If you're a longtime Christian, bear with me here as I learn and navigate and maybe too boisterously share my discoveries. In fact, you can skip down to the last paragraph, if you'd like. If you're new, like me, let's chat for a sec.
Okay, can I first ask... doesn't this feel like we just joined the coolest, most exclusive club ever?! Like, can we just have maybe a little secret handshake, or something when we recognize each other? How about this: wink, fist bump, Hallelujah hands? Too much? Fine, we'll work on it.
Anyhow. Here's one of the phrases playing on repeat in my head lately: Let me tell you about my Jesus. (Did you sing it? IYKYK) I just want to stop people on the street or mid-conversation and say, "Hey! Do know about God's love? I do!" Don't worry, I'm not accosting strangers on the street. However, I am always open to the conversation & I've been led there many times as of late with people in my circle.
Like everyone on a faith journey, there are questions, and lots of them. One of my questions has been, "Why do we, as Christians, deem some sins greater than others? My fledgling understanding told me that all sins are equal in God's eyes, so why do we make a bigger deal about - for example - homosexuality versus stealing a pack of gum from the grocery store, if all sin is equal?
So, I did what's obvious. I asked Google. (insert eye roll). The first answer - from Wikipedia, of all places - confirmed my belief:
The Bible teaches that all sin is equal in the eyes of God. In James 2:10, it says, “For whoever keeps the whole law but fails in one point has become accountable for all of it.” This verse makes it clear that God does not view some sins as being worse than others. Rather, he views all sin as being equally offensive to Him.
And so, I patted myself on the back and said, "Ha! Look at me, knowing stuff and things." Then a little voice (or maybe a big Voice) said. "Look further." So, I did. Here's what I found.
All sin is the same in the sense that any one sin will separate you from God (James 2:10). Maybe a better way to put it is that any sin has the same consequence of separating us from God. The wages of sin, any sin, is death (Rom. 6:23). It only takes one. That is bad news for every person that has ever drawn breath. The good news is that Jesus died for the sins of the world (1 John 2:2). Stand To Reason
This seemed to further prove me right. So, I said, "Okay. So there isn't, like, a hierarchy of sins, right? The voice (or Voice) said: Wrong. Keep reading.
First, Jesus testifies that there are greater sins (and, by extension, lesser sins). Standing before Pontius Pilate, Jesus says, “You would have no authority over me at all unless it had been given you from above. Therefore he who delivered me over to you has the greater sin” (John 19:11). Not only does God regard some sins as greater and some lesser, but Jesus tells us that there is a greatest sin. Jesus states, “whoever speaks against the Holy Spirit will not be forgiven, either in this age or in the age to come” (Matt. 12:32b). - Stand To Reason
Well, that clarifies some things. But, I still don't exactly have my answer on the specific topic of homosexuality versus swiping a pack of gum. So, now, I ask my longtime & lifetime Christians and/or theologists to come back in the room to weigh in on this, please. I ask, because this a huge topic, and one we regularly get either rightly or falsely questioned on, & I'd simply like to have the right answer.
Here's my understanding, based on the above. Most sins are the same as with regards to consequence. Some as-yet-unknown-to-me sins, are greater. The greatest is to speak against the Holy Spirit (further study adds that if it's done knowing the truth of the existence of the Holy Spirit, and then speaking against.) So....
If the sin of homosexuality is equal to that of stealing, why do we (as Christians) seem so much more vocally adamant against the former?
If it is a greater sin, then where can I find scripture that shares the heirachy of sins?
The above isn't intended as sarcasm or argument, but rather a desire to be impeccable in my word and clear in my understanding, so I appreciate the guidance as I grow in my faith!