The Worst Sin

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It wasn’t very long ago that all the worst sins were the sexual ones — adultery, homosexuality, abortion. These were the activities, it was thought, in which the worst sinners regularly engaged. For many, the term “immorality” has a sexual connotation.

This is a problem. I think our pastors recognize that placing sexual sins at the top of the hierarchy is not Biblical–a distortion of the gospel. I have heard a lot of sermons over the past few years that contextualize the sexual sins — emphasizing that these are no worse than any other sins, like greed or gluttony.

I was fully on board with this leveling of sins until I came across a quote from C.S. Lewis. He reestablishes a hierarchy.

Not only that, he puts sexual sins on the bottom. Here’s the passage:

If anyone thinks that Christians regard unchastity as the supreme vice, he is quite wrong. The sins of the flesh are bad, but they are the least bad of all sins…. According to Christian teachers, the essential vice, the utmost evil, is Pride. Unchastity, anger, greed, drunkenness, and all that, are mere fleabites in comparison: it was through Pride that the devil became the devil. Pride leads to every other vice: it is the complete anti-God state of mind.

This is all very inconvenient.  I was feeling rather proud of my progress against sexual sin.

We've heard it said that all sins are equal. It turns out that this is not the case; there is one that is worse than all the rest. And it's one of mine.Click To Tweet


  1. Alexander Alan Kaiser

    You might have heard me echo your last line. I think your saying we need a brokenness towards sin both in ourselves and in others, especially sexual sin because it is the idol of choice for so many. Jesus is both indignant towards our sin necessitating God’s wrath being poured out on Jesus on the cross so He can make his appeal to us in love, “I want you in my arms not your idols”. Pride says we can handle our sin without the cross and why it is the greatest sin. Thanks for drawing the line.

  2. Trent

    Yes, Alan, this is exactly right. If I get to pick and choose which sin is the worst, I will obviously choose the one I’m not (all that) guilty of. I’m a lot worse at pride than a lot of others. By making pride the worst, it’s not all that easy to squirm out of, but the good news is that it brings home my profound need for those gracious arms.

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