The Great Sin Debate

The Great Sin Debate February 10, 2024


Examining the Equality of All Wrongdoings-Is All Sin Equal?

In a world where almost anything goes, many ask, “Is all sin created equal?” The Great Sin Debate: Is the sin of lying equal to that of murder? This question has long been a debate between biblical scholars and laymen. Let’s examine some myths and misconceptions regarding the complexities of sin and moral judgment.

What Qualifies As A Sin?

Before we start, we need to understand what sin is. According to Britannica, sin, from a religious point of view, is regarded as deliberately and purposefully violating the will of God.

The concept of sin will vary greatly across different religions and ethics. For some of us, sin is any action that violates the divine law and goes against the moral code as prescribed by specific religious beliefs. For others, sin is any action that involves disobedience to the commandments or authority figures.

Different cultures may see sin as different offenses. However, for most of us, the actions of lying, stealing, cheating, or harming others are all considered to be sins.

In many cultures and religious beliefs, not only actions but also thoughts can be considered to be sinful. Greed, hatred, delusion, jealousy, and such thoughts are also considered sinful.

What Is Our Personal Responsibility?

As responsible adults, we are considered responsible for our actions and held accountable for our actions. Thus, we can only conclude that we are at fault if we choose to sin. It’s up to us whether or not we obey the law of man and the law of God.

Were we doing so deliberately if we were caught speeding, or was it an accident? Are we responsible for the consequences? According to the law, if we are speeding and pulled over, we may get either a ticket or a warning (depending on the officer’s kindness). In essence, it’s all about choice.

We should obey the law when we get our driver’s license. Speed limits are posted alongside roadways and expected to be followed. Failure to follow the speed limit may result in serious consequences, including a ticket or even a tragic wreck and loss of life.

I’m reminded here of the quote by Sir Isaac Newton, “For every action, there is an opposite and equal reaction.”

What Is Free Choice?

According to most religions, God gives everyone the ability of free choice. The right to choose between right and wrong or good and evil. It’s important to note that every choice has a consequence, good or bad.

When Adam and Eve were in the Garden of Eden and made a choice to eat from the tree, the consequences were that they were sent out of the Garden. They had to fend for themselves.

When Lot’s wife turned and looked back, she chose to disobey and was turned into a pillar of salt. The list goes on and on in the Bible, showing us time and again how someone made a wrong choice and the consequences of that choice.

The toddler that is told not to touch the hot stove and touches it anyway chooses to disobey mom or dad and consequently is burned.

Children are taught that if they disobey, they may receive punishment. It may be standing in a corner or a spanking or something else. They can choose to obey, have no consequence, or disobey and be punished.

In school, students are given homework. They can choose whether or not they wish to complete their homework. If they complete the homework, they receive a higher grade; if they fail to complete the homework, they risk failing their class.

All of these are prime examples of free choice. We have the ability to choose what we are going to do; however, there are consequences attached to each and every choice that we make. Some consequences are good, while others are bad or negative.

What The Bible Says About Sin

Different sacred texts use different methods to outline guidelines for what sin is. They may follow various religious laws, commandments, or even ethical principles. Ultimately, the term “sin” may vary greatly between one religion and the next. It all boils down to personal convictions and beliefs.

In the New Testament, in John 8: 7-11, the townspeople want to stone a woman for adultery. Here’s how Jesus handled it. “But Jesus bent down and started to write on the ground with his finger. When they kept questioning him, he straightened up and said, ‘Let any one of you who is without sin be the first to throw a stone at her.’ Again, he stooped down and wrote on the ground. At this, those who heard began to go away one by one. The older ones first until only Jesus was left with the woman standing there. Jesus straightened up and asked her, ‘Woman, where are they? Has no one condemned you?’ ‘No one, sir,’ she said. Then neither do I condemn you, ‘Jesus declared, ‘Go now and leave your life of sin.’”

The woman must have been greatly relieved to have avoided being stoned. However, she now had to choose to sin no more. Because no one was free from wrongdoing, no one had the right to stone her. For most people, this says it all. No one is free from sin, and a sin is a sin regardless of how big or small it may be.

Imagine how those people must have felt being told, “Let he who is without sin be the first one to throw a stone.” Deep in their hearts, they knew that they were not perfect either. Her sin was no greater than their sin.

Take Away

A lie by omission is still a lie. Think about it for a moment. Holding back a truth is still a lie.

If you’re seeking Bible verses on sin, these Bible verses all highlight sin, consequences, and the need for Christians to be redeemed through Jesus Christ’s Love and grace.

1. Romans 3:23 (NIV) – “For all have sinned and fall short of the glory of God,”

2. 1 John 1:8 (NIV) – “If we claim to be without sin, we deceive ourselves, and the truth is not in us.”

3. James 4:17 (NIV) – “If anyone knows the good they ought to do and doesn’t do it, it is sin for them.”

4. Romans 6:23 (NIV) – “For the wages of sin is death, but the gift of God is eternal life in Christ Jesus our Lord.”

5. Galatians 5:19-21 (NIV) – “The acts of the flesh are obvious: sexual immorality, impurity, and debauchery; idolatry and witchcraft; hatred, discord, jealousy, fits of rage, selfish ambition, dissensions, factions, and envy; drunkenness, orgies, and the like. As I did before, I warn you that those who live like this will not inherit the kingdom of God.”

Judge Not

6. Proverbs 14:12 (NIV) – “There is a way that appears to be right, but in the end it leads to death.”

7. Ezekiel 18:20 (NIV) – “The one who sins is the one who will die. The child will not share the guilt of the parent, nor will the parent share the guilt of the child. The righteousness of the righteous will be credited to them, and the wickedness of the wicked will be charged against them.”

Instead of judging one another, we should be helping one another. According to John 8: 7-11, only God has the right to judge. Let’s strive to cultivate more understanding and solidarity, lifting one another up as we walk through life.

About Elle Clark
Elle is a Pastor’s Daughter and has been writing for over three decades. She writes about youth mentoring, addiction recovery, parenting, senior advocacy, gardening and sustainability, and an eclectic mix of other topics. She resides in Northeastern Washington with her husband and children. You can read more about the author here. You can read more about the author here. You can read more about the author here.

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