THE WORD IS
What is the greatest sin? Is it brutal murder, taking away food from the poor or some other gross sin? These are indeed great sins, but not the greatest. The greatest sin is unbelief and the greatest sinners are the unbelievers. Paul called himself the chief of sinners because he had persecuted 'God's Church. But he added: "I was shown mercy, because I acted ignorantly in unbelief" (1 Tim. 1:13). Unbelief was the chief cause of Paul's sin too. So too all of us are by nature some of those greatest sinners in God's eyes. "There is none righteous, not even one" (Rom. 3:10). Imagine that all people - the respectable as well as those who have lost the respect of society - are lined up together and God points directly at each of us and says: You are the greatest sinner.
How then can we be delivered from the greatest sin, unbelief?
For this purpose God has given the Holy Spirit. Jesus says: The Holy Spirit "will convict the world concerning sin, because they do not believe in Me" (John 16:9). But the Holy Spirit will also convict the world concerning righteousness. By this Jesus refers to His death in our behalf, through which He atoned for our sins. God accepted His sacrifice as a full payment for our sins. The Holy Spirit through the Word of God leads us to know Jesus, who is perfectly holy and righteous. When we are clothed with His righteousness and holiness, we are righteous in God's sight, acceptable to Him.
This happens when we believe in Jesus. Believing in Jesus means trusting in Him, trusting that for His sake God is merciful to us and has forgiven our sins. "God reckons righteousness apart from works: Blessed are those whose lawless deeds have been forgiven, and whose sins have been covered" (Rom. 4:7). We are delivered from the greatest sin when the Holy Spirit enlightens us and we believe that Jesus has already reconciled us to God. Even after this, unbelief remains in our corrupt nature, but according to the new man we believe. And we humbly pray: "Lord, I believe; help me in my unbelief" (Mark 9:24).
When the Holy Spirit brings us to faith in Jesus, He also warns us: "'Today if you hear His voice, do not harden your hearts" (Hebr. 3:7-8). Let us heed this warning. Oh that the refreshing breezes of the first Pentecost would begin to blow, so that people would turn from their unbelief to God, would rejoice in their salvation and would lead others to rejoice in it too.