I sincerely believe this particular euphemistic phrase and others like it were born out of an earnest desire to show that in the eyes of God, our sin is sin. It’s an empathetic gesture from one sinner (though saved by Jesus’s work) toward another sinner who doesn’t know the Lord to say, “Hey, I’m like you and I’m not leaving myself out of this equation.” It’s a way to gain common ground with another person so they might hear the gospel. And in some sense it’s true: we’re all leveled before the judgment seat of God’s holy stare and it only takes the committing of one sin. We’re all culpable and liable to judgment. No question. Part of me does wonder how much of this is the evangelical spirit desiring to eschew the rough edges of truth because they are offensive. The doctrine of hell and eternal punishment is not a popular concept in our culture, let alone that God would be sovereign in the dispensing of His mercy in light of that. But regardless, let’s just say for arguments’ sake the motive is good.
The problem is this just simply isn’t true, at least on its face, which is likely how most people hear it; they probably don’t think further about it within our tweet-size discourse in the West. Different sins have different judgments. We don’t necessarily know what they all are or how they are met out. But Jesus makes it clear to Pilate: “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.” (John 19:11). Some may object and say, yeah, well, that was the Jewish Sanhedrin and they were betraying Jesus. But the principle is still the same and applies throughout. Some punishments receive greater weight, even in the law. Some sins deserve greater judgment than others and therefore some sins are indeed worse than others.