Added to the “and other stupid statements series.”

During my ordination, one of the questions that I was asked by a seminary professor was “Are all sins equal in the sight of God?” I hesitated. Not because I did not have a strong opinion on this, but because I was not sure what the answer was that he was looking for. Are all sins equal in the sight of God? My ordination may have depended on the answer.

It is very common within popular evangelicalism to answer this question in the affirmative. This was one of the main assumptions in a book that I just recommended last week. Most find this theological concept very appealing and accept it, I am afraid to say, without doing much homework.

I think this tendency to assume that all sins are equal in the sight of God comes by means of three influences.

1) A reaction by Protestants against the Roman Catholic distinction between mortal sins (sins that kill justifying grace) and venial sin (sins of a lesser nature that do not kill justifying grace).

2) A tendency within our evangelistic church culture to express common ground with unbelievers—i.e., if all sins are equal in God’s sight, then your sin is not worse than any other. This way we are not coming across as judgmental or condescending.

3) Some biblical passages that have been interpreted in such a way (discussed below).

I don’t believe, however, that all sin is equal in God’s sight. I do believe that telling people that it is does serious damage to people’s understanding of the character of God and of the seriousness of certain sins. There are many reasons for this, but let me start with a reductio ad absurdum and them move to a biblical argument.

I often ask people who say that all sin is equal in the sight of God if they live according to their theology. Think about this. If all sin is really equal in the sight of God, and one really believes this, then God’s consternation and anger will be equal for whatever sin we commit. Equally important is the fact that our relational disposition before God should suffer equally from the conviction of the Holy Spirit for all sins. Most Christians understand what it means to have a conscience weighed down by unrepentant sin. But this weighing down normally only comes from those sins that we perceive to be more severe. If it is true, however, that all sin is equal in the sight of God and one actually lived according to that theology, then they should be just as troubled spiritually and just as repentant before God when they break the speed limit as when they commit adultery. After all, breaking the speed limit, even by 1 mph, is breaking the law and breaking the law is sin (Rom 13).

But nobody does this. We all see speeding down the road as water under the bridge of God. Apparently our conscience bears witness that it is not as bad as other things, even if we confess differently. Either that or the ability for our theology to actually affect the way we believe and think is non-functional in this situation.

Next (and more importantly) I think that it is biblical and necessary to say that some sins are more grievous in the sight of God than others. This also translates into the non-politically correct assumption that some people are sinners to a greater degree than others. Even though Protestants may not agree with the theology behind the Roman Catholic distinction between mortal and venial sins, there are many instances in the Scriptures where degrees of sin are distinguished.

1. Christ tells Pilate that the Jewish leaders have committed a worse sin than him, saying, “He who has handed me over to you has committed the greater sin” (Jn. 19:11, emphasis mine).

2. Certain sins in the law are distinguished in a particular context as an abomination to God, implying that others are not as severe (e.g. Lev. 18:22; Deut. 7:25, Deut. 23:18, Isa. 41:24).

3. Blasphemy of the Holy Spirit is set apart as a more severe sin than blasphemy of the Son (Matt. 12:31)

4. Proverbs 6:16-19 lists particular sins in such a way as to single them out because of their depraved nature, separating them from others.

5. There are degrees of punishment in Hell depending on the severity of the offense (Lk. 12:47-48).

6. Christ often evaluates the sin of the Pharisees as greater than the sins of others. You strain out a gnat while you swallow a camel (Matt. 23:24). If all sins are equal, Christ’s rebuke does not make any sense. (See also Lk. 20:46-47)

7. Similarly, Christ also talked about the “weightier things of the law” (Matt. 23:23). If all sins are equal, there is no law (or violation of that law) that is “weightier than others.” They are all the same weight.

8. Unforgiveness is continually referred to as a particularly heinous sin (Matt. 6:14-15; 18:23-35).

So where does this folk theology come from? Most people would refer to Christ’s comments in the Sermon on the Mount. Most particularly, reference is made to Matt. 5:27-28 as justification for this way of thinking.

“You have heard that it was said, ‘you shall not commit adultery’” but I say to you that everyone who looks at a woman with lust for her has already committed adultery with her in his heart (Matt. 5:27-28 27).

Is there a difference in the eyes of God between thinking about adultery and actually doing it? Absolutely. If we say anything other than this, I believe we do damage to God’s character and encourage the act based upon its premonition. The point Christ makes in Matt. 5:28 is not that lust and the actual act are equal, but that they both violate the same commandment, even if the degrees of this violation differ. Thus, Christ was telling people – and particularly the religious establishment of the day that thought they were safe because they had fulfilled the letter of the law – that the law runs much deeper. The spirit of the law is what matters. Therefore, if you have ever lusted, you have broken the sixth commandment. If you have ever hated your brother, you have broken the fifth commandment (Matt. 5:22). But, again, the breaking of the principles of the commandment is the issue, not the degree to which it is broken.

This is the same argument that James makes in Jam. 2:10 when he says “For whoever keeps the whole law and yet stumbles in one point, he has become guilty of all.” He is not equating all sin, but showing how any violation of the law, no matter how small, is still breaking the whole of the law because the law is connected to such a degree.

Think about this (another reductio): if you believe that adultery and lust are equal in the sight of God, then here are the consequences: any man or woman can justify divorce based upon the fact that in Matt. 5:32 Christ condemns divorce except for marital infidelity. All they need to do is make the safe assumption that their spouse has lusted to some degree during their marriage. This will make their divorce justified and biblical. In the same way, if a man were to lust after a woman on the internet, he might as well commit the actual act since in God’s eyes he already has. Or (I am rolling), if you have ever lusted after a girl, then you are under God’s mandate to marry her since in God’s eyes you are one with her (1 Cor. 6:16).

I think that this way of thinking is not only wrong biblically, but it also has repercussions that lead to a distorted worldview and to discrediting the integrity of God and the Gospel of Christ.

It is true. All people are sinners (Rom. 3:23). All people are sinners from birth. But not all sin is equal.

I think this is a safe way to stay humble and accurately represent the biblical witness:

While not all people sin to the same degree, we all share in an equally depraved nature.

In other words, no one is less of a sinner because of an innate righteousness about which they can boast. All people have equal potential for depravity because we are all sons of Adam and share in the same depravity, even if we don’t, due to God’s grace, act out our sinfulness to the same degree.

If you disagree with this, just think—really think—about what you are saying about God. You are saying to an unbelieving world that your God is just as angry about the act of going 56 in a 55 as he is about the act of one who rapes and murders a six-year-old girl. Do you really want to go there? Do you really think this position is sufficiently supported to justify such a belief? Can you really defend it? If the Bible teaches it, fine: we go with the Bible and not with our emotions or palatability decoder. But I don’t believe that a viable case can be made for letting our theology argue for such a belief. I can’t think of many more things in Evangelical pop-theology that is more wrong, more damaging, or more misrepresentative of God’s character and the nature of sin.

I answered with the above answer during my ordination. I was relieved when I saw the approval of the ordination committee. They were all concerned that I might be one who, even with seminary training, retained this belief that most Evangelicals have. I have often wondered whether or not they would have passed me if I had answered according to the traditional Evangelical folklore, saying that all sins are equal in the sight of God.


C Michael Patton
C Michael Patton

C. Michael Patton is the primary contributor to the Parchment and Pen/Credo House Blog. He has been in ministry for nearly twenty years as a pastor, author, speaker, and blogger. Th.M. Dallas Theological Seminary (2001), president of Credo House Ministries and Credo Courses, author of Now that I'm a Christian (Crossway, 2014) Increase My Faith (Credo House, 2011), and The Theology Program (Reclaiming the Mind Ministries, 2001-2006), host of Theology Unplugged, and primary blogger here at Parchment and Pen. But, most importantly, husband to a beautiful wife and father to four awesome children. Michael is available for speaking engagements. He can be contacted at [email protected]

    100 replies to ""All Sins are Equal in God's Sight" . . . And Other Stupid Statements"

    • John C

      Michael,

      I agree with what you are saying. I believe, though, that many would make the distinction that all sin is equally WRONG, while it is not all equally BAD. It is all an offense before a holy God and worthy of condemnation to hell, though as you have pointed out there are varying degrees of the offense of the sin and the consequences.

    • Jason

      This was definitely worth reading. If, 5 minutes ago, someone had asked me if all sin was equal in the sight of God, I probably would have hesitantly given the standard evangelical answer of yes, though not sure how to articulate how its not really yes.

      I’m glad that I somehow stumbled on your blog, because your posts are solid. Keep it coming.

    • Joshua Allen

      I always assumed that there is an implied “for purposes of salvation” before “all sin is equal in God’s eyes”.

    • mbaker

      CMP,

      Astute observations. I agree that this commonly taught theology often gives a false picture of the degrees of sin, as well as a false sense of security.

      And, certainly I think we also have to distinguish between personal sin, which we think often consider harmless simply because we aren’t caught at it at the time we commit it , and therefore don’t deal with it until we are forced to by having to face more serious consequences of our actions.

      An example would be us chronically going a few miles over the speed limit, and not getting ticketed, or thinking we’re really harming anyone by doing it. So, it’s no big deal to us except if and when in doing this we someday harm someone else, or get arrested ourselves. Then we have to face it, but unfortunately so do the other people we involve. What we thought was okay, and a minor infraction to begin with, has now resulted in major consequences to ourselves and others, such as someone being maimed or killed, or being involved in a serious accident.

      It is too bad, I often think, that we can’t recognize and deal with our sins when they are small, before having to face the music when we hurt someone else in a big way, or suffer serious consequences ourselves.

      That’s the downside to the teaching you are speaking of, that all sin is equal in God’s eyes. Certainly, we should all be able to readily see the human cost and the consequences are not.

    • bill

      THANK god I don’t go to church with you.

    • rayner markley

      Michael: ‘Think about this. If all sin is really equal in the sight of God, and one really believes this, then God’s consternation and anger will be equal for whatever sin we commit.’

      I agree with the main point of your essay, but I wonder about the above quote. Maybe it’s some comfort to believe that God isn’t quite as angry about some things as others. God does seem to spend a lot of time being angry (He was angry with the Israelites in the wilderness for 40 years), and for good reason of course. There is much to make even us angry.

    • shaun sells

      I agree with the basic premise, but you missed the main verse people use to equate this, and because of that you miss the point of such a statement.

      That verse is Romans 6:23
      “For the wages of sin is death, but the free gift of God is eternal life in Christ Jesus our Lord. ”

      Regardless of the sin, the ultimate wage is death.

    • oldman

      So after drawing your conclusion, can you now tell us, what God thinks are the lesser sins, and why this would be the case. If not then the whole exercise is futile. There is only one sin that is unforgivable, blasphemy.

    • C Michael Patton

      Well, for starters, I would say that going 36 in a 35 is not as bad as rape and murder!

    • oldman

      Glad you feel that way, but God is all about keeping your soul from being separated from his spirit. Thus the flood, and then Jesus’s sacrifice, in the end it’s not how many people you kill, it’s killing that’s the sin. We are all guilty of sin by Eve’s failing in the Garden of Eden, we are born into sin. If that’s enough to separate us from God then why worry if you truly believe in the salvation of Christ.

    • Gammell

      I’ve often countered this kind of thinking with the analogy of a felony. The commission of any sort of felony will make you a felon and get you sent to prison. In that sense, all felonies are equal in that they shift your status as a person and where you’re heading. In another sense, clearly not all felonies are equal. Stealing a car and serial murder are obviously radically different in degree of offense, but both have the same consequence to an extent. This kind of analogy, though limited, has produced valuable discussion about the nature of sin and identity (e.g. As a felony labels you a “menace to society”, sin labels you an “enemy of God.”), and also about the nature of relative good and evil (e.g. Even felons have pecking orders of who is decent and who is scum).

    • oldman

      Were you born a felon?

    • Buks

      Is it really about the severity of the sins committed or is it more about the condition/desease of sin that is behind us committing these deeds?

      If it is about our condition, then we all fall equally short of the standard God sets, namely perfection. How will it affect your thesis if I consider that it is only by God’s grace that I am not a rapist/murder, but only occationally break the speed limit?

    • C Michael Patton

      Buks, none at all. That is what I believe. But this post is not necessarily dealing with that.

    • oldman

      The poll at the beginning is very telling of the mindset here. Two black and white answers. The first allows people to judge other peoples sins. The second allows people to decide Gods intention. The third would be more intellectually honest, given we are having a ten page discussion on the subject and how the bible might be inter petted.

    • rick

      Don’t we need to define “sin”, before deciding if some types are worse than others?

    • Kim

      Am very grateful for this timely post. I have a woman in my life who is seeking to use this very argument to justify her desire to leave a troubled marriage. I disagreed using some of these same words…but certainly not put together so eloquently. You’ve helped me today. Thanks.

    • Tiffany

      I thank God for your blog posts in this series!

    • joanne

      In a sense, it’s a moot point against the backdrop of eternity. There are two kinds of sin. There is the sin God forgives and there is the sin God does not forgive, acoording to the Lord Jesus Christ. To every person that is of the most immediate importance.

      To those who reject Christ, they remain under God’s condemnation. Regardless of the extend of their sin, and the badness of their sin, God’s condemnation is a cover out from under which they will never come. If they occupy a higher level of hell….that is really only an academic point, at least from our earthly vantage.

      To those who receive Christ, eternal life begins now and continues into heaven. There are hints that at the judgment seat of Christ there will be varying size of rewards (and for some no tangible treasure other than entry into heaven). But there will be no condemnation; so the subject of sin, against the backdrop of heaven, is really only germane in the effect it has against the size of one’s pile of treasure.

      But what of our continuing earthly life? Would the egregiousness of sin have any bearing here? And I think that’s where we can pay attention. Actually, we do already. The penalty for going a mile over the speed limit is considerably different than the penalty for murder, or even armed robbery. That is as it should be.

      Otherwise, in terms of spiritual condition, the badness of a sin, whether great or small, still requires the same antidote — confession, cleansing and repentance.

    • oldman

      Nothing personal Tiffany, but I’ve searched my whole life so far, for a inkling (not from God) but of God. As of yet, I have not found it. I am very tried of people who claim they know it personally, what it thinks, what it feels, what it wants from them, what it wants from others, that they talk to God every day and it talks back. One of us is being intellectually dishonest with ourselves. If I find God, and I hope I do, it will have to mean something more than the current cheer leading seasons that the churches lead us in today. The bible speaks of faith that can move mountains, and make Jesus reappear, does this happen at your church?

      I think Rick has hit the nail on the head, what is sin? It obviously came into existence (as a nature anyway) at the time of the creation of the universe. Some would argue God created it. But it was not of his nature to do so. Gods chosen angel ,”Satan” fell to it, and so the battle for souls began. But what is it, that the all powerful cannot. control it? Science speaks of dark matter and dark energy as an invisible source that makes up 90% of the known universe. We can’t detect it, but know it’s there by it’s effect on the solid matter of the universe. Any serious thoughts?

    • Dr_Mike

      It seems to me that we are all equally depraved but not equally sinful.

      But that’s just me.

    • Guido

      I believe that “super-sized” sin, compared to tiny sins, only breeds a sense of self righteousness, or some thinking of themselves as better than the next. (I am glad that I am not as bad as that guy!)
      it also starts leading us into a “works based” faith.
      What happens next, is that we get side-tracked from what the definitions of sin are, (one being the falling short of God’s standards)…
      The penalty of sin…death.
      The payment of sin…Jesus.
      The beauty of it all, is that Jesus died for both the tiniest of sins, and the most horrific. He gave up His life, even for the “lesser” sins.
      Those believing that they are not “really bad sinners”, should give thanks to the Lord for paying such a high price for such a tiny sin.
      Like Paul, I put no confidence in the flesh…(please read Philippians ch 3).
      In closing, it is always going to come back to the condition of the heart, and what comes from it.
      Also, not all sins will have the same physical consequences as others.

      Good post!

      All for Jesus!

    • John C

      @oldman: To your thoughts about mountain-moving faith, I believe that most thoughtful biblical scholars, even ones that seek God diligently, would put those statements of Jesus within the idea of hyperbole, a figure of speech where exaggeration is used for dramatic effect. Jesus is quite fond of it.

      @Bill, I am sorry if this comes off as judgmental, but please re-read your post and consider your approach. If you disagree then please do so kindly. Michael is a good man with a heart for Christ; he is more Reformed than I am and we disagree occasionally, but name calling is not at all what the Lord would have us do. John 13:35 is pretty clear on the issue to me.

      A good discussion all the way around, but keep the punches above the belt everyone!

    • davidbmc

      You ARE going to eventually turn this series into a book…right?

      dm

    • oldman

      John: Jesus used speech for dramatic effect? I kinda figured that’s what the miracles were for, you know the walking on water, etc.
      The bible clearly tells us if three or more believers request Christ to appear he will do so, as he did in the bible. Apparently none exist today. Either we have lost the true message, or our faith is put on.
      People only believe because they want the reward or are afraid of the punishments, that God promises. I think God has seen through us.

    • #john1453

      Whether the proposition is stupid depends on the context or background.

      The proposition is only stupid if one assumes a discussion about punishment in hell and one believes that there are degrees of punishment in hell. However, not all Christians believe that there are degrees of punishment in hell. For example, in answer to a question about whether there are degrees of punishment in hell, Pat Robertson answered:

      “The thing you don’t realize is that sin is sin. It is probably no worse to kill somebody than it is to slander him or her. If you slander their reputation, you are killing them. But slander seems to be cool in most churches. There is all kind gossip and slander going on, and everybody thinks it is OK, whereas if someone does something promiscuous in the sexual way, they are shunned. Sin is sin because it is all an offense against God. I don’t know anything about venial sins and mortal sins and peccadillos. I know our friends in the Catholic Church categorize them, but I see nothing in the Bible that indicates that. We are sinners, and the wages of sin is death — period. Dante had various levels of hell in his writings, The Divine Comedy. I just don’t believe in that. I don’t believe it is biblical.”

      Second, the statement would not be stupid in a discussion about the moral weight of sin. It is a standard argument in discussions of the atonement that sin is against God, who is infinite. The reasoning is that any sin against an infinite God requires an infinite punishment and an equivalent payment for the penalty.

      Third, as has been noted above, the statement would not be stupid in a discussion about what separates us from God. All sin, any sin, every sin, falls short of the mark and separates us from God and results in the wage of death. Even a white lie would separate us from God.

      Hence I don’t think that the statement is necessarily stupid, nor do I believe that it entails the repercussions for our view of God, etc., that CMP claims. It certainly does not entail that a person will be more likely to actually commit adultery because he/she views it as equivalent to thinking about it. Since both are sin, what follows instead is that a person will avoid both. Or having committed one sin (thought) a person will not compound it by doing a second (carrying out the deed) at a time subsequent to the thought.

      It is also not the case that all christians, or even all evangelicals, believe that infidelity justifies divorce. John Piper, for one, does not. I don’t either, though not for all the same reasons as Piper. Hence, the view that all sins are equal does not necessarily lead to a justification of divorce.

      Regarding speeding, CMP writes, “Apparently our conscience bears witness that it is not as bad as other things, even if we confess differently. Either that or the ability for our theology to actually affect the way we believe and think is non-functional in this situation.” I would argue to the contrary that…

    • #john1453

      continuation of my post 26.

      I would argue to the contrary that the problem is a defective conscience. What a shocker! To think that our conscience might be an unreliable guide to what is true!

      regards,
      #John

    • rick

      Regarding the definition of sin, is sin a state of being, an action, a thought, an intention?

      Scot McKnight writes:

      “John Goldingay, who has more good ideas than most, has a nice piece on how “sin” is described in the Bible: rebellion, infidelity, disloyalty, ingratitude, getting dirty, wandering, trespass, transgression, and failure ( “missing the mark”). (See Atonement Today, 39-45.)
      It follows then that the problem concerns the human response to God (not just his will)…”

      Scot, referring to a book by Mark Biddle, also writes:

      “Fundamentally, sin is the failure of relationship with God by not being what we are meant to be: authentic humans, Eikons, not God.”

      If that is true, then determining what actions are the worse sin, we miss the point that the sin has already taken place. Therefore, we are just determining the worse action/offense from that sin.

      So is that core sin (breaking relationship with God) always equal, and/or is the isse of degree one of thoughts and actions that we add to the core sin?

    • #John1453

      Good points, rick (re post 28).

      By focussing on the manifestations and effects of sin, as CMP does in his post, one misses the essential unity of sin, as noted by rick.

      The manifestations and effects of sin depend on the contexts and opportunities for sin, and on the desires that one allows to sit at one’s doorway. But the damage is already done by the time we get to the performance of sin.

      Nevertheless, what are we to make of our intuition that some sins are more heinous than others? Is that merely dysfunctional conscience, shared with nonchristians, or is it a true intuition from God?

      Thomas Watson, a 17th century puritan, wrote this about degrees of sin:

      “Are all transgressions of the law equally heinous? Some sins in themselves, and by reason of several aggravations, are more heinous in the sight of God than others.

      ” ‘He that delivered me unto thee, has the greater sin.’ John 19: 11. The Stoic philosophers held that all sins were equal; but this Scripture clearly holds forth that there is a gradual difference in sin; some are greater than others; some are ‘mighty sins,’ and crying sins.’ Amos 5: 12; Gen 18: 21. Every sin has a voice to speak, but some sins cry. As some diseases are worse than others, and some poisons more venomous, so some sins are more heinous. ‘Ye have done worse than your fathers, your sins have exceeded theirs.’ Jer 16: 12; Ezek 16: 47. Some sins have a blacker aspect than others; to clip the king’s coin is treason; but to strike his person is a higher degree of treason. A vain thought is a sin, but a blasphemous word is a greater sin. That some sins are greater than others appears, . . .”

      However, the only implication of this belief that Watson notes is that a more heinous sin brings greater and more severe judgment and punishment both in this life and the next:

      “Use. You see all sins are not equal; some are more grievous than others, and bring greater wrath; therefore especially take heed of these sins. ‘Keep back thy servant from presumptuous sins.’ Psa 19: 13. The least sin is bad enough; you need not aggravate your sins, and make them more heinous. He that has a little wound will not make it deeper. Oh, beware of those circumstances which increase your sin and make it more heinous! The higher a man is in sinning, the lower he shall lie in torment.”

      regards,
      #John

    • Ray D

      It seems when we look at the “actions” of sin we separate them into different degrees of bad or worse. However if we take what Christ says in Mat 22:36-40 into the mix things change. With God it is not so much the what we did as the why we did it.
      If a man drives 20 mph over the speed limit because there is a sale at Penny’s he gets a ticket. If the same man drives 20 mph over the speed limit because he is rushing his child to the hospital he is given a police escort. God sees the offense of the heart. We see the offense of the actions.

    • Joe

      The Bible to be sure, 1) suggests that those who “do not sin in small things” will carry the same habit forward, and not sin in larger things.

      And 2) Jesus adds that just thinking about adultery is like committing it.

      But has anyone considered the practical consequences of living like this? As practical matter, what we have here is totalitarianism; even, mind control. You aren’t even allowed to THINK about even a very, very, very tiny sin.

      Aside from the practical ugliness of this: is this total, totalitarian mind-control, consistent with other biblical theologies? Like for example, 1) a forgiving, “grace”ful lord?

      And parts of the Bible that 2) tell us not to be “righteous overmuch”?

      Or 3) those Old Testament passages, that suggest that Jesus himself sinned, when he worked on a Sunday/Sabbath? The commandment that told us not to work on a Sabbath, by the way, was in the Old Testament, backed by a death penalty for disobeying that; for even gathering or preparing food on that day (as Jesus’ disciples picked corn to eat on a Sabbath).

      No doubt, many people need to be scared into being good. And for some overemphasizing following every law is necessary.

      But then too, consider 4) those passages that warned that enforcing the “letter of the law” was not necessary or good.

      Particularly though, it is the utterly inflexible, dictator- like totalitarianism, the inflexible absolutism of this, that bothers me.

      Especially when 5) you consider that the New Testament’s new covenant, effectively dropped whole sections of Jewish “law.” Like honoring the Sabbath on a Saturday; honoring Jewish food restrictions; and instituting grace, forgiveness, over the death penalty for cooking a meal on a Sabbath.

    • cheryl u

      Joe,

      You have several times referred to this concept in the Bible of being “righteous overmuch”. Can you please tell me where this is? I can’t remember any verses that give this concept at all.

    • Joe

      Cheryl:

      Ecclesiastes. RSV.

    • Joe

      Ecc. 7:16

    • Jonathan

      I remember when we were taught in sunday school that all sin was equal before God, it was in the context of their consequences. (that they would make you sinful before God)

      With regards the consequences, they are all equal.

      With regards to their effects, they are not all equal. Their earthly consequences vary.

      I guess as with all prooftexting, it is very easy to equivocate. If all that is left of the lesson is the prooftext “All sin is equal”, the point would have been lost.

      If not all sin is equal though, would people here think it moral and just for God to have nine compartments in hell? I’m just wondering where in the nine hells i would be if i wasn’t forgiven.

      As it is, i’m unsure how long i should be staying in purgatory if there was a purgatory.

    • #John1453

      It seems to me that “degrees of sin” has a greater significance horizontally (i.e., vis a vis other people) than vertically (God). Having greater earthly punishments is a motivation for humans to treat each other better, and the motivation (punishment) would be in proportion to the seriousness of the horizontal affects (more punishment for murder than for stealing). There is a social regulation factor to the Old Testament laws.

      Of what value, however, is degrees of sin in relation to God? Does it require more or less atonement? Given that God is infinite, the usual evangelical explanation for an eternal hell is that any sin against an infinite God requires infinite punishment.

      Furthermore, how would degrees of punishment in hell even be of relevance if hell is everlasting? After a billion billion years in hell, with more to follow, is the “degree” of hell experienced each minute even relevant? If the worst thing about hell is the complete separation from God, isn’t that punishment the same for everyone?

      We may have an a moral intuition that there are degrees of sin, but there is a gulf between that intuition and the rest of our theology.

      regards,
      #John

    • cheryl u

      Joe,

      I like this short commentary on this Ecc. passage: http://www.wels.net/cgi-bin/site.pl?1518&cuTopic_topicID=811&cuItem_itemID=23299

      Obviously, as this commentary says, in light of all of the rest of Scripture, we can’t take this passage to literally mean that it is o.k. to sin to some degree–in this way not being “righteous overmuch.”

      I don’t know if that is what you were suggesting or not, but that is the idea I got from what you said.

    • Michael L

      I concur with Jonathan (mostly). However, I have a bit of a challenge for CMP’s statements. Here’s why:

      Since God is Holy, He cannot tolerate sin. I think we all agree on that.

      If that is the premise, how would He be able to tolerate a small sin ? Will He tolerate small sins more than large sins ? And who determines what is small or large ? The Godly consequences of sin are separation from God. Call it hell.

      However, the human consequences of sin are indeed determined by the effect they have on others. Hence there are large sins and not-so-large sins. But imho they’re based on human impact, not Godly “tolerance” or “acceptance”.

      I think it’s dangerous to go down that path. Why ? If God considers some sins “lesser” than others, when does one cross the line ? With one ? That doesn’t sound just or merciful to me. Does one condemn their child to eternal damnation for “thinking about lying” ? Or do you punish him/her for actually lying ? If you accept there is a difference between the two, then you would mercifully let go of the “thinking about lying” piece wouldn’t you ? And if that is the case, well then a person is able to earn their salvation. Which is definitely against the salvation by grace alone doctrine. Only if both sins are of equal “value” and separate you eternally from God (or condemn you to hell if you so please), then salvation by grace alone makes sense. If God does apply two different weights to them… then there is a possibility of earning salvation by good behavior.

      Hence I do believe there is no difference in sins (with the one exception of blasphemy strictly called out in Scripture) as far as their consequences are concerned. However there is a difference I do believe in their earthly consequences. Murder itself being worse than the thought thereof. Adultery and lust ditto. Jealousy vs stealing as well. Etc…etc…

      I’m sure there’s an error in my reasoning somewhere, so feel free to shoot some holes in it.

      I’m sure there’s a loophole in that reasoning somewhere.

      In Him
      Mick

    • cheryl u

      Joe,

      You said, “And 2) Jesus adds that just thinking about adultery is like committing it.

      But has anyone considered the practical consequences of living like this? As practical matter, what we have here is totalitarianism; even, mind control. You aren’t even allowed to THINK about even a very, very, very tiny sin.”

      Since God is the one that has created the world and laid out it’s rules and defined what sin is, why can’t He say that it is, in His eyes, committing adultery in the heart by lusting with the eyes? It is His definitions of sin we have to live by, not the ones we wish He had made. If we had made the rules as to what is sin and what is not, I’m sure they would probably be far different than His!

    • Michael L

      Even better examples

      As father of a bunch of kids, I know I have mentioned “Do the dishes or you’re grounded” or “Clean your room or you’re not going anywhere” on occasion. My house, my rules… you’re welcome to move out once you’re 18 if you don’t like the rules. And my kids have called this “totally unfair and totalitarian !!” more than once 😉

      Mick

    • #John1453

      Re post 38.

      Michael L raises good points, which are relevant to this topic. However, they were also specifically the subject of the “White Lies . . . and other stupid statements” post by CMP. I tried keeping the discussion on that specific topic with my early posts, but then the discussion turned to issues of Calvinism and white lies, and then to Calvinism alone because no one else was commenting except the people interested in that latter topic. So the thread got hijacked by a peripheral discussion (I confess guilt, since I entered a comment that I would “go with the flow” and switch to Calvinism as a topic, and then I just started replying to one commenter). As a result of the hijacking, CMP shut down that thread (I now plead contrition and repentance). Bottom line, I do thing Michael L’s comment is relevant to this thread as well.

      regards,
      #John

    • Michael

      Michael L,
      I think there is a slight error in your reasoning and that is with the way your conceptualize sin. Your seem to think of sin as primarily something you do before you think of it as primarily something you are. I think a Biblical understanding of sin would reverse this conceptualization. Sin is primarily something we are and it is a result of this state of being that we commit individual acts of sin. As a result of the fall humans are born in a state of sin. The reason people ultimately go to hell is not because they have sinned, but because they have never repented of their sinful state and submitted to God. People go to hell because they were born in a state of rebellion against God and never lowered their fist.

    • Light M.

      Several years ago, my pastor preached a sermon on sin and it stuck with me ever since. In the Bible, there are three different words that we translate with just one word, “sin.” One means “rebellion,” one means “miss the mark,” and one means “twisted or bent.” “Missing the mark” is nowhere near as serious as “rebellion,” IMHO.

    • Michael L

      Michael (post 42)

      Valid comment, however in need for some clarification.

      I would love to have a conversation or thread to discuss the difference between transgression (i.e. the act) versus sin (i.e. the state) – cf Eph 2.1. Or for those Greek loving members, the difference between paraptoma vs hamartia.

      However, the conversation here is clearly about the acts of rebellion, not the state.

      That being said, the question then becomes whether we can resist acting on our inner state ? And IF (emphasis) we were able to resist from sinning, would be still be condemned ?

      As John1453 points out, this is inevitably going to lead us on a conversation about total depravity or not, or the Calvinist versus Arminian debate. Which we have enough of already. 😉

      But if we stick to the question of the post on whether certain acts are more “serious” than others, I think it depends:
      1) In human eyes, certainly, based on the consequences.
      2) In Gods eyes ? He may have “grades” of sin, but I’m not so sure whether it matters.

      See, we tend to get this idea of gravity of acts of rebellion based on the consequences they invoke. If I take Rom 6:23 as an example, it doesn’t say whether it’s big ones or small ones. This should apply whether you go by the fact that you are born in a sinful state, whether it’s imputed on you because of Adam or because of the fact that you sin (most likely) before you can even properly talk. The fact of the matter is that before you even realize it, you’re a sinner separated from God. God being perfectly Holy and just, He cannot tolerate sin, hence “we’re children of wrath” (same Eph 2 passage). Whether that is a big sin or a small one. If God would tolerate sin, it would denounce the Holy character of God.

      Are there “grades” of transgressions ? Yes in human consequences, I don’t believe so in Godly consequences. But that’s my humble opinion once again.

      I hope it clarified a bit what I was trying to convey.

      In Him
      Mick

    • Michael L

      Blah !!! 2 typos I missed.

      On the transgression vs sin: See Eph 2:1, hence the Eph 2 reference later.

      Rom 6:13 should be Rom 6:23 .. duh !

      [Fixed – ed.]

    • […] and Pen: “All Sins are Equal in God’s Sight”… And Other Stupid Statements by C. Michael Patton Sphere: Related […]

    • Joe

      Cheryl:

      1) Thanks for your reference to an explication of “Be not righteous overmuch.” Still however, your reference seems to allow my understanding of Ecc. 7.16: “be good … ” but “don’t overdo it.” Some small sins are allowed, it seems in your source:

      QUOTE: “In the first, Solomon’s advice in the passage is part of what he has observed “under the sun.” In other words, it is a conclusion that one could reasonably draw if he excluded God from his thinking and based his judgment only on what he observed. It is a constant theme in the book that in this world, vice is not consistently punished and virtue is not consistently rewarded–and extreme virtue is hardly rewarded at all. From a this-worldly perspective (which the ending of the book rejects–See Ecclesiastes 12:13, 14), the conclusion seems logical: “Be a good person, but there’s no point in overdoing it.”

      In the second explanation, Solomon is dealing with a kind of striving for virtue that refuses to deal realistically with life as it is. This person refuses to accept or acknowledge his own limitations, believing arrogantly that, with just a little more effort, he could be the exception to Ecclesiastes 7:20. In his striving for wisdom, he fails to take into account that wisdom is ultimately unattainable (Ecclesiastes 7:24). Even that wisdom which a person does manage to attain doesn’t necessarily make him any happier (Ecclesiastes 1:18).

      Personally, I favor the second explanation. But either is possible.”

      2) As for Jesus’ telling us not to even THINK about sinning? That thinking about a sin and doing it, are the same? The severity of this, might suggest that it is one of those laws, small sins, that are indeed, not so important.

      Wouldn’t a God of Grace etc., ease up a little? Show forgiveness for very minor sins? Especially considering that many things Jesus himself did, were considered sins in the Old Testament; like working (healing, etc.) on a Sabbath. Wasn’t Jesus forgiven by God, for his apparent sins against the OT?

    • Joe

      Michael L:

      God can’t tolerate sins? What do you mean? God 1) created a universe in which sin was possible; and 2) God created all things, so he must have created Satan himself. While 3) sins continue every day.

      If God can’t tolerate sins, then he can’t tolerate his own actions.

    • cheryl u

      Joe,

      You quoted pretty much the whole article I linked word for word, except the one most telling sentence! It is: “This is a puzzling passage, but the way in which you are approaching it is healthy. Obviously we can’t understand the passage as encouraging sinful behavior. in view of so many clear Scripture passages to the contrary. Commentators tend to favor one of two possible explanations.”

      Notice: it can’t be encouraing sinful behavior in view of so many Scripture passages to the contrary!

      And unless you don’t believe Jesus is God or that the Bible is not telling what Jesus said accurately, I don’t know how you can get around the fact that He said to think about sin–to lust is to commit adultery in your heart, or to hate is to commit murder in your heart–are actually what God is saying here.

    • EricW

      Light M. on 29 Sep 2009 at 6:31 pm #

      Several years ago, my pastor preached a sermon on sin and it stuck with me ever since. In the Bible, there are three different words that we translate with just one word, “sin.” One means “rebellion,” one means “miss the mark,” and one means “twisted or bent.” “Missing the mark” is nowhere near as serious as “rebellion,” IMHO.

      I’m not sure what words your pastor preached about, but in Romans 5 Paul pretty much seems to use hamartia, paraptôma and parabasis (and perhaps also parakoê) interchangeably. I.e., there may not be a great deal of semantic difference between the different Greek words for “sin(s).” Any intended difference might be more dependent on the context in which they’re used than on the bare meanings of the words themselves.

    • Michael L

      Joe

      All three your statements are true. But from those three to the conclusion is a bit of a leap.

      If God can’t tolerate sins, then he can’t tolerate his own actions.” God is not the one sinning. Satan sinned, Adam sinned, we sin. Unless you’re trying to imply God is sinning ?

      Let me clarify my statement: “Considering God is wholly just and Holy, it stands to reason that He cannot tolerate sin to be in His presence. Even though God created everything, it is the abuse of His creation that leads to sin. Example: Desire for your spouse is good. Lust for any other woman is not. Trying to find a job to work and provide for your family is good. Being obesessed with money, not so much.”

      I’m really not sure where you stand or where you’re gymnastics are leading ?

      Do you
      1) Believe there is a merit to what CMP is saying or
      2) Believe that there are differences betwen a small versus a big sin ?

      All I’ve read is accusing God and/or Christ of instituting a totalitarion mind-control regime and your understanding that Wouldn’t a God of Grace etc., ease up a little? Show forgiveness for very minor sins?

      I’ve heard too many people use that latter argument to self-justify behaviors that aren’t all that good or healthy. It’s slippery slope. Cheryl already pointed out in post #39, it’s His rules.. not ours.

      In Him
      Mick

    • Joe

      Is is really God’s rule that we absolutely must obey every single tiny law? Is God that intolerant of sin? I’m citing Biblical examples, to suggest that God is more tolerant of sin than many think.

      No doubt, experimenting with “sin” is dangerous. But what is considered sin in one era – even by God – is not considered sin in another. God told the Jews for example, that eating pork was a sin; but in the New Testament/”new covenant,” an apostle has a vision allowing him to eat anything. While Christians eat pork today.

      NO doubt to be sure, you need to understand the reason for the rules, before you break them. ANd no one should think he or she is entirely above the “law.” At the same time, though, even the laws of God were changed significantly, from the Old to the New Testament. And who knows but that they might change again?

      Of course, this is a very, very slippery spot to be; so be very, very careful. Look very carefully, before you leap.

      But Paul, some say, took that leap: “All things are lawful for me.”

      To be sure, this is something you want to be very, very careful about. But consider too, that perhaps many things that you think God is commanding, you or I might have misunderstood; so that even when we think we are following it, we might be disobeying it.

      It might be too, that just when we think we are being very, very good, we are really like the Pharisees; following the “letter of the law,” but not really understanding the true intent behind it.

      So that trying too hard to be “Good,” ironically, often does not work.

      For that reason, God instituted some slack into the system: “Grace” and “forgiveness” and so forth.

      Cheryl: The article suggests that probably most cannot believe that God tells us to sin; but on the other hand, God seems more forgiving of it than many have thought. “Be a good person; but there’s no point in overdoing it.”

      And indeed, many people who think they are very very good and are following the laws of God, may well be following a false idea of God and so forth.

      So that ironically, trying to be very, very Good is not always right.

    • oldman

      Interesting points, but as entry 48 points out, God created sin. Even if you think of it as sin nature, it obviously didn’t exist before the heavens and universe was created. So let us start at the beginning, what is sin?

    • Ron Wolf

      Obviously a good discussion on your post Michael. I tend to agree with the different degrees of sin. I am somewhat confused when it comes to the unpardonable sin. I have always been told it was just the fact of unbelief. Guess that’s why I am here. To learn!

    • Michael L

      Joe,

      Once again some very interesting points. It still seems to me there’s an undertone of De-emphasizing sin and sinfulness. Definitely the use of your reference to 1Cor 6:12 is dangerous.

      For one, you’re only highlighting half of the verse. The second part is equally as important. The full verse is “All things are lawful for me,” but not all things are helpful. “All things are lawful for me,” but I will not be enslaved by anything. Makes it very clear that even though the Law does not apply anymore to a lot of items, they’re still not necessarily beneficial
      For two, there’s been some debate on this phrase. There is a train of thought that actually considers this statement to be a reference from Paul to one of the slogans used by the Corinthian Church to justify their behavior and lifestyle. Pretty much as many of us do today. Paul was quoted this phrase to then repudiate it by saying “Sure.. but they’re not all good and I won’t be enslaved by them”. For more on this, Wierbe is a pretty good read in his commentary on 1Cor. Or David K.Lowery

      This being said, our God is indeed a God of grace. But that doesn’t give us the right to keep on sinning. Romans 6:1 is quite clear on that.

      True enough, it gets to a point where some put the Law above Grace and it is good to remind us all that Christianity is a faith of grace. But that doesn’t mean we can ignore all aspects of sin. Whether big or small, they call out to me that I am a sinner and can never be perfect. It is only by grace that I am saved. Without sin, there is no need for grace.

      In Him
      Mick

    • oldman

      It’s a catch 22, to be human is to sin. Therefore you need God (Jesus) to wash away the sin. No one can not “lust in their heart”, or be born pure or innocent, it’s a no-win situation for humans. The church uses this for their own means. Since we can’t agree, maybe we shouldn’t be offering our blind viewpoints? The church never says “we don’t know, or the scripture is unclear.” I’m tired of people who speak for God, not of God.

    • #John1453

      oldman, what do you mean by “of God” rather than “for God”?

    • Joe

      “Be not righteous overmuch” is from Ecclesiastes: it is part of what is called “Wisdom Literature.” Much of wisdom lit., is thought to be oddly different from, much of the rest of the Bible. And yet after all, it was finally allowed in.

      Paul and the disciples at times attack various forms of “wisdom”; but surely not the holy wisdom books?

      To be sure, the wisdom books are unsettling, in their difference/change from, the rest of the Bible.

      But it seems God often changes his eternal laws. For example, even Paul and other apostles, often seem to be ready to move past Old Testament “law,” to a “new covenant.” It is commonly thought by scholars, that the words and laws and covenants of God, underwent a significant shift, from the Old Testament, to the words, “grace,” of Jesus and the New Testament.

      And so: if the words and laws of God have changed once or twice in the past? Shouldn’t we therefore be receptive today, to new Charistmatic gifts and so forth? A subject much discussed on this blog.

      Maybe we should even look forward to yet another revision/update of God’s word? In the Second Coming, for example? But in such a case, the definition or understanding of what is “good” or what is “sin”ful might change, once again.

    • oldman

      John 1453
      The ancient languages aren’t anywhere near as concise as the later translations. There is a lot of guess work as to the actual sentences, which of course could change the meanings of the scriptures. The fact that there are so many denominations of churches belies the fact that we can’t claim to understand fully what God needs from us or what role we actually play in the grand scheme of things. Remember, the disciples walked, talked, lived with Jesus, and yet understood nothing of what was happening. In the end they were merely witnesses left to pick up the pieces of a battle they did not understand was happening. I don’t think we are in a very different situation today, than they were, I mean…how can we be?
      So it is from this viewpoint, I think we should speak of God, and what he may need of us and not speak for God which leads us to judgment, not only of others, but of God itself.

    • Joe

      Oldman:

      I agree. The truth about God is so complex, and we are all such imperfect sinners, that we should seldom if ever presume to speak FOR God, authoritatively. But only speak modestly OF him.

      Especially since his message seems to vary so significantly, from one part of the Bible to the next.

      Even on major questions, like sin, and his “law.”

    • #John1453

      Joe, haven’t seen you posting in a while, though IIRC you used a different posting name.

      Interesting thought on new revelation at the second coming, but won’t that be a bit late? Since Christ will be here Himself, I’m not sure what the use or purpose of further revelation would be.

      As regards the original languages, there is little or no guesswork regarding the original sentences. And where there is dispute about where sentences start or stop, that dispute does not through into doubt our understanding of the gospel. Furthermore, there is no doubt at all about the gospel message.

      I find that there is not useful distinction between talking of God and for Him, and any distinction to be made is not useful to our task of spreading the gospel. Preaching the word of God and spreading the gospel is inherently and integrally speaking for God. God, in fact, commands us to speak His words.

      regards,
      #John

    • Michael L

      Joe

      “Be not overly righteous, and do not make yourself too wise” Ecc 7:16 is indeed a great passage.

      My point is, that once we start to “categorize” sins as small and large, we’re heading to a slippery slope. The danger when we start to catalogue sins is that we can say “Oh.. but I only commit the little ones and none of the big ones”, which leads to the temptation of calling yourself “righteous”. I’m a sinner. The end.

      I really am thinking we’re saying the same thing, perhaps from a different angle.

      In Him
      Mick

      PS: Cessationism or not is fodder for a completely different thread.

    • oldman

      JOHN1453
      Little or no guess work? The Old Testament declared the coming of the Messiah but no one predicted he would be a sacrifice for our sins. The Jews thought he would help them overthrow their suppressors, and don’t believe Jesus fit the role as Messiah at all.
      John are you really so presumptuous to think that you somehow have the ability to convert people to Christianity, you think very little of other (or Jesus) to assume it is you that makes the difference.
      The distinction of talking “for him” or “of him” leads on to believe you do not think he can talk for himself. It really doesn’t matter if you find it useful or not, what matters is being intellectually honest and truthful, both to oneself and others. If the scripture and message is as simple as you think, then there should only be one church. Have you counted the different denominations as of today? They exist because of the mindset you bring forward.

    • cheryl u

      oldman,

      You said, “The Old Testament declared the coming of the Messiah but no one predicted he would be a sacrifice for our sins.”

      How do you understand Isaiah 53 if not as a Messiah that would be a sacrifice for our sins?

    • […] by Smithers on September 30, 2009 Recently I read a blog post by Michael Patton (@CMichaelPatton) from Reclaiming the Mind Ministries where he argues quite […]

    • Daniel B

      “After all, breaking the speed limit, even by 1 mph, is breaking the law and breaking the law is sin ”

      That’s a strained reading of both the laws of the road and Romans 13. The law (correctly) allows for “flow of traffic” speeds which exceed the speed limit, since this (if followed) prevents cars from clumping too much. And also “be subject to the authorities” doesn’t mean “do not drive 56 in a 55” – if I speed and get pulled over and don’t rebel against the authority of the officer who pulled me over, then I definitely have been subject to the authorities.

      “In the same way, if a man were to lust after a woman on the internet, he might as well commit the actual act since in God’s eyes he already has.”

      That’s not a logical continuation of “all sins are equal”. It’s a logical continuation of “if I’ve done a sin, then I might as well continue to do that same sin” – which is a false way to look at sin regardless of whether all sins are equal or whether some is worse than others.

    • C Michael Patton

      Dan, fair enough about the speed limit, but that does not help as there are any number of illustrations that could have been used. Such as:

      Is a 15 year old lying about his age in order to go see Braveheart as grevious in God’s site as raping little girl?

      All I am saying is don’t spread romors about God unless you can back them up. I don’t think anyone can back this up.

    • Judy

      Thank you for posting this. You did a very good job explaining it. Whenever this comes up in bible study, I usually point out the John 19:11 verse. This came up again this week and I think I’m going to point my bible study to your post.

    • […] “All Sins Are Equal in God’s Sight”… and Other Stupid Statements  C. Michael Patton, September 25, 2009 […]

    • Lloyd

      I’m certainly a johnny come lately on this topic. Anyways, this whole sin deal you got going on. One sin is worse than the other or they are all equal. What’s the point? I mean, it does make for interesting conversation but in the end, are we or are we not redeemed through the blood of Jesus Christ our Savior? Are we or are we not all sinners who’s only chance is Christ our Lord? I find this whole discussion more benficial for the unsaved. It kind of gives them some kind of possible thought of how their hell will be. So the unsaved speeding guy or gal will live eternally without God and the unsaved rapist will live eternally without God. Wait a minute! Now that I’m writing this, it makes me think. What’s the difference? Just the mere thought of being completely away from God makes me utterly sick to my stomach and filled with the fear a young child has being ripped from their loving protective father’s or mother’s arms to be taken away and never returned. Ya know, I struggle everyday with different degrees of sin and I love God more than anything, truly I do and that wasn’t always the case. The majority of my life I loved me more than anyone else but that’s a different blog. Anyways, as far as sin from what I see, we all do it to different degrees and all sin seperates us from the Father Almighty. Correct? And who is the only way to the Father? Christ Jesus as you all know. So, our different levels of sin as far as we know only effect our life on earth, for the saved of course, for the unsaved, well like I said before, just the thought of being completely seperated from God is not something I would wish on anybody.

      All in all though, good reading.

    • Ben W

      I think that perhaps some of the disagreement on this post has to do with eternal security vs. Conditional security. Acutally I am sure of it.

      It is easy for the eternal securist to say that all sin is equal and bear the same weight because they believe that the believer is secure and can not loose their salvation over speeding or murder. So there is no need for them to delve into the degrees of sin.

      However every conditional securist at some points asks himself the question at what point can salvation be lost. Many churches never define it outside of the Catholics. For me I am with the author. God will Judge.

    • EddP

      I too have come late to this blog, but find it fascinating. I also admit I’m not as educated thologically so bear with me and correct me. One thing I keep thinking is that it depends on the definition of sin and its context.

      Under the Old Testament acts were sins because they violated the law. Since there were different punishments some sins were worse than others.

      Under the new covenant, one has to define sin. If sin is an act that separates you from God, i.e. disobeying him, etc., then clearly it is not created by God, because he cannot be separate from himself. But, then again, it is not necessarily a judgement on the act as the same act may or may not be a sin, though logically I can’t imagine rape ever not being a sin.

      Under this line, sin that separates you further from God seems worse than sin that takes you only a little way from him. Though are you farther from God after living hedonistically or when trying to do right with minor hiccups?

      Or, does the question depend upon consequences? Sure raping a child is worse than speeding, but the eternal consequences are the same: death. Since any sin is death, there is no difference in this context because the answer is always death. Thus, the lusting reference and need for Christ.

      In the end, it seems to depend upon the context: 1) the worldly side of it, rape is clearly worse than speeding; but 2) the eternal side, all sin leads to death so all sin is equally bad. Meaning both answers may be right. How’s that for relativism?

      Finally, a heretical question: for the believer is anything sinful? As Paul says all is permissible though not beneficial. Does this mean that eternally the believer is free to do any act because it is forgivable and can be done without fear of losing salvation, except blasphemy, though the worldly consequences may be harmful.

    • Bible Study

      I have to say, I never really gave it much thought because of the teaching we hear so much of. However, I do know the bible says there is a sin not unto death. I am leaning toward all sins being equal, but I will think about it. I believe in order to receive truth, we must have an open mind.

    • […] por Josaías Jr | iPródigo | Original aqui AKPC_IDS += "4579,"; […]

    • […] Traduzido por Josaías Jr | iPródigo | Original aqui […]

    • The Uninvited1

      All sin is equal in the respect that all sin, or rather, any sin, will keep us from the glory of God. But, with that said, God Himself said certain sins are worse than others…just read Ezekiel 16:51 and Jeremiah 3:11

      Pastor Un

    • TEXIZZ

      Amen! The Holy Bible is 100% Truth, whether we understand it or not! The Holy Bible is the Word of God and God cannot lie!

    • Hillary

      Grace to you all through jesus christ our lord…’
      I may not be vast with the scriptures, pardon me to make my own flawed opinion.since we presume too much,though not our fault because we are left in awe of the supreme nature of God and understanding Him is always the problem we all have in our faith and joy-
      1)Dont you think God tollerates sins,though punishes them, which when scrutinize can be seen there is small and great sins,this can be seen by a degree of purnishment attached to them(see Genesis 3:14-19)though the all ultimate cause ends in death. But the reason for different purnishment we can never comprehend( Ecc 11:5).
      2)Also, have we asked why God had to condemn satan to hell, but spared us…is it not the same sin that we commits that he did?(ie if all sins are equall) then why didnt He condemn us instantly?, but he spared us.

      3)He spared us,though the cause, the reason, the why is only known by Him- but we humans would tag ‘love’ to this thought,then if God loves us so dear, the question becomes ‘did he love satan less? Didnt he love him so dear too? Why didnt he destroy him totally?_ if purnishment for sin can vary eighther in gravity or state then even a kid can answer. Though 1+1 can equal 11.

      Please i would like to understand maybe in annther topic, why the devil was condemed and we were saved, this should be outside the context of john 3:16. in Christ. . . . HILLARY.U

    • Doug

      Even just Leviticus taken by itself shows degrees of sin just in the different punishments and sacrifices. Great writing here 🙂

    • Wendi

      Glad I read this. It always confused me on a deep level whenever someone told me that “all sin is equal in the sight of God”. I couldn’t imagine God being just as outraged over someone yelling at their boss as He would be at someone raping and murdering a child. I always thought, I’m made in His image, therefore if I am more disturbed by this evil act, wouldn’t He also be? I was told it was my human sin setting me apart and that “His ways aren’t our ways”. But I’m so glad to have information to back it up now, thank you so much for this blog!

    • […] I disagree. While I do not believe that all sin is equal in God’s sight, there is no biblical reason to say that there are some sins that destroy the grace of God and […]

    • […] If anyone is interested, the blog post that I read is here. […]

    • Marjorie

      It is my opinion that all sins are covered under God’s grace, thus making the playing field for “sin” equal. Prior to Jesus life on earth and His death on the cross the Mosaic law was the written edict for sin. Now, the act of sin is covered under grace through Christ because of his act of love and mercy on the cross when He shed His blood for us on the cross.

    • […] nature. While I do believe that homosexuality is a worse sin than many others (that is right, not all sins are equal like some would have us believe), I don’t believe that those who have that bent should be […]

    • […] | Bible Study Planet In fact here is an ordained minister's blog that calls the notion "stupid": "All Sins are Equal in God's Sight" . . . And Other Stupid Statements | Parchment and Pen Just throwing that out there because I grew up going to multiple non-denominational churches, went […]

    • […] interpretation. Some examples are Jeremiah 29:11, Matthew 18:20, 2 Tim 2:13, and the notion “all sins are equal in God’s eyes” or “one little lie will send you to […]

    • Dmitry

      Well, i personally think it is equal well how should i from this like God no matter what will forgive you if you ask him with your heart and really want to be saved, yes all sins are kind of different like every sin has a different stage like a lie and cuss word could go into one category and than like hitting someone and hurting someone could go into another but no matter what the sin is God forgives you which makes it look like all sins are equal to God.

    • […] rehearse a defense of this here, because that has been done ad nauseam elsewhere (see here and here, research hamartiology for dummies, or just actually read your Bible). To maintain the belief that […]

    • Daniel Meyer

      Thank you for pulling together these Scripture references. This is helpful.

    • Mass

      I have to disagree. The worldly view of sin is to assign a monetary value on sin based on the outcome of the sin. If your sin did not affect anyone it should not be punished as bad as if you changed, for the worse, the lives of 5 people. In that sense we can say one sin is worse than the other but, that is not sin, that is the outcome of sin. Thievery is a sin. If I tell you that stealing an apple is worth 1 year in jail and stealing an orange is 1 year in jail, but stealing a banana is worth 5 years in jail, what conclusion can you draw? Bananas are more valuable and more important based off the fact that you are punished greater for that disobedience. I often see the argument that if you go one mile over the speed limit you might as well have killed someone. No, but yes. Murder and speeding are each disobedience to God (like the fruit), but what is the punishment for breaking the speed limit and murder (in the eyes of God), death (equally).
      We can usually agree what the punishment should be for someone like Hitler, for example. He should have the things done to him that he did to other people, torture and death (highlight these). What kind of punishment should you get if you eat an apple if God told you not to? God saw it fit to punish women with painful child birth, men would have to work the ground for food, the bushes would produce thorns, and they would die and return to the dirt from whence they came. Torture and Death. God tells you not to do something and you do it you are deserving of torture and death, because all sin is equal, the repercussions of sin is not equal but the sin itself is. There is another piece to this I don’t have room to go over, if you look at the sins they all boil down to selfishness. The last is if you believe sin is unequal you are giving yourself permission to stand on moral superiority. I found myself saying this when I sinned, “at least I’m not as bad as them” because their sin was worse than mine.

    • Heather

      I was listening until the comment of comparing a 6yr old’s rape and murder to speeding…. YES, I do want to go there. To use general opinion to substantiate theology undermines christ himself. Im sure his disciples said the same thing when he started telling strangers that he was God…. “uh… Jesus, do you really want to go there?”, im sure they thought it once or twice.
      Interesting points that ill think over, but it has been a humbling experience to look at rapists and murders on tv and think, wow, my sin is no less than theirs… And as far as God’s anger- its not like I caught Him off guard or anything, so if he knew about me having a child out of wedlock as an adult, at the same time he knew about my lie about letting the dog in as a child (not to mention that he already knows all the stuff he’s pleased with me for), so why not be angry or happy about everything conglomerately ? I dont think he would feel the need to hold in all those emotions to express only at the exact time the event occurred in my life. Just some thoughts, but definitely a NO-GO on not wanting to go there, thinking likeminded works great in humans but christ was not a conformist by any means and would probably challenge us all to “go there” in any argument

    • Jerry

      So, the Catholics were more right than wrong on this issue…..hm

    • […] I have written on this here. […]

    • […] topic so I'll just leave you with this link that I just found and read briefly for thought sake: "All Sins are Equal in God's Sight" . . . And Other Stupid Statements | Parchment and… […]

    • Wood

      You are staying to shallow. Is the sin really speeding or rape or anything else? Are not those the symptoms of the real sin? Pride is the real sin in both these examples…in both of these examples…the person’s heart says,”to hell with the rules, to hell with what is right, to hell with what another person says, I will do what I want when I want because I am all that matters in this moment.” It’s the heart’s condition…that’s what Jesus was getting at as he related adultery to lust. Get your eyes off the exterior and consider the interior. So are they the same? Is the defiant heart the same? Maybe your pride doesn’t want to admit it but it must consider it.

    • Phaethon

      Thanks so much for this post! I’m so tired of hearing that, albeit from well-meaning Christians. Yet another cliché the Church needs to get rid of.

    • S.Mickelson

      Let me see Adam and Eve sinned a great sin by eating forbidden fruit and brought a harsh judgement down upon themselves and their descendants. One may argue that when Cain killed Abel, God went easy on Cain by allowing him to live and be protected from personal harm. Eventually, Cain would suffer the judgement of death, a punishment inherited by all. All have sinned and fall short of God’s glory AND ARE doomed to eventually die, regardless of the “severity” of their respective sin. in this regard, all sin is “mortal sin” and no action, save faith in Jesus as your saviour, will overturn the penalty of death. If your studies were a result of having accepted the gospel of Jesus as your saviour, by faith, the Spirit will help you discern that one does not have to murder to receive the penalty of death and still all are entitled to sanctification through Jesus, by faith.
      Blessings,
      S.Mickelson

    • cleland

      After all is said and done, remember that counting the sins of others doesn’t make our smaller……the fact is asking God for forgiveness of sins ….that’s all.

    • Charlie Crouch

      I totally understand your argument here. If we catagorize sin, and put it in a 1 to 10 good to worst sinario we feel better about ourselves, at least those of us who haven’t done, well ….. you fill in the blank. But we have to realize when Jesus died for us he took all our sin. But most important when we accept what Jesus has finished, we get His robe of righteousness and God the Father never sees the sin (big or small) but only sees His Sons blood/righteousness. I believe by saying some sins are lesser than others we put God in a box and say, “well Jesus blood only covers this amount or this great of sin, all else are left out”. If we believe this way than there is some inherent belief that we have a part in restoring our position with God by works beyond a certain measure of repentance or forgiveness. This I hope we all know is not the case, I’ve heard testimonials from the most wicked people you can imagine, that are so under the anointing now that you know there born again/forgiven, there light is burning bright.

    • Amwayi John

      True.. Each sin has it’s punishment… Though we also have unforgivable sin(blasphemy to the Holy Spirit) and abominations(bestiality, homosexuality)
      We also inherit sins or get them through sexuality

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published.