Are There Degrees of Sin?
I can’t count the number of times I have heard a Christian say something along the lines of, “Well, sin is sin. God sees all sin the same.”
Really? Does He, really? God sees all sin the same?
Do you believe that? Because, I, for one, have a hard time believing that someone stealing a candy bar is the equivalent of murdering an innocent person, in God’s eyes.
The arguement that the two are identical in their weight and nature, “sin is sin,” flies in the face of God’s character. Nowhere in scripture do we see God acting this out. If anything, we see the opposite.
Jesus actually gives us quite a few references to degrees of sin. The following two passages refer specifically to a greater degree of punishment:
“Woe to you, scribes and Pharisees, hypocrites, because you devour widows’ houses, and for a pretense you make long prayers; therefore you will receive greater condemnation ... " (Matthew 23:13).
“That slave who knew his master’s will and did not get ready or act in accord with his will, will receive many lashes, but the one who did not know it, and committed deeds worthy of a flogging, will receive but few. From everyone who has been given much, much will be required; and to whom they entrusted much, of him they will ask all the more” (Luke 12:47-48).
The Luke verse seems to say that the greater the knowledge we hold (of God’s will), the greater our responsibility. Likewise, this verse tells us that the greater our punishment will be for neglecting our responsibilities. Ouch and sheesh. Let that that one sink in for a minute.
The following verse from John 19:11 actually refers to a greater sin: " ... for this reason he who delivered Me to you has the greater sin.” Jesus clearly tells us that Judas’ betrayal was a greater sin than that of Pontus Pilate.
God is a Father
But, let’s set aside those verses for a moment and just consider the fact that God is a Father. Any parent knows that their children must receive consequences appropriate to their actions. I like to refer to them as “practical consequences.”
For instance, if my daughter complains or grumbles about the dinner I serve, she doesn’t get to eat it (does that sound harsh? Kinda sorta, I admit). She learned quickly, however, to say “Thank you” when that plate of
duck confit meatloaf is placed in front of her.
Likewise, God deals with us similarly. He gives us practical consequences for our missteps. He doesn’t blindly dole out punishment or treat all of our sins as equal. More than that, He deals with us individually and personally. Again, any parent with two or more kids knows that their kids are very different from one another, and must be dealt with as such.
But, in all of this, I’m reminded that I have not received what I deserve. The grace of the Lord abounds ... and abounds. While I believe there are degrees of sin, I also know that, in my own life, I was once guilty of death. Yet, my Jesus has called me His — redeemed, restored, reconciled. Forgiven.
I need only ask for forgiveness when I stumble, turn, and run straight towards Him once again.
So, what do you think? Agree or disagree? Have you ever said or thought “all sin is the same,” or “sin is just sin”? Why do you think this mindset is so pervasive in the church?
CC Image • cassandrajowett on Flickr
Sure seems like it to me.
- Anita Palmer just moved in. Take time to say hey.
- Jenni Ingram just moved in. Take time to say hey.
- Brian Dodd published the blogpost 5 Lessons On Top Talent And Their Impact On Church Growth.
- Cathy Roberts just moved in. Take time to say hey.
- Caitlin Wilson published the blogpost Winners Announced from Terri Blackstock’s ‘Distortion’ Author Chat Party.
- Amy Lathrop published the blogpost Winners Announced from Terri Blackstock’s ‘Distortion’ Author Chat Party.
- Audra Jennings published the blogpost Billy Coffey shares a gripping tale about the destructive nature of secrets and regret.
- Tyger Burch just moved in. Take time to say hey.
- FaithVillage Administrator published the blogpost Church Membership Matters - Church Membership Matters.
- FaithVillage Administrator published the blogpost Chosen - Part 5 - Why Evangelize if God Elects? - Chosen.
- FaithVillage Administrator published the blogpost The Key to Contentment - Part 1 - The Key To Contentment.
- FaithVillage Administrator published the blogpost The Key to Contentment - Part 2 - The Key To Contentment.
- FaithVillage Administrator published the blogpost ACTS | Spirit-Empowered Jesus - ACTS | Spirit-Empowered Mission.
- FaithVillage Administrator published the blogpost ACTS | Spirit-Empowered Church - ACTS | Spirit-Empowered Mission.
- FaithVillage Administrator published the blogpost ACTS | Spirit-Empowered Preaching - ACTS | Spirit-Empowered Mission.
- FaithVillage Administrator published the blogpost ACTS | Spirit-Empowered Healing - ACTS | Spirit-Empowered Mission.
- Clarence FellThe cross was not about improving your earthly life. Jesus was not trying to save you from earthly discomforts. In fact, He warned that following Him could make your earthly life worse, (Matt. 10:35-36). Jesus had something far greater than earthly life in view in His ministry. What do you think He was looking to?
- Darlene Cook uploaded a photo
- Reinaldo de Sousa just moved in. Take time to say hey.
- Darlene Cook created a new gallery
- Darlene Cook just moved in. Take time to say hey.
- Bill Ellis just moved in. Take time to say hey.
- Jon StallingsMy sermon from Sunday Leaving Egypt | @ Life Church
When the Israelites left Egypt to head to the Promise Land they left their thoughts and hearts back in Egypt as slaves. No matter how much God blessed them they still longed to go back.
It would take Jesus Christ to be our Redeemer who would finally lead us out of the bondage to sin, our personal Egypt. The question is, do we really want to leave? http://buff.ly/1g2GaZe
- chamaigne lyons just moved in. Take time to say hey.
- Allen Mendez just moved in. Take time to say hey.
- Jon StallingsReligion can be bad, & a lot of people hate it. But stop complaining and tell me the positive side of how you follow Jesus.
- Brian Jones published the blogpost What I Talk About When I Talk About Running by Haruki Murakami.
- Roxanne Alexandra Morgan created a new gallery
- Roxanne Alexandra Morgan just moved in. Take time to say hey.
- Mike Liebler published the blogpost Parents Are Warned Phone Addiction Could Damage Bond With Their Child.
- Elise Hilton published the blogpost The cool kids are all wearing these Franciscan T-shirts.