In Romans 1:28-32, Paul gives a litany that leaves no room for doubt as to the character and extent of sin: “Furthermore, since they did not think it worthwhile to retain the knowledge of God, he gave them over to a depraved mind, to do what ought not to be done. They have become filled with every kind of wickedness, evil, greed and depravity. They are full of envy, murder, strife, deceit and malice. They are gossips, slanderers, God-haters, insolent, arrogant and boastful; they invent ways of doing evil; they disobey their parents; they are senseless, faithless, heartless, ruthless. Although they know God's righteous decree that those who do such things deserve death, they not only continue to do these very things but also approve of those who practice them.”
There are many points we could derive out of this list, but let’s look at just one: Paul puts envy and gossiping right next to murder. The reason? Sin is sin is sin. It is all terrible, because it all separates you from God. In James 2:10-11 it reads, “For whoever keeps the whole law and yet stumbles at just one point is guilty of breaking all of it. For he who said, ‘Do not commit adultery,’ also said, ‘Do not murder.’ If you do not commit adultery but do commit murder, you have become a lawbreaker.”
We tend to categorize sins into “big” sins and “little” sins … and somehow think that a life of little sins won’t separate us from God. But that is not what Paul says here, or what James says as we just read.
Sin isn’t something to be casual about. Any sin. From gossip to murder, it all separates us from a holy God.