It is common for people to view all sin as equally sinful, but that is not correct. It is true that all sin is sin, and any sin is serious enough to send a person to hell; however, not all sin is equally serious or results in the same judgment.
Sin is made more serious by clear declarations of the Scripture, how much knowledge is rejected, and by how many steps the sin is removed from God’s design. The following examples illustrate how each of these make one sin more sinful than another.
First, regarding direct declarations, God declares that some parts of the law are weightier than others (Matthew 23:23), and therefore violating the weightier commands results in greater sin.
Second, regarding the truth that the more knowledge rejected results in greater judgment Luke reminds us of this correlation (Luke 12:47-48).
Third, regarding how many steps an act is removed from God’s plan resulting in increasing the sinfulness of sin can be seen in comparing adultery with homosexuality. Adultery or fornication is a violation of God’s commands because it involves a sexual relationship outside of marriage, which is God’s created context for sexual relations. In like manner homosexuality is also sin because it involves sex out side of marriage, since by definition marriage describes a relationship that can only be established between a man and a woman (Genesis 2:18-25).
However, homosexuality is a greater sin than adultery or fornication because it is not only outside of marriage, but it is also with the wrong partner—a woman with a woman or a man with a man. Scripture only sanctions heterosexual sex within marriage, and always condemns homosexuality since it is always outside of marriage and contrary to God’s divine plan for partners. Here are a few other scriptures that demonstrate that some sins are more serious and therefore deserve stricter punishment: Matthew 11:21-24; Mark 12:38; and James 3:1.