by Joe Leavell

It was just a few inappropriate texts for fun. It didn’t mean anything.

I just took a few dollars is all. They never even knew I took it.

It was just yelling. I would never actually hit her.

It was just a bit of porn. It’s not like I cheated on her for real.

I just told a few of my close friends. It’s not like I’m a gossip.

I’m just frustrated and angry, that’s all.

It was just a little white lie. I didn’t mean any harm.

It was just…

Have you ever stopped to think why God came down so hard on Adam and Eve? I mean, they just ate a piece of fruit and got…the death penalty?? Why on earth would God give such harsh consequences and allow mankind and the earth to be plunged into death, destruction, and sentence humanity with the consequence of eternal Hell…for a bit of fruit? I mean, really?

That seems a bit harsh, don’t you think?

Think about it this way. Imagine you come to me for counseling, and I say something you really don’t like. You get so mad that you lose control and you punch me in the face. (Ouch. Please don’t do that by the way). If I pressed charges, what do you think the consequences would be for punching me in the face? In Arizona, punching someone can be a class 1 misdemeanor offense that gets you up to 6 months in jail.

An officer comes to sort things out, which makes you mad…so you punch the cop. Do you think that carries with it the same penalty as if you punched me? Nope. Now we’re talking a felony with up to 2 years in jail.

This isn’t meant to be political at all, but after you get out of jail for punching the cop, imagine the President comes to town. He says something to make you mad, and somehow you manage to get around the secret police and punch him in the face. Do you think we’ll ever hear from you again? Probably not.

Why the difference in consequences? It’s the same action of punching a person whether you punch me, the police officer, or the President of the United States. Yet for them, it carries a drastically different consequences than if you punch me! Why?

Authority.

We have decided as a country that we will protect the president’s life by rightfully imposing harsh consequences on those who would seek to cause him harm. Even threats are rightfully met with visits by the Secret Service.

Now magnify that authority, like, a quadragazillion times over to your Creator, the God of the Universe who is the King of Kings and Lord of Lords. All authority, sovereignty, power and majesty belong to Him and Him alone. Adam and Eve metaphorically punched that God in the face. Even if it was a tiny offense, like say, just a piece of fruit, what do you think would be the right punishment for such a crime against such a great Majesty?

The only consequence that would not lessen who He is in His character and in His authority would be an eternity of suffering in Hell. It must be an eternal consequence or else He would undermine and diminish His own holiness.

It’s never “just…”

God had given Adam and Eve everything they could have wanted, including Himself, but it wasn’t enough. They wanted more. It wasn’t just about the fruit. It was what the fruit represented to Adam and it was who it was against. Adam willfully minimized God’s command, character, and the consequences of disobedience. He chose his own will, his own kingdom, and ultimately, he wanted to be his own god.

Eating that fruit was a full-frontal assault and battery on God Himself.

And you and I are just like him. Apart from Christ, we all stand condemned as guilty and deserving of death.

When you say the words “It was just…” what you are doing is minimizing the awesome weight of sin against God’s infinite glory. We are communicating that our judgment about what we did is better than God’s because what we did or said should carry a tiny consequence even though God says it is worthy of eternal fire. No sin is only a ‘just’ in any sense of the word against a Holy God. Saying our words and actions are no big deal is to proclaim that your view of God is so small that you see punching him in the face as a “no biggie.”

Now is the right time to repent

Repentance is refusing to minimize our sin. It is acknowledging our sin accurately before God and agreeing with Him in what we deserve as punishment of Hell for our crimes against our Holy Maker. Repentance is not just mourning the consequences of our actions but mourning the fact that we broke God’s law and deserve His eternal justice. It is turning from our sin and turning towards God.

Repentance is remembering the Gospel. Believers forget sometimes, which is why we end up in counseling for sin issues, marital struggles, etc. saying, “it was just…” When we make light of out sin against God, it makes justifying our mistreatment of others a whole lot easier and makes the cross seem small. We forget that it wasn’t ‘just’ porn. It wasn’t ‘just’ bitterness and anger against our spouse. It is direct defiance against our Creator that merits us Hell and it is only by the grace of Jesus alone through His blood so that we are not completely wiped off the face of the earth!

God did not minimize our sin, nor could He have done so without contradicting His character. Yet in His mercy and love, God chose to rescue us through Christ. When you start to understand what you and I really deserve for our sin it helps you see just how beautiful it is that Jesus took that penalty on Himself and paid it in its entirety on the cross of Calvary. The righteousness of God was completely satisfied in the blood of Jesus that was shed on our behalf and we are set free from the penalty of our crime.

To turn the phrase, God did not say “it’s just a sinner.” Through Christ, He took a sinner and made him just, with a clean record in the courtroom of Heaven.

“Therefore, since we have been justified by faith, we have peace with God through our Lord Jesus Christ. Through him we have also obtained access by faith into this grace in which we stand, and we rejoice in hope of the glory of God.” – Romans 5:1-2

“For our sake he made him to be sin who knew no sin, so that in him we might become the righteousness of God.” – 2 Corinthians 5:21