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A sin point in many directions towards many kinds of sins; text reads "Are there different kinds of sins?"

Are All Sins Equal?

What is a sin? Are all sins the same? Do people pay for their sins? According to the Bible, Is there a proper and improper way to be forgiven of sins?


Brother Bob Pellien: I’m Brother Bob Pellien. Thank you for joining us on this podcast episode of That’s In The Bible

Our next question comes from Sherwin Fowler from Buena Park, California. He asks via email the following, “Are all sins equal to God? Because [in] the Catholic Church, when you confess your sins, you have to pray longer to repent for your sins.”

Sherwin, your experience in the Catholic Church is not unique. Millions of members in the Catholic Church are being taught that there’s different levels of sin. There’s venial sin, there’s mortal sin, there’s original sin, different levels and different kinds of sin, each of which gets a different kind of punishment, which they call penance [wherein] the priest will issue various repetitive prayers. Say for example, ten “Hail Mary’s” and twenty “Our Father’s,” which are memorized prayers that they would be instructed to recite [as] a payment for their sins. It’s important to know, Sherwin, what a sin is. 

What is sin?

Does the Bible introduce sin in three different levels? 1 John 3:4 describes sin. In fact, it gives the definition of sin.

Whosoever committeth sin transgresseth also the law: for sin is the transgression of the law.

[1 John 3:4 King James Version]

Brother Bob: There’s no mention here of three different kinds of sins. There [isn’t] going to be a small sin, a medium sized sin, and a big sin, and each of them are going to have a different level of penance that one will have to perform with repetitive prayers. How else or what else does the Bible have to say about sin, Sherwin? In Romans 6:23 the Bible [mentions] the following: 

For the wages of sin is death,…

[Romans 6:23 New International Version]

Brother Bob: It did not say the wages of mortal sin or only the biggest most serious kind of sin. Sin is sin. Sin is a transgression of the law and it will be paid for by death. The Bible makes mention of a second death in the lake of fire. 

What is the improper way to pray for forgiveness of sins?

Are we instructed by the LORD to be reconciled by means of repetitious prayer? That we’re going to just repeat and repeat ten “Hail Mary’s,” twenty “Our Father’s,” three “Act of Contritions,” or whatever the priest will prescribe as our so-called penance and that’s going to remove that payment of sin? Jesus answers in Matthew chapter 6. It’s the words of our Lord Jesus Christ, Sherwin, that we should always embrace and follow. Here’s what He had to say about that in verse 7: 

And when you pray, do not use vain repetitions as the heathen do. For they think that they will be heard for their many words.

[Matthew 6:7 New King James Version]

Brother Bob: Jesus gave this instruction, “when you pray, do not use vain repetitions.” In fact He made mention that those who do that are the heathens and they’re doing it because they think they’re going to be heard for the [repeated] prayers that they offer. Sherwin, sin is sin. There are no levels of sin and repetitive prayer is not the way to be forgiven [of] sins. Sins are forgiven by the blood shed by Our Lord Jesus Christ on the cross for the Church. He gave his life for the Church Of Christ.

Thanks for listening. I’m Brother Bob Pellien and we hope you join us next time on That’s In The Bible. Please feel free to email your questions to For more programming of Iglesia Ni Cristo, Church Of Christ, and to find a local congregation near you, please visit