Many people question degrees of sining. (A sin is a sin) Is one sin better/worse in Gods eyes? and if not why do we put so much attention on sins like Homosexuality, Abortion and so on? Looking for a better way to explain to others if I am faced with this question again!!!!!!
Post by Mike Miller on Aug 31, 2007 10:44:01 GMT -5
This is a question I get a lot also. First, let me say that when it comes to our standing with God, all sin is grievous. There really aren't categories as to how badly we offend God and detract from His glory. Romans 1 talks about God giving people over to depraved minds to do all kinds of things: sexual perversion, murder, gossip and disobeying parents. Yikes! Disobeying parents in the same "category" as murder? Man, I'm in trouble. And remember that Jesus said in Matthew 5 that if you get angry, you are guilty of murder, and if you lust, you're guilty of adultery. Well, so much for saying anger is ok, but murder isn't--or "I gossip, but at least I've never committed adultery." Now, again, this is all relative to our standing with God and our offending His glory. All sin is sin, and it is all bad.
However, when it comes to the effects of sin on others, it is clear that there are differences. That is why when God gave the law, some sins resulted in harsher punishments than others (death vs. a fine, for example). Clearly, from a human perspective, and relative to damage caused, Hitler committed worse sins than my son when he doesn't clean his room when I tell him. So in that respect, there is definitely a difference in sin.
Therefore, I would say that some sin is worse than others to the degree it affects other people or the person sinning. While a "little white lie" might offend God as much as an adulterous affair, the physical effects are different. That is why we as a society should have laws against murder, stealing, and assault, and their punishments should be different, depending on the circumstances, levels of the offense, and other mitigating factors. That is also why we don't necessarily need laws for lying, getting mad, or disobeying parents (thought that last one seems appealing at times).
So, while "sin is sin," a child telling a lie does not result in the death of another (typically), while an abortion always results in the death of another (as well as a physically and emotionally damaged woman). Homosexuality is touted as "personal," but you can look at the statistics of the life expectancy of homosexual men as well as the the physical problems, suicide rate, and emotional turmoil of homosexuals to know that it is a destructive lifestyle. As Christians who love people, we must stand against something so dangerous. However, we must be careful not to single that sin out as worse than adultery or other heterosexual sin. But to say that sexual immorality is no worse than any other sin is not altogether true.
In addition, Paul even made a distinction for the Christian regarding sexual sin. 1 Corinthians 6:18-20 says, "Flee from sexual immorality. Every other sin a person commits is outside the body, but the sexually immoral person sins against his own body. Or do you not know that your body is a temple of the Holy Spirit within you, whom you have from God? You are not your own, for you were bought with a price. So glorify God in the body." So for the believer, sexual sin is particularly grievous because it defiles God's dwelling place (much like the idolatry and temple prostitutes did to the temple in the Old Testament).
Now, as to the question, "Does God punish sin?" Yes. For eternity. That is what hell is for. A common misunderstanding is that people go to hell for rejecting Jesus. That is not correct. People go to hell for sinning. Romans 3 makes it clear that we have all sinned, dishonored God, and are worthy of punishment. Of course, anyone who does not receive Jesus will go to hell, but that's because Jesus is the only means of escape from the punishment we all deserve. In fact, the biblical word "propitiation" (Romans 2:25; Hebrews 2:17; 1 John 2:2; 4:10) means that Jesus bore the punishment of the sins of the elect. I am in Christ, and the reason I will not be punished in hell is that the punishment for my sins has already been completed on the cross.
Of course, you are probably asking if God punishes our sins while we are still living. My answer is two-fold. For one thing, there are direct and indirect consequences to our sin. Because of the way God created the world, for example, homosexuality frequently results in AIDS. Is that a punishment? Yes, in that God has sovereignly ordained that there are negative results for disobeying Him (Yes, I know someone will say that innocent people get AIDS, but that's the thing. Sin affects lots of people--even "innocent" ones).
The other thing I will say is that God definitely disciplines His own children. Is this punishment? In a way, yes. He does things to correct our error because He loves us. Hebrews 10:3-11 gives a better explanation of this than I can, but I'll just say that God loves His children too much to leave us alone. He brings pain for a moment so that we can experience the benefits for eternity.
It seems to me that God's primary form of punishment is to allow the object of punishment to have his own way - thus losing his connection to God and placing him in a position of greater exposure to the world. (Looking to Romans 1)
It is possible even to look at hell as a place where mankind can choose to pay for our own sin if we choose not to accept God's payment for our sin.