16 January 2005
Psalm 19:13 & John 19:11
The Westminster Shorter Catechism
Q. 83. Are all transgressions of the law equally heinous?
A. Some sins in themselves, and by reason of several aggravations, are more heinous in the sight of God than others.
The Westminster Shorter Catechism in Modern English:
Q.83. Are all sins equally evil?
A. In the eyes of God some sins in themselves are more evil than others, and some are more evil because of the harm that results from them.
1. What is meant by the word “heinous” in this question?
The word means that sins are abominable, grievous to God.
2. What sins are more heinous than others in the sight of God?
Basically, there are two types of sins more heinous than others in the sight of God. First, would be sins that are committed without any occasion offered. The less the occasion of sin, the greater is the sin itself. Second, would be sins that are committed presumptuously. We remember that under the law there was no sacrifice for presumptuous sins. (Numbers 15:30).
3. In modern day living, could you give some examples of sins that are more heinous than others?
Yes, for example, sins against the Gospel are more heinous than sins against the law (Matthew 11:20-24). Adultery is more heinous than theft (Proverbs 6:32-35).
4. Is there any difference in the sight of God in regard to the age of the person sinning?
Yes, the Bible does make a difference. If persons are older in the Lord, their sins are more highly aggravated than if committed by children or those inexperienced (Job 32:7).
5. Does time enter into the heinous nature of the sin?
Yes, time does enter in. For example, sins committed on the Sabbath Day are more heinous than the same sin committed on another day of the week, for the Sabbath Day is especially singled out by the Lord.
6. Would ignorance make a difference in regard to the heinous nature of the sin?
Yes, sins against knowledge are more heinous than sins through ignorance.
7. What is involved in sinning deliberately?
Involved in deliberate sinning is a defiant attitude toward God, a showing of a real hatred against Him and would be evidence of hardness of heart.