Christians today have a basic understanding of sin; however we need to dig deeper. Not for the sake of our faith or salvation, but to truly know other aspects that aren’t usually mentioned. You have most likely seen these two verses:
Romans 3:23 For all have sinned, and come short of the glory of God;
Romans 6:23 For the wages of sin is death, but the gift of God is eternal life in Christ Jesus our Lord.
From just a glance, it would seem that all sin is equal. What these verses are actually saying is all SINNERS are equal in that everyone has sinned in some way. The consequences for any sin is eternal death unless you accept Jesus as your Savior. But what about the degree of punishment in eternal death? Is it consistent between a non-believer that let’s say was a liar sometimes and a non-believer that killed 10 people? From this perspective, I believe sins are not equal.
There are quite a few examples I can point to that Jesus said himself. He had harsher words for some groups of people compared to others. Take a look at this example:
Matthew 11: 24 And you, Capernaum, will you be lifted to the heavens? No, you will go down to Hades. For if the miracles that were performed in you had been performed in Sodom, it would have remained to this day. But I tell you that it will be more bearable for Sodom on the day of judgment than for you.”
This a very strong condemnation especially given the fact that the Lord completely decimated Sodom and Gomorrah. I am amazed at the authority in this excerpt. Capernaum will suffer more than the vile people of Sodom because God revealed His glory to them in the form of miracles, which makes it very easy to believe Jesus as the Savior, and yet they still rejected him.
I would like to cite a couple of examples from Billy Graham that will solidify my claim of how the degree of punishment for sins varies:
When Jesus spoke of his second coming and judgment, he warned that among those deserving punishment some would “be beaten with many blows” and others “with few blows” (Luke 12:47-48). He also reserved His most fierce denunciations for the pride and unbelief of the religious leaders, not the sexually immoral (Matthew 23:13-36).
In the Old Testament, God applied different penalties to different sins, suggesting variations in the seriousness of some sins. A thief paid restitution; an occult practitioner was cut off from Israel; one who committed adultery or a homosexual act or cursed his parents was put to death (see Exodus, chapter 22 and Leviticus, chapter 20).
The idea is consistent within the timeline of the Bible. This also means that our justice system is in concordance with the degrees of punishment for certain sins or crimes in terms of what warrants probation, fines, prison, or the death penalty. This is not to tell non-believers that their time in hell won’t be as bad if they behave better. Hell is still hell. The weeping and gnashing of teeth shall remain as a defining aspect of it for all who reject Jesus as their Savior.