I often hear the comment that: “all sin is the same.” By this statement, people most often mean that no sin is any more serious or worse than any other sin. The argument is typically used to justify tolerance of sinful lifestyles. For example, if a person expresses concern about another person’s homosexual lifestyle, they may hear the response that, “a sin is a sin.” Therefore, homosexually is no worse than gluttony or pride (both of which many Baptist preachers are prone toward). How then can we remove the speck from our brother’s eye when we have a log in our own eye (Matt. 7:1–5)?
The verse that is typically used for support of this argument is James 2:10: “For whoever keeps the whole law but fails in one point has become accountable for all of it.” However, James is not addressing the severity of sins, but the condition that is brought upon humanity by even a single sin. His point is not that it does not matter what sins we commit or how many sins we commit. His point is that one sin makes someone a sinner. Let me illustrate. How many lies do you have to tell to become a liar? One. How many times do you have to steal in order to become a thief? Once. How many sins do you have to commit to become a sinner? One.
Look at what the Bible says about different sins. Proverbs singles out seven particular sins. "There are six things that the Lord hates, seven that are an abomination to him" (Proverbs 6:16). John is very clear that not all sin is the same. “If anyone sees his brother committing a sin not leading to death, he shall ask, and God will give him life—to those who commit sins that do not lead to death. There is sin that leads to death; I do not say that one should pray for that. All wrongdoing is sin, but there is sin that does not lead to death (1 John 5:16-17).
Also, consider how God dealt with David. The story of David and Bathsheba is one of the most well known passages about David (2 Samuel 11-12). However, David had certainly sinned against God prior to Bathsheba, but it was David’s sexual immorality and disregard for human life that brought God’s wrath upon him (2 Samuel 12:14).
Yes, all sin will separate us from God. However, not all sin carries the same consequences. Therefore, we should never use the unbiblical idea that sin is sin in order to justify our sinful choices.