The Danger In "All Sin Is Equal"
In what I believe to be a sincere effort, many Believers both new and old when encountering challenging questions about sin in relation to modern day legal freedoms and the Bible, often run into the statement: “All sin is equal in God’s eyes.”
Usually used in a way to share why sins like homosexuality are “no better” than fornicating, lying, cheating, stealing, committing adultery, etc., Christians often resort to responding to sometimes heated debates and uneasy discussions with the infamous line, “Well, all sin is equal in God’s eyes.” While it may not be untrue to make such a claim when faced with questions and retorts as to why certain sins are highlighted more than others, it can actually do more damage than good if not properly followed up with a caveat or redirection of some sort.
The posture behind that statement can be bent towards a comparison to another sinner which then in turn leads to sin becoming about the human scale it’s placed on and not the wages of death that it leads to. While we may walk away from conversations, comment sections and interactions feeling accomplished at dispelling a hierarchy of sin, we are actually compromising in ways that go further and deeper than surface level.
This my friends, is an issue that must be dealt with.
OBJECTS OF HIS WRATH
By nature, we all are objects of God’s wrath. Because of our sin, whether we deem it big or small, it separates us from Him because of the great offense against Him and His Holy nature. In Romans 1:18, we learn a few things about ourselves.
(1) “The wrath of God is revealed…”
It is not hidden, missing or lurking in the shadows of a dark alley. The wrath of God is visible in His righteous judgement against all of those who are not saved, and rightly so. God being Holy, is separate from sin. He does not tango with it, hi-5 it or even tolerate it. Our uncovered sin drives a great wedge between us and God. No matter if we believe it to be “equal” to another sin or not, the wages of it are the same: eternal separation from God.
(2) “…against all ungodliness and unrighteousness of men,”
This is crucial in understanding. We are ungodly and unrighteous in the sight of God apart from the atoning and redeeming work of Christ in salvation. We are the object, the “against” whom God’s wrath is revealed amongst. There is none righteous before Him. (Rom. 3:10) Scripture teaches that the ONLY way in which we can be made righteous apart from our works (Is. 64:6) is through Jesus Christ who accomplishes righteousness for us.
(3) “who by their unrighteousness suppress the truth.”
In our suppression of truth, this does not come about because the truth has not been made known to all humankind. Verse 20 tells us that God’s invisible attributes, specifically His eternal power and divine nature, have been clearly perceived. This began ever since the creation of the world. We all are without excuse.
In our filthy sin, our unrighteousness and the like, when confronted with the truth of God, it is our response and posture towards it that leads us to suppression of it. We seek to impede the truth of God with empty philosophies, man-made ideologies, science, personal beliefs and so many other things that are contrary to the visible revelation of God. In this way, we suppress the reality of God. Each and every living human being is or has once been guilty of this.
THE GOSPEL CONFRONTATION
In all of our sin being a representation and proper diagnosis of a corrupt nature that points back to Adam and Eve’s sin in the garden, there is hope, there is Good News, there is Christ.
We must be careful not to smooth over sin when discussing it with unbelievers. The danger in smoothing over sin is that we will influence others to believe that Christ’s death was only sufficient for whatever sin they're embracing today, yet not the ones that they will surely struggle with tomorrow.
Christ’s death freed us from the penalty of sin, which is death. When we look to the Man on the Cross, we see that in literally becoming sin for us as stated in 2 Corinthians 5:21, He accomplished our reconciliation back to God.
The beauty of the Gospel is that it transcends time, gender confusion, legalized sin, hidden struggles, visible struggles and even our doubts. It pierces through each and every one of the aforementioned and non-mentioned, forcing it to bow in submission to God and confession of unrepented sin. If we don’t meet questions of a hierarchy of sin with the Gospel of Jesus Christ, we are only pacifying dead sinners in a state that they cannot afford to be in any longer.
IN WHICH YOU ONCE WALKED
In the book of Ephesians, Paul pens a letter to the church at Ephesus, who were faithful to Christ. Throughout the first 3 chapters, we see a theological exposition of God’s sovereign work in salvation being explained. We also see a beautiful reminder that the way in which the Ephesians once walked, they no longer did.
I find it beautiful that Paul reminded them twice within 3 verses, that they were once living according to the deeds of their flesh, yet through God’s sovereign work, He made them alive because He is rich in mercy and loved them greatly, by His great grace! (Eph. 2:4-5).
When discussing sin with unbelievers, our aim should always be to approach them with truth, yet with the grace of the Gospel. We don’t shy away from the complete and utter despair we face because of our sin, yet we don’t neglect to both remind and highlight the sufficiency of Christ’s atoning sacrifice.
It’s kind of like going to get your car assessed for damage and labor costs after a terrible accident, yet walking away from the shop knowing that although your vehicle will have to endure a lot of maintenance and repair, your car will be restored and back in driving condition, better than before.
The Gospel is like this. The terrible news is that we are corruptible by nature. The Fall of man in the garden, is what drove a wedge between humans and God. Because of God’s righteousness and holiness, we are unable to approach Him without a mediator. Being born into sin, from birth on forward, we did as we pleased in our flesh. As Ephesians 2:2 stated, we were sons of disobedience. Being dead in our sin, we are unable to revive ourselves, will ourselves to God or even desire God without His great gift of regeneration and faith following. But, God being rich in mercy, because of His great love with which He loved us, chose to redeem us through the death of Christ, despite our works so that none of us could boast. Christ not only fulfilled the necessary requirements of reconciliation through His death, but also began at the point of His life here on earth, in which He walked uprightly, free from sin, conquering temptation and painting a beautiful example for all of those who repent of their sin, place their faith in Him and follow Him.
ALL SIN IS EQUAL…LY DESERVING OF GOD'S WRATH
Unfortunately, those who lack grace, love and genuine authenticity in seeing unrepentant sinners come to faith in Christ, have marred the weight of sin by a human glorified hierarchy that places our choice of iniquity on a balance beam. Because this has happened, it has caused many to turn deaf ears to the Gospel immediately upon hearing it. However, being rich in the grace of God, I want to challenge you to do something bold..
Instead of conjuring up a default statement to take the heat off of you, the “offense” off of God and the responsibility off of those you share God with, default to Scripture’s view of sin. Remind those who often delight in, “All sin is equal in God’s eyes” to consider the truth that, “All sin is equally deserving of God’s wrath…but because of His richness in mercy, His will to see those He has chosen unto salvation to come to repentance, He has made a way for your sin to no longer be held against you, and that is through the great sacrifice of Jesus Christ.”
This beautiful redirection opens up the door for you to plant a seed, perhaps water another and share the Good News. It takes the focus off of sin comparing amongst sinners, and redirects it to the rightful place, the foot of the Cross where blood was shed for reconciliation.
As Jerry Bridges said in “The Gospel For Real Life” – “Just as the guilt of Adam’s sin was charged to us because he was our legal representative, so the sinless life and sin-bearing death of Christ was credited to us because He was the legal representative of all who trust in Him. It is crucial that we grasp this truth because it is the sole basis upon which Christ’s entire work in His life and death becomes effective for us. It is the sole basis upon which He becomes our substitute and upon which we become entitled to those unsearchable riches in Him.”
The work of Christ is enough. Sharing that with those who we think won’t be affected by it, is enough. We cannot convert anyone. It is God alone, who makes dead sinners alive, granting them the gift of faith to place their trust in Jesus. He seals them with His Holy Spirit when hearing the Word of truth, the Gospel of their Salvation, believing in Him. As Believers, it is our responsibility to share the Gospel, not attempt to force people to believe it, or take away from the magnitude of it by endeavoring to make it relevant to those who have yet to respond.
As long as people are marred by sin, corrupted by sin and living with a sinful nature, the Gospel will always be relevant.