Have you heard someone say, “Sin is sin?” Is that true? What does the Bible say?
It Only Takes One
Sin is sin. You’ve probably heard that from some Christians when speaking about a certain sin someone or they committed. To begin with, the Apostle John tells us what sin is, writing that “Everyone who makes a practice of sinning also practices lawlessness; sin is lawlessness” (1 John 3:4), but thankfully, Jesus Christ “appeared in order to take away sins, and in him there is no sin” (1 John 3:5). For certain, “All wrongdoing is sin, but there is sin that does not lead to death” (1 John 5:17), however all unforgiven sin leads to death since that is what the wages are (Rom 3:23a). Of course, that’s totally unnecessary because we can be “justified freely by his grace through the redemption that came by Christ Jesus” (Rom 3:24). Sin, even one sin, would be enough to condemn a person to hell, but God “presented Christ as a sacrifice of atonement, through the shedding of his blood—to be received by faith” (Rom 3:25). That not only takes one sin away…it takes them all away.
Degrees of Judgment
When you read the Old Testament, you can see that not every sin or crime had the same punishment. A person who stole could pay restitution to the victim (Ex 22:1-4), but for someone who murdered another person in cold blood, restitution would be impossible; therefore, they must pay with their own life. Even before the Mosaic Law, God said, “Whoever sheds the blood of man, by man shall his blood be shed, for God made man in his own image” (Gen 9:6). This shows us how much God values life, so not all sin is equal. Some sins are infinitely worse and deserve a more fitting judgment. In the theocracy that Israel lived under, stealing from fellow citizens was considered a punishable crime, but not requiring death, but restitution. Stealing is breaking one of the Ten Commandments, but stealing is not as bad as adultery or worse, murder. One sin is not equal to another, therefore, sin is not sin, but each sin is different, although many may be related to the same thing. If I sinned and stole my brother’s pen at church, and then the next day, stole his car, can we really say about these two things, “Sin is sin?” Absolutely not! One can be rectified; the other may land me in jail.
Missing the Mark
The thought that, “Sin is missing the mark,” is fairly accurate because our standard of entering the kingdom is perfection. The Apostle John was told to “not seal up the words of the prophecy of this book, for the time is near” and to “Let the evildoer still do evil, and the filthy still be filthy, and the righteous still do right, and the holy still be holy” (Rev 22:10-11). Jesus says, “I am coming soon, bringing my recompense with me, to repay each one for what he has done” (Rev 22:12), so trusting in Christ is essential. Why? Because no unrighteousness person can ever enter the kingdom, so what do we do? We must trust in Christ for our perfection, and it is so, as the Apostle Paul writes: “For our sake he made him to be sin who knew no sin, so that in him we might become the righteousness of God” (2 Cor 5:21). God supplies what He demands…and that is righteousness of Christ. Jesus Christ is our righteousness, and that’s why it’s good news, because in the kingdom, “nothing unclean will ever enter it, nor anyone who does what is detestable or false, but only those who are written in the Lamb’s book of life” (Rev 21:27). One sin is enough to spot our garments, but Jesus’ blood washes that all away. Like the old hymn says, “Even the vilest offender who truly believes, That moment from Jesus a pardon receives.”
Even though Christians may feel that there are a lot of grey areas, there are sin’s that are plainly listed in the Bible. Paul shows us what the obvious fruits of the flesh are, including “sexual immorality, impurity, sensuality, idolatry, sorcery, enmity, strife, jealousy, fits of anger, rivalries, dissensions, divisions, envy, drunkenness, orgies, and things like these,” but then Paul adds, “I warn you, as I warned you before, that those who do such things will not inherit the kingdom of God” (Gal 5:19-21). It is not my personal opinion that “the unrighteous will not inherit the kingdom of God? Do not be deceived: neither the sexually immoral, nor idolaters, nor adulterers, nor men who practice homosexuality, nor thieves, nor the greedy, nor drunkards, nor revilers, nor swindlers will inherit the kingdom of God” (1 Cor 6:9-10). Many are still battling these pulls of the flesh, but they have put their trust in Christ. You cannot wait to “get right” and then come to Christ. You must come to Christ with your burden and find your rest in Him. We can’t do anything at all without Christ (John 15:5), and I have discovered, “nothing” is not a little something.
Please do not misunderstand me. I am not judging anyone. I am too busy judging myself. God’s Word judges and He alone will bring everyone into account for everything done and idle word. I am no better than anyone on earth, saved or lost. I am only better off, but even that is due to God’s grace and not anything I did (Eph 2:8-9). Gifts are not earned…they are freely given, so who can boast (1 Cor 4:3-4)? I can’t. Today, if you will hear His voice, put your trust in Christ. Today is the best of days to be saved (2 Cor 6:2), because Christ may return at any moment, or death may come, and then there will only be judgment (Heb 9:27; Rev 21:12-15). My pray for every unsaved person reading this is that they would repent and be saved, and would enter the kingdom of heaven as perfect as Christ Himself. Then, not even death itself can separate you from God (John 11:25-26; Rom 8:38-39).
Article by Jack Wellman
Jack Wellman is Pastor of the Mulvane Brethren Church in Mulvane Kansas. Jack is a writer at Christian Quotes and also the Senior Writer at What Christians Want To Know whose mission is to equip, encourage, and energize Christians and to address questions about the believer’s daily walk with God and the Bible. You can follow Jack on Google Plus or check out his book Teaching Children the Gospel available on Amazon.