In the latest issue of Christianity Today, renowed theologian J.I. Packer addresses a question from a reader on whether or not all sins are equal. This is a question that I get pretty often from students in The Quest Ministry, to non-students, to Christians, to non-Christians. It’s a tough question, and I have thought about it a lot, but you should see what Packer has to say.
I think there are a couple of things to keep in mind that I have thought of though when asking yourself this question:
1) All sins are equal in the sense that they are a violation of our relationship with God. When we sin, we violate the boundaries in our relationship with God. Read Romans 1.
2) All sins are not equal in relation to the violation and it’s consequences. Packer will spell this out more detailed. But for example: To think a murderous thought towards someone is not the same as murdering that person.
3) Jesus in Matthew 5:27-30 speaks on the relational aspect of sin. Of tying a thought into actual sin. In this context he is speaking of a man lusting in his heart, and committing adultery. But this context does not so much relate to Packer’s thoughts.
4) Sin must be looked at from a personal, initmate aspect, and not from an impersonal violation. When we think of cheating on a spouse, or having sex outside of marriage, we understand the intimate, personal relationship, and how sin violates it. But often, when we do something like dowload illegal music, we do it very impersonally. What we must realize, is that all sin, regardless of whether someone personal or intimate is involved, is a violation of our intimate relationship with God, breaking the fellowship we have with Him.
5) Saying that all sins are not equal, is also not a time for us to judge others, measuring their sin against ours. For example, saying something like, “I haven’t had sex, or been drunk,” even though you may be a hypocrite and religious zealot who Christ has some harsh words for as well.
6) As Christians, we have to quit measuring our sense of morality and sin against that of the world, those around us, or even our past lifestyle. I think we as Christians have a strong tendency to justify our own behavior because we may think that what we are doing is not as bad as what others are doing, or it’s the same as what others are doing, or it’s not as bad as how we used to live. Living this way does not in any way help us or encourage us to live a more Godly life, where we look at God’s Holiness as something to be of great value. Just look at Isaiah 6:1-7.
So check out his article, and let me know what you think regarding his words on whether or not All Sins Are Equal and I would be interested to hear your feeback and dialogue on this issue.
I was having trouble linking the article: Here it is,http://www.christianitytoday.com/ct/2005/001/19.65.html