There Are No Exceptional Sins

Ask yourself this: Do you consider some sins worse than others?

Then consider this: What is sin, and how might one sin qualitatively or quantitatively exceed another?

Sin is rather simply defined as a transgression of God’s law. God has given instruction, and we act contrary to His instruction. That’s sin.

What is the result, the wage, for sin? Death. Not simply the end of life here on earth, but an eternal death for our eternal soul. Eternal absence from God, and not just absence, but separation; an enforced absence that cannot be remedied.

If sin is the transgression of God’s instruction, and the wage of all sin is death, then how can there be levels, or grades, of sin? How can one sin be more “saintly” than another.

Now ask yourself again: Do I consider certain sins to be worse than others?

There are verses that speak specific cautions regarding certain groups of sins, and we in modern American evangelicalism and fundamentalism find these groups of sins nicely coincide with our own favorite lists of to-be-specially-demonized sinners: drinking, sexual immorality (especially homosexuality), and… that’s it.

The temperance movement used intemperate (imagine that) hermeneutics and loose theologies to turn one of God’s special blessings of love for His children into an inherently sinful pastime comprised entirely of addicts and not-yet-addicts.

The culture sweeping sexuality under the rug made any deviance not just another sin, but a special sin, and Paul’s abundant warnings in scripture were just as misinterpreted as other passages to support the special sin category for these sins.

What we’ve forgotten is that sexuality is an inherent part of our lives and our selves, comprising key aspects of how we relate to each other. Our mores say less about sex and much, much more about our cultural hangups.

What we’ve also forgotten is that Paul never said homosexual or any other sexual sin was any worse than any other sin.  Paul dealt with cultures that were dealing with a rise in homosexual behaviors much like we are today, and he gave clear warning that homosexuality is a sin, just like it is today. Not THE sin, not a special sin. A friend tried to argue that because homosexual behavior is especially prone to certain medical issues, that was evidence for God’s especial dislike for those who participate in that lifestyle. But stresses and excesses and many other unbalanced and unchristian behaviors have accompanying medical issues as well, and yet somehow we accept the glutton and the cad and reject others.

There is no special ring of hell reserved for the sexual deviant. The homosexual is just as much a sinner as the unfaithful heterosexual. In fact, the base status of sexual relations, the only blessed and sanctified and acceptable state of sexual relations is between the married woman and her male spouse, and the married man and his female spouse. Any deviance from any of these particulars is sin, and to reject one of the particulars is just as sinful as to reject each of the particulars.

The status of a Christian is not that they do not sin, it is not that they have not sinned. The status of a Christian is that they are relying on God’s grace to forgive them of their sin and to aid their avoiding sin, and to come alongside in their repenting sin. We are, each and every one of us, still sinners. Yet for those of us who are saved, we are characterized not by our own sin, but by God’s everlasting grace.

So ask yourself: Are there really any exceptional sins?

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