Certainly, the vast majority of people in our country do not engage in any form of criminal behavior for which they could be arrested.  However, every person engages in a number of behaviors that involve thoughts, words, and/or deeds that the Bible regards as sinful.  Nevertheless, many people, including a number of Christians, seem to shrug off their guilt for having committed such sins, apparently believing that these sins are only relatively insignificant sins.   But, does the Bible provide any support for the belief that God does not regard such sins as significant?

First, we will provide a list of a number of the types of sins that many people apparently think are relatively insignificant on the basis of current moral standards.  Then, we will consider what we believe are the most relevant statements that the Bible makes about each of these types of sins.

  • Adulterer or Fornicator
  • Angry
  • Arrogant, Conceited, Haughty, or Prideful
  • Boastful
  • Coveter or Envier
  • Deceitful or Liar
  • Dishonest or Cheater
  • Drunkard or Intemperate
  • Gossiper
  • Greedy
  • Hateful
  • Homosexual
  • Hypocritical
  • Intolerant or Judgmental
  • Lazy
  • Lustful
  • Profane
  • Selfish or Stingy
  • Ungrateful or Unthankful
  • Unkind

Scriptures that Pertain to Improper Thoughts, Words, and/or Deeds

[Note:  When we quote Scripture in this article, we use the wording in the New King James Version of the Bible.]

Adulterer or Fornicator

Deuteronomy 5:18: You shall not commit adultery.

Matthew 5:28: I [Jesus Christ] say to you that whoever looks at a woman to lust for her has already committed adultery with her in his heart.

1 Corinthians 6:9-10: Neither fornicators, nor idolaters, nor adulterers, nor homosexuals . . . will inherit the kingdom of God.

Galatians 5:19a-21:  Now the acts of the flesh are evident, which are adultery, fornication . . . and the like; of which I tell you . . . that those who practice such things will not inherit the kingdom of God.

Angry

Proverbs 14:17a: A quick-tempered man acts foolishly,

Ephesians 4:26: Be angry, and do not sin: do not let the sun go down on your wrath. . . .

Ephesians 4:31: Let all bitterness, wrath, anger, clamor, and evil speaking be put away from you, with all malice.

Colossians 3:8a:  [Y]ou must also put off all these: anger, wrath, malice. . . .

Arrogant, Conceited, Haughty, or Prideful

Proverbs 8:13b: Pride and arrogance and the evil way and the perverse mouth I [God] hate.

Proverbs 16:18: Pride goes before destruction; and a haughty spirit before a fall.

Isaiah 5:21: Woe to those who are wise in their own eyes and prudent in their own sight!

Matthew 23:12: [W]hoever exalts himself will be humbled, and he who humbles himself will be exalted.

Boastful

Proverbs 27:2: Let another man praise you, and not your own mouth; a stranger, and not your own lips.

Jeremiah 9:23: Thus says the LORD: “Let not the wise man glory in his wisdom, let not the mighty man glory in his might, nor let the rich man glory in his riches. . . .

Coveter or Envier

Exodus 20:17: You shall not covet your neighbor’s house; you shall not covet your neighbor’s wife, nor his male servant, nor his female servant, nor his ox, nor his donkey, nor anything that is your neighbor’s.

Deuteronomy 5:21: You shall not covet your neighbor’s wife; and you shall not desire your neighbor’s house, his field, his male servant, his female servant, his ox, his donkey, or anything that is your neighbor’s.

1 Corinthians 13:4a: Love suffers long and is kind; love does not envy. . . .

Hebrews 13:5a: Let your conduct be without covetousness; be content with such things as you have.

Deceitful or Liar

Proverbs 6:16-17, 19 declares that among the things that the Lord hates and that are an abomination to Him are “a lying tongue” and “a false witness who speaks lies.”

Proverbs 12:22a: Lying lips are an abomination to the LORD. . . .

Ephesians 4:24-25 tells Christians to “put on the new man which was created according to God, in righteousness and true holiness.  Therefore, putting away lying, each one speak truth with his neighbor. . . .”

Revelation 21:8b: [A]ll liars shall have their part in the lake which burns with fire and brimstone, which is the second death.

Dishonest or Cheater

Proverbs  11:1: Dishonest scales are an abomination to the LORD. . . .

Leviticus 19:13a: ‘You shall not cheat your neighbor. . . .

Drunkard or Intemperate

Galatians 5:21: Now the works of the flesh [include] drunkenness . . .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.”

Ephesians 5:18a: And do not be drunk with wine, in which is dissipation. . . .

Gossiper

1 Timothy 5:13b: [G]ossips and busybodies [say] things which they ought not.

Greedy

Ecclesiastes 5:10a: He who loves silver will not be satisfied with silver; nor he who loves abundance, with increase.

1 Timothy 6:10: For the love of money is a root of all kinds of evil, for which some have strayed from the faith in their greediness, and pierced themselves through with many sorrows.

Hateful

Matthew 5:43-44: “You have heard that it was said, ‘You shall love your neighbor and hate your enemy.’ But I [Jesus Christ] say to you, love your enemies, bless those who curse you, do good to those who hate you, and pray for those who spitefully use you and persecute you. . . .”

1 John 3:15: Whoever hates his brother is a murderer, and you know that no murderer has eternal life abiding in him.

1 John 4:20: If someone says, “I love God,” and hates his brother, he is a liar; for he who does not love his brother whom he has seen, how can he love God whom he has not seen?

Homosexual

Leviticus 18:22: You shall not lie with a male as with a woman. It is an abomination.

Leviticus 20:13a: If a man lies with a male as he lies with a woman, both of them have committed an abomination. They shall surely be put to death.

1 Corinthians 6:9-10: Neither fornicators, nor idolaters, nor adulterers, nor homosexuals . . . will inherit the kingdom of God.

Hypocritical

Matthew 7:3: [W]hy do you look at the speck in your brother’s eye, but do not consider the plank in your own eye?

Matthew 23:28: [Y]ou . . . outwardly appear righteous to men, but inside you are full of hypocrisy and lawlessness.

Intolerant or Judgmental

Mark 2:16: [W]hen the scribes and Pharisees saw Him [Jesus Christ] eating with the tax collectors and sinners, they said to His disciples, “How is it that He eats and drinks with tax collectors and sinners?”

Luke 7:37-39: [A] woman in the city who was a sinner, when she knew that Jesus sat at the table in the Pharisee’s house, brought an alabaster flask of fragrant oil, and stood at His feet behind Him weeping; and she began to wash His feet with her tears, and wiped them with the hair of her head; and she kissed His feet and anointed them with the fragrant oil.  Now when the Pharisee who had invited Him saw this, he spoke to himself, saying, “This Man, if He were a prophet, would know who and what manner of woman this is who is touching Him, for she is a sinner.”

Lazy

Proverbs 6:6: Go to the ant, you sluggard! Consider her ways and be wise. . . .

Proverbs 18:9: He who is slothful in his work is a brother to him who is a great destroyer.

2 Thessalonians 3:10:  [W]hen we were with you, we commanded you this: If anyone will not work, neither shall he eat.

Lustful

Galatians 5:16: I [the apostle Paul] say then: “Walk in the Spirit, and you shall not fulfill the lust of the flesh.”

1 John 2:16: For all that is in the world—the lust of the flesh, the lust of the eyes, and the pride of life—is not of the Father but is of the world.

Profane

Leviticus 19:12: [Y]ou shall not swear by My name falsely, nor shall you profane the name of your God: I am the LORD.

Leviticus 22:32a:  You shall not profane My holy name, but I will be [a]hallowed among the children of Israel.

Colossians 3:8: [Y]ou yourselves are to put off . . . filthy language out of your mouth.

Selfish or Stingy

Deuteronomy 15:11: “For the poor will never cease from the land; therefore I [God] command you, saying, ‘You shall [a]open your hand wide to your brother, to your poor and your needy, in your land.’”

2 Corinthians 9:6-7: But this I [Paul] say: “He who sows sparingly will also reap sparingly, and he who sows bountifully will also reap bountifully. So let each one give as he purposes in his heart, not grudgingly or of necessity; for God loves a cheerful giver.”

Philippians 2:4: Let each of you look out not only for his own interests, but also for the interests of others.

1 John 3:17: But whoever has this world’s goods, and sees his brother in need, and shuts up his heart from him, how does the love of God abide in him?

Ungrateful or Unthankful

Psalm 107:1: Oh, give thanks to the LORD, for He is good! For His mercy endures forever.

Psalm 100:3-4: Know that the LORD, He is God; it is He who has made us, and not we ourselves; we are His people and the sheep of His pasture. Enter into His gates with thanksgiving, and into His courts with praise. Be thankful to Him, and bless His name.

Ephesians 5:19-20: [Speak] to one another in psalms and hymns and spiritual songs, singing and making melody in your heart to the Lord, giving thanks always for all things to God the Father in the name of our Lord Jesus Christ,

Unkind

Ephesians 4:31-32: Let all bitterness, wrath, anger, clamor, and evil speaking be put away from you, with all malice. And be kind to one another, tenderhearted, forgiving one another, even as God in Christ forgave you.

2 Peter 1:5b-7: [A]dd to your faith, virtue;, to virtue, knowledge;  to knowledge, self-control; to self-control,  perseverance; to perseverance, godliness; to godliness, brotherly kindness; and to brotherly kindness, love.

Conclusions

We do not believe that there is compelling evidence in the Bible that God regards some sins as insignificant, although the Bible does refer to some sins, but not all sins, as an abomination (i.e., hateful and disgusting).  In any case, God will be the ultimate judge of the thoughts, words, and deeds manifested by each person while they were living on the earth.

In this regard, Ecclesiastes 12:14 declares, “For God will bring every work into judgment, including every secret thing, whether good or evil.”  And, Revelation 20:12 declares with regard to the final judgment, “And I saw the dead, small and great, standing before God, and books were opened. And another book was opened, which is the Book of Life. And the dead were judged according to their works, by the things which were written in the books.”  There is no indication in either of these scriptures – or in any other scripture in the Bible – that some sins will not be taken into consideration by God or that some sins will be regarded by Him as less significant than other sins.

Each person will be judged by God on the basis of all the sins that they committed during their lifetime on the earth,  However, true Christians will not be punished for sins that they have previously sincerely confessed to God, in accordance with 1 John 1:9, which states, “If we confess our sins, He [God] is faithful and just to forgive us our sins and to cleanse us from all unrighteousness.”   But what about the unconfessed sins of Christians?

Although the Bible indicates that, with the exception of the sin of apostasy, true Christians will not forfeit their eternal salvation as a result of committing sins they do not confess, 1 John 1:9 implies that there will be some form of punishment for any unconfessed sins.  What this punishment will be is uncertain, but we believe that it probably will involve the loss of some of the eternal rewards that Christians would otherwise receive..

In any case, if a person is a true Christian who wants to please God, it behooves that person to strive, with God’s help, to earnestly strive to overcome all of their inclinations to sin.  [To obtain additional perspective about punishment and forgiveness  for sins, click on “Uncertainties Regarding Punishment for Sins” and “Are Both Confession and Repentance Necessary?]

As for those who are not Christians, there is no biblical assurance that God will forgive them for any of their sins unless they subsequently trust in Jesus Christ as their Savior.  New Testament scriptures make it sufficiently clear that God will forgive a person for their sins only if he (or she) genuinely trusts in the sacrificial death of Jesus Christ as the atonement for their sins.   [For explanations as to how a person who sincerely desires to become  a Christian can be forgiven for their sins and be assured of receiving eternal salvation, click on our articles entitled “Will Only Christians Have Eternal Salvation?” and “What Must a Person Do to Be Assured of Eternal Salvation?]