Taxonomy of Sins

We all have sinned at some point in our lives. But, are all sins equal? If not, how are they classified? This is blog, we will explore what the Bible had to say about different sins and how they are classified. We will also look into deceptions that are preached in many modern churches who dilute the seriousness of some grave sins.


Forgivable vs Unforgivable

Isa 59:2 But your iniquities have separated you from your God; And your sins have hidden His face from you, So that He will not hear.

Sin separates us from God. Christ came to this world to be a perfect sacrifice and with His blood we can cleanse all our sins by repenting and asking Him forgiveness.

Matt 12:31-32 “Therefore I say to you, every sin and blasphemy will be forgiven men, but the blasphemy against the Spirit will not be forgiven men. Anyone who speaks a word against the Son of Man, it will be forgiven him; but whoever speaks against the Holy Spirit, it will not be forgiven him, either in this age or in the age to come.

It is often said that all sins can be forgiven and the unforgivable sin Jesus is speaking about is just rejecting the Holy Spirit. However, Jesus Christ is giving very clear information that anyone who speaks against the Holy Spirit will not be forgiven forever. Hence, the first classification about sins that cannot be forgiven and sins that can be forgiven.

Leading to death vs Not leading to death

Forgivable sins can be further classified into sins that lead to death and sins that do not.

1 John 5:16-17 If anyone sees his brother sinning a sin which does not lead to death, he will ask, and He will give him life for those who commit sin not leading to death. There is sin leading to death. I do not say that he should pray about that. All unrighteousness is sin, and there is sin not leading to death.

The easiest and correct way to identify the sins that lead to death is that we can ask our school master, the law. The law which is the tutor reveals what God wants His people to follow before the fullness had come, for He gave it. Any sin in the law that is punishable by death, are sins that lead to death and any sin in the law that is not punishable by death are sins that do not lead to death.
Sins leading to death Sins not leading to death
Exod 21:12,14 “He who strikes a man so that he dies shall surely be put to death. … if a man acts with premeditation against his neighbor, to kill him by treachery, you shall take him from My altar, that he may die.
Exod 21:13 “However, if he did not lie in wait, but God delivered him into his hand, then I will appoint for you a place where he may flee.
Lev 20:10 ‘The man who commits adultery with another man’s wife, he who commits adultery with his neighbor’s wife, the adulterer and the adulteress, shall surely be put to death.
Exod 22:1,4 And if one steal an ox or a sheep, and kill it or sell it, he shall pay five calves for a calf, and four sheep for a sheep. .. And if the thing stolen be left and be in his hand alive, whether ox or sheep, he shall restore them two-fold.
Lev 20:13 ‘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. Their blood shall be upon them.
Lev 4:27-28 ‘If anyone of the common people sins unintentionally by doing something against any of the commandments of the LORD in anything which ought not to be done, and is guilty, or if his sin which he has committed comes to his knowledge, then he shall bring as his offering a kid of the goats, a female without blemish, for his sin which he has committed.
Exod 22:20 He that sacrifices to any gods but to the Lord alone, shall be destroyed by death.
Vow not kept
Deut 23:21-22 “When you make a vow to the LORD your God, you shall not delay to pay it; for the LORD your God will surely require it of you, and it would be sin to you. But if you abstain from vowing, it shall not be sin to you.
The above are a few examples based on what God said in the law that gives you some basic idea of sins leading to death and sins not leading to death.

Ezek 16:62-63 “And I will establish My covenant with you. Then you shall know that I am the LORD, that you may remember and be ashamed, and never open your mouth anymore because of your shame, when I provide you an atonement for all you have done,” says the Lord GOD.’ ”

When God is speaking about His new covenant through His prophet Ezekiel, He Himself will provide an atonement for all the Israelite people had done. Isn’t there existing atonement already there in the law? Yes, but there is no atonement for any sin deserving death in the law.

Deut 21:22-23 “If a man has committed a sin deserving of death, and he is put to death, and you hang him on a tree, his body shall not remain overnight on the tree, but you shall surely bury him that day, so that you do not defile the land which the LORD your God is giving you as an inheritance; for he who is hanged is accursed of God.

Christ took not only the sin deserving death but all sins upon Himself and died by hanging on the tree as per the punishment of law. Hence, unlike the law, any sin that is deserving death can now be forgiven if we repent and wash ourselves with the blood of the Lamb and sin no more.
If a brother in Christ, a believer commits a sin leading to death, Bible says not even pray for such a person.

Greater vs Lesser

This is not a separate classification but the Bible reiterates the sins leading to death as greater sins than those not leading to death.

Gen 13:13 But the men of Sodom were exceedingly wicked and sinful against the LORD.

Gen 20:9 And Abimelech called Abraham and said to him, “What have you done to us? How have I offended you, that you have brought on me and on my kingdom a great sin? You have done deeds to me that ought not to be done.

Exod 32:31 Then Moses returned to the LORD and said, “Oh, these people have committed a great sin, and have made for themselves a god of gold! 

Generally, sins that are deserving death are described in the Bible as great sin. Few examples include, homosexuality, adultery, idolatry., etc.

John 19:11 Jesus answered, “You could have no power at all against Me unless it had been given you from above. Therefore the one who delivered Me to you has the greater sin.”

However, Jesus also explains how some sins of sinners can be greater than sins of others. He is not explaining something new but based on the law. The people of Israel are delivering an innocent man to death by false witness and this grave sin deserves death. However, in case of Pontius Pilate, God had delivered Christ into his hands and this sin does not deserve death. Hence, the sin of Pontius Pilate by executing Jesus Christ is not deserving death but the people who wanted Christ to to executed will bear greater sin.

Deception Today

The biggest deception today is, making all sins both leading to death and those not leading to death as equal.

Jude 1:4 For certain men have crept in unnoticed, who long ago were marked out for this condemnation, ungodly men, who turn the grace of our God into lewdness and deny the only Lord God and our Lord Jesus Christ.

By making all sins equal, many corrupt shepherds had starting comparing adultery, homosexuality and all sexual immorality which are grave sins to a weakness of saints like anger that does not lead to death and deceive the flock to develop tolerance towards such abominable sins to slowly bring ungodly men within the church who are long marked for condemnation. There should not be any compromise in any form or nature for holiness and righteousness. Do not be deceived.


Sins are classified into forgivable and unforgivable sins. Forgivable sins are further divided into sins leading to death and sins not leading to death. Sins leading to death are greater sins than sins not leading to death. There is a wave of deception where the seriousness of the nature of sin of sexual immorality is diluted today by making these sins leading to death equal with sins not leading to death. Therefore keep watch and do not be deceived. All sins are not equal.
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