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All about sin. What is it, how does it work, what does it do—whatever your questions are

Question about the relative degree of sin

Postby Tow Me Away » Thu Jan 04, 2018 4:15 pm

I've had many discussions with my friends who are Christian about sins, whether some are worse than others, and if so, how this differentiation is manifested.

One of my friends basically explained that the Bible states that indeed not all sins are the same and some do more harm than others. As a result, the consequences that the sinner must face to atone, if possible, for the sin are varying in degree as well, whether legal, emotional, spiritual, etc.

Another friend of mine explained it in a different way: All of us are born to sin. Although some sins are admittedly worse than others, there is no sin great enough that cannot be forgiven. As long as one believes in the Lord and His teachings, and repents for their sins, he will eventually go to Heaven. So in essence, the greatest sin is being a non-believer (which I find difficult to accept).

Which of these explanations are accurate? Are both accurate (they don't necessarily conflict)? Is there a more Biblically thorough way to explain this?
Tow Me Away

Re: Question about the relative degree of sin

Postby jimwalton » Thu Jan 04, 2018 4:23 pm

A bunch of what you and your friends said is right.

Some sins are worse than others. In Jn. 19.11, at his trial, Jesus said so to Pilate: "The one who handed me over to you is guilty of a greater sin [than yours]." In Luke 12.47-48, Jesus implies the same thing: intentional sin is worse than unintentional sin. Now, hey, let's be realistic. In the parable they both get a beatin'. But there's a difference in the level of guilt (sin), and there's also a difference in the degree of punishment. You'll read the same thing in Leviticus. Look at Lev. 4.2, for instance. The sin offering is for UNINTENTIONAL sin. As you look closely, you'll notice there is no sacrifice for INTENTIONAL sin. Intentional sin is worse.

Therefore, not all sins are the same, and some do more harm than others.

> the consequences that the sinner must face to atone

Not sure what you mean by "atone" here, but there is indication that there will be degrees of punishment in hell for differing infractions.

- Mt. 11.22-24 – "more tolerable"
- Mt. 23.14 – "greater condemnation"
- Rev. 20.13 – "each in proportion to his works"
- Lk. 10.12 – "it will be more bearable for Sodom than for that town"
- Lk. 12.47-48 – beaten with few blows or more blows

"All of us are born to sin." Sort of. We are all born with a sin nature, and all of us are born separated from God because of that sin nature.

"There is no sin great enough that cannot be forgiven." According to Mark 3.28-29, the only sin that can't be forgiven is persistence in rejecting God.
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