You’ve probably heard, “All sins are the same!”
While people might mean well when they make this statement, the problem is it’s not true. While sins are the same in some ways, they’re radically different in other ways. This means…they aren’t the same!
How are sins different?
First, there are three different kinds of sin:
- We received a passed-on depravity from Adam, which we commonly call our “sin nature.” This is an inherited sin.
- There’s also “imputed sin.” Even though men were sinners because of their sin natures, before the Mosaic Law was given, sin wasn’t imputed: Romans 5:13 For until the law sin was in the world, but sin is not imputed when there is no law. After the Law was given, sins committed in violation of the Law are accounted.
- The most common type of sin is personal sin. This is the sin committed every day by every human being as a result of our sin natures.
Second, there are differences between the various sins committed:
- Some sins will merit worse punishments than others (Matt 11:22-24, Luke 10:12-14).
- 1 Corinthians 6:18 describes sexual sin as a sin against our own bodies. Stealing is a sin, but it’s not discussed this way.
- Romans 1:24-32 describes homosexuality as unnatural and a sin against nature. Lying is a sin, but it’s not described this way.
- Hebrews 12:15 says bitterness is a sin that defiles many, but that’s not said of any other sin.
- Murder is described as a sin that pollutes the land, and the blood of the victim calling out for vengeance (Gen 4:10, Num 35:33, Psa 106:38). Gossip is a sin, but when someone’s gossiped about we’re not told their blood calls out for vengeance and we’re not told the land is defiled.
- Proverbs 6:16-17 lists seven sins God hates. We like to say God hates all sin, but apparently there are some sins He hates more than others. Many people would probably be surprised by what’s listed and not listed. For example, the 7th sin – which is actually singled out from the rest – is sowing discord or causing division. How many people would say they consider divisiveness one of the “worst” sins? Sometimes Christians act like homosexuality is worse than anything else, but it’s not mentioned.
- There are verses in the Old Testament that identify certain sins as abominations. Since all sins are not identified as abominations, some sins are clearly more abominable to God than others.
Third, there are differences in consequences:
- The consequences for adultery are going to be much different than the consequences for stealing (even though 1 Thessalonians 4:6 lists fornication as a form of theft).
- The consequences for idolatry are going to be different than the consequences for gossip.
Fourth, common sense tells us sins aren’t the same.
No, I don’t put this reason on par with the others since it lacks scriptural support, but every time we hear, “All sins are the same” isn’t there a nagging thought in the back of our minds? Jesus said not to worry and Paul said not to be anxious. Do we really think worry and anxiousness are the same as adultery?
So how are all sins the same?
- The Greek word for sin is hamartanō, an archery term meaning “to miss the mark.” All sins are the same in that they’re examples of missing the mark, or missing the standard set by God’s holy, perfect law. That’s why 1 John 3:4 says, “Everyone who sins breaks the law; in fact, sin is lawlessness.”
- All sins are the same in terms of being destructive, an offense to God, and demanding death as a punishment (Rom 6:23).
- Most importantly: all sins are the same in that they condemn us to hell and can only be forgiven through repentance and faith in Christ.
When you heard “all sins are the same,” did you believe that? How do you see sins being the same and different? Share any thoughts or questions below!