Evangelical & Sin


Some sins are greater than others!

I have mentioned this topic before, but just yesterday, I was chatting with a fellow believer. Apparently, the commonly misunderstood biblical truth is still being incorrectly understood by many in the professing Evangelical Church.

It is readily apparent if something is said often, it becomes “de facto” truth, but the Evangelical committed to accurately proclaiming all that God reveals is keen to discard “hobby horses” and not remain enslaved to what their favorite Bible teacher or Church teaches. Mature believers have as their first priority to yield to the text, whatever it reveals.

Let me emphasize again the Bible NEVER teaches “all sin is sin” or any such variation of the same understanding. What I mean by this is there is a sense in which “all sin is sin,” but there is an equal and non-contradictory sense in which it is NOT true. This is the landscape of biblical interpretation and interpretation of any form of communication.

The late Dr. R.C. Sproul would often comment, “it is prerogative of the theologian to make distinctions and sometimes fine distinctions. That is certainly what I am doing here, but I do so because the biblical data demands one does so. Let me know press my case for your consideration.

To understand this truth, I will easily allow the words of our Potentate, Jesus Christ, to speak as His Words indeed reflect the whole counsel of fact, not that His Words (found in some red-letter editions) are more authoritative than all other words in the Holy Writ.

“Woe to you, scribes and Pharisees, hypocrites! For you tithe mint and dill and cumin, and have neglected the “weightier” matters of the law: justice and mercy and faithfulness. These you ought to have done, without neglecting the others. (Matthew 23:23) [emphasis mine]

Jesus answered him, “You would have no authority over me at all unless it had been given you from above. Therefore he who delivered me over to you has the “greater” sin.” [emphasis mine] (John 19:11)

Now, what it is proper to understand is all sin is EQUALLY deserving of eternal damnation. Still, it is illogical and somewhat naive NOT to understand there is a profound difference between someone lusting about a woman and someone engaging in illicit sexual activities with said woman.

Both are grievous actions and bring God’s strong condemnation, but one act is CLEARLY more profound or to use the exact words of Christ “greater.”

Another example: are both actions equally sinful? Someone “contemplating” slapping you upside the head, especially without justification, and someone ACTUALLY slapping you upside the head.

Another example: someone coveting your prized horse and someone actually following through with their coveting your prized horse and ACTUALLY stealing it.

So, we are not being biblically accurate when we promote the false narrative that “all sin is sin” without fully understanding what we mean when we make that statement and more importantly we are not thinking critically, which is a sorely lacking trait in th professing Church to Her great shame!

Some sins are far more grievous than others. Remember, all sins justify eternal condemnation, but actions ALWAYS trump thoughts. If we are honest, we wrestle with all myriad of illicit, immoral, unbiblical thoughts on a regular basis and we should gleefully thank God we never follow through on those non-glorifying thoughts.

This post is not meant to minimize sin or give license to dwell with sinful thoughts or “lesser” sins in ANY shape, form, or fashion.

It is our job to handle the Word of God with “precision” in all that we proclaim. When we postulate “all sin is sin” let’s ensure what we understand what we are saying and what we are NOT saying.

Jesus told the Pharisees they neglected the “weightier” matters of the Law and Jesus Christ said in John 19 in reference to one of His Twelve (Judas) his acts of sin was “greater”than, say, Peter’s rebuke in Matthew 16 when Jesus asked His disciples whom do people say I am and Peter was ,well, being Peter.

From time to time I will post short forays into topics like this to hopefully help fellow believers think through some of these commonly misunderstood biblical topics.

I do have a website where you can post questions. I will make that available in my next post. I have a tab called “Ask Dr. Ricky”

I would delight in connecting with you and being a resource to help you grow into more and more Christlikeness.

Until then, keep your hands to the plow and seek to serve for an Audience of One!

With fear and trembling!

Ricky Kyles


1 Comment
  1. Thank you for writing this, Ricky! My family and I used to go to a church whose leadership sometimes said things like, “We’ve all got our own sin.” The implication always seemed to be that no sin was worse than another, the purpose being to not make people feel like they were being “put down” for their particular sin. The way I like to express the truth that not all sins are equal is that the consequences of some sins are more serious than others; that certainly includes what you wrote about sins of thought vs. sins of action.


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