Are all sins equal? Are some sins worse than others?

No, all sins are not equal.  We can quickly see this from Jesus' own words when he said in John 19:11, "You would have no authority over me, unless it had been given you from above; for this reason he who delivered me up to you has the greater sin."

Other Scriptures that verify this are also taught by Jesus when he said the following:

  • "Woe to you, Chorazin! Woe to you, Bethsaida! For if the miracles had occurred in Tyre and Sidon which occurred in you, they would have repented long ago in sackcloth and ashes. 22 "Nevertheless I say to you, it shall be more tolerable for Tyre and Sidon in the day of judgment, than for you," (Matt. 11:21-22).
  • "the master of that slave will come on a day when he does not expect him, and at an hour he does not know, and will cut him in pieces, and assign him a place with the unbelievers. 47 “And that slave who knew his master’s will and did not get ready or act in accord with his will, shall receive many lashes, 48 but the one who did not know it, and committed deeds worthy of a flogging, will receive but few," (Luke 12:46-48).

Jesus clearly taught that there is a difference in the level of sins that we can commit.  So, we can conclude there are sins that are worse than others by nature.  We could easily say, for example, that stealing a paperclip is not as bad as murdering a group of people.

However, it also seems to be the case that knowledge affects the severity of sin as well:

  • "For if after they have escaped the defilements of the world by the knowledge of the Lord and Savior Jesus Christ, they are again entangled in them and are overcome, the last state has become worse for them than the first. 21 For it would be better for them not to have known the way of righteousness, than having known it, to turn away from the holy commandment delivered to them," (2 Pet. 2:20-21).

Peter says that awareness of sin and intent are factors that affect whether or not sin is greater or lesser.  This is supported by the Scripture that says, "Therefore, to one who knows the right thing to do, and does not do it, to him it is sin," (James 4:17).

All sin leads to damnation

Even though there are sins that are greater than other sins, all sin leads to eternal damnation.  The reason sin does this is not because of the severity of the sin, but because who the sin is committed against.  Since it is God who gives the law, when we sin we break his law.  Therefore, we are offending God and our sin is against him.  Since God is infinite, our sins take on an infinite quality.

This is why we need an infinitely valuable sacrifice, which is found in the person of Jesus who is God in flesh (John 1:1, 14).




About The Author

Matt Slick is the President and Founder of the Christian Apologetics and Research Ministry.