortresses of Bozrah” (Amos 1:11-12).

Sin: Treating those close to them badly
Punishment: Fiery destruction


Ammon Sin

This is what the Lord says:
“For three sins of Ammon,
Even for four, I will not turn back my wrath.
Because he ripped open the pregnant women of Gilead
In order to extend his borders,
I will set fire to the walls of Rabbah
That will consume her fortresses
Amid war cries on the day of battle,
Amid violent winds on a stormy day.
Her king will go into exile,
He and his officials together,” says the Lord (Amos 1:13-15).

Sin: Ripping open pregnant women (wow, that’s messed up)
Punishment: Fiery destruction and exile


Moab Sin

This is what the Lord says:
“For three sins of Moab,
Even for four, I will not turn back my wrath.
Because he burned, as if to lime,
The bones of Edom’s king,
I will send fire upon Moab
That will consume the fortresses of Kerioth.
Moab will go down in great tumult
Amid war cries and the blast of the trumpet.
I will destroy her ruler
And kill all her officials with him,”

Says the Lord (Amos 2:1-3).

Sin: Disrespecting the dead
Punishment: Fiery destruction


Judah Sin

This is what the Lord says:
“For three sins of Judah,
Even for four, I will not turn back my wrath.
Because they have rejected the law of the Lord
And have not kept his decrees,
Because they have been led astray by false gods,
The gods their ancestors followed,
I will send fire upon Judah
That will consume the fortresses of Jerusalem (Amos 2:4-5).

Sin: Not respecting the Law
Punishment: Fiery destruction


Little sins and Big Sins (Deadly Little Sins)…Wait those are all ranked the same. That’s right! God doesn’t have 50 shades of sin, he has no sin and sin; “For whoever keeps the whole law and yet stumbles at just one point is guilty of breaking all of it” (James 2:10). Likewise, there is only one ultimate punishment (aside from natural consequences) for sin: fiery destruction and exile- exile from God in the fiery pits of hell where you face eternal death. The Lord states, “For every living soul belongs to me, the father as well as the son- both alike belong to me. The soul who sins is the one who will die” (Ezekiel 18:4). Sin leads to death no matter what. And it’s not like this is a new concept; the very first man was warned with death for sin. Genesis 2:16-17 makes it clear as we read,

And the Lord God commanded the man, “You are free to eat from any tree in the garden; but you must not eat from the tree of the knowledge of good and evil, for when you eat of it you will surely die.”

And that first man disobeyed God and cursed us all to fiery death in the process. So we have another sin to add to our list:


Eden (Original) Sin

Therefore, just as sin entered the world through one man, and death through sin, and in this way death came to all men, because all sinned- for before the law was given, sin was in the world. But sin is not taken into account when there is not law. Nevertheless, death reigned from the time of Adam to the times of Moses, even over those who did not sin by breaking a command, as did Adam, who was a pattern of the one to come (Romans 5:12-14).

Sin: Eating a piece of banned fruit
Punishment: Death for all


But all is not lost! For it is written, “The wages of sin is death, but the gift of God is eternal life in Christ Jesus our Lord” (Romans 6:23). Although we are trapped by our predecessor’s sin and our own acts of disobedience, Jesus Christ came to save us from the curse of death and destruction and free us. Paul tells us,

Consequently, just as the result of one trespass was condemnation for all men, so also the result of one act of righteousness was justification that brings life for all men. For just as through the disobedience of the one man the many were made sinners, so also through the obedience of the one man the many will be righteous (Romans 5:18-19).

Jesus gave himself as the ultimate atoning sacrifice for sin. Now, when you come to Christ, you’ll find a new life and salvation from your sin, your besmirched record will be wiped clean, and your name will be written into the Book of Life. And when the end comes, you’re definitely gonna want to be in that book. Of the end times the Bible tells us,

Then I saw a great white throne and him who was seated on it. Earth and sky fled from his presence, and there was no place for them. And I saw the dead, great and small, standing before the throne, and books were opened. Another book was opened, which is the book of life. The dead were judged according to what they had done as recorded in the books. The sea gave up the dead that were in it, and death and Hades gave up the dead that were in them, and each person was judged according to what he had done. Then death and Hades were thrown into the lake of fire. The lake of fire is the second death. If anyone’s name was not found written in the book of life, he was thrown into the lake of fire (Revelation 20:11-15).

Only one thing awaits those without Jesus the Christ in their lives: fiery destruction; because as we’ve learned, nobody is clean without Jesus and therefore all are deserving of death. However, those in Jesus will find themselves gaining access to paradise in death and the power of the Lord supporting them in life. Paul reminds us, “The sting of death is sin, and the power of sin is the law. But thanks be to God! He gives us the victory through our Lord Jesus Christ” (1 Corinthians 15:56-57). Indeed, thank you, Lord, for your sacrifice in my stead and your salvation through the cross!

Rock on God!

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This entry was posted on August 8, 2015 by in Bible Stuff and tagged , , , , , , , , , .
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