In 2005, a typing error caused Mizuho Securities Company to lose at least $225 million on a stock trade in Japan. The company accidentally sold 610,000 shares at 1 yen (less than a penny). It actually intended to sell 1 share at 610,000 yen (or $5,041).
A Mizuho employee’s mistake not only brought turmoil to that company. It upset the entire Japanese stock market. By the end of the trading day the benchmark Nikkei 225 index had dropped 1.95 percent. [Read more here.]
I haven’t discovered whether that employee was fired. I suspect that happened. The loss of $225 million can’t be written off as an oops.
Do you think of your sins as oops-moments? As times when you’ve made a mistake? As the kind of thing that happens to everyone now and then?
We humans tend to minimize our sins. “Nobody is perfect,” we explain.
Not oops worthy
But our sins are much worst than a slip of the finger on a keyboard. They are worst than a mistake or a miscalculation or a blunder. Sins can’t be described as errors, as oops-moments. They can’t be healed by a shrug of the shoulders and a grimace of embarrassment.
Sins are fatal, eternally fatal. Each one – no matter how insignificant we may judge them – demands a payment that far outstrips our ability to repay. Sins aren’t just moral lapses that every human does and for which we should be excused. Sins are moral dysfunctions that are an essential part of our human nature.
Sin coerces the sinner to receive a reward. But it’s a reward no one wants to accept. “The wages of sin is death” (Romans 6:23), the Bible says. Sin is not just the reason our bodies die. It is the reason we are conceived with dead souls, souls that remain dead unless the gospel and Spirit bring them to life. It is the reason that everyone deserves eternal death.
Yet there is good news. Excellent news. Someone has covered the debt our sins have earned. “The wages of sin is death, but the gift of God is eternal life through Jesus Christ our Lord” (Romans 6:23). Here’s how we know forgiveness and eternal life are ours: “[God’s Son] was handed over to death because of our trespasses and was raised to life because of our justification” (Romans 4:25).