Are All Sins the Same?

Yes and no.

Often Christians say, when discussing things like abortion and homosexuality, that these are sins just as lying, gossip, and gluttony are sins. (I say it sometimes.) This is usually because we want to show that we’re not better than homosexuals or people who have been involved in an abortion. We’re placing ourselves in the “sinners” category, right where we belong.

It’s true, in one sense, that a sin is a sin. Every sin is the same in that it’s an offense against a holy God, and deserves his punishment. But is every sin “the same”– that is, equally offensive to God? The Bible’s answer is no.

This is one of many questions where the Westminster Confession and its catechisms are really helpful. Question 84 of the Shorter Catechism shows us how every sin is the same:

Q 84. What doth every sin deserve?

A. Every sin deserveth God’s wrath and curse, both in this life, and that which is to come. (Eph. 5:6; Gal. 3:10; Lam. 3:39; Matt. 25:41)

The previous question shows how every sin is not the same:

Q 83. Are all transgressions of the law equally heinous?

A. Some sins in themselves, and by reason of several aggravations, are more heinous in the sight of God than others. (Ezek. 8:6,13,15; 1 John 5:16; Ps. 78:17, 32, 56)

Question 151 of the Larger Catechism (scroll down and click “Q. 151-196”),  which is longer than many of my posts, gives many examples of the “several aggravations” that can make some sins worse than others, with lots of Scripture citations. It’s well worth a 5-minute read.

So while it’s important for us to take our seat among the sinners, we should also feel free to say that some sins (including some of our own) are much worse than other sins. For example, it’s a sin for a man to speak harshly to his children because he can’t control his temper, but it’s a much greater sin for him to pay to have his unborn child killed so he’s free of the inconvenience that child might bring.

Advertisements

Comments

  1. And I expect we’ll be memorizing Q151 any day now.

  2. good stuff jake–one of the things I’ve seen is that when people have the “every sin is the same” view they also don’t understand progressive sanctification (that by the Spirit we grow in and stir up the graces and we put off sin and strike at the roots of sin)… the tendency among “all sins are the same” is either antinomianism or “let go let God” kinds of approaches

  3. Matt Ferguson says:

    Just came across this doing some sermon research and wanted to say “Amen! Great job!” and also “thanks”.

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out / Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out / Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out / Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out / Change )

Connecting to %s