All Sins Are Equal In God’s Sight?

‘All sins are equal in God’s sight’ sounds decidedly true. Yet, a more thorough study of Scripture reveals the need to think it out more carefully and therefore, Biblically.

This phrase accentuates that all sin, no matter how trivial it might seem, separates us from God. This much is true. As James says, “For whoever keeps the whole law but fails in one point has become accountable for all of it.”

The problem is, if all sins are equal, and all people are sinners, it leads us to believe there is no distinction among the masses, notably the righteous from the unrighteous, or allowance to expose sin, especially particularly heinous sins.

This isn’t Scriptural.

The 1689 London Baptist Confession of Faith states it like this:

70. Q. 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 (Ez. 8: 6, 13, 15; 1 Jn. 5: 16; Ps. 78: 17, 32, 56).

71. Q. What does every sin deserve?
A. Every sin deserves God’s wrath and curse, both in this life and that which is to come (Eph. 5: 6; Gal. 3: 10; Lam. 3: 39; Mt. 25: 41; Rom. 6: 23).

The Westminster Shorter Catechism states it similarly:

Q. 83: Are all transgression of the law equally heinous?
A. 83: Some sins in themselves, and by reason of several aggravations, are more heinous in the sight of God than others.

This is to say, all sin is equally damning, however, all sins are not equally heinous.

As an example, in Proverbs, specific sins are designated that the Lord hates and are particularly abominable to Him;

“There are six things that the LORD hates, seven that are an abomination to him: haughty eyes, a lying tongue, and hands that shed innocent blood, a heart that devises wicked plans, feet that make haste to run to evil, a false witness who breathes out lies, and one who sows discord among brothers.” ~ Proverbs 6:16-19

“Here is a list of things hateful to God.  Those sins are in a special manner provoking to God.” ~ Matthew Henry; commentary on Proverbs 6:16-19

There are some sins which are more heinous in and of themselves; yet others are made more heinous by who is committing them or the circumstances they are committed under.

We see this when Jesus responded to Pilate’s presumption of authority:

“Jesus answered him, ‘You would have no authority over me at all unless it had been given to you from above. Therefore he who delivered me over to you has the greater sin’.” ~ John 19:11 {Emphasis mine}

Judas’ betrayal of Jesus bore greater sin than the soldiers who arrested Him.

Jesus speaks of greater punishments and hotter hells.

“But I tell you that it will be more tolerable on the day of judgment for the land of Sodom than for you.” ~ Matthew 11:24

Here, Jesus denounced the towns that saw the miracles performed and heard His teachings and said they will be judged more harshly for rejecting Him.

“But as for the cowardly, the faithless, the detestable, as for murderers, the sexually immoral, sorcerers, idolaters, and all liars, their portion will be in the lake that burns with fire and sulfur, which is the second death.” ~ Revelation 21:8 {Emphasis mine}

‘Their portion’ will be according to their deeds. Hell will burn hotter for some.

“Those who have the least punishment in hell shall have enough. The coolest part of hell is hot enough punishment—but there are some who shall have a hotter place in hell than others. All shall go into that fiery prison—but some sinners God will thrust into the fiery dungeon. Those whose impieties are more fearfully heightened, and who have sinned at a higher rate than others—God will take His full blow at, in hell, and will tear them in His wrath, “Consider this, you who forget God, or I will tear you to pieces, with none to rescue!” Psalm 50:22.” ~ Thomas Watson

The greater damnation;

“Woe to you, scribes and Pharisees, hypocrites! You devour widows’ houses and make long prayers just for show. This is why you will receive a harsher punishment.” ~ Matthew 23:14

Explicitly, blasphemy is the unforgiveable sin, making the notion that all sins are equal, decidedly untrue.

“Assuredly, I say to you, all sins will be forgiven the sons of men, and whatever blasphemies they may utter; but he who blasphemes against the Holy Spirit never has forgiveness, but is subject to eternal condemnation.” ~ Mark 3:28-29

Knowing there are degrees of punishment in Hell according to one’s sins, it’s necessary to acknowledge there are also degrees of reward in Heaven for our obedience.

“For the Son of Man is going to come with His angels in the glory of His Father, and then He will reward each according to what he has done.” ~ Matthew 16:27

“Blessed is the man who remains steadfast under trial, for when he has stood the test he will receive the crown of life, which God has promised to those who love him.” ~ James 1:12 {Emphasis mine}

“Not many of you should become teachers, my brothers, for you know that we who teach will be judged with greater strictness.” ~ James 3:1

Some will enter Heaven still smelling of smoke as their ‘works’ are burned up in judgment but their salvation is assured in Christ alone.

“If anyone’s work is burned up, it will be lost, but he will be saved; yet it will be like an escape through fire.” ~ 1 Corinthians 3:15

Regardless of the varying degrees of sin, we are called to obedience in Christ, for there are no ‘little sins’.

“Oh! take heed of those small beginnings of sin. Beginnings of sin are like the letting out of water: first, there is an ooze; then a drip; then a slender stream; then a vein of water; and then, at last, a flood: and a rampart is swept before it, a continent is drowned. Take heed of small beginnings, for they lead to worse.” ~ Charles Spurgeon

The 1689 London Baptist Confession of Faith continues:

72. Q. What does God require of us that we may escape his wrath and curse, due to us for sin?
A. To escape the wrath and curse of God due to us for sin, God requires of us faith in Jesus Christ, repentance unto life (Acts 20: 21), with the diligent use of all the outward means whereby Christ gives to us the benefits of redemption (Pr. 2: 1-6, 8: 33 to the end; Is. 55: 2, 3).

Whatever your sins may be, if you belong to Him, may He draw you to Himself, by grace alone, through faith alone. Deo volente!

For further study please consider the following:

Westminster Larger Catechism Q150-152

The Mischief of Sin by Thomas Watson

Little Sins by Charles Spurgeon


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