Are Some Sins Worse Than Others?
Good News Magazine
March 1984
Volume: VOL. XXXI, NO. 3
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Are Some Sins Worse Than Others?
George M Kackos  

   Which of these sins is worse: kidnapping and murdering a 6-year-old child, or losing your temper?
   Since death is the penalty for sin, we could conclude that there is no difference (Rom. 6:23).
   But aren't we overlooking something? Throughout the Bible, God reveals that some sins are worse than others.
   After Israel rebelled at Mt. Sinai, Moses said they had sinned a great sin (Ex. 32:30). Since there are great sins, there must be lesser sins. Christ's statement to Pilate validates this conclusion: "Jesus answered, 'You could have no power at all against Me unless it had been given you from above. Therefore the one who delivered Me to you has the greater sin'" (John 19:11).
   Consider the system of punishment for broken laws in ancient Israel. Were all the punishments equal? No. For example, the punishment for kidnapping was death (Ex. 21:16), whereas the punishment for stealing livestock was their restoration (Ex. 22:1).
   God's underlying basis for dealing with sin is by the principle of proportionate punishment, in which the punishment fits the crime: "eye for eye, tooth for tooth, hand for hand, foot for foot, burn for burn, wound for wound, stripe for stripe" (Ex. 21:24-25).
   Christ was explicit - certain things are more important! Included are the weightier matters of the law and the great commandments (Matt. 22:35-40, 23:23).
   So what's the point? Don't fool yourself. Some sins you commit are worse than others. They do more damage to your character and the well-being of others. Put top priority on eliminating them. Extract them from your character. Don't tolerate major sins because you have chosen to work only on minor ones (Matt. 23:24).
   But don't misunderstand. This is not to say that lesser sins should be overlooked. Jesus was emphatic: "Whoever therefore breaks one of the least of these commandments, and teaches men so, shall be called least in the kingdom of heaven; but whoever does and teaches them, he shall be called great in the kingdom of heaven" (Matt. 5:19).
   If you want to be great in God's Kingdom, face all your sins, no matter how big or small. By eliminating them, you will find yourself making rapid progress toward perfection and membership in God's Family.

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Good News MagazineMarch 1984VOL. XXXI, NO. 3