Thursday, December 31 2020
In his headquarters, Pilate questioned Jesus, “Where are you from?” When Jesus did not answer, Pilate asked again, “You will not speak to me? Do you not know that I have authority to release you and authority to crucify you?” (John 19:10). Jesus revealed, “You would have no authority over me at all unless it had been given you from above. Therefore he who delivered me over to you has the greater sin” (John 19:11 ESV). Jesus revealed that some sins are greater than other sins. The high priest carried more guilt as he held a position set by God, twisted God’s Word to condemn the Christ, and delivered Jesus to crucifixion. Sins are not equal in intention, degradation, and consequences.
When many Christians speak of the equality of sin, they are referring to how all sin and have died in sin. Sin brings the condemnation of death to all because all have sinned (Rom 3:23; 5:12; 6:23). In this sense, all humanity shares in sin and no more. James declared, “For whoever keeps the whole law but fails in one point has become guilty of all of it” (Jas 2:10; cf. 1 John 3:4). Beyond the guilt of breaking God’s law, sin has no more equality.
Some assert that “all sins are equal” and think there will be no variation of punishment. However, Jesus taught that those who are not prepared for God or reject God will receive a more severe punishment than those who are ignorant and so receive a lesser punishment (Luke 12:47–48). Jesus concluded, “Everyone to whom much was given, of him much will be required, and from him to whom they entrusted much, they will demand the more” (Luke 12:48b). Jesus also revealed that judgment would be more bearable for Sodom than for Capernaum who rejected the signs of Christ (Matt 11:22–24). Not all sins have the same judgment or the same ultimate consequences.
Jesus taught that anyone who causes a believing child to stumble would better have a millstone hung around his neck and thrown into the sea (Mark 9:42). Why not apply this to everyone if all sins are equal? Anyone who commits sin does so outside the body, but those who commit sexual sins do so against one’s body (1 Cor 6:18). Why note this if all sins are equal? Misusing the Lord’s Supper has a different consequence too making one guilty of the body and blood of the Lord (1 Cor 11:27–32). Why not say this of every person who sins if all sins are equal? Not all sins are equal.
The sin of rejecting God and Christ denies God's forgiveness. God does not forgive unrepented sins such as apostate blasphemy of the Holy Spirit (Matt 12:31). Those who willfully sin have no more sacrifice to cover sin (Heb 10:26–29). Those who practice the sins of the flesh will not inherit the kingdom of heaven (1 Cor 6:9–10; Gal 5:19–21; cf. Heb 6:4–6; 2 Pet 2:20–22).
The apostle John revealed that there is a sin not leading to death (1 John 5:16–17). John was speaking of those who continue to walk in the light and confess their sins to the Father. These receive the forgiveness of all sins (1 John 1:7, 9). God forgives all sins that people repent from doing in addition to forgiving sins of ignorance (Luke 23:34). Christians must forgive one another as Christ forgives (Eph 4:32). Therefore, Christians must forgive those who repent (Luke 17:3–4).
Some have said that no sin is greater than another is so that an innocent spouse cannot divorce one’s spouse for fornication and marry another, because all people sin and each person is just as guilty as another is (cf. John 8:1–11). Therefore, they think that one must forgive the other and remain together. They think that Jesus’s exception for the innocent to divorce a spouse for fornication is exaggerated and is not actually applicable (Matt 19:9).
Some claim there is no difference between the man who is practicing a sexual sin and the person who fails to do good (Jas 4:17). Therefore, some reason that the church cannot discipline the man who openly practices sin because all people are guilty of sin (1 Cor 5). They refuse to withdraw from anyone openly living in adultery, the couple living together committing fornication, and homosexuals living in a sexual union. God’s people must withdraw from those who openly practice sin such as fornication, greed, extortionists, idolaters, revilers, and drunkards (1 Cor 5:9–11).
As God is holy, His people are to be holy (1 Pet 1:14–16). Christians must not let the false teaching that “all sins are equal” to destroy holiness in the church. Thank God that He forgiveness the faithful!
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