Are Some Sins Worse Than Others?

Text: John 19:11

People often want to think of degrees of sin – some being greater than others. Some sins are seen as being especially bad (murder/rape), while others are considered virtually innocent (“a little white lie”). Is it Biblical to think of sins in this way? Are some sins worse than others? Yes and no. Let us consider the question.

In One Sense, Some Sins Are Worse Than Others

  • Some sins have greater physical consequences associated with them (Proverbs 13:15) – anger/murder (Matthew 5:21-22; Genesis 9:6); fornication/adultery (Matthew 5:27-28; Proverbs 6:30-35); covetousness/theft (Romans 13:9; 1 Peter 4:15)
  • Some sins are more damaging to others (Matthew 18:6) – might cause others to be discouraged (2 Timothy 4:16), led into sin (Galatians 2:13), turned off from the gospel (2 Corinthians 6:3); wronged (Romans 13:10)
  • Repentance is more difficult for some sins (2 Peter 2:20-21) – may become addicted to something and find it hard to exercise self-control (1 Corinthians 9:25, 27; cf. Galatians 5:21); some sins are so contrary to nature we must alter the way we think to practice them (Romans 1:26-27); easier to repent from a state of ignorance than a state of brazen rebellion (Hebrews 6:4-6)

In Another Sense, All Sins Are the Same

  • All sins separate us from God (Isaiah 59:2) – this is because “God is Light, and in Him there is no darkness at all” (1 John 1:5)
  • All sins will earn us the wages of sin (Romans 6:23) – sin is a violation of God’s law (1 John 3:4); one sin makes us a transgressor (James 2:10)
  • All sins can sear our conscience (1 Timothy 4:2) – when sin becomes a habit, we no longer feel ashamed (Jeremiah 6:15); then it multiplies (Genesis 6:5)
  • All sins can be given up (1 Peter 4:1-2) – there is a way of escape available with every temptation (1 Corinthians 10:13)
  • All sins can be forgiven by God (Colossians 2:13; 1 John 1:9) – Paul was the foremost of all sinners and an example of the Lord’s willingness to forgive (1 Timothy 1:15-16)
  • All sins should be forgivable to us (Luke 17:3-4) – if we will not forgive others, we should not expect God to forgive us (Matthew 6:14-15)


  • Some sins may have greater consequences than others – but we must work to remove all sin from our lives (Romans 6:11-12)
  • We need to give up sin and obey the Lord (Romans 6:13) – if we do, we can receive eternal life (Romans 6:23)

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