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HomeSpiritual GrowthAll Sin is Equal, but Some Sin is More Equal Than Others

All Sin is Equal, but Some Sin is More Equal Than Others

Think of the quote from Animal Farm . . . 

PREFACE

I believe all sin is not equal . . . I had been thinking of writing this for many months now—so that I and my brothers and sisters in Christ may understand this subject well—yet it was not until recently I was able to think of many points for this matter. Whilst at our Youth Summer Camp—where no electronics were allowed—I finally realized what I must write—so I borrowed paper from one of my peers and began writing. Note: This was after everybody had already gone to bed, and I had a decently bright flashlight no doubt keeping my bunkmate awake. When I came home from camp, I knew I must officially type out my thoughts. My main goal is to uncover a misunderstanding among my peers at a Bible study, where many a person had been heated—including myself—in our discussion.

What is sin?

“There are only two kinds of people in the end: those who say to God, ‘Thy will be done,’ and those to whom God says, in the end, ‘Thy will be done.’” (Lewis, The Great Divorce, 106)

In the beginning, God created us good—because He is good, therefore He could not create us already sinful. Adam and Eve chose to rebel against God, causing what is known as sin, or the opposite of God’s good; thus—through Adam—sin entered the world. (See Romans 5:12)

Whenever we rebel against God’s will—thus His nature—we are sinning. We all choose to sin. 

All sin is equal . . . in a sense

Ready for the famous Animal Farm quote? Here it is:

“All animals are equal, but some animals are more equal than others.” (Orwell, Animal Farm, 195)

How does this apply to sin? We can apply this quote to how all sin is equal in a sense. Perhaps we can rephrase this to say, “All sin is equal, but some sin is more equal than others.” What I really mean is the simple fact ALL sin takes us away from God. (See Isaiah 59:2)

Whenever we sin, we are being separated from God—which is why Jesus had to come down to save us. 

During the Bible study debate, one of my peers—who was on the opposing side—said, “If I were to throw two stones at you—one large and one small—and if they were to both hit you, it wouldn’t matter the sizes of the stones, rather they would both hurt.”

I do not understand this to mean all sins are not equal, rather they help me in the point that all sins are equal, but some sins are more equal than others. If both stones were to hit, obviously they would hurt. What my peer failed to evaluate was the fact that each stone would hurt differently.

Jesus stated that the Jews who turned him in had the greater sin than Pilate

“ So Pilate said to him, ‘You will not speak to me? Do you not know that I have authority to release you and authority to crucify you?’ Jesus answered him, ‘You would have no authority over me at all unless it had been given you from above. Therefore he who delivered me over to you has the greater sin.’” (John 19:10–11)

When the Jews delivered Jesus to Pilate to be tried unfairly for his crimes, Jesus—being questioned by Pilate — He remained silent. Eventually, Pilate has had enough and explains to Jesus his authority to kill him or keep him alive. Jesus finally speaks, explaining how Pilate has no authority over him, that God did not allow, and that those who delivered Jesus had the greater sin for the action they had committed.

Consequences in the Old Law

“And the Lord spoke to Moses, saying, ‘Speak to the people of Israel, saying, If anyone sins unintentionally in any of the Lord’s commandments about things not to be done, and does any one of them, if it is the anointed priest who sins, thus bringing guilt on the people, then he shall offer for the sin that he has committed a bull from the herd without blemish to the Lord for a sin offering. . . . ‘If the whole congregation of Israel sins unintentionally and the thing is hidden from the eyes of the assembly, and they do any one of the things that by the Lord’s commandments ought not to be done, and they realize their guilt, when the sin which they have committed becomes known, the assembly shall offer a bull from the herd for a sin offering and bring it in front of the tent of meeting.” (Leviticus 4:1–3, 13–14)

Yet in Numbers 15:30–31, the text states:

“But the person who does anything with a high hand, whether he is native or a sojourner, reviles the Lord, and that person shall be cut off from among his people. Because he has despised the word of the Lord and has broken his commandment, that person shall be utterly cut off; his iniquity shall be on him.’”

These sins are equal in the sense they isolate us from God. However, in God’s Law for the Jews, the punishment for acting on the same sin—and not understanding what they are doing is wrong—is far less severe than the punishment for purposely acting on a sin, and understanding what they have done. 

God’s justice 

“And of some sinful pleasure they say ‘Let me have but this and I’ll take the consequences’” (Lewis, The Great Divorce, 97)

Because God is righteous, He punishes those who are wrongdoers. When we commit treason against Him, He punishes us fairly. If one were to believe all sins were equal, they would have to believe God’s sense of justice is quite perverted in a sense; so I ask this question purely as food for thought—do you have a better idea of how to bring justice? I do apologize if this seems harsh, as I merely want somebody on the opposing view to ask themselves such questions. Jesus himself had harsh sayings and teachings. 

Under the view of one who follows that all sin is equal, what is worse: hating somebody your whole life and wishing they were dead, or murdering somebody and being done with them? Under that view, they are equal, but then would it not be better to murder a man so you can move on from your hatred and be able to live a life free from malice? One may object and say, “But how horrid it would be to murder a man!” (I merely wish to drive home the severity of the topic).

Natural Consequences

To answer the objection: if one views such a point so strongly, surely all sins are not equal. One who hates surely would feel less poor than one who murders—as murder has a way of tearing down a man. 

“For the Son of Man goes as it is written of him, but woe to that man by whom the Son of Man is betrayed! It would have been better for that man if he had not been born.’” (Mark 14:21)

Would it have been better to think about betraying Jesus, rather than actually acting on it? Jesus sure thinks so. Though Jesus Christ was likely talking about Judas’ fate—which would highlight how dire the sin was—Judas surely felt guilt and extreme remorse, which Jesus could have been talking about. (See Matthew 27:3–4)

Not only can different sins hurt the mind, but—it appears—what comes around goes around. Do not be alarmed; I do not believe in speaking to or praying to the universe, or karma-like force as some Christians in the United States believe, but rather it seems if one were to act horrid in life—beating on other people—likely justice on this earth would be enacted. Though I do not believe in a karma, or a god-like universe that hands out justice whenever it is due — as I rather believe in a Hell, instead. Hitler himself, as I need not mention his crimes, was an evil man to whom justice was not served in this life. However, there is a Hell.

Summary

To put it succinctly, all sin is equal in the sense it takes us away from God. However, it is not equal in justice and consequences. God states it in the Old Law and Jesus alludes to it in the Gospels. To think all sin is equal is to believe God’s justice is rather in error. Always remember the Animal Farm-like quote, “All sin is equal, but some sin is more equal than others.”


Salvation – Eternal Life in Less Than 150 Words

AuthorCameron Williams | BCWorldview.org 

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