For those in hell, the degree of sin and punishment will be determined based on the deeds of the individual, it’s sinful influence on others and amount of gospel light they have rejected in their lifetime.
The degree of suffering, sin and punishment will depend on several factors such as;
- The extent to which an individual has abandoned himself to sin.
- The extent to which they have influenced others to obligate the sin.
- The extent to which one has rejected the amount of wisdom they had once.
The Bible indicates that some will have great resistance to bear the suffering but hell will not be a perfect torment for the sinners.
They will have to suffer the severe degree of the rage of God upon them.
Are There Degrees of Sin and Punishment in Hell?
Yes, the Bible suggests that there are several degrees of sin and punishment in hell for unbelievers, just as there exist rewards of heaven for all believers. This is based on the deeds that one commits in his lifetime.
Although God has not revealed everything in the Scripture there are certain aspects of the Bible which give us a clear picture of hell, heaven and afterlife.
Quick read: Benediction Rite: May God Bless You
Although this question is tough it is extremely important to understand its true meaning and significance.
Various statements about the degrees of sin and punishment in hell suggest that there is a lot of pain and misery for every soul that goes to hell.
For every person in hell, it will be a place of “weeping, wailing, and gnashing of teeth” (Matt. 8:12), and this suffering will be forever (Rev. 14:11).
Life in hell will be difficult as the souls will have to suffer nuisance and despair.
All will suffer for their sins and punishment; however, the misery might be worse for some than for others based on their deeds on earth.
What does the Bible say about the Degrees of Sin and Punishment?
Bible has a lot to say about the concept of degrees of sin and punishment in hell. We have cited several passages that communicate the message of the scripture to all of us.
Quick read: Why Doesn’t God Heal Everyone? (Healing)
The verses cited here will explain the key principles and teachings of the Bible and then draw some specific clarification and claims from them.
- “But I tell you, it will be more bearable on the day of judgment for Tyre and Sidon than for you … But I tell you that it will be more tolerable on the day of judgment for the land of Sodom than for you” (Matt. 11:22, 24).
- “And you, Capernaum, will you be exalted to Heaven? You will be brought down to Hades. For if the mighty works are done in you had been done in Sodom, it would have remained until this day. But I tell you that it will be more tolerable on the day of judgment for the land of Sodom than for you.” (Matthew 11:23-24)
- “I tell you, on the day of judgment people will give account for every careless word they speak, for by your words you will be justified, and by your words, you will be condemned” (Matt. 12:36–37).
- “Truly, I say to you, it will be more bearable on the day of judgment for the land of Sodom and Gomorrah than for that town” (Matt. 10:15).
- “But because of your hard and impenitent heart you are storing up wrath for yourself on the day of wrath when God’s righteous judgment will be revealed” (Rom. 2:5).
- “How much worse punishment, do you think, will be deserved by the one who has trampled underfoot the Son of God, and has profaned the blood of the covenant by which he was sanctified, and has outraged the Spirit of grace?” (Heb. 10:29)
- “Woe to you, Chorazin! Woe to you, Bethsaida! For if the mighty works done in you had been done in Tyre and Sidon, they would have repented long ago, sitting in sackcloth and ashes. But it will be more bearable in the judgment for Tyre and Sidon than for you.” (ESV: Luke 10:13-14)
- “Beware of these teachers of religious law! For they like to parade around in flowing robes and love to receive respectful greetings as they walk in the marketplaces. And how they love the seats of honour in the synagogues and the head table at banquets. Yet they shamelessly cheat widows out of their property and then pretend to be pious by making long prayers in public. Because of this, they will be severely punished.” (NLT: Luke 20:46-47)
- “And that servant who knew his master’s will but did not get ready or act according to his will receive a severe beating. But the one who did not know, and did what deserved a beating, will receive a light beating. Everyone to whom much was given, of him, much will be required, and from him to whom they entrusted much, they will demand the more” (Luke 12:47–48).
- Not many of you should become teachers, my brothers, for you know that we who teach will be judged with greater strictness. (ESV: James 3:1)
Punishment for Greater Sins
Jesus called Judas Iscariot’s sin and punishment greater:
Jesus answered, “You would have no power over me if it were not given to you from above. Therefore, the one who handed me over to you is guilty of a greater sin.” (NIV: John 19:11)
Quick read: What to Expect from Junior Year of High School?
Punishment According to Deeds
The book of Revelation speaks of the unsaved being judged “according to what they had done.”
- And I saw the dead, great and small, standing before the throne, and books were opened. Another book was opened, which is the book of life. The dead were judged according to what they had done as recorded in the books. The sea gave up the dead that was in it, and death and Hades gave up the dead that was in them, and each person was judged according to what they had done. (NIV: In Revelation 20:12-13)
Quick read: What are the 4 Types of Love in the Bible?
The notion of degree of sin and punishment in Hell is further covered by the distinctions and different types of forfeits for varying levels of immoral acts in the Old Testament Law.
- But if there is serious injury, you are to take life for life, eye for an eye, tooth for tooth, hand for hand, foot for foot, burn for burn, wound for wound, bruise for bruise. (NIV: Exodus 21:23-25)
- If the guilty person deserves to be beaten, the judge shall make them lie down and have them flogged in his presence with the number of lashes the crime deserves… (NIV: Deuteronomy 25:2)
What does the Bible say about the Degree of Rewards in Heaven?
Bible has a lot to say about the concept of degrees of rewards in heaven. We have cited several passages that communicate the message of the scripture to all of us.
Quick read: Conversion of Biblical Weights
- “Blessed are you when others revile you and persecute you and utter all kinds of evil against you falsely on my account. Rejoice and be glad, for your reward is great in heaven, for so they persecuted the prophets who were before you.” (Matthew 5:11-12)
- “Blessed are you when people hate you and when they exclude you and revile you and spurn your name as evil, on account of the Son of Man! Rejoice in that day, and leap for joy, for behold, your reward is great in Heaven; for so their fathers did to the prophets.” (Luke 6:22-24)
- “Beware of practising your righteousness before other people to be seen by them, for then you will have no reward from your Father who is in Heaven. Thus, when you give to the needy, sound no trumpet before you, as the hypocrites do in the synagogues and the streets, that they may be praised by others. Truly, I say to you, they have received their reward.” (Matthew 6:1-2)
- For the Son of Man is going to come in his Father’s glory with his angels, and then he will reward each person according to what they have done. (NIV: Matthew 16:27)
- If anyone builds on this foundation using gold, silver, costly stones, wood, hay, or straw, their work will be shown for what it is, because the Day will bring it to light. It will be revealed with fire, and the fire will test the quality of each person’s work. If what has been built survives, the builder will receive a reward. If it is burned up, the builder will suffer loss but yet will be saved—even though only as one escaping through the flames. (NIV: 1 Corinthians 3:12-15)
- For we must all appear before the judgment seat of Christ, so that each one may receive what is due for what he has done in the body, whether good or evil. (ESV: 2 Corinthians 5:10)
- And if you call on him as Father who judges impartially according to each one’s deeds, conduct yourselves with fear throughout the time of your exile… (ESV: 1 Peter 1:17)
How to determine the degree of sin and punishment in hell?
3 considerations could help us understand the basis on which you can determine the degree of sin and punishment in hell.
- The extent of abandonment to sin.
- The extent to which one has influenced others to sin.
- The extent to which Light and Privilege were harmed.
1. The degree of rejection to sin
The 1st consideration is the extent to which one can reject the sin and punishment, which is entailed in Matthew 5:21 and several other passages that indicate the sin and punishment.
The degree of sin results in the amount of punishment and suffering.
Quick read: Holy Saturday Folklore
This seems clear to be the point in Romans 2:5:
“Because of your hard and impenitent heart you are storing up wrath for yourself on the day of wrath when God’s righteous judgment will be revealed.”
What can this mean but that every sin committed is like depositing in the bank and that in the day of judgment it will all be withdrawn in judgment? In the judgment, every last sin will be taken into consideration in fitting each sinner for the exact degree of punishment deserved (Rev. 18:6–7).
It is the fool who reasons, “Well if I’m going to hell, I might as well have my (sinful) fun in the meantime!”
Quick read: Can you Wear Short Skirts in Church?
Every time you sin, every attempt for lust, every sinful word and with every next committed sin, you keep on adding more to the total lifetime sins and thus will return with Gods divine rage.
2. The degree to which one has influenced others to sin
The 2nd basis for the judgment of the degree of sin and punishment is based on the extent to which one has influenced others to sin.
This is what our Lord affirms in Matthew 18:5–7:
“Whoever receives one such child in my name receives me, but whoever causes one of these little ones who believe in me to sin, it would be better for him to have a great millstone fastened around his neck and to be drowned in the depth of the sea. Woe to the world for temptations to sin! For it is necessary that temptations come, but woe to the one by whom the temptation comes!”
Quick read: Easter Hymn Christos Anesti
Here Jesus states a woe on those who become an instance for others to sin. Thus, the degree to which one influences others to sin will reflect highly to establish his degree of punishment.
Thus, this is the key reason why there is a judgment day at the end of time i.e. when someone dies.
However, this judgement day might not always be on the day of death of the sinner: it is not until the end of time that the full effect of the influence of any one life can be measured.
The all-knowing God will take every single life and assess every part of its impact, sometimes an effect that ranges for centuries. And based on the accrued impact of evil, God will mete out penalty upon the wicked.
Quick read: How Old Was Jesus When He Died?
Jesus warns of this again in Matthew 23:13: “Woe to you, scribes and Pharisees, hypocrites! For you shut the kingdom of heaven in people’s faces. For you neither enter yourselves nor allow those who would enter to go in.”
This “woe” is manifested on those who by their activities and training block the way to paradise for others. The thought is striking and intensely sobering.
The parents who influence their kids against the teachings of Jesus Christ, further add on to their guilt and therefore might receive severe punishment in the end.
The friends, family or coworkers who have higher influence over the others and still ignore the wisdom of Bible, their deeds will be bought all together on the judgement day to measure the degrees of sin and punishment.
Quick read: When Is Good Friday?
The level of neglect to sin and the notch of the sinful effect on others will serve to regulate the amount of punishment established.
3. The degree to which Light and Privilege were harmed
The 3rd judgement to measure the degree of sin and punishment is the extent Light and Privilege were harmed. Jesus speaks to this directly in Luke 12:47–48:
“And that servant who knew his master’s will but did not get ready or act according to his will receive a severe beating. But the one who did not know, and did what deserved a beating, will receive a light beating. Everyone to whom much was given, of him, much will be required, and from him to whom they entrusted much, they will demand the more.”
Quick read: Maltese Cross Meaning
Several contrasting terms like “severe beating” and “light beating” refer to the degrees of sin and punishment. All of mankind is accountable to its master.
People who do sinful things would be held accountable and thus will be punished.
However, the one that had more understanding over the others will revive greater sin and punishment.
Differing units of light caused in contrary degrees of sin and punishment. Both expected lashes, but for the one, it was “many”; for the other, it was “few.”
And lest we miss the point, our Lord interprets the fable for us: “Everyone to whom much was given, of him, much will be required, and from him to whom they entrusted much, they will demand the more.”
Quick read: God Does Not Exist (True or False)
That is to say, the degree of light and honour abused will limit, in part, the degree of sin and punishment. Jesus speaks to this consideration elsewhere:
“Truly, I say to you, it will be more bearable on the day of judgment for the land of Sodom and Gomorrah than for that town” (Matt. 10:15).
“But I tell you, it will be more bearable on the day of judgment for Tyre and Sidon than for you. But I tell you that it will be more tolerable on the day of judgment for the land of Sodom than for you” (Matt. 11:22, 24).
Video: Sin and Punishment in Hell (Word Study: Khata – “Sin”)
As wicked and as remorseful and as worthy of penalty as Sodom was, the more sin went to Chorazin and Bethsaida, for they had seen and got our Lord himself and had rejected him.
And for their misuse of such excessive light and honour, their decision will be the more severe. Again, this is intensely alarming.
The individual who raises in a culture in which the gospel is freely existing and the one who raises in a Christian home has inordinate light and pleasure.
The one who attends a gospel-preaching church has great light and privilege. The person who has a Christian friend who witnesses to him of Christ has great light and privilege.
Quick read: Hagstones in Magic
And for this light and honour, God will hold them answerable if such freedom is declined, the decision will be unutterably great.
For those who have got the gospel only lastly to waste it, that gospel spoke to them will, in the end, have aided only to surge their fault and boost the penalty they will receive.
God is aware of all the facts and thus, the sin and punishment are kept with the divine being.
He has the access to all the lives and counts all the sins committed by an individual, the influence of others to sin and the abused light of privilege, and then he will assign the degree of punishment according to our deeds.
Surely this must be assumed to capture the ethics of sinners such that they would confine their sin and punishment!
Also, this belief ought to motivate any sinner to run to Jesus and be saved!
And certainly, this belief must drive every devotee to meek yet glad praise for our Savior who took all of our sins to himself and waged its price in full, riveting the rage of God in our place to make us his.
People Also Ask (FAQs)
What are the different types of sins?
1. Gravity: mortal and venial;
2. State of the conscience: formal and material;
3. Act or state: actual and habitual;
4. The person offended: sins against God, against neighbor, against self;
5. Manner: commission, omission;
6. Manifestation: internal, external;
7.Author: original and non-original (personal, actual);
8. Attention: deliberate, half-deliberate;
9. Cause: ignorance, fragility, malice;
10. Special disorder: sins against the Holy Ghost and sins that cry to Heaven for vengeance
11. Proper or improper;
12. Psychological fertility: capital sins.
What does the Bible say about sin and punishment for crimes?