Joe Stanley is a proud Texan from San Antonio. He has 25 years of experience in small church pastoral ministry. He has a degree in Christian Education, a Master of Arts in Theological Studies, a Master of Divinity and is currently working on his Doctor of Ministry. He and his wife Glenda have 2 children and 1 grandchild.
Current wisdom tells us that all sin is equal in the eyes of God. Yet those of us who hold a Christian Worldview stubbornly turn to the Bible for insight into any topic. We choose to believe the Bible over the truth that our culture maintains. So, what does the Bible say about God’s views on sin? Is there any difference?
The Penalties for Transgressions
When God gave the Law to Moses there were distinctions made in the penalties for breaking the law.
For several transgressions of the Law the penalty was death. One example is murder: “But if he struck him down with an iron object, so that he died, he is a murderer. The murderer shall be put to death” (Numbers 35:16 ESV).
With some sin the punishment could vary depending upon the situation: “The judges shall inquire diligently, and if the witness is a false witness and has accused his brother falsely, then you shall do to him as he had meant to do to his brother. So you shall purge the evil from your midst” (Deuteronomy 19:18-19 ESV).
With several other sins the punishment was exile from the community: “But the person who eats of the flesh of the sacrifice of the Lord’s peace offerings while an uncleanness is on him, that person shall be cut off from his people” (Leviticus 7:20 ESV).
Jesus also made it clear that God especially despises the pain caused to children: “Whoever causes one of these little ones who believe in me to sin, it would be better for him to have a great millstone fastened around his neck and to be drowned in the depth of the sea” (Matthew 18:6 ESV).
All Sin is not the Same
While there are many more examples that could be provided that call for various sacrifices that could range from a grain offering, to a dove, a sheep, goat or bull, the ones already provided should be enough to illustrate that God does not view all sin as the same.
In fact, the Book of Proverbs (6:16-19) identifies seven things that God hates although there is not any punishment proscribed for those. Scripture clearly indicates that God does view sin differently and that He proscribed a different punishment for sin depending upon its severity. While God does see sin differently we now have Jesus to forgive us of our sin.
“But when Christ had offered for all time a single sacrifice for sins, he sat down at the right hand of God” (Hebrews 10:12 ESV). Before we blindly accept anything as truth we should turn to the Bible and allow it to inform us of what is really true.
What does this mean for us? “Do your best to present yourself to God as one approved, a worker who has no need to be ashamed, rightly handling the word of truth” (2 Timothy 2:15 ESV).