Have you ever heard someone claim, “All sins are equal to God?” I have. For years I believed that this was a claim based on Scripture. Just like the other tough questions we’ve been tackling this week, after doing some digging I’ve discovered that it’s just not that simple.
Here’s what the Bible tells us for certain about sin.
1. All sin separates us from God
Isaiah 59:2 says, “But your iniquities have separated you from your God; your sins have hidden his face from you, so that he will not hear.”
Romans 6:23 teaches, “ For the wages of sin is death; but the gift of God is eternal life in Christ Jesus our Lord.” Apart from the grace of Jesus we would all face eternal separation from God as a consequence for our sin.
I think this basic truth may be where the idea that all sins are equal comes from. In this sense all sins have the same consequence—separation from God, but that doesn’t necessarily mean that all sins are equal.
2. There are degrees of sin
Proverbs 6:16-19 says, “ There are six things the Lord hates, seven that are detestable to him: haughty eyes, a lying tongue, hands that shed innocent blood, a heart that devises wicked schemes, feet that are quick to rush into evil, a false witness who pours out lies and a man who stirs up dissention among brothers.”
Matthew 12:31-32 says, “And so I tell you, every sin and blasphemy will be forgiven men, but the blasphemy against the Spirit will not be forgiven. Anyone who speaks a word against the Son of Man will be forgiven, but anyone who speaks against the Holy Spirit will not be forgiven, either in this age or in the age to come.”
I’ll have to leave the full interpretation of these verses to the Bible scholars, but they do seem to clearly indicate that God dislikes some sins more than others.
3. All consequences are not equal
To my knowledge, this point isn’t specifically backed by Scripture, but it seems obvious that all sins do not result in the same consequences in our lives. For example, if you gossip about your best friend you might hurt her feelings, harm the relationship, or loose the friendship. In contrast, if you commit murder you end a life, grieve a family, and may face judicial punishment such as jail time or the death penalty. Those may be two extremes, but the principle applies across the board. While all sin has destructive consequences on our lives those consequences can vary greatly in impact and severity.
The point is not to look at our own sin and judge that it’s not as severe as someone else’s. All sin matters and needs to be addressed in our lives. My goal is simply to make you think and to drive you deeper into God’s Word. Whether it’s the Truth about sin, marriage, or the nature of God, I hope you will be impassioned to seek God’s Truth for yourselves (and that you will share it with the rest of us on LYWB.com!).