What does the Bible say about every sin being the same? That’s a great question, and the answer is clear: every sin is not the same. Every sin is not equal. Sins are different and have different levels of severity! “How can that be? So many people say all sins are the same!” I hear you protest, so let me start by explaining why Christian’s insist on telling us all that all sins are the same.
Why People Say “All Sins are the Same”
The phase “All sins are the same” or “All sins are equal” comes from an oversimplification of a very fundamental Christian doctrine: All sins are worthy of hell. This doctrine is one-hundred-percent Biblically accurate, the Bible makes it clear that the punishment for sin is hell, regardless of the sin, big or small, all sin is worthy of punishment.
Romans 6:23 ESV For the wages of sin is death, but the free gift of God is eternal life in Christ Jesus our Lord.
The reason for this is that God is infinitely holy, and thus ever sin is infinitely separate from God and demands an infinite punishment (hell). Now the point of this article is not to go into details about hell and the theology that surrounds it, but it should be noted that yes, all sins lead to hell. However, simply because all sins lead to hell does not mean that all sins are the same.
The Bible Makes it Clear all Sins are not the Same
Let’s take the idea that all sins are the same to the extreme: We all know that stealing is a sin, if all sins are the same does that mean that stealing a stick of gum is the same as murder? Does God not differentiate between rape and lying? If that is the case, then a habitual liar is the same as a serial rapist! What nonsense! Of course they are different, God does not weigh all sins equally! For example, Sexual sin is in a class of it’s own:
1 Corinthians 6:18 ESV Flee from sexual immorality. Every other sin a person commits is outside the body, but the sexually immoral person sins against his own body.
Paul lays it out, there are at least two categories of sin: “Every other sin” and “Sexual immorality”, Paul here explains how sexual sin is different from other sins. In 1 Corinthians 5 Paul even suggest that a particularly disgusting sinner be kicked out of church (he was sleeping with his step mother and was apparently un-repentant). Now if all sins were the same then should not our response to sin be the same? If that is the case then every church should be empty, because we would have to kick everyone out!
So then, not every sin is the same, and moreover, God’s response to sin is not always the same. Yes, every sin is deserving of hell, but there are scriptures that suggest that some will suffer to a greater degree than others due to their sin. Take Matthew 10:14-15 for example, here Christ says that a town who rejects the disciples will suffer more on judgment day then Sodom and Gomorrah!
Matthew 10:14-15 ESV And if anyone will not receive you or listen to your words, shake off the dust from your feet when you leave that house or town. (15) Truly, I say to you, it will be more bearable on the day of judgment for the land of Sodom and Gomorrah than for that town.
But we serve a God who forgives all sins, thus all sins are at least equally forgivable right? Well, no, actually there is one sin that is called “The unforgivable sin”, the sin of blasphemy against the Holy Spirit:
Mark 3:28-29 ESV “Truly, I say to you, all sins will be forgiven the children of man, and whatever blasphemies they utter, (29) but whoever blasphemes against the Holy Spirit never has forgiveness, but is guilty of an eternal sin”–
Don’t worry, you haven’t committed the unforgivable sin, it is incredibly difficult to do and you have to really hate Jesus with all that you are to be able to do it, as well as pretty much be a Bible scholar. That being said, it is possible to sin in a way that is unforgivable, thus it should never be claimed that “All sins are the same”.
Why Does it Matter?
The reason that this particular point of theology is important is thus: It guards you from justifying sin. You see, no one claims “All sin is the same” in order to magnify their guilt (no one has ever wept endlessly over a white lie thinking themselves as bad as a rapist, because all sins are the same) but often times people claim “But all sins are the same” in order to avoid guilt and defer the shame brought on them by their sin (A drunkard might claim his sin is no worse then a white lie, because “All sins are the same”). God does not desire us to be shamed or be ruled by guilt, but the solution to guilt and shame is repentance, not deferring responsibility with Christianese theology like “all sins are the same”.