Are All Sins Equal?
James 2:10-11 says: “For whoever shall keep the whole law, and yet stumble in one point, he is guilty of all. For He who said, ‘Do not commit adultery,’ also said, ‘Do not murder.’ Now if you do not commit adultery, but you do murder, you have become a transgressor of the law.” From these verses, we see that any sin is enough to convict a person. John added, “Whoever commits sin also commits lawlessness, and sin is lawlessness” (1 John 3:4).
The same principle is also found in the story of the rich young ruler (Luke 18:18-27). The rich young ruler explained to Jesus that he had kept all of the commandments from the time of his youth. Jesus responded to him, “You still lack one thing. Sell all that you have and distribute to the poor, and you will have treasure in heaven.” According to Jesus, the young man only lacked “one thing,” yet it was still enough to keep him from entering into heaven. So, in this context, all sins are equal.
However, the fact that any sin can condemn a person does not mean that all sins are judged the same. A good example of that is shown in Jesus’ conversation with Pilate. In John 19:11, Jesus said to Pilate, “[T]he one who delivered Me to you has the greater sin.” The individual responsible for delivering Jesus over to Pilate had committed a sin greater than the sin committed by Pilate.
Caiaphas, the one that handed Jesus over to Pilate, presumed to be a worshiper of the true God and had great knowledge of the scriptures. His guilt was therefore greater. Jesus had given repeated evidences of divinity, but the Jewish leaders had hardened their hearts against every ray of light. Also, the fact that Caiaphas had the “greater sin” did not mean that Pilate was without guilt.
Here is an illustration: Suppose a person borrows money from the bank to buy a $10,000 boat and pays the bank back $9,000, and then stops making payments. The bank will certainly repossess the boat, even though the person paid most of the money. Because any unpaid balance is enough to make him lose the boat. Also, if a person borrows $10,000 on a boat and does not pay any of it back. The bank will repossess the boat. In these two cases, does one person have a greater debt than the other? Yes, Of course, the one who owes $10,000. But are both debts, though unequal, enough to cost both borrowers to lose their boats? The answer is: yes.
Sins vary in terms of judgment, yet any sin is enough to cause a person to lose his salvation.
In His service,