Sin is Sin?

We no longer reference sin very much in our culture and even when we do, in some church circles it has become popular to say that ‘sin is sin’ and one sin is no worse than another. I don’t know who started the expression but the intent seems to be the justification or minimizing of sin. However, does ‘sin is sin’ square with scripture?

Squaring something is an interesting term. It can be used to refer to fighting with two opponents ‘squaring off’ with one another. However, I think the better reference comes from carpentry where things need to be squared if they are to function properly. A few years ago I installed some laminate in my basement and discovered that whoever had finished that part of my basement had not squared the walls and my runs of laminate were off when I reached the wall. Squaring something up in building may not seem that important but it is like the idea of heading off on a long journey and being slightly off. It may not affect things much at the start but 1,000 km into the journey you are far from your destination even if you were only off a couple of degrees at the start. In building the larger the structure the more important it is to square things when you begin to build on the foundation.

In a similar manner with the choices we make in our lives we are building something of far more significance than an earthly structure, as Paul noted.

1  For we know that if our earthly house, this tent, is destroyed, we have a building from God, a house not made with hands, eternal in the heavens. 2 Corinthians 5:1 (NKJV)

19  Now, therefore, you are no longer strangers and foreigners, but fellow citizens with the saints and members of the household of God, 20  having been built on the foundation of the apostles and prophets, Jesus Christ Himself being the chief corner stone, 21  in whom the whole building, being joined together, grows into a holy temple in the Lord, 22  in whom you also are being built together for a dwelling place of God in the Spirit. Ephesians 2:19-22 (NKJV)

9  For we are God’s fellow workers; you are God’s field, you are God’s building. 10  According to the grace of God which was given to me, as a wise master builder I have laid the foundation, and another builds on it. But let each one take heed how he builds on it. 1 Corinthians 3:9-10 (NKJV)

There are more NT references. My point is that we in the church have both an individual and corporate responsibility regarding how we build on the foundation of Jesus in our lives. Jesus is not the carpenter, we are. The foundation is set and squared. Sins have consequences and contrary to some current thinking some sins are worse than others. While our goal should be to never sin, we need to recognize that if we do the effects of some are worse than others and they affect not only us individually but the church corporately because we are all part of the same building. Look at the reference below.

18  Flee sexual immorality. Every sin that a man does is outside the body, but he who commits sexual immorality sins against his own body. 1 Corinthians 6:18 (NKJV)

This is one verse on the matter that is very clear, not all sins have the same consequences. Every judicial system I am aware of uses the same approach and does not respond to a parking infraction in the same manner as it does to murder. We would all recognize the inherent injustice in that approach and Yahweh is the same. Exodus to Deuteronomy makes hundreds of distinctions regarding various sins.

The qualifier is that if we don’t know Jesus we end up eternally in the wrong place. If we do know Jesus our degree of reward or loss is determined by how we build on the foundation in our lives, which includes helping others. So rather than saying ‘sin is sin’ why not better serve ourselves and the rest of the body by promoting the idea that sin is wrong, plain and simple? We can then focus on building an eternal structure that we can look forward to and help to shape the rest of the building material in this corporate structure to which we belong.

2 thoughts on “Sin is Sin?”

  1. It is fascinating to see how easily ‘lazy thinking’ reduces important concepts to slogans which become progressively more decontextualized.
    The ‘Sin is Sin’ phrase is relevant only in battling ‘judegmentalism’ as over against discernment. There is no doubt that in the matter of separation form God’s holiness, indeed, ‘sin is sin’ (cf Romans 1).
    I am delighted to see the differentiating nuance of I Co. 6:18, above, as it points each believer toward holiness; battling contemporary indifference or, perhaps, applause of sexual immorality.
    In sum, then, ‘(L)et a man examine himself’ (1 Co. 11:28) and pour out mercy on others.

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