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Is one sin greater than another?

What does the Bible say about degrees of sinfulness?

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Sin is the disobeying of the commandments of God.  All and every sin is punishable by death.

Ezekiel 18:4 The soul who sins shall die.

Romans 6:23 For the wages of sin is death,

That some sins have greater magnitude in terms of responsibility is indicated in what Jesus says to Pilate.

John 19:11 Jesus answered, "You could have no power at all against Me unless it had been given you from above. Therefore the one who delivered Me to you has the greater sin."

I conclude from Jesus’ words that the High Priest and those Jews who knowingly perpetrated the miscarriage of Justice will be raised to judgment whereas Pilate and the soldiers who actually crucified Jesus will remain in the grave.Deliberate, pre-meditated sin renders us more responsible than sins committed in ignorance or in moments of weakness.

There is also the sin which will not be forgiven.

Mark 3:28 "Assuredly, I say to you, all sins will be forgiven the sons of men, and whatever blasphemies they may utter; 29 "but he who blasphemes against the Holy Spirit never has forgiveness, but is subject to eternal condemnation" —

The power of working miracles by the Holy Spirit is not given today so we are in no danger of committing this sin.

There would also seem to be a difference in the sin of sexual immorality.

1 Corinthians 6:18 Flee sexual immorality. Every sin that a man does is outside the body, but he who commits sexual immorality sins against his own body.

This is because our bodies are intended to be the temple of God.

1 Corinthians 3:17 If anyone defiles the temple of God, God will destroy him. For the temple of God is holy, which temple you are.

Sins committed wilfully (presumptuously / in continuance) come into a separate category.

Hebrews 10:26 For if we sin willfully after we have received the knowledge of the truth, there no longer remains a sacrifice for sins,

Since the sacrifice and resurrection of Christ, God will only forgive the sins of those who believe in him.

John 8:24 "Therefore I said to you that you will die in your sins; for if you do not believe that I am He, you will die in your sins."

John 3:18 "He who believes in Him is not condemned; but he who does not believe is condemned already, because he has not believed in the name of the only begotten Son of God.

God’s forgiveness depends on whether we have believed and obeyed the Gospel and been baptised by immersion in water for remission of our past sins. Following baptism we are to live by the commandments of Christ and any sins that we commit through ignorance or weakness can be forgiven by confession in prayer.

1 John 1:7 But if we walk in the light as He is in the light, we have fellowship with one another, and the blood of Jesus Christ His Son cleanses us from all sin. 8 If we say that we have no sin, we deceive ourselves, and the truth is not in us. 9 If we confess our sins, He is faithful and just to forgive us our sins and to cleanse us from all unrighteousness.

We are also instructed to pray for others.

1 John 5:16 If anyone sees his brother sinning a sin which does not lead to death, he will ask, and He will give him life for those who commit sin not leading to death. There is sin leading to death. I do not say that he should pray about that. 17 All unrighteousness is sin, and there is sin not leading to death.

Sins are not totalled up like exam marks to give a pass or fail. If our sins are forgiven God remembers them against us no more. If our sins are not forgiven the grave is our eternal destiny.

David is an example of how even adultery and contrived murder can be forgiven. (Not that we should contemplate either and expect to be forgiven.)

When we are judged it will be on the basis of how we have judged others.

Luke 6:37 "Judge not, and you shall not be judged. Condemn not, and you shall not be condemned. Forgive, and you will be forgiven.

In Matthew 18 Jesus gives a parable on the subject of forgiveness which concludes:

Matthew 18:35 "So My heavenly Father also will do to you if each of you, from his heart, does not forgive his brother his trespasses."

Judgment will be on how we have loved others.

Matthew 25:34 "Then the King will say to those on His right hand, ‘Come, you blessed of My Father, inherit the kingdom prepared for you from the foundation of the world: 35 ‘for I was hungry and you gave Me food; I was thirsty and you gave Me drink; I was a stranger and you took Me in; 36 ‘I was naked and you clothed Me; I was sick and you visited Me; I was in prison and you came to Me.’ 37 "Then the righteous will answer Him, saying, ‘Lord, when did we see You hungry and feed You, or thirsty and give You drink? 38 ‘When did we see You a stranger and take You in, or naked and clothe You? 39 ‘Or when did we see You sick, or in prison, and come to You?’ 40 "And the King will answer and say to them, ‘Assuredly, I say to you, inasmuch as you did it to one of the least of these My brethren, you did it to Me.’

James 4:17 Therefore, to him who knows to do good and does not do it, to him it is sin.

I hope this helps.

Glenn Smith

 
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