Tuesday, November 18, 2014

Are All Sins Equal?

This is too big of a topic to tackle in a short post.  It's the job of the theologian to reconcile the passages below and give a coherent account, and I'm only a part-time theologian.  Nonetheless, here are few quick thoughts off the top of my Bible.

Of course all sins are equal in the sense that all sins are sins. All unrighteousness is sin and all sin entails a separating from God.  
As James (chapter 2) says, any sin violates the whole law [since, as Jesus notes, the whole law can be summed up in the love of God and neighbor]:
If, however, you are fulfilling the royal law according to the Scripture, “You shall love your neighbor as yourself,” you are doing well. But if you show partiality, you are committing sin and are convicted by the law as transgressors. 10 For whoever keeps the whole law and yet stumbles in one point, he has become guilty of all. 11 For He who said, “Do not commit adultery,” also said, “Do not commit murder.” Now if you do not commit adultery, but do commit murder, you have become a transgressor of the law.
So to sin is to break THE LAW.  Any sin is a failure to love God with all your heart, soul, mind, and strength and/or your neighbor as yourself.  But all sins aren't equal in other ways.

A Few Inequality of Sins Passages:
  • God assigns different punishments for different sins in the Old Testament.  The implication is that some deserve more punishment than others.
  • Exodus 32:30:  Moses says that the people committed a great sin in making the golden calf
  • There is unforgivable sin (Matt. 12:31-32)
  • Jesus before Pilate says, John 19:
10 So Pilate said to Him, “You do not speak to me? Do You not know that I have authority to release You, and I have authority to crucify You?”11 Jesus answered, You would have no authority over Me, unless it had been given you from above; for this reason he who delivered Me to you has the greater sin.” 
  • Sins leading to death and sin not leading to death, 1 John:
16 If anyone sees his brother committing a sin not leading to death, he shall ask and God will for him give life to those who commit sin not leading to death. There is a sin leading to death; I do not say that he should make request for this. 17 All unrighteousness is sin, and there is a sin not leading to death.18 We know that no one who is born of God sins; but He who was born of God keeps him, and the evil one does not touch him. 

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