What about Sin in the New Testament?
Slide 3 of 5
You may be thinking: “Well, that was the Old Testament; things changed with Jesus.” But, distinction between sin also fills the New Testament—including the teachings of Jesus.
Again, any and all sin brings spiritual death, but the New Testament emphasizes a priority of God’s commands, levels of severity, degrees of punishment, and intensity of God’s displeasure toward various sins.
Jesus clearly indicated that some of God’s commands are more important than others.
For instance, Jesus called the Jewish leaders hypocrites for their detailed attention to tithing while neglecting “the weightier matters of the law: justice and mercy and faithfulness” (Matthew 23:23, ESV). While God calls us to support His church and ministers, He is more concerned about our character and treatment of others.
We see this same principle in a conversation between Jesus and a Jewish scribe. When the scribe asked Jesus which commandment is the most important, Jesus gave an answer. “The most important is, ‘Hear, O Israel: The Lord our God, the Lord is one. And you shall love the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your mind and with all your strength.’ The second is this: ‘You shall love your neighbor as yourself.’ There is no other commandment greater than these” (Mark 12:28b-31).
God prioritizes how we respond to Him and how we treat others over His other commands.
Jesus also considered some sins to be more serious than others. For instance, in referring to sin in two individuals’ lives, He described one a “speck” and the other a “plank” (Matthew 7:3-5). Although Jesus didn’t explain the reason for the difference in His classification, He did give clearer insight in other passages. Let’s look at how Jesus distinguished between sins in three areas:
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