James 2:10,11 says,
“For whoever shall keep the whole law, and yet stumble in one point, he is guilty of all. For He who said, ‘Do not commit adultery,’ also said, ‘Do not murder.’ Now if you do not commit adultery, but you do murder, you have become a transgressor of the law.”
Now, some will say that verse says ALL sins are the same. That’s not what it said at all. All this scripture says is that if you commit murder then you have still broken the law just because you didn’t commit adultery. James was simply making the point that if you keep the whole law but break one point, you are still a transgressor of the law. There is nothing in this passage that states all sins are the same. Even in the Old Testament, in Ezekiel chapter 8, you will see of detestable things, and more detestable, and even more detestable than those!
Jesus himself taught that there are sins GREATER than others (John 19:11). There is a type of sin that is eternal (Mark 3:29) where other sins are not. We have sins that are against own body if we are living in sexual immorality (1 Cor. 6:18).
Also note what John says in 1 John 5:16,
“If anyone sees his brother sinning a sin which does not lead to death, he will ask, and He will give him life for those who commit sin not leading to death. There is sin leading to death. I do not say that he should pray about that.”
Now look at what he says in the very next verse,
“All unrighteousness is sin, and there is sin not leading to death.”
Here we see that there is sin that does not lead to death while there is sin that does.
What are those sins? The Bible tells us. It tells us what sins can bring about spiritual death that will keep us from inheriting the Kingdom of God.
“Do you not know that the unrighteous will not inherit the kingdom of God? Do not be deceived. Neither fornicators, nor idolaters, nor adulterers, nor homosexuals, nor sodomites, nor thieves, nor covetous, nor drunkards, nor revilers, nor extortioners will inherit the kingdom of God.” (1 Cor. 6:9-10)
“Now the works of the flesh are evident, which are: adultery, fornication, uncleanness, lewdness, idolatry, sorcery, hatred, contentions, jealousies, outbursts of wrath, selfish ambitions, dissensions, heresies, envy, murders, drunkenness, revelries, and the like; of which I tell you beforehand, just as I also told you in time past, that those who practice such things will not inherit the kingdom of God.” (Gal. 5:19-21)
“For this you know, that no fornicator, unclean person, nor covetous man, who is an idolater, has any inheritance in the kingdom of Christ and God. Let no one deceive you with empty words, for because of these things the wrath of God comes upon the sons of disobedience.” (Eph. 5:5-6)
“But the cowardly, unbelieving, abominable, murderers, sexually immoral, sorcerers, idolaters, and all liars shall have their part in the lake which burns with fire and brimstone, which is the second death.? (Rev. 21:8)
“But outside are dogs and sorcerers and sexually immoral and murderers and idolaters, and whoever loves and practices a lie.” (Rev. 22:15, etc.)
It is very clear what sins will keep one out of God’s kingdom.
Now, in the Bible we are told not to be anxious about anything (Phil. 4:6). Should we become anxious over something, will we end up in Hell? We are told to give thanks in everything (1 Thess. 5:18). If we lack thankfulness, will we spend eternity in Hell? We are supposed to be humble and gentle (Eph. 4:2). Are we always humble and gentle? Will this send us to Hell?
Nowhere does the Bible say these people will end up in the lake of fire because they are guilty at times of such sins as worry, unthankfulness, and not being completely humble and gentle; however, you have seen passages that clearly states what kind of sins will cause eternal doom in Hell.
Another topic I would like to discuss with this, as it seems to go hand-in-hand because I often hear, “We are not supposed to judge.” This is mostly by quoting Matthew 7:1, “Judge not, that you be not judged.” I realize a lot of people use this passage unkowningly and without consideration of other passages of scripture. There are some people, when caught in wrongdoing, will get outright angry and yell, “You are not supposed to judge!” It’s interesting that such a passage would be used when they don’t see their own hypocrisy in the fact that they just passed judgment!
Now, I hear at times we should not make judgment because we are all sinners, but let’s take a closer look at Matthew 7 in it’s context.
“Judge not, that you be not judged. For with what judgment you judge, you will be judged; and with the measure you use, it will be measured back to you. And why do you look at the speck in your brother’s eye, but do not consider the plank in your own eye? Or how can you say to your brother, ‘Let me remove the speck from your eye’; and look, a plank is in your own eye?” (Matt. 7:1-4)
This is talking about hypocrites who go around judging other people of doing evil while the accuser does the same. What Jesus said is to judge yourself before you judge another person. For instance, if a man is cheating on his wife, he shouldn’t be judging another when he is guilty of the same thing! If you try to warn someone that holding onto hatred (which is one of the deadly sins) is wrong, but at the same time hold hatred in your own heart, then you have no right to judge that person. This is why Jesus said to judge yourself before you try to pick the speck from your brother’s eye.
There are some people who will use Matthew 7:1 to excuse and defend all kinds of evil. (Some may do this without realizing they are doing it.) People who do make a judgment of someone who is teaching false doctrine or being sinful before God will sometimes be literally attacked or called nasty names when they are only trying to warn the person. Matthew 7:1 is wrongly used to justify evil and is one of the great deceptions of these last days.
Is judging evil? No. Jesus does tell us to judge. He said, “Do not judge according to appearance, but judge with righteous judgment” (John 7:24).
We are to judge with a righteous judgment. In other words, we should not judge by our own opinion, but instead judge by the word of God. We are commanded in the scriptures to judge prophecy, to test the spirits, to discern, and to test ALL things (example: 1 Thess. 5:21-22; 1 John 4:1-3). We make judgments all day. You judge food whether it’s good or bad, a person judges whether a job was well done, we buy a product and want it to work as advertised. We make sure we have been billed correctly. When we talk with someone, we have to make a judgment whether they are telling the truth or not. Jesus even said in Matthew 7:6, ?Do not give what is holy to the dogs; nor cast your pearls before swine, lest they trample them under their feet, and turn and tear you in pieces.” You can’t do this if you don’t make a judgment. We make judgments throughout the day otherwise we could not function in life properly if we didn’t.
There are some things we are not to judge. We should not judge another in food or drink, festival or a new moon or Sabbaths” (Col. 2:16). We should not judge on days of worship and food lest we make someone stumble.
“But why do you judge your brother? Or why do you show contempt for your brother? For we shall all stand before the judgment seat of Christ. For it is written: ‘As I live, says the Lord, every knee shall bow to Me, and every tongue shall confess to God.’ So then each of us shall give account of himself to God. Therefore let us not judge one another anymore, but rather resolve this, not to put a stumbling block or a cause to fall in our brother’s way. I know and am convinced by the Lord Jesus that there is nothing unclean of itself; but to him who considers anything to be unclean, to him it is unclean. Yet if your brother is grieved because of your food, you are no longer walking in love. Do not destroy with your food the one for whom Christ died.? (Rom 14:10-15)
The point Paul is making is not to stumble a brother or sister by your freedom from the Old Testament law.
The scriptures help us to judge things when we are uncertain. God’s Holy Spirit will convict us. What may be sin for one may not be sin for another. Romans 14 helps us with some guidelines. Some Christians will accuse one of sinning when the other doesn’t think it’s sin at all. For instance, someone may drink wine and not think it to be a sin where someone else would. One can argue till Christ comes back that wine was really grape juice, but one cannot deny that people were getting DRUNK with wine in Bible times. No where in the Bible does it say that drinking wine is a sin, but getting drunk is!
The point of Romans 14 has to do with “disputable matters.” One cannot live by the convictions of others. Many Christians base their judgments or opinions on personal likes and dislikes rather than the word of God being their guide. Let your heart and conscience before God be your only guide whenever something is in question, and if you have freedom in Christ in a certain area, don’t let that freedom become a stumbling block to the weaker brother and sister.
Remember, Romans 14 is about disputable matters, but also know that there are some areas expressly clear in scriptures that are forbidden (as seen above). These issues do not have to do with theft, adultery, murder, hatred, fornication, etc., but matters that are not clear. Romans 14 shows us we should avoid making rules and regulations on others as though they have equal standing with God’s laws.