Are There Degrees To Sin?
A good man out of the good treasure of his heart brings forth good; and an evil man out of the evil treasure of his heart brings forth evil. For out of the abundance of the heart his mouth speaks. – Luke 6:45
The question of all sins being equal to God is tricky to navigate. Sins may all be the same in terms of what is required to be forgiven them, but the heart condition of a sinner can look very different depending on the kinds of sin a person has allowed to consume their heart.
Yes, all sins are equal in terms of guilt and forgiveness
When Jesus died, He shed the same amount of blood for all sins. Nowhere does the Bible say that the sin of murder requires more of those drops to be forgiven than the sin of telling a white lie requires. In Matthew 5:21-28, Jesus lists several sins that we tend to categorize into “mild” and “severe” sins and essentially declares them all equal in the sense that every sin is covered by his blood, and everyone who breaks the law is in need of forgiveness.
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When it comes to receiving that forgiveness, God requires nothing more from a murderer than He does from a teller of a white lie in order to receive His forgiveness and redemption.
No, all sins are not equal in terms of earthly consequence and heart condition
However, every sin begins with a thought, then progresses to repeated thoughts, leading to action, and repeated actions, and if left unchecked, a compulsion or habit results. For sins like murder or adultery, this progression takes longer and involves a hardening of the heart over time. While God’s forgiveness is the same for all sins, the condition of the heart looks very different for that of a murderer than it does for a teller of a white lie. Not to mention the consequences here on earth for different sins. No one is going to arrest you for lying, and you probably won’t be kicked off of the church board for snapping at your spouse. But murder, theft, and abuse are certainly going to carry with them severe legal consequences, as well as severing personal and professional relationships.
There are degrees to sin. Some sins are worse than others. At the same time, in regard to both eternal consequences and salvation, all sins are the same. Every sin will lead to eternal condemnation (Romans 6:23). All sin, no matter how “small,” is against an infinite and eternal God, and is therefore worthy of an infinite and eternal penalty. Further, there is no sin too “big” that God cannot forgive it. Jesus died to pay the penalty for sin (1 John 2:2). Jesus died for all of our sins (2 Corinthians 5:21). Are all sins equal to God? Yes and no. In severity? No. In penalty? Yes. In forgivability? Yes.
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