Are All Sins Equal in God’s Sight?

Author Brett Kunkle Published on 12/20/2016

Michael Kruger is doing an excellent blog series titled “Taking Back Christianese.” He recently addressed the “all-sins-are-equal” claim that is oft-repeated in Christian circles. He highlights three main problems with this view:

First, to say all sins are the same is to confuse the effect of sin with the heinousness of sin. While all sins are equal in their effect (they separate us from God), they are not all equally heinous.

Second, the Bible differentiates between sins. Some sins are more severe in terms of impact (1 Cor 6:18), in terms of culpability (Rom 1:21–32), and in terms of the judgment warranted (2 Pet 2:17; Mark 9:42; James 3:1)...

Third, although all people are sinners, the Bible makes it clear that some are more holy than others. The Bible has the category of the “righteous” person who is singled out by God as notably different (see my article on that subject here).

Christians need to think carefully about this issue and how we communicate about it, especially in a culture that is more than happy to co-opt our own statements and claims in order to justify sin. In a follow-up post, Michael Kruger illustrates how widespread this view may be. As you read through the Twitter posts he highlights, you’ll notice how people use this Christianese phrase to “flatten out” sin, attempting to make individual sins indistinguishable from one another and therefore insulate certain sins from any appropriate moral judgments. Of course, if people think that all sin is “equal,” then in their minds there is no basis for the church to highlight the immorality of the gay lifestyle over and against other sins. For them, Christians are being hypocrites because we have our own sins that we struggle with as well.

And that’s just one reason why Christians need to make careful distinctions regarding this issue and think biblically about it. As Kruger concludes, “big theological differences are usually captured in just such minor details.”