Then said he to me, Have you seen this, O son of man? turn you yet again, and you shall see greater abominations than these.…
I. WHAT IS UNDERSTOOD BY THE HEINOUSNESS OF SIN.
1. That it is offensive to God, displeasing to Him, and grieving to His Spirit (Jeremiah 44:4). It is an abominable thing before the Lord; hence it is called filthiness, uncleanness, vomit, etc., all which provoke loathing; so Revelation 3:16. It is contrary to His nature and will, and gives Him displeasure and offence; and, if it were possible it would disturb His repose, as smoke doth to the eyes (Isaiah 65:5).
2. It is greatly offensive to God (Habakkuk 1:13). There is no sin that God is indifferent about, none that He can pass without a mark of His indignation on it (Exodus 34:7).
(1) All sin is heinous in the sight of God, namely, greatly offensive (Habakkuk 1:13).
(2) There are degrees of heinousness. Though the sin which the blinded soul accounts but a mote is a mountain in the eyes of God and of an enlightened conscience, yet all are not alike for all that; but as some mountains, so some sins are greater than others.
II. IN WHAT RESPECTS SOME SINS ARE MORE HEINOUS THAN OTHERS.
1. Some sins are in themselves, and in their own nature, more heinous than others. Murder (Genesis 4:10); oppression (Habakkuk 2:1l); blasphemy and contempt, of God (Exodus 5:2); idolatry (Ezekiel 8); unbelief, rejecting of Christ, and disobeying the Gospel (Matthew 22; John 3:19; 2 Thessalonians 1:8). But of all sins the most heinous is the sin against the Holy Ghost (Matthew 12:31).
2. Some sins are more heinous than others by their aggravations; and the greater and more numerous the aggravating circumstances be that attend any sin, it is the more heinous.
(1) From the persons offending: the more notable they are, the more heinous are their sins; as the greater the fire is, the more mischief will it do, if it go out of its place; the greater the tree is, the more mischief will it do by its fall.
(2) From the parties offended. Let men consider whom their sins strike against, if they would see how heinous they are. For as a thrust in a leg or arm is not so much grievous as one at the heart, so is it in this case. Sins immediately against God, His Son, and His Spirit are more heinous than such sins against man, any man whatsoever (1 Samuel 2:25). Sins against superiors in the church, state, and family are more heinous than the same sins are if done against persons of their own rank and condition. Sins against those whom we are under special engagements and obligations to are more heinous than such sins against others we have no such concern in. Sins against the saints and people of God are more heinous than against others, because of their relation to God, as being those in all the world dearest to Him (Matthew 18:6). Sins against the common good of all, or of many; for the wider the effects of one sin go, it is still the worse (Joshua 22:20).
(3) From the quality of the offence. A sin may be vested with such qualities as will make it much more heinous than when divested of them. These evil qualities are many; I will reduce them to two heads. Intrinsic qualities. Thus sins against the letter of the law are more heinous than others; mother sins, which are big and bring forth many others, besides simple ones; sins consummated by action, as well as while merely in the heart (James 1:15); sins that are scandalous, as well as others not so; sins the injury in which to men admits of no reparation, more than that of others in which it does. Extrinsic qualities; which again are of two sorts.
(i) Being done against means whereby one might be withheld from sin (Matthew 11:21, 22).(ii) Being done against bonds one has taken on him against the sin, when men sin against purposes and resolutions of amendment, against their covenants and engagements to the Lord, whereby they are bound to stand off from such courses (Ezekiel 17:19).
(4) From the manner of committing it. Who can imagine but sin done deliberately and wilfully and presumptuously is more heinous than sin committed through inadvertency and weakness?
(5) From the time of it, as in the case of Gehazi (2 Kings 5:26). Thus sins committed on the Lord's day, immediately before or after Divine worship, are more heinous than at other times. And so is sinning just after reproofs, warnings, engagements; or in a time when the anger of the Lord is going out against the land, family, or person, as Ahaz in his distress.
(6) From the place of it. Thus in a place where the Gospel is preached, sin is more heinous than elsewhere (Isaiah 26:10). Sins done in public before others are more heinous than those in secret; for in the former many may be defiled. Inferences —
1. Never think light of sin, nor slightly of Christ, and your need of Him, since all sin is heinous in God's sight, and exposes the sinner to His just vengeance.
2. There will be degrees of torment in hell, though the least degree will be dreadful (Matthew 11:21).
(T. Boston, D. D.)
Parallel VersesKJV: Then said he unto me, Hast thou seen this, O son of man? turn thee yet again, and thou shalt see greater abominations than these.