Devoted to the Propagation and Defense of New Testament Christianity
October 18, 1956

With God Sins Are Not All Alike

Troy M. Cummings, Princeville, Oregon

Just a few days ago I read an article in a religious journal in which the writer made several statements about sin. He said: "With us, sins, like dogs, have pedigrees. With God they are all alike. There are no 'greater' evils save in the minds of men. There are no greater or lesser truths either .... Whether a thing is a greater or a lesser evil falls fully within the realm of HUMAN judgment .... No two humans would agree as to which of the two evils is 'lesser.' God nowhere differentiates between evils. Only men do!

It is amazing that a gospel preacher of many years' experience could make such bold comments, when the Bible repeatedly tells us that there IS a difference in sins, and also a difference in value in certain spiritual qualities of character. These facts do not mean, of course, that one can willingly indulge in ANY kind of sin, and then be saved. Neither does it mean that one can practice only the HIGHEST form of God's righteousness, and safely leave off the things that are not so great in the sight of God. But that there ARE vital differences in the nature and effects of certain sins is plainly taught in the word of God; and, also, that certain virtues or qualities of character ARE superior to some others.

A study of Matthew 11:20-24 makes it plain that the sins of Chorazin and Bethsaida and Capernaum were WORSE than the sins of Tyre and Sidon and even of Sodom. Jesus said that it would be MORE tolerable in the day of judgment for Tyre than it would be for Bethsaida.

Jesus' teaching in Luke 12:47, 48 is very plain that sinning knowingly is WORSE than sinning ignorantly. One calls for MANY stripes; the other for only FEW.

When one studies Matthew 12:22-37 he can plainly see that Jesus does teach that the blasphemy against the Holy 'Spirit is WORSE than other sin or blasphemy. Regardless of what the differences are, one "shall be forgiven," while Jesus says that "the blasphemy against the Spirit shall NOT be forgiven."

Then in Hebrews 10:26-31 the writer just as clearly as can be teaches that WILLFUL sin is WORSE than non-willful sin. In the case of willful sin, even to the once-saved, "there remaineth no more a sacrifice for sins, but a certain fearful expectation of judgment, and a fierceness of fire which shall devour the adversaries." In other words, no longer does the blood of Christ atone for the sins of the willfully sinful.

But all of us sin some, in spite of our best efforts. See 1 John 1:5-10. But earnest, God-fearing Christians who sin, when they repent and confess and pray for forgiveness, as they "walk in the light," are assured that God will forgive and will cleanse them by the blood of Christ. So the blood of Christ IS available as God's sacrifice for the sins of those in Christ who do not sin willfully. This is a most important and vital difference.

Again, the apostle John in 1 John 5;16, 17 makes a life-and-death difference between "sin not unto death," and "sin unto death."

Even in the old covenant God made a vital difference between sins. In Numbers 15:27-31 we read about one who sins "unwittingly" ("unknowingly"); for him the priest could make atonement for his soul, and he would be forgiven. But in verses 30, 31 a sharp contrast is made in the case of one who sinned "with a high hand," the same "blasphemed" Jehovah. No hope of forgiveness was offered to him; "that soul shall be cut off from among his people. Because he hath despised the word of Jehovah, and hath broken his commandment, that soul shall utterly be cut off; his iniquity shall be upon him."

In the face of this plain Bible teaching, is it not shocking that leading gospel preachers and editors would make the statements given in the first part of this article? God DOES make a difference in sins, in the motives behind them, and in their effects upon the soul, and in the punishment meted out for them.

Incidentally, the Bible is just as plain on some differences between the virtues of character. I Corinthians 13:13 states that love is GREATER than even faith or hope.

In Matthew 23:23 the Lord again teaches this principle. He says that justice, mercy, and faith are WEIGHTIER matters of the law than the tithing of mint and anise and cummin. This of course applied to the Mosaic law.

This article is not meant to deal with the other points discussed in the same article in the religious journal to which reference is made.