(Matthew 5:19 KJV) Whosoever therefore shall break one of these least commandments, and shall teach men so, he shall be called the least in the kingdom of heaven: but whosoever shall do and teach them, the same shall be called great in the kingdom of heaven.James took it a step farther.
(James 2:10 KJV) For whosoever shall keep the whole law, and yet offend in one point, he is guilty of all.It seems that one of the articles of faith found in Protestant Christianity is that no sin is any worse than any other sin. We have the verses quoted above that would seem to back that up. You may remember the parable Jesus told about the man who hired people through the day to bring in his harvest. At the end of the day he paid them the same.
We also find this makes sense because we have an understanding of the enormity of sin. All sin flies in the face of God. He finds it offensive. Only the sacrifice of the Perfect Lamb of God was adequate to pay the price of sin. So far, well and good.
We fail when we try to apply this to the world around us. Just because all sin is offensive to God does not mean all sin is equal to God. Just because we are all sinners, that does not mean that we are to accept other sinners as simply wayward children. All sin is not equal in the eyes of God.
To demonstrate this, lets look at the foundation of what we believe, the Old Testament. It is here that we have the account of Adam and Eve and the introduction of sin as an act and a condition. We see man cast out of paradise. But as we read we see that all sin is not equal. In the OT different sins required different sacrifices and punishment. All may lead to death but are not really equal in the eyes of God.
As a beginning look at the sacrificial system set up to deal with sin. You have a variety of offerings and sacrifices. Some require grain, some blood. Some require restitution, some demand death. If all sins were the same, all rites of atonement would be the same.
An example of this scale is found in Proverbs. I came across this in my daily devotional reading. Notice two different sins, both listed in the Ten Commandments. First, we have stealing.
(Proverbs 6:30-31 KJV) Men do not despise a thief, if he steal to satisfy his soul when he is hungry; But if he be found, he shall restore sevenfold; he shall give all the substance of his house.Then we have adultery.
(Proverbs 6:32 KJV) But whoso committeth adultery with a woman lacketh understanding: he that doeth it destroyeth his own soul.First of all, both are acknowledged as wrong. Neither is condoned. Both require payment. But notice that in one case we are to be understanding. In the other case the punishment is eternal damnation. I would say that is a different response to different sins.
A different scale can be found in the NT. Remember when the woman caught in adultery was brought to Jesus. He was very gentle and forgiving but don’t forget that He demanded that she change her behavior and not sin again. How did He respond to the hypocrisy of the Pharisees? Wrath and denunciation were the order of the moment. Totally different responses.
This should help us to understand that when we look at our world we respond differently to different sins. We cannot afford the kind of moral equivalence that puts litter on the level of abortion. Even worse we live in a culture that is offended it you don’t recycle the can but yawns when you kill the baby.
We have all sinned and come short of the glory of God. I read that somewhere. Some of us have believed and are not on the Perish Train. I read that, too. That does not mean that all sin is equal or that all sinners are equal. Not only does that not make sense, it doesn’t make good theology.
homo unius libri