Is Homosexuality the Greatest Sin?

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Homosexual behavior should not be emphasized to the neglect of other sins. Every sin is equally evil in the sight of God in that every sin is a rebellion against God that results in eternal separation from having a right relationship with Him. The Bible refers to this as a second death in Revelation 20:12–15. In the first death the body dies; in the second death the spirit essentially dies as it is eternally separated from both a right relationship with its Creator and its purpose for existence. According to James 2:10, “Whoever keeps the whole law but fails in one point has become accountable for all of it.” In other words any sin—whether it be homosexuality, murder, theft, lying, anger, pride, hypocrisy, or a host of additional sins—is enough to outweigh every good deed. A single sin is enough to transgress the holiness of God and to condemn a person to this second death in hell.

Realizing this, homosexuality cannot be singled out as a more egregious transgression of God’s holiness than any other sin. Those sins that have unfortunately found refuge among many Christians—sins such as gossip, envy, greed, pride, hypocrisy, etc.—would justifiably condemn any one of us to hell just as quickly as the sin of homosexual intercourse.

While every sin is equally damnable in the sight of God, not every sin produces the same effects. There is a reason why murder is judged more harshly than theft in our legal system. The effects of murder are more severe and permanent than are the effects of theft. Whereas the stolen item may be replaced, the extinguished life cannot. Likewise, when Israel was governed in the Old Testament by a theocracy, some sins were judged more severely by their legal system than others. Ceremonial infractions of the Law resulted in such penalties as burning one’s crops or quarantining an individual from the public for a time; whereas, moral infractions of the Law could result in death. Even post Israel’s theocratic government, the Bible warns that certain sins still have a greater effect than others, revealing that this is not merely the judgment of society but is an immutable fact.

The sin of homosexuality has a destabilizing effect upon society, and it is also hazardous to the individual. In 1 Corinthians 6:18 the Apostle Paul warns, “Flee from sexual immorality. Every other sin a person commits is outside the body, but the sexually immoral person sins against his own body.” The prevalent nature of sexually transmitted diseases among our “sexually-liberated” culture today testifies to the validity of Paul’s warning to the Corinthians. The homosexual community is certainly experiencing the consequences of ignoring this warning. As an illustration, consider syphilis.

Syphilis is a sexually transmitted disease that, if left untreated, can cause extensive damage to the brain and internal organs and can even result in death. Based on data from a National Notifiable Disease Surveillance System report in April 2014, there were 9,000 cases of syphilis in America in 2012, and 84% of these were among men who had sex with men. To provide perspective, it is estimated that homosexuals—both male and female—comprise only about 3.5% of the American population.[1] In 2013 the reported number of syphilis cases nearly doubled, rising to 16,000 cases. According to the Center for Disease Control, the vast majority of new reported syphilis cases come from men who have sex with men.[2] This in-and-of-itself merits that direct attention be given to the sin of homosexuality—just as Jesus and the Apostles addressed specific sins that were particularly hazardous in their time to individuals or to the society.

Some sins have greater consequences than others, and this demands a different level of attention. Homosexual behavior is such a sin. Nevertheless, homosexuality is not the unpardonable sin. Morally speaking, it is no more egregious than any other sin—many of which we readily succumb to in our own lives.

Be sure to read Timothy Zebell’s book Laid Bare: Uncovering the Relationship Between Homosexuality & the Gospel.

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Timothy Zebell

As a former missionary to Asia for twelve years and the author of several books, Timothy is passionate about helping people understand the relevancy of God's Word in today's world. His goals are to help Christians discern truth from error, empower Christians to speak into cultural matters with relevancy, and to help Christians capitalize on the opportunities that these matters provide for sharing the truth about God and His gospel message.
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1. Gates, Gary. “How Many People Are Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual and Transgender?” Williams Institute, April 2011. Accessed June 12, 2014.

2. Reinberg, Steven. “Syphilis Cases Climbing among Gay Men: CDC.” WebMD, May 9, 2014. Accessed June 12, 2014.


Unless otherwise noted, all Scripture quotations are taken from The Holy Bible, English Standard Version, copyright ©2001 by Crossway Bibles, a publishing ministry of Good News Publishers. Used by permission. All rights reserved.