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  • Virginia Brown

Not All Sin Is the Same

Are all sins equally bad? I don’t believe so. I think that some sins are worse than others. Let’s explore Num 15:22–31 to see this principle at play.

This passage has two parts.

In the first part, vv. 22–29, Moses deals with sins that are committed without bad intent. Both vv. 22 and 27 reference the person who “sins unintentionally.” Whatever sin this person committed, they didn’t mean to do it. The punishment for this unintentional sin is not severe. Yes, sacrifice is required but forgiveness is possible (Num 15:28).

In the second part of the passage, vv. 30–31, Moses deals with “high handed” sin. This form of sin is committed with blatant defiance. This is not a mere mistake. Notice the severity of the punishment. This person “shall be cut off from among” Israel (Num 15:30). To be “cut off” is to be excluded from God’s redemptive community. Why is the punishment more severe? Because the sin is more severe.

What this passage teaches us is this: sins committed with “high handedness” are worse in God’s eyes than sins committed “unintentionally.”

For some other passages that teach different degrees of sin, see Matt 5:22, 12:31–32; John 19:11; Heb 10:26; and 1 John 5:16. If you have any questions about this, I would love to visit with you. May God bless you richly.

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