First of all, let me say that sin is sin. There are no “degrees” or “classes” of sin. Every sin is bad and that’s why Jesus came to deal with every sin. 2 Corinthians 5:21 tells us that Jesus — who knew no sin — became sin for us, that we might be made the righteousness of God in Him.
Unfortunately, there are some Christians who mistake their walk with that of the role of an FDA-inspector. You know, the folks who grade fruit, vegetables, and meat according to a metric of “quality.” These folks love to “cherry-pick” sin — elevating some sins that they, personally, find more detestable to the level of…
Wait for it…
In their eyes, an abomination is a sin that is greater than other sins. It is the kind of sin that really ticks God off. As a matter of fact, in their eyes — though virtually none will admit this — these sins might even be greater than the Finished Work of the Cross. The reality is that this is little more than misunderstanding word usage and context.
So, let’s take a look at the word, itself. According to Strong’s in the Hebrew:
h8441. ????????? tô‘ê?â; or ???????? tonebah; feminine active participle of 8581; properly, something disgusting (morally), i. e. (as noun) an abhorrence; especially idolatry or (concretely) an idol:— abominable (custom, thing), abomination.
AV (117)- abomination 113, abominable thing 2, abominable 2;
a disgusting thing, abomination, abominable in ritual sense ( of unclean food, idols, mixed marriages) in ethical sense ( of wickedness etc)
In the Greek, according to Strong’s:
g0946. ???????? bdelygma; from 948; a detestation, i. e. (specially) idolatry:— abomination.
AV (6)- abomination 6;
a foul thing, a detestable thing of idols and things pertaining to idolatry
The first instance of this is in Genesis 43:32 in a context of bigotry, as the Egyptians considered dining with Hebrews, an abomination.
Now, lets juxtapose that with “sin” — again, according to Strong’s in the Hebrew:
h2403. ???????? ?a?â’â; or ??????? chattaçth; from 2398; an offence ( sometimes habitual sinfulness), and its penalty, occasion, sacrifice, or expiation; also ( concretely) an offender: — punishment ( of sin), purifying (- fication for sin), sin (- ner, offering).
AV ( 296)- sin 182, sin offering 116, punishment 3, purification for sin 2, purifying 1, sinful 1, sinner 1; sin, sinful sin, sin offering sin condition of sin, guilt of sin punishment for sin sin- offering purification from sins of ceremonial uncleanness
And, in the Greek, according to Strong’s:
g0266. ??????? hamartia; from 264; a sin ( properly abstract): — offence, sin (- ful).
AV ( 174)- sin 172, sinful 1, offense 1; equivalent to 264 to be without a share in to miss the mark to err, be mistaken to miss or wander from the path of uprightness and honour, to do or go wrong to wander from the law of God, violate God’s law, sin that which is done wrong, sin, an offence, a violation of the divine law in thought or in act collectively, the complex or aggregate of sins committed either by a single person or by many
The first occurrence of the word “sin” is in Genesis 4:7, as Cain is jealous of the offering presented by His brother, Abel.
So, by definition, an abomination is something or someone detestable and sin is an offense or “missing the mark.”
The first time these words come together in a combined occurrence is in Deuteronomy 24:4 in the context of a husband who divorces his wife then takes her again to be his wife.
The next occurrence of the two words together are Psalms 24:9 (foolishness is sin and a scorner is an abomination) and in Jeremiah 32:35 (the abomination of passing through fire — a form of worship — unto Molech being an abomination that caused Judah to sin). In these cases, abomination is either a result of sin or a cause for sin.
Where this word is most commonly used today is in the context of homosexuality.
Now, before I go any further, let me state, for the record, that this is not a defense of homosexuality. I love all people and I believe that only ministering God’s unconditional Love and Grace can bring about a change in a person’s heart, not flogging them about sin. It is, however an illustration of how Scripture is abused to browbeat people into either submission or to galvanize them against the truth.
In order to make the case of its reprehensibility, Scripture has to either be isolated from context or redefined out of wholecloth. In either case, the result is eisegesis, or abuse of the text to illustrate a point. This is often, also, referred to as “proof-texting.”
The usual suspect in this discussion is Leviticus 18:22 — here it is in its entirety:
22 Thou shalt not lie with mankind, as with womankind: it is abomination.
(Leviticus 18:22 KJV)
Now, read ahead just one more verse:
23 Neither shalt thou lie with any beast to defile thyself therewith:neither shall any woman stand before a beast to lie down thereto: it is confusion.
(Leviticus 18:23 KJV)
Now, I would suppose that unnatural sexual acts would all fall under abomination but one is called confusion. It’s clear that both homosexuality and bestiality are not highly regarded in context but to call one abomination and the other confusion, well, confuses things.
I don’t want to get bogged down here, so I’ll move on.
Deuteronomy 27:15 says that anyone who makes any graven image is an abomination unto the Lord. So much for Christian painting and sculpture.
Leviticus chapter 11 has a plethora of foods that are considered abomination. So much for bacon-wrapped shrimp!
But, watch this, there are six — no, wait — seven (lol) more things that God calls abomination in Proverbs 6:16-19:
- A proud look — vanity or conceit; someone stuck on themselves or self-righteous.
- A lying tongue — self-explanatory; someone who habitually does not tell the truth
- A heart that devises wicked imaginations — lust in the heart, covetousness, condemning, condescending, wishing evil upon others, corrupt in business dealings
- Hands that shed innocent blood — Murderers of innocent in deed and thought. Anyone who does harm to a child
- Feet swift to run to mischief — folks that can’t wait to do wrong
- A false witness — someone who gives a false account of an incident or spreads a specific untruth
- He that sows discord — the gossip; one whose actions keep people at odds with one another
Now, I would say that you can find one or more of these in any community, including the church. All of them are, according to Scripture, abominations, and should be right up there with sexual sins. The truth is, God doesn’t wink at sin — because, through Jesus, He eradicated it — but men do.
The religious ascribe degrees or levels to sin. Why? So that their “pet sins” are quickly forgiven and so the things that they find detestable will be harshly judged. Zealots love “religious scorecards” that allow them to self-righteously feel better about themselves by “sinning less” than others.
Now, if we were under the law, this would be a message of finger-pointing condemnation that would make a legalist absolutely giddy. But, praise God, we are under Grace. Jesus has satisfied the requirement of the law and the punishment it demanded. Thanks to Jesus, none of these things make any of us beyond redemption or reconciliation. Because we are in Christ, God has forgiven all our sins! Even if we stumble into spiritual mud, God has already provided cleanliness!
If we fall, we simply change our mind about falling. If you trip over a log, you will remember to look out for things that cause you to stumble. In other words, we repent about falling. You change your mind.
Under the New Covenant, the only thing that can remotely be construed as an abomination is the outright rejection of the Gift of God’s unconditional Love and Grace in Jesus.
The good news is that Jesus has no stones to throw.
Neither should we.
© 2016 – Derrick Day (www.derrickday.com)