Are all sins equal in the eyes of God?
Some Christians believe so.
And honestly, it’s not hard to see why.
Yes, there are Bible verses that seem to suggest that all sins are equal in the eyes of God.
Then there’s also the added benefit that: If all sins are equal, then no one is allowed to judge, right?
After all, if my sins are just as bad as your sins, who am I to judge you (or anyone)? So no one speaks up, and we all just go on living however we want and hoping we’ll make it to heaven.
After all, we’re ALL just sinners, right?
Unfortunately, as popular as this belief may be in some Christian circles, it is not Biblical.
This is because, while you certainly could find a verse or two suggesting all sins are equal, you’ll also find a LOT more Bible verses about sin that prove they’re not.
Let’s look at what the Bible has to say about “Are all sins equal…”
Are All Sins Equal in the Eyes of God?
All sins are not equal in the eyes of God because sins vary in severity. According to Proverbs 6:16-19, there are seven specific sins that are detestable to God.
God doesn’t say that ALL sins are detestable to Him, but instead calls out this list of six sins including “haughty eyes, a lying tongue, hands that shed innocent blood, a heart that devises wicked schemes, feet that are quick to rush into evil, a false witness who pours out lies, and a person who stirs up conflict in the community”.
Because these are the ultimate sins that God hates most, they come at a different price than some of the other sins that are committed. This does not mean that any sins are good to commit, but it does the answer the question, “Are all sins equal in the eyes of God?”
Related Reading: How to Respond to an Adult Child Living in Sin
Does the Bible Say All Sins are Equal?
As far as I can tell, the most common argument for the belief that all sins are equal comes from James 2:10.
“For whoever keeps the whole law and yet stumbles at just one point is guilty of breaking all of it.”
So, according to the argument, it doesn’t matter which sin you break. If you stumble on just one point you’re guilty of all of it. Therefore, all sins are the same, since they lead to the same end result.
And yet, when you go back and read these verses in context, this isn’t what these verses are saying at all. In the passage leading up to this verse, James is actually discussing favoritism in the church…
Back in those times, the idea that all people were created equal was VERY foreign to their way of thinking. In fact, women were second-class citizens, and if you were poor or had a chronic medical condition, everyone assumed you were cursed by God for some sin you (or your parents) had previously committed.
People didn’t help the poor or the hurting like we might today. They looked down on them and discriminated against them, assuming they were terrible sinners who deserved their punishment. So it was no surprise that first-century Christians were having trouble with it.
This is why, in James’ passage, he’s not answering the question “Are all sins equal?” at all.
James isn’t saying that all sins are equal, but that all people are created equal. We all fall short of the glory of God, and we are ALL sinners in need of a Savior (see also: Romans 3:23).
In other words — Stop discriminating against the poor and treating them unfairly, because you are sinners just like they are. Your sins may be different than theirs, but we ALL have sins we struggle with. You’re no better than them. We take this for granted today, but this was truly revolutionary at the time.
Related Reading: You Can Find Freedom from Spiritual Strongholds (Here’s How)
Bible Verses About Sin and its Severity
Let’s take a look at some Bible verses about sin to see God’s answer to the question, are all sins equal?
Now we know that James chapter 2 isn’t actually about whether all sins are equal in the eyes of God. But thankfully, there are plenty of other Bible verses about sin that are.
Take these for example:
- In Matthew 5:19, when talking about “the least of these commandments,” Jesus implies that some commandments are more important than others.
- In John 19:11, Jesus says “the one who handed me over to you is guilty of a greater sin,” meaning there are lesser and greater sins.
- Matthew 11:23 – 24 says, “it will be more bearable for the land of Sodom on the day of judgment than for you,” implying that their judgments will be unequal because their sins were unequal.
- In Luke 12:47-48, Jesus tells a parable in which some servants are beaten with many blows while others are beaten with few blows. Again, different judgments imply different amounts/severity of sin.
- 1 John 5:16 tells us that some sins lead to death, while others do not.
- And most terrifying of all, in Mark 3:28-29, Jesus tells us that there’s something known as the “unforgivable sin.” In other words, not only are some sins worse than others but there is actually one sin SO TERRIBLE you cannot be forgiven for it. Yikes!
And these are just a few examples. There are tons more Bible verses about sin that we can reference to help us answer the question “are all sins equal?”
What if All Sins Were Equal?
So now that we know that Scripture tells us that some sins are greater than others, let’s take a look at some real-life examples of this.
- Would you expect or even want the same punishment for someone who drove 5 mph over the speed limit and for someone who brutally murdered their own children?
- Would you leave your husband for losing his temper once when he had had a very stressful day, the same way you would if you found out he had been committing adultery for years?
- Would you expect someone who was a thief in order to feed his family to have the same penalties as someone who sells his own body?
I highly doubt it.
Yes, every sin separates us from God, but that doesn’t mean all sins are equal.
In fact, even the Old Testament Law showed this, although at that time a distinction was made between intentional and unintentional sins instead, with intentional sins being a more serious offense.
In his Sermon on the Mount, Jesus addresses the law and makes it clear that any sin committed keeps us apart from the goodness of God and his plans for our lives.
So, although we are wondering, “are all sins equal?” let us remember when we turn from our sinful ways to lead a life honoring God, we are saved from the wages of sin.
Related Reading: How to Find Freedom From Past Sin and Shame
Have you ever wondered “Are All Sins Equal in the Eyes of God?” What were you taught on the matter?