To many Americans, sin is no longer serious. This is not the mark of a God fearing nation. This is not the mark of a Christian nation. It ought not so to be in America today. For example: A prominent politician is found hiding a sexual affair with a mistress and a child born out of wedlock - the media response is that it may be a sin but not a crime. The impression left is that a crime is obviously more serious than a sin. In times gone by such a child was a bastard. Sometimes referred to euphemistically as a "woods colt."


Not too long ago, a president of the United States was caught "red handed" in wrongful sexual conduct. The response of the American left was, "it's only about sex," - why should anyone get upset about it? But then, the same people did not get upset about the perjury committed to cover the sin. When push came to shove, too many of his fellow politicians lacked the moral courage to impeach him for perjury, so much for the distinction between a crime and a sin.


Crime is defined as an offense against an individual or the state, punishable by law. Sin is defined as a transgression of God's law (1 John 3:4). It seems obvious that to many in our nation, a crime against the state is more serious than a crime against God. As God fearing Americans, we must get our priorities straightened out. When there is a conflict between what the state says and what God says, we have no choice. We must obey God rather than man (Acts 5:29).


Speaking of sin not being a crime, we should note that many states (17 plus the District of Columbia) still list adultery as a crime. And rightly so. It is an offense to the spouse. It violates the oath to keep oneself to one's spouse. It attacks the foundation of the family and destroys the fabric of the nation. When the moral structure of the family fails the moral structure of the nation, will soon follow.


Today, the Ten Commandments (Exodus 20) represents the Law of God in the minds and hearts of most Americans. Most of the commands (60% - verses 12-20) deal with man's relationship to man. To honor our mother and father is basic to Western Civilization. Murder, adultery, stealing, and being a false witness is considered crimes as well as sins. To covet anything of our neighbor often leads to crimes against the individual as well as the state.


Yes, sin is serious. If we choose to make light of them in this life, we will answer for it in the final Judgment Day. As Paul expressed it, "For we must appear before the judgment seat of Christ; that every one may receive the things done in his body, according to that he hath done, whether it be good or bad" (2 Corinthians 5:10).


Dale I. Royal, Elk City OK