It’s not uncommon to hear well meaning Christians say, “all sin is equal,” but I have to admit that my skeptical disposition reacts by asking, “So is child abduction the same as stealing a cookie?” “Isn’t making all sin equal a way of excusing sin, making it no more serious than sticking a piece of gum under the table?” “Why would I need to be saved from that?”
I know a lot about sin from personal experience, but contrary to the old adage, experience isn’t always the best teacher. Our hearts are “desperately wicked” and we often try to excuse our sin as soon as we commit it (Jeremiah 17:9). Of course to get an answer to these questions, and a better understanding of our fallenness and the heinousness of sin, we need to look to the Bible.
We’ll see that, at the root, all sin is essentially the same – rebellion against a holy God – but it produces a variety of different fruits, that can grow to various sizes.
The root of sin
Ezekiel gives insight into the fall of Satan, using the metaphor of “the king of Tyre” (Ezekiel 28:11). In verse 17 he tells us the root cause of the Devil’s sin, “Your heart was lifted up because of your beauty; You corrupted your wisdom for the sake of your splendor.”
The old serpent (Revelation 12:9) then went to corrupt the human race by deceiving Eve with his lie, “Has God indeed said, ‘You shall not eat of every tree of the garden’?” and “You will not surely die. For God knows that in the day you eat of it your eyes will be opened, and you will be like God, knowing good and evil” (Genesis 3:1, 4, 5).
Eve was then duped by the Devil’s lies, and along with Adam, leaving the commandment of God to figure out what was best for them, the whole human race fell into sin by simply eating a piece of fruit. Eating a piece of fruit didn’t seem like that big of a deal, it was something they did everyday (Genesis 2:16), the sin was in disobeying God by eating of the one tree He had told them not to eat of (Genesis 2:17).
Why did God put the tree in the garden?
Some might say, “Why did God put that tree in the garden if He knew it was going to result in the ruin of the human race?” The reason is that if God hadn’t, then humanity would not be free. In order to be free, there must be a choice, and God wanted them to have a choice so that they could freely choose to love Him.
People chose to go their own way and unleashed the power of sin, a noxious river of poison that infected the entire human race, resulting in death (Romans 5:12-21).
All are sinners
In Romans 5, the Bible calls people “sinners.” It’s not that people are personally held responsible for Adam’s sin, as some have suggested, but that they have inherited a desire to sin as a result of being in Adam’s line, or “in Adam” (1 Corinthians 15:22).
The infection spread to the entire earth resulting in “the bondage of corruption” (Romans 8:21). So the root of sin is the pride of the Devil, and the pride of humanity in listening to his lies. All sin has the same source.
Tomorrow we will look at the Fruit of sin and the consequences it often brings.