Michael Pearl: All right, here we are, trying to answer some of your Bible questions. We've got Jared behind the camera over there. So what is the question that people have been asking, Jared?
Jared: Are all sins considered equal?
Michael: Are all sins equal? It depends on the point of reference. In other words, you'll hear an evangelist say that if you have lied then you deserve hell just as much as if you'd committed adultery, that before God, all sins are equal. What he's saying to you is that judicially the wages of sin is death. So it doesn't matter the nature of the sin. It can be a very heinous crime, or it can be a little white lie, but they're both sin. And the consequences of both of them are death.
So in a judicial way, yes, all sins are equal. But clearly, Jesus and the disciples made a difference in the nature of sins. For instance, there in the Epistles, he says, concerning the Christians, "Now, put off." He said...
Let me see where that... he said, "Know ye not the unrighteous shall not inherit the kingdom of God?" I believe that's in Corinthians. Let me see if I can find that.
Yeah, OK. Here we are in I Corinthians chapter six, in verse nine. He says, "Know ye not that the unrighteous shall not inherit the kingdom of God? Be not deceived: neither fornicators, nor idolaters, nor adulterers, nor effeminate, nor abusers of themselves with mankind. Nor thieves, nor covetous, nor drunkards, nor revilers, nor extortioners shall inherit the kingdom of God."
He said, "Such were some of you." That is in the past, before they came Christ that's what characterized them. "But you're washed, you're sanctified, you're justified in the name of the Lord Jesus Christ."
He says that Christians don't commit these sins. These are the sins that the sinners committed. He said, "All things are lawful for me," and so forth. And he says, "Meats for the belly and belly for the meats," and so forth.
He comes on down, and he says what? "Know ye not your body is the temple of the Holy Ghost? You are bought with a price: therefore glorify God in your body, and in your spirit."
Then, as he goes on through the book of Corinthians, he addresses the sins that they were committing. They were murmuring. They were puffed up. They were misusing the gift of tongues. So he addresses those as sins of Christians.
Also, in another passage in one of the epistles he says, "Now, put off also these; lying, wrath, blasphemy, filthy communication out of your mouth." So the Bible makes a difference that some things ‑ adultery, fornication, murder, witchcraft ‑ these are the things that are in the past. But Christians do have trouble with lying, and anger, and wrath, and malice. Some of these things are issues that are ongoing that Christians have to deal with; so the Bible makes a difference between sins.
Then, for instance, in Romans chapter one, he describes a list of sins, and they're in a progression there. Let me turn to that, in Romans chapter one.
In other words, you're right. The sin of child molesting is a whole lot worse than the sin of lust. If someone lusted after my child, and I didn't know about it, it wouldn't hurt me. It would be a sin for them. They'd be condemned for it, but it wouldn't be like actually molesting my child.
So there are sins that have greater consequences on this earth when they're committed. In Romans chapter one, he has a list of sins here. They get progressively worse. They start off with verse 21. "When they knew God, they glorified him not as God." That was the First sin.
"Neither were thankful, vain in their imaginations, their foolish heart was darkened. They changed the glory of the incorruptible God." It goes on down, names a few others.
"A lust of their hearts, changed the truth of God into a lie." And finally, he comes down, likewise verse 27. "Men with men working that which is unseemly, a man leaving the natural use of the woman," talking about homosexuality, lesbianism.
"And they did not like to retain God in their knowledge," verse 26. "God gave them over to a reprobate mind to do those things which are not convenient; being filled with all unrighteousness, fornication, wickedness, covetousness, maliciousness; full of envy, murder, debate, deceit, malignancy, " so forth. "Backbiters and haters of God who knowing the judgment of God that they which commit such things are worthy of death."
Worthy of death: Now, here it's interesting. He said, "And not only they that do the same, but they that have pleasure that do them." In other words, the person who commits these sins is worthy of death, but also the individual that takes pleasure in their committing the sins deserves death as well.
Now, there are people who commit murder and rape and acts of violence; and then there are people who sit and watch it on television, and enjoy it. Who sit and say, "Hey, that's cool." Or who read about it and say, "Hey, I don't have the courage to do that, but I'd like to." They're equally worthy of death.
Now, their sin is not as great, but the consequences are the same. So in the New Testament, for instance, in the Book of Acts, you find God killing Ananias and Sapphira for lying to the Holy Ghost. Now, other people weren't sinless, but that particular sin got the death penalty.
In Corinth there, you find all kinds of sins Paul rebuked them for. But there was one Christian in the church at Corinth that Paul said, "Turn him over to Satan for the destruction of the flesh that the spirit may be saved in the day of the Lord Jesus." In First Corinthians chapter five, and I think Second Corinthians chapter two; this man was in fornication with his father's wife, or his stepmother. And so, he was turned over to Satan to have his flesh destroyed.
Now, some of the other sins that the Corinthian Christians were committing, they were not turned over to Satan for the destruction of the flesh. So God viewed that as a graver sin or a worse sin, in terms of its consequences upon the church, upon the community; and deserved an immediate judgment, where some of the other sins did not.
So yes, all sins are alike; and no, there are differences in sins. In eternity, before God, all sins are alike. Before man, in terms of the consequences, there are differences in the sins that we commit.
Announcer: If you would like to ask a Bible question, email us at [email protected] or call at 931‑805‑4820.