All sin is sin but not all sin is the same

Church bulletin:

In much of the recent discussion concerning the Bible and sexuality it is frequently asserted that homosexual lust is just as sinful as heterosexual lust. And in the same vain one kind of sin is no greater or worse than another kind of sin; sin is sin. It is certainly true that all sin is sin and a violation of God’s law, but coveting the next door neighbour’s car is not the same thing as stealing it. 

To begin with there is a family of sins for which we are told there is no forgiveness. Old Testament law warned of sinning with a “high hand” (deliberately); Jesus condemned the Pharisees for blaspheming the Holy Spirit; the author to the Hebrews draws attention to apostasy; the Apostle John spoke of a sin leading to death. Whatever is involved in these particular sins, so heinous and deliberate are they that God will not grant repentance. If you are worried that you have committed them – you can be quite sure you haven’t!  

The Bible is clear that more is expected of those who have been exposed to the truth than those who have not. Luke 12:47-48, “And that servant who knew his master’s will, and did not prepare himself or do according to his will, shall be beaten with many stripes. 48But he who did not know, yet committed things deserving of stripes, shall be beaten with few. For everyone to whom much is given, from him much will be required………” Two people may commit the same sin, but it does not necessarily mean they share the same degree of guilt. The person who knows the truth and rejects it is more culpable than the person who does not know the truth.

It is also clear that different sins warrant different degrees of punishment. This is the meaning of “an eye for an eye” from Old Testament law. Rather than being the impetus for revenge as it is so often used, the purpose was to ensure that punishment was comparative to the offence. As the parable above indicates, some people deserve many stripes, while others deserve few.

We need to treat all sin with disdain, yet this does not mean that all sin is the same. While every sin is wicked and offensive to God, not every sin is wicked in the same way or to the same degree. As we speak to the unconverted about sin, we need to do so Biblically. If we get the doctrine of sin wrong it means that we have the doctrine of God wrong. God deals with sin according to His righteous character and is therefore always fair and just.