Sin and consequences: knowing the difference

Have you ever heard people say that all sin is the same?  That may be true in one sense. But according to a prominent theologian,  when it comes to sexual sins, its not applicable. In this postmodernist-influenced church age, there is a sustained effort to minimize sin and its devastating effects. As we have argued before, if sin is minimized  so will the need to repent. Repentance from sin is the FIRST message Jesus preached (Mark 1:14-15)!  Indeed, the gospel message is summed up in the word repent. Jesus did not preach love first, but repentance. That’s because there can be no true love, without the precendent of true repentance.  Love is a fruit of repentance and it cannot abide alone without the parameters of repentance. Jesus came because he loved us (John 3:16) and in loving us, he was mandated to tell us first to repent.

Yet, nowhere is the effort to eliminate the reality of sin more evident than it is within the gay christian movement. What follows may be shocking news to church pacifists who want to dumb down the consequences of sin. 

Dr. Robert A. J. Gagnon, Ph.D., associate professor of New Testament at Pittsburgh Theological Seminary says,  “It is my contention that homosexual practice is a more serious violation of Scripture’s sexual norms than even incest, adultery, plural marriage, and divorce.”

Dr. Gagnon argues that in both the Old and New Testaments, there is indeed a superlative rejection of homosexuality in scripture.

In the Old Testament there is a clear ranking of sins. For instance, when one goes to Leviticus 20, which reorders the sexual offenses in Leviticus 18 according to penalty, the most severe offenses are grouped first, including same-sex intercourse. Of course, variegated penalties for different sins can be found throughout the legal material in the Old Testament. Jesus also prioritized offenses, referring to “weightier matters of the law.” For instance, healing a sick person on the Sabbath takes precedence over resting.
Paul’s attitude toward the case of incest in 1 Corinthians 5 also makes clear that he differentiated between various sexual offenses, with some being more extreme than others. This is clear both from the horror in his tone at the case of incest but, even more, from the fact that he has to arbitrate between competing values when he condemns the incest. If there were no ranking of priorities, how could Paul reject out of hand a case of incest that was monogamous and committed? If the values of monogamy and commitment to longevity were of equal weight with a requirement of a certain degree of familial otherness, Paul could not have decided what to do. Would commitment to a monogamous, lifelong union cancel out the prohibition of incest? Obviously, this was not a difficult matter for Paul to decide. He knew that the incest prohibition was more foundational.”

Dr. Gagnon’s cites three main reasons why he believes homosexuality is viewed in scripture as a greater sin in the sexual category.

1. It is the violation that most clearly and radically offends against God’s intentional creation of humans as “male and female” (Gen 1:27) and definition of marriage as a union between a man and a woman (Gen 2:24).

2. Every text that treats the issue of homosexual practice in Scripture treats it as an offense of great abhorrence to God.

3.The male-female prerequisite is the foundational prerequisite for defining most other sexual norms.

Read the full text of Dr. Gagnon’ s research here.

Sin and consequences

Sin is one thing.  The consequences of sin are entirely different matter. A consequence is something that logically, spiritually or naturally follows from an associated action or condition. In the context of our discussion, it is a natural action which is followed by a spiritual reaction. 

In summary, not every sin has the same consequences. Some sins carry much more severe consequences than others. Some sins bring immediate consequences, while others have delayed consequences. 1 Timothy 5:24 tells us “Some men’s sins are open beforehand, going before to judgment; and some men they follow after.”  Sexual sins have their own set of indigenous consequences, and then within the subset, homosexuality has its own set of consequences, particularly medical, social, emotional, and relational.  While God promises deliverance from sin (if we repent) there is no simular promise that we will be delivered from all of the consequences of our sins.


10 thoughts on “Sin and consequences: knowing the difference

  1. I disagree. All sin, “all” sin leads to hell. So how is homosexuality worse?
    I believe homosexuality is a sin, but making it into something “special” leads to fear, ignorance, harassment, and Christians being more judgemental to reaching gay people with the Gospel. Making them out to be some “unforgiveable” section of society that Jesus cannot even reach. That’s a real tragedy in and of itself.

    If what you are saying is true, it is a “special” sin then we need to put forth more of an evangelistic effort to reach those who are caught up in this, not sit out here and pass judgement. What are you doing to help these “special” sinners to keep them out of hell besides this website?


  2. GP, its apparent you didnt read or perhaps comprehend.

    1. There is no where said or implied it is a “special sin”.

    2. No where is it said or implied that it is “unforgiveable”.

    3. As to your last question…just a small amount of research would answer your question.

    If you really cant find it, then ask again and you’ll get an answer.

  3. ha ha, I read the article, I know what it says.
    You know what I think the worse sin is? when we as Christians think our sins don’t stink as much as others. It’s called “throwing stones”. That’s why this generation is not reaching gay people for Christ.

    Articles like this cause fear and hatred.

  4. GP, you spoke of ignorance.
    Quite frankly, you are displaying a great deal of it without any help from external sources.

    On top of that, you seem to not mind lying. I specifically pointed out where you were wrong, but instead of correcting it or refuting it, you resort to hurling immature insinuations.

    Your objections cant be taken seriously or maturely.

  5. “Sin is one thing. The consequences of sin are entirely different matter.”

    Nicely said. Any sin separates us from God, but sins have different consequences.

  6. Great articles and post, thank you.

    I do find it quite interesting that when one like yourself exposes a truth..i.e different sins have different consequences folks like (god’s piligrim) say you cause fear and hatred!

    He says That’s why this generation is not reaching gay people for Christ.

    Make a mental note pilgrim, reaching others living and celebrating their rebellion to Christ requires the truth be proclaimed and remain scripturally based. This post did exactly that! That is why I believe you are offended. Those living in rebellion to God will always find it offensive. You use the words ‘fear’ and ‘hate’ as if the very Apostles that walked the face of earth with our Lord Jesus did not cause such reactions from the crowds. That is not a generational issue pligrim, that is a rebellion issue.

  7. “folks like (god’s piligrim) say you cause fear and hatred!”

    Mark, thats like pulling a rabbit out of a hat. Fear and hatred??
    How? Telling somebody that the sin they are in will have severe consequences?

    Scratching my head. Probably another gcm plant.

  8. I agree with Neil: well stated!
    I just want to commend those who worked on this article. It was thoroughly researched, and really touched on the heart of the matter. I was searching for some Scripture on the subject to share with a colleague who, like god’s pilgrim, had a more “black and white” interpretation of certain verses and Biblical concepts. I knew I could only help this colleague with the Word so I refrained from trying to explain the thought process, as GCM so subtly and successfully has. For the letter of the law kills, and the last thing I wanted to do was add to the offense by throwing back line upon line.
    Just know that you are reaching and encouraging a handful more here in San Francisco!

    May God continue to bless you,

  9. I know I’m months late on this post,but I had to say well done! I have been waiting for this. I tell people all the time that different sins have different consequences. The consequences of sexual sin are awful!!!! Do you know how difficult it is to renew your mind? Do you know how difficult it is to be free from someone or some addiction. Thank you Jesus for the Holy Spirit. Thank You for the Word that is spirit and life. Thank you.

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