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:

Matthew 23:13 reads, “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…

And Luke 12:47-48, “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.”

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.

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? 

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41 thoughts on “Are There Degrees of Sin?”

  1. Great writeup Nicole! Actually, I think it depends on d context. There is d nature of sin, and there is d act of sin. When it comes to d nature, d candy bar thief is d same as d murderer – and that’s why God’s saving grace is d only solution for both of them. Degree of sin can only be relevant when we are talking about the ‘act’…. Am I making sense at all…

    1. Tula,
      Yes, well-said and you totally make sense. Any sin–be a candy bar theft or murder–separates us from God and affects our fellowship with Him. But God does not judge a candy bar theft and murder the same. Nature of sin versus the degree of sin–or the degree of punishment. Great point to add to the conversation. Thanks for sharing it!

  2. One of those mysteries of God. I agree there are different consequences to sin on earth. Murder and stealing a candy bar are different and will have vastly different consequences.

    I think when people say “sin is sin” they are referring to all sin needing a sacrifice or Savior. One lie requires salvation as much as thousands of sins across the spectrum. All are in need in this area. The righteous Pharisee to the likely murdering criminal on the cross next to Christ.

    So same in need of a Savior, different as we walk out the consequences on Earth.

    That’s my two cents. Great, thought provoking article Nicole

    1. I agree with Chris. I also believe that there is no grace in the law because if there was grace in the law what need would there be for a Savior? As a believer in Christ I believe in “no grace in the law” because of the fact that I know He died for our sins. Before Christ, even breaking one law was a sin and condemned one to hell for eternity.

      So being saved by grace through Christ we are judged off the pattern of our life, which is the good works that God produces in us. Romans 2:6-7 says that “God “will give to each person according to what he has done. 7 To those who by persistence in doing good seek glory, honor, and immortality, he will give eternal life”.

      From that, basically my understanding is this: Of course according to worldly standards stealing candy bars is not as bad as murder but if you are a believer or you are “claiming to be a believer” your actions will need to be continuously seeking to good. You may not be a murderer but if you know that “thou shalt not steal” and you continuously steal candy bars for the rest of your life? Well…Romans 2:8 goes on to say that “but for those who are self seeking and who reject the truth and follow evil, there will be wrath and anger”. Basically that would be rejecting the grace that God has offered through Christ Jesus.

      This was very thought provoking and as always I’m so happy to read the things you write that most are afraid to bring up:)

  3. I love this! I went to a Baptist school in Indiana from pre-school through 12 grade, and this idea of sin being all the same in God’s eyes was drilled into us. I haven’t really heard much about it other than there, but this piece is brilliant.

  4. I have an opinion on the matter and I think that the Bible does teach that there are different degrees of sin. All sin separates us from God but God does see that there are different degrees of sin.

    1) When Jesus was speaking to Pontius Pilate in John chapter 19 verse 11 Jesus says, “You could have no power at all against Me unless it had been given you from above. Therefore the one who delivered Me to you has the greater sin.” Check out the word “greater” which refers to Judas Iscariot committing the “greater” sin.

    2) In Luke 12:42-48 Jesus speaks a parable about to servants who didn’t do God’s will. One had knowledge and the other one didn’t. Jesus said that the one that sinned against knowledge (he knew better), received more stripes than the one that didn’t have knowledge. You can check it out here:

  5. That is definitely good food for thought. I do think God definitely sets apart believers/followers and those who ignore God or denounce Him. With great knowledge DOES come great responsibility.

    I guess I’ve tried to also live by the fact that I’m not totally sure how God will enact justice, thus it helps as a reminder that sin separates us from God, regardless of the degree. It’s like a tiny piece of our soul gets stolen whenever we sin. There’s just no denying that part.

    I guess it does come down to knowledge. Maybe that is the ONLY thing that separates the “degree” of sin… I don’t know exactly. I just know it’s all very harmful on a personal level, to the person doing it and to the person done to it, and it does all hurt God.

    1. Kellie,
      Great point you bring up about us not being the ones to enact justice. I am by no means suggesting that degrees of sin leaves room for us to dole out punishment or even condemnation of any kind.

      I think it’s important to have the discussion about degrees of sin because thinking or saying that all sin is equal is a slippery slope of legalism. It makes it very easy to lump all people’s missteps together, no matter the cause or consequences and this, I think can be dangerous. It can produce Christians who only see in black and white and respond to people’s sin only, instead of the people themselves.

  6. I have heard “God sees all sin the same” many times before. In a way, I agree that God sees all sin the same, because the punishment (if we don’t accept Jesus) is the same: eternal separation from God, spiritual death.

    If we steal a candy bar, and we never ask Jesus to come into our lives and forgive us of our sin, then we will receive the same punishment as that person who murdered and didn’t accept Jesus.

    Some non-Christians will say “Well, you know, I’m not as bad as a murderer, so maybe God will let me into heaven. If the worst thing I’ve done is steal a candy bar, wouldn’t he let me into heaven?”

    Nicole, how would you explain to a non-Christian that not all sin is the same, but that regardless of the “kind” of sins we commit, we all still deserve death? That’s what’s hard for people to grasp, and why I think we default to saying “God sees all sin the same”.

    I’m really glad you wrote about this, Nicole, to give us insight into the issue. I didn’t realize that the bible clearly shows us that not all sin is equal. Thanks!

    1. Lindsay,
      GREAT questions! I think when talking to unbelievers we have to explain, just as you said, that sin in any form, separates us from God. Without Jesus, we are all separated from God and it is through His blood that we receive reconciliation to God.

      I think most unbelievers can call “crap” when we say things like “God sees stealing and murder as the same.” What kind of illogical God must we serve from their perspective? Those two sins both keep us from intimacy with God, both cause a chasm between us and God, even though the consequences for those two sins is different.

      BUT Jesus came to fill that chasm…And to free us from sin so that we do not need to sin any longer.

      That’s what I would tell an unbeliever who was asking. I’d pray too, in the moment, for the Spirit to guide me, but that’s the gist.

      Thanks for sharing Lindsay!

  7. I LOVE your blog–Sin ito me is missing the mark “harmetia” . Which we all do. Whether I miss the bulls eye by 2 inches or 10 is irrelevant in my mind. I need to hit the bulls eye every time to be in a right relationship with God. Fortunately the cross does that for me. As a follower of Jesus all of my past , present and future sins are forgiven. I cling to this: There is no condemnation for those in union with Christ Jesus Romans 8:1. Different earthly consequences to the varied types of missing the mark ? Yeah–I can buy that. Not sure if God “consequences” me…maybe on occasions. Purely speculation on my part–but I think it’s more often than not just natural consequences and not imposed. As I draw closer to my Father and truly begin to understand how He revels and delights in me–how much He truly loves me–my earthly behavior adjusts accordingly. Now back to removing this 2×4 from my eye–Be blessed! k

  8. To ponder this for a moment brings home a point to me. That I’m unsure of my understanding. And to be unsure is good, it can motivate me to dig, for a better understanding.

    Thanks Nicole for bringing this up!

      1. Dear Nicole,
        My name is Natalie and my son’s name is Peter and we both are true born again christians that love Jesus but have difficulties in making christian friends with christians here in Australia as they dont make time for us especially the Pastors. Whenever we go to a christian church pastors always ask us for money but when we have a special need for him to spare 2hours of his time once a week to meet us at a coffee shop in regards to helping us with understanding the Bible he tells us he is too committed with his Church conferences etc and leaves us out. We also rang alot of christian churches to give us a helping hand to clean our house as I suffer with a Chronic Lazy Bowel and cant go to the bathroom often and im waiting to see a Rectospecialist in confirming a major operation in removing my Upper Bowel and anyway we asked these so called Pastors to help us clean our house and they said “Cant your Local Council help you? What kind of christians are they if God says in his word to help your fellow brothers and sisters in Christ no matter what. My son and I have been isolated from everyone and we have been praying to our Lord about this but God isnt everything without the Christian fellowship with oneanother Nicole. I am on a Dissability Pension and my son is on a Carer’s Pension and he looks after me. I know that we rely on God but however God also says in his word that we need good christians. WHERE ARE THEY???? They make excuses that they are too busy with their commitments but they dont bother saying to themselves that they should listen to God not Satan in regards to doing their own thing and not helping or supporting us. We dont have family and we are so ALONE. I am in so much pain and its very hard for me to do the housework with this Bowel pain and pray for me sis that when I do have this operation that God will assist the Surgeons with it. We had friends in the past but they moved on and now we are finding it difficult to make friends even with anyone here. The employment rate here in Australia is bad and my son and I cant even get part-time work even though we prayed to God as we have so many Foreigners in our country taking over our jobs and thats why we Australians havent got jobs on our soil because of these Foreigners.
        Nicole my email address is: [email protected] if you can email me at the email address I gave u and I look forward in hearing from you sister and may God bless u abundantly.

        Regards…………Natalie Capaldi xoxoxo

  9. I think the mindset is so pervasive because most Christians aren’t interested enough in their faith to really study it. They know that all sin separates them from God and so in their mind that’s all they need to know. Sin = separation from God. They don’t want to make it more complicated because then they’d have to think less about Honey Boo Boo or Kim Kardashian.

    1. Jason,
      Sadly, I think that is a pretty fair assessment. It’s just easier to make blanket statements like “God sees all sin the same” and call it a day.

      Bad theology makes for less loving Christ-followers.

  10. Agree and disagree.

    I agree that different sins have different consequences and different weights in God’s eyes.

    But all sin, from the tiniest, most inconsequential sin, to the biggest, separates us from God. When I say “sin is sin”, it is to remind myself that my sin of prideful anger,careless word or whining makes me no different from someone in the midst of sexual sin or murder. The intent of that statement is to cultivate humility rather than pride, which is a good thing for Christians to exhibit.

    1. Yes and yes. I should have added a disclaimer of truth in this post stating that ALL sin separates us from God.

      When I hear people say “Sin is sin,” I’ve always just had more of the impression that they mean “God sees it all the same.” Although I could be wrong.

      But, all that to say, thank you for making the distinction. Other comments talked about this point too and it’s an important one.

  11. 1 John 5:16 suggests degrees of sin, when John says to pray for a brother unless the sin committed is one which leads to death.

    James states that anyone who keeps the law and yet stumbles at one part breaks the whole law (James 2:10). This is where the confusion comes in and shows the importance of context when deciding on what makes sound doctrine. This scripture is the one that most gets used to support the idea that ll sin is the same, because it’s used out of context and not by comparison with other scriptures.

    James addresses believers who still cling to the law, John shows how we should approach those who stumble. Both come up with the same solution – faith in Jesus Christ.

    So yes, there are degrees of sin and it’s a sin of omission to not follow John’s guidance.

    A good post.

  12. Before you can answer the question “Are there degrees of sin”, you must first answer another: “What are the limits to God’s love?” If God’s love has limits, then the question is important. If God’s love has no limits, then the question is irrelevant.

    When Christians start talking about sin, it is inevitably for one of two reasons:

    1. To make themselves feel better about some perceived shortcoming of their own.
    2. To make themselves feel superior because of someone else’s perceived shortcoming.

    That’s why Paul said that when we compare ourselves to one another and measure ourselves against each other, we prove ourselves to be fools.

    Why be a fool? When you focus on sin – what it is, what it isn’t, how big it is, how small it is – you focus on something you are powerless to change: yourself. If you had the power to change yourself to be acceptable to a Holy God, wouldn’t you have already done so? Or do you suppose God’s grace is only for those not already in His family?

    If you place your focus on sin – yours or anyone else’s – you will not experience the transforming power of God’s grace. But if you rest your gaze on the Lord’s glory, you will be changed – “from glory to glory.”

    1. THANK YOU FOR THIS. This post has me thinking and your comment speaks to so much of what I have learned by experience in my own life. The more I focus on my sin the more I seem to slip into it. An entire post could be written from this comment. Would you mind if quoted some of what you said on my blog sometime?

      1. That is one of satan’s great distractions! If he can keep us bogged down with thinking about our sin we aren’t thinking about our freedom in Christ, and there are NO degrees to that!

      2. That is one of satan’s great distractions! If he can keep us bogged down with thinking about our sin, we aren’t thinking about our freedom in Christ, and there are NO degrees to that!

  13. I hope this isn’t too much.

    2. a stage or point in or as if in progression or retrogression: We followed the degrees of her recovery with joy.
    3. a stage in a scale of intensity or amount: a high degree of mastery.

    2. any act regarded as such a transgression, especially a willful or deliberate violation of some religious or moral principle.
    a person who sins; transgressor.

    1. a person who refuses allegiance to, resists, or rises in arms against the government or ruler of his or her country.
    2. resistance to or defiance of any authority, control, or tradition.
    3. the act of rebelling.

    1. an action or an instance of negligence that is deemed injurious to the public welfare or morals or to the interests of the state and that is legally prohibited.
    1. of the nature of or involving crime.
    2. guilty of crime.

    1. a public officer authorized to hear and decide cases in a court of law; a magistrate charged with the administration of justice.
    4. the forming of an opinion, estimate, notion, or conclusion, as from circumstances presented to the mind: Our judgment as to the cause of his failure must rest on the evidence.

    1. a punishment imposed or incurred for a violation of law or rule.
    5. consequence or disadvantage attached to any action, condition, etc.

    Luk 11:17 …
    Luk 11:24 When the unclean spirit is gone out of a man, he walketh through dry places, seeking rest; and finding none, he saith, I will return unto my house whence I came out.
    Luk 11:25 And when he cometh, he findeth it swept and garnished.
    Luk 11:26 Then goeth he, and taketh to him seven other spirits more wicked than himself; and they enter in, and dwell there: and the last state of that man is worse than the first.

    The person was made clean and for some reason returned to their sin becoming a worse sinner.

    Mat 12:37 For by thy words thou shalt be justified, and by thy words thou shalt be condemned.
    Mat 12:43 When the unclean spirit is gone out of a man, he walketh through dry places, seeking rest, and findeth none.
    Mat 12:44 Then he saith, I will return into my house from whence I came out; and when he is come, he findeth it empty, swept, and garnished.
    Mat 12:45 Then goeth he, and taketh with himself seven other spirits more wicked than himself, and they enter in and dwell there: and the last state of that man is worse than the first. Even so shall it be also unto this wicked generation.

    The person was made clean and for some reason returned to their sin and became a worse sinner.

    Mat 22:8 Then saith he to his servants, The wedding is ready, but they which were bidden were not worthy.
    Mat 22:9 Go ye therefore into the highways, and as many as ye shall find, bid to the marriage.
    Mat 22:10 So those servants went out into the highways, and gathered together all as many as they found, both bad and good: and the wedding was furnished with guests.
    Mat 22:11 And when the king came in to see the guests, he saw there a man which had not on a wedding garment:
    Mat 22:12 And he saith unto him, Friend, how camest thou in hither not having a wedding garment? And he was speechless.
    Mat 22:13 Then said the king to the servants, Bind him hand and foot, and take him away, and cast him into outer darkness; there shall be weeping and gnashing of teeth.

    The man KNEW better and refused to accept appropriate clothing for the feast. He was judged according to his knowledge.

    Joh 8:3 And the scribes and Pharisees brought unto him a woman taken in adultery; and when they had set her in the midst,
    Joh 8:4 They say unto him, Master, this woman was taken in adultery, in the very act.
    Joh 8:5 Now Moses in the law commanded us, that such should be stoned: but what sayest thou?
    Joh 8:6 This they said, tempting him, that they might have to accuse him. But Jesus stooped down, and with his finger wrote on the ground, as though he heard them not.
    Joh 8:7 So when they continued asking him, he lifted up himself, and said unto them, He that is without sin among you, let him first cast a stone at her.
    Joh 8:8 And again he stooped down, and wrote on the ground.
    Joh 8:9 And they which heard it, being convicted by their own conscience, went out one by one, beginning at the eldest, even unto the last: and Jesus was left alone, and the woman standing in the midst.
    Joh 8:10 When Jesus had lifted up himself, and saw none but the woman, he said unto her, Woman, where are those thine accusers? hath no man condemned thee?
    Joh 8:11 She said, No man, Lord. And Jesus said unto her, Neither do I condemn thee: go, and sin no more.

    The Law required both persons caught to be stoned and obviously the man was released. They were violating their law by only bringing the woman to judgment. Jesus did not see the act and used the law to release the woman. There is much more to this.

    Jas 4:11 Speak not evil one of another, brethren. He that speaketh evil of his brother, and judgeth his brother, speaketh evil of the law, and judgeth the law: but if thou judge the law, thou art not a doer of the law, but a judge.
    Jas 4:12 There is one lawgiver, who is able to save and to destroy: who art thou that judgest another?

    Luk 23:39 And one of the malefactors which were hanged railed on him, saying, If thou be Christ, save thyself and us.
    Luk 23:40 But the other answering rebuked him, saying, Dost not thou fear God, seeing thou art in the same condemnation?
    Luk 23:41 And we indeed justly; for we receive the due reward of our deeds: but this man hath done nothing amiss.
    Luk 23:42 And he said unto Jesus, Lord, remember me when thou comest into thy kingdom.
    Luk 23:43 And Jesus said unto him, Verily I say unto thee, To day shalt thou be with me in paradise.

    Two sinners, one angry and defiant, one humbled and repentant. Their words condemned or saved each one.

    For me, the point is to stay humble and repentant and Jesus will take care of the rest. I learned to ignore what “others have to say” and stay with God’s Word.

  14. As has already been stated by several others it is a yes and no answer. Any sin, whether candy bar theft or murder, is equal in that it separates immediately and eternally from God and puts us deservedly under His righteous wrath. Thus the need for the Gospel. See James 2:10.

    However, no where in Scripture does it state or imply that the punishment for all sin is equal. In fact the Bible seems quite clear that there are varying degrees to punishment that will be meted out by God. Not only in the verses that you mentioned, but also in passages like Matthew 25:14-30. Maybe the most vivid example of this though is directly from Jesus’ own mouth in Matthew 10:15, 11:23-24, and Luke 10:12 where Christ makes comparison of those towns who have knowledge of the truth and reject them in contrast to the judgment that was given to Sodom. Continue that in Luke 10:13-16 and Jesus says clearly, “it will be more bearable in the judgement for Tyre and Sidon.” How can judgement be “more bearable” unless there are varying degrees of punishment?

    Granted, even if all that you have done is steal a candy bar let us not assume that the punishment won’t be eternally severe. (And I’m not implying that you stated otherwise!)

    So while all sin is equal in that any one sin separates from God, not all sin is equal in how God punishes it.

    @jackheald I don’t think you can simply make a statement that the question is irrelevant if God’s love has no limits. Clearly, God’s love has no limits, but yet He Himself talks about there being levels of punishment. If it’s in the Bible, then we should not deem it as “irrelevant”. For me it’s a worthy discussion to engage in not on any level of elevation myself or lowering someone else, but rather to recognize first the miraculous grace that has redeemed me. This prompts me to worship. Secondly, I think it is reasonable and rationale and right to talk about when talking with people and helping them understand the deep mysteries of God. Especially in regards to some of the pure evil evidenced in man and human history. Hence the commands from Paul that we seek not our own justice for we know that God will mete out His justice in His time and it will be perfect.

  15. These are all great discussions. I love how you tagged this one under “unpopular”. It’s not so much unpopular as it’s just a reminder that we do all sin and it does separate us, sometimes for a very long time, sometimes forever if a life is lost in the process of our sin.

    We can’t ever predict how deep and wide the effect of our sin might stretch. But the scripture does make it pretty clear that if we have knowledge of and accept God’s laws (love Him and love one another), we are to be held more responsible. I don’t even think you have to be a follower of Christ for that to apply. Just a believer of God.

    It’s a wide net and it does apply to all, whether believer or not, and it does sound to me like degrees are taken into consideration. Maybe you need a category of “Unsettling” instead of “Unpopular”!!!

  16. Another interesting thought to ponder: we never know where the consequences of our sin will end. Suppose two young friends are together in the store, and Kid 2 sees Kid 1 steal a candy bar. Next time he goes to the store, Kid 2 steals a candy bar and gets away with it. He grows up and his theft escalates, and eventually he steals a car and robs a gas station and a clerk is killed during the robbery. I know this is an extreme scenario, but it began with a “small” sin committed by another person that gave him the idea to start on his own life of crime. Sin always results in death somewhere along the way (Rom. 6:23, Jam. 1:15); that’s why it’s so much better not to sin in the first place. You never know where the ripples from the rock you drop in the pond will travel, and you’re powerless to stop them once they start.

  17. Maybe the “all sin is the same” teaching began as a response to Christians who were minimizing their sin by comparing it to “the big sins”. Perhaps they needed a reminder that we are all in need of a Savior. It wouldn’t be the first time a “corrective” in the church has swung way past the intention to the point of the opposite extreme. Just thinking out loud here…

  18. So, it’s been about 24 hours since I read this and I’m now getting around to commenting. Forgive me if I repeat stuff that is already in the comments. If I take the time to read them all I may never actually get the comment posted!

    I think the reason many Christians say all sin is equal is because they hear that “all have sinned” (Rom 3:23) and then they just equate that with all sin being the same. I think this is likely because a lot of people often don’t really think about what they are reading; they just read the words and that’s that.

    What first showed me about “degrees of sin” was when an Orthodox Jewish friend explained that in Hebrew there are 3 different words for sin (I thought I remembered being told 4 but I only have 3 written down in my Bible). He used Psalm 51 to explain it to me. I’m using the NRSV here with these verses.

    v. 2 Wash me thoroughly from my iniquity (Heb: pesha) and cleanse me from my sin (Heb: cheit)
    v. 3 For I know my transgressions (Heb: ovon) and my sin is ever before me.

    So in English we see iniquity, sin, transgressions, but we don’t really realize they actually are all a type of sin. We just focus on the word sin. English/translations are so limiting!

    Oh! I just found my notes with the definitions and the 4th word!

    Cheit: unintentional sin
    Ovon: a knowing sin driven by uncontrollable temptation
    pesha: a knowing sin driven by contempt for God
    aveira: a general word covering all sin

    And, again, if I remember correctly, all of those “sin offerings” in the Hebrew scriptures are actually for cheit, unintentional sin.

  19. Late to this party, thanks to Superstorm Sandy. I believe all sin is equal in His eyes, for Jesus died for all our sins once and for all, not on a sin-degree basis. So stealing that pack of gum? Jesus died for that. Killing 50 people in a restaurant? Jesus died for that.

    I loathe disagreeing with you, I really do, but I see it in the character of our Father and in The Cross to treat all sin as equally as repulsive, despite our perceptions of them.

    Peace out, sister. Now back to waiting for power to be restored! It went out Monday @ 6:05 PM EST. Yikes.

  20. When I read about your comment “sin is sin”. I guess what came to my mind is yes in terms of the forgivness factor! Yes because I think that “sin is sin” in realtion to God’s merciful forgivness of our sin. I think he forgives those who steal a candy bar just as quickly as he would forgive one that murders. Regarding the punishment aspect I do like your comment about God as our father (parent) in dealing with discipline.

  21. My view on this is that no matter the sin, be it stealing a piece of candy or murdering an innocent individual, it is an affront and rebellion against God, and unless we accept the grace and Lordship of Christ, we are condemned. In that sense, all sin is the same. The punishment for any sin, be it one single “small” sin, or a lifetime of debauchery, for the un-redeemed is the same. Also, the remedy is the same, the Grace and Work of Christ on the cross. The difference, as I see it, is whether a sin is willingly committed by a redeemed person or done out of ignorance. The context is whether a person is truly saved, and from within that context, whether it was done intentionally.

  22. Just wanted to say, I’ve started reading your blog and find it really interesting with some great philosophical questions and depth on various issues of everyday life. I think you’ve got a great outlook on things, that many people would benefit from reading about, regardless of their religious belief.

    Anyway, I thought I would comment on this post…
    I’m not religious myself, any more, but I grew up in a religious family (my father was an Anglican priest, and you’d be hard pressed to find anyone more selfless or kind). I’d like to think that not being religious doesn’t mean I can’t appreciate most of the discussions, so I hope you don’t mind my comments.

    This discussion and the comments got me thinking about something my mother said many years ago, after having a chat with a catholic priest, about the whole issue of damnation (or in this case just not receiving eternal life/entrance into heaven), if you haven’t asked for forgiveness from God for your sins, or in this context simply taken God into your heart. She said something along the lines of “I find it hard to believe that a just God would condemn an innocent native in a far away country who has lived a good life but simply never heard of Jesus.”

    I remember talking with her about it, and her main point was, imagine a scenario with a potentially reprehensible person who later discovers God and begs forgiveness. Then imagine a good person, man, woman or child, who has lived a good life on the whole, caring for friends and family, who dies in ignorance in a corner of the world where they have never heard of Christ. Accepting the premise that both people are children of God, would God accept the 1st individual, then condemn the 2nd? Or would God accept the 1st because they have truly repented of their sins AND accept the 2nd, because they are another of their children who has on the whole lived a good lie and been a credit to their creator even if they do not know who that creator is?

    I would like to think that if there is a God (And I’m often torn on this), he or she or it views us on how we treat ourselves and others in this world, rather than on whether or not we’ve heard a specific bit of information as a prerequisite before consideration. Otherwise it’s tantamount to saying that we only get in if we know the secret handshake, and I don’t believe a benevolent God would do that. I think God would judge us based on how we’ve lived our lives overall, regardless of our knowledge of him. I don’t think God would be so insecure as to worry if we’ve heard of him by a specific name or not, if we are all his children. A father would surely be more worried about whether he has a good child, even if that child does not know of him.

    I know I’ve gone a little bit off the subject, about degrees of sin, but I hope you don’t mind. ;-)

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