A photograph of a Bible with a page open to Matthew 5:21-22 and James 2:10, highlighting the verses that emphasize the concept of all sins being equal in the eyes of God.

Where In The Bible Does It Say All Sins Are Equal?

The concept that all sins are equal in the eyes of God is a debated topic among Christians. If you’re looking for a quick answer, here’s the gist: There is no direct verse in the Bible that explicitly states all sins are equal.

However, there are verses that imply all sins separate us from God, and verses about God’s judgment that suggest all sins will be judged equally by God.

In this comprehensive article, we will examine relevant Bible passages to understand what the Bible says about whether all sins are equal and the implications for believers.

Old Testament Verses Implying All Sins Separate Us from God

Ezekiel 18:24 – The soul who sins shall die

Ezekiel 18:24 states plainly that “the soul who sins shall die.” This verse emphasizes that every sin has the consequence of spiritual death and separation from God. Though sins may differ in human eyes, to God who is holy, all sins cut us off from him.

Minor sins are not less deadly than major ones when it comes to damaging our relationship with our Creator. Just as any amount of poison kills the body, any sin kills the soul.

Proverbs 6:16-19 – Six things the Lord hates

Proverbs 6 lists six sins that are detestable to God – arrogance, lying, killing the innocent, plotting evil, hastening to do wrong, and stirring up trouble. This makes it clear that sins like pride and deception are just as disgusting to the Lord as murder.

While humans may view some sins as “less bad” than others, God hates sin, period. Even things that seem harmless to us offend God’s perfect holiness.

Leviticus 5:17 – Sins of ignorance

Leviticus 5:17 shows that even “sins of ignorance” – things we do unknowingly – require atonement sacrifices. This indicates that all sins, whether done intentionally or not, bear guilt before God. No sin is excluded.

As GotQuestions.org notes, this regulations points to the fact that “God’s definition of sin differs with the human definition.” Our limited understanding does not mitigate sin’s deadliness in God’s sight.

New Testament Verses on Sin Being Lawlessness

1 John 3:4 – Sin is lawlessness

The apostle John provides a clear definition of sin in his first epistle, stating “Everyone who sins breaks the law; in fact, sin is lawlessness” (1 John 3:4). This establishes that sin is essentially the breaking of God’s moral laws and commandments.

When a person disobeys or transgresses God’s commands, either through action or neglect, they are committing lawlessness and sinning.

John contrasts lawlessness with righteousness, associating it with the devil rather than God (1 John 3:7-8). This paints sin as a moral failing and rebellion against divine authority. The context also links sin to the need for atonement through Christ, suggesting the gravity of lawlessness in God’s eyes.

Overall, 1 John 3:4 provides a baseline understanding that sin constitutes willful disobedience to God’s laws.

An article on GotQuestions.org analyzes this verse further, noting that “When we break God’s laws, we are sinning or engaging in lawlessness.” This lawlessness damages our relationship with God and leads to spiritual death if left unchecked. Thankfully, Jesus enables our forgiveness and restoration.

But willful sin remains an affront to God’s standards. So 1 John 3:4 stands as an unambiguous proclamation – sin is unconstitutional and defiant resistance of God’s lawful authority.

James 2:8-11 – Break one law, break them all

While 1 John 3:4 defines sin essentially as lawlessness, James 2 adds an interesting corollary about God’s law. Specifically in James 2:10, it states “For whoever keeps the whole law but fails in one point has become guilty of all of it” (ESV).

This conveys the unity and universality of God’s moral law – if you break one aspect, you break all of it.

James illustrates this using the example of adultery and murder in verses James 2:11. Even if you only commit one of those violations, you still stand guilty as a lawbreaker in general. There is no grading on a scale. This matches the absolute holiness and perfection of God’s law and character.

It highlights the inevitability of human lawlessness due to moral shortcomings and failures.

Verse Quote Description
1 John 3:4 “sin is lawlessness” Clear definition of sin as disobedience and rebellion against God’s moral laws
James 2:10 “whoever keeps the whole law but fails in one point has become guilty of all of it” Breaking any one law equates to breaking all laws in God’s unified moral system

Verses on God’s Judgment and Punishment of Sin

Romans 2:6-11 – No partiality in God’s judgment

The Apostle Paul makes it clear in Romans 2:6-11 that God shows no partiality in His judgment of sin. God will “render to each one according to his works” (v.6). Whether someone is a Jew or Greek, each will be judged according to what he has done.

For those who do evil, there will be “wrath and fury” (v.8). But for those who do good, there will be eternal life and “glory and honor and peace” (v.10). The judgment is not based on outward appearances, background, or privilege, but on the actual deeds done during one’s life.

Revelation 20:12-13 – Judged by our deeds

Revelation 20:12-13 describes the final judgment before God’s throne, where the dead are judged “according to their works, by the things which were written in the books.” Here we again see that God’s judgment and punishment for sin is based on our actions and deeds done in the body, not on our intentions, circumstances, or excuses.

Our sinful words and deeds condemn us before the Lord, whether big or small. As Jesus said in Matthew 12:36, “every idle word men may speak, they will give account of it in the day of judgment.”

Matthew 12:36-37 – Every careless word judged

In Matthew 12:36-37, Jesus emphasizes that every careless word will be judged on the day of judgment. Even things said in passing, or with little thought, will be judged. Jesus said, “for by your words you will be justified, and by your words you will be condemned.”

The judgment is so strict that “every careless word” will be examined and taken into account. This shows that all sins and transgressions will face consequences. We often justify “little white lies” but Jesus shows even these cannot be hidden from God’s judgement.

As Hebrews 4:13 says, “there is no creature hidden from His sight, but all things are naked and open to the eyes of Him to whom we must give account.”

Verses Showing Unequal Earthly Consequences of Sins

1 Corinthians 6:18 – Sexual sins uniquely affect the body

The apostle Paul states in 1 Corinthians 6:18, “Flee from sexual immorality. All other sins a person commits are outside the body, but whoever sins sexually, sins against their own body.” This verse highlights that sexual sins have a unique impact on an individual’s own body.

There is an intimate connection between body and spirit, and sexual activity or immorality affects a person at the deepest level of their being.

Statistics also indicate the serious repercussions that sexual sins can have. According to the American Sexual Health Association, over 20 million new cases of sexually transmitted infections occur every year in the US.

The consequences of sexual immorality can plague someone physically for a lifetime.

Proverbs 6:32-33 – Adultery has unique wounds

Proverbs 6:32-33 states that “whoever commits adultery lacks judgment; whoever does so destroys their own soul. Wounds and dishonor will befall them, and their disgrace will not be wiped away.” This verse highlights that there are certain unique wounds and consequences related to the sin of adultery.

There is disgrace, dishonor, and destruction that happens at the spiritual level that does not easily go away.

Statistics show that adultery takes a devastating toll on marriages as well. Trust is shattered deeply and not easily rebuilt. Over 30% of couples split up as a result of infidelity issues (Source). The hurts can linger for years, even if the marriage survives.

Numbers 15:30 – Intentional sins punished more severely

Numbers 15:30 also distinguishes sins by stating: “But those who brazenly violate the LORD’s will, whether native-born or foreigner, have blasphemed the LORD; they must be cut off from the community.” This verse indicates that deliberate, willful, intentional rebellion against God’s commands receives punishment, being “cut off from the community.” The consequence matches the level of intentionality behind the sin.

Church discipline affirms this principle. Those unrepentant in grievous public sin eventually face removal from church membership and participation in the body of Christ, if they refuse to turn from sin. This reflects the unequal consequences principle behind intentional, deliberate sin.

Theological Perspectives on Whether All Sins Are Equal

All sins make us lawbreakers facing God’s judgment

The Bible teaches that all people are sinners who fall short of God’s perfect standard (Romans 3:23). Even one sin is enough to make us lawbreakers and face God’s judgment (James 2:10). From God’s perspective, there are no “little” sins, as even minor sins reveal a heart that is in rebellion against Him.

All sins violate His holy law and make us worthy of condemnation. According to Isaiah 64:6, even our righteous acts are like filthy rags before a perfectly holy God. So in this sense, no sin is diminutive when compared to God’s flawless character.

However, some theologians argue that while all sins warrant death and separation from God (Romans 6:23), Scripture does seem to indicate that some sins are more reprehensible than others in God’s eyes.

The books of Exodus, Leviticus, and Deuteronomy prescribe more severe earthly penalties for blasphemy, idolatry, adultery, and pre-meditated murder than for property crimes, for example. There are also passages indicating that those who know God’s will yet disobey it deserve harsher punishment than those acting in ignorance (Luke 12:47-48).

So from an eternal perspective, all sins may be equal in their effect of condemning us, but God does appear to consider some sins as more heinous than others when judging human behavior.

Not all sins have equal earthly consequences

Regardless of God’s judgment, the Bible is clear that not all sins generate equal earthly consequences. For example, Proverbs 6:27-29 notes that adultery inevitably destroys the life of the adulterer. Proverbs 6:32-33 further states that the adulterer lacks wisdom and doesn’t value his very soul.

Scripture is unambiguous – the sin of adultery wreaks profound havoc spiritually, emotionally and relationally. Its fallout destroys marriages, families, ministries, reputations and lives.

Similarly, passages like 1 Corinthians 6:18 warn that all other sexual sins usher in disastrous earthly consequences as well. Sins such as drunkenness (Proverbs 23:29-35), hatred (Proverbs 10:12), greed (Proverbs 15:27), and pride (Proverbs 16:18) also lead to significant temporal destruction.

In contrast, sins like worry (Philippians 4:6) and impatience (James 1:2-4) tend to mainly harm the person committing them. While still offending our holy God, their earthly consequences are generally more private and internalized.

So while Scripture confirms all sins ultimately alienate us from God, it portrays some sins as more blatantly harmful to others when manifested in human relationships and behavior.

Debates around sins of weakness vs willful rebellion

Some theologians distinguish between sins of willful disobedience against God’s known law (often called “high-handed” or intentional sins), versus sins of weakness, also known as unintentional sins. Sins of weakness occur when a believer earnestly strives to obey God, but due to human imperfection occasionally stumbles into sinful choices and actions.

In contrast, intentional or high-handed sins refer to deliberately choosing to disregard God’s law and standard of holiness. Some scholars point to biblical distinctions between these two types of sin.

For example, Numbers 15:27-31 indicates that God makes a distinction between unintentional versus “high-handed” sin. Hebrews 10:26 is often cited when asserting that those who deliberately continue in sin after knowing the truth face more dire eternal consequences.

However, there is scholarly debate around whether the Bible definitively categorizes all sins into these two neat categories. Some theologians contend that the human heart is so corrupt (Jeremiah 17:9) that it is very difficult for humans to discern between sins of human weakness versus those of outright rebellion.

Others argue that God is more concerned with the inward heart condition than the outward behavior when judging sin. Supporting this view, Jesus condemned the Pharisees not for outward sinful behaviors, but for clean outward appearances masking inward “greed and self-indulgence” (Matthew 23:25).

Jesus’ example shows that God searches the heart above all (1 Samuel 16:7).


In summary, while the Bible does not contain an explicit verse stating ‘all sins are equal,’ there are verses supporting the idea that all sins separate us from God and will be equally judged by Him in the end. However, there are also verses implying earthly consequences of sins may differ.

Ultimately, the Bible calls all believers to turn from all sins, whether big or small, to pursue holiness.

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