Q: #85. Sin is sin. All sin is equal to God, right?
A: When this subject comes up, people who know me start laughing because they know this belief drives me crazy. So, let me begin by saying, “NO, sin is NOT sin…!!
I guess almost everyone is taught this at one time or another. What amazes me is that almost everyone seems to believe it. There is no place in the Bible that EVER says, “sin is sin.” It isn’t even logical to believe God views a murder the same as a lie. What would God consider worse, if Hitler lied to millions of people, or murdered millions of people? If you say God doesn’t care either way, it is the same to Him…. that just isn’t rational…
Of course, the Bible bears this out. Let’s look at an example.
In the Old Testament, what was the punishment God ordered for someone who stole something from another person? It was restitution (Ex 22:1-4)(Lev 6:2-5)(2 Sam 12:6). They had to repay what was stolen plus interest. Now, what was the punishment God ordered for someone who murdered another person? The person who murdered another person was to be killed (Ex 21:12-14,23-25)(Num 35:16-21,29-31)(Gen 9:6).
If God viewed the thief’s sin as equal with the murderer’s sin, why didn’t He order the thief to be killed just like the murderer? Or, why didn’t He order the murderer to pay restitution just like the thief? On the contrary, God said the murderer CANNOT pay restitution (Num 35:31). Obviously, God does not view the sin of the murderer as equal with the sin of the thief.
The only other thing I can think of to make this point is simply to post different verses showing that God views sins differently. Let’s begin by looking at several verses from Jesus.
(Jn 19:11)(Jesus speaking to Pilate) Jesus answered, Thou couldest have no power at all against me, except it were given thee from above: therefore he that delivered me unto thee hath THE GREATER SIN.
(Mt 7:3-5)(NASB) Why do you look at the speck that is in your brother’s eye, but do not notice the log that is in your own eye? (4) Or how can you say to your brother, ‘Let me take the speck out of your eye,’ and behold, the log is in your own eye? (5) You hypocrite, first take the log out of your own eye, and then you will see clearly to take the speck out of your brother’s eye.
Here are a few more verses.
(1 Cor 6:12-20) Paul explains how the sin of “sexual immorality” is worse than other sins.
(Ezek 8:6,13,15) I will not post all of the verses for the sake of space, but if you read these, you will find that God is talking to Ezekiel, and showing him the sins of Israel, and how each sin is successively worse than the previous sin.
(James 3:1) My brethren, be not many masters (teachers), knowing that we shall receive the GREATER CONDEMNATION (will be judged more harshly if teaching incorrectly).
(Ezek 16:52) Thou also, which hast judged they sisters, bear thine own shame for THY SINS THAT THOU HAST COMMITTED MORE ABOMINABLE THAN THEY: they are more righteous than thou: yea, be thou confounded also, and bear thy shame, in that thou hast justified thy sisters.
We also are shown clearly that some will receive GREATER PUNISHMENT in Hell for sins than others will. Why?? If God views all sin the same, why are some going to be punished more?
(Lk 12:47-48) And that servant, which knew his lord’s will, and prepared not himself, neither did according to his will, shall be beaten with many stripes. (48) But he that knew not, and did commit things worthy of stripes, shall be beaten with few stripes. For unto whomsoever much is given, of him shall be much required: and to whom men have committed much, of him they will ask the more.
(Jer 16:18) And first I will recompense their iniquity and their sin DOUBLE; because they have defiled my land, they have filled mine inheritance with carcasses of their detestable and abominable things.
(Mk 12:40) Which devour widows’ houses, and for a pretence make long prayers: THESE SHALL RECEIVE GREATER DAMNATION.
(Gen 4:15) And the Lord said unto him, Therefore whosoever slayeth Cain, vengeance shall be taken on him SEVENFOLD…
(Heb 10:29) of how much sorer punishment, suppose ye, shall he be thought worthy, who hath trodden under foot the Son of God, and hath counted the blood of the covenant, wherewith he was sanctified, an unholy thing, and hath done despite the Spirit of grace?
(Mt 11:21-24) Woe unto thee, Chorazin! woe unto thee, Bethsaida! for if the mighty works, which were done in you, had been done in Tyre and Sidon, they would have repented long ago in sackcloth and ashes. (22) But I say unto you, It shall be MORE TOLERABLE FOR TYRE AND SIDON at the day of judgment, THAN FOR YOU. (23) And thou, Capernaum, which art exalted unto heaven, shalt be brought down to hell: for if the mighty works, which have been done in thee, had been done in Sodom, it would have remained until this day. (24) But I say unto you, That it shall be MORE TOLERABLE FOR THE LAND OF SODOM in the day of judgment, THAN FOR THEE. (Also see: Mt 10:15)
(Isa 40:2) God made Jerusalem pay double for its sins.
(Jer 17:18) Jeremiah asked God to destroy those who persecuted him with double destruction.
*(Caps emphasis on all verses above mine)
One more thing I would add here, why does God consider some sins “abominations” and others not?
OK… now that I have made the case that God doesn’t view all sins equally, let me add one provision here.
Sin is equal in ONE way. A lie will keep you out of Heaven just as much as a murder will. No sinner can get to Heaven; not a liar, not a murderer, not a thief. The only way to get to Heaven is to be perfect, and we will NEVER be perfect. This is why we all need Jesus Christ. Jesus lived the perfect life we could never live, and when we are born again, His perfect righteousness is imputed to us. His blood covers our sins, and makes us acceptable to God and able to get into Heaven.
We should also remember that ANY sin will separate us (as Christians) from walking closely with the Lord while on this planet. It does not break our union with God, but it can break our communion with Him. This is why we need to confess our sins, and repent, keeping short accounts with the Lord.
Were there sacrifices for intentional sin in the Old Testament?
What was the difference between a “sin offering” and a “trespass / guilt offering?