We all make mistakes. We all sin. Are they the same? No! Should we dwell on either one of them? No! We have hope. I once heard someone say God forgives our mistakes. No! Jesus paid for our sins. He saved us from our evil (sinful) nature, from what is in our hearts. If we accept that gift, we are saved from sin, we will receive God’s grace. Unfortunately, we have to live with our mistakes, but we can also learn from them. But sin is much more serious. Sin leads to death. Without the blood that Christ shed for us, we are doomed for hell. But, when we trust in Jesus, we have an inheritance in heaven. No matter what we have done in the past, He will forgive us.
What is the difference? Here is what the dictionary says. The Merriam-Webster Dictionary says a mistake is a “wrong action or statement proceeding from faulty judgment, inadequate knowledge, or inattention.” But sin is much more serious, and we should not sugar-coat the reason that Jesus came to this world to die on the cross. We don’t need to be saved for our mistakes. We need to be saved from our sinful nature. Thefreedictionary.com says sin is a “transgression of God’s known will or any principle or law regarded as embodying this. b. the condition of estrangement from God arising from such transgression.” It is the condition of the heart. That is what Jesus saved us from.
“When once asked, ‘What is the definition of sin?’ Billy Graham gave the following answer:
A sin is any thought or action that falls short of God’s will. God is perfect, and anything we do that falls short of His perfection is sin.
The Bible actually uses a number of examples or “word pictures” to illustrate what this means. For example, it tells us that sin is like an archer who misses the target. He draws back his bow and sends the arrow on its way—but instead of hitting the bull’s-eye, it veers off course and misses the mark. The arrow may only miss it a little bit or it may miss it a great deal—but the result is the same: The arrow doesn’t land where it is supposed to.
The same is true of sin. God’s will is like the center of that target—and when we sin, we fall short of His will or miss the mark. And this is something we do every day; as the Bible says, “For all have sinned and fall short of the glory of God” (Romans 3:23). Even when we aren’t aware of it, we commit sin by the things we do (or fail to do), or by the way we think.
This is why we need Christ, for only He can forgive us all our sins, and only He can help us live the way we should. We can’t forgive ourselves, nor can we change our hearts and make ourselves better in God’s eyes. (Billy Graham’s Answer: What is Sin? Are All Sins Equal in God’s Eyes?)
Billy Graham tells us what sin is and why we need it. The Bible tells us it is anything we do that is not of faith and anything we don’t do that we should be doing:
…for whatever is not from faith is sin.
Therefore, to him who knows to do good and does not do it, to him it is sin.
1 Timothy 1:15-16
But without faith it is impossible to please Him, for he who comes to God must believe that He is, and that He is a rewarder of those who diligently seek Him.
Sin is the reason Jesus came to this earth. Sin leads to death. We are all slaves to sin, but Jesus gives us life. He loves us so much that He came to pay for all of our sins and give us grace.
Romans 6:16-18, 23
Do you not know that to whom you present yourselves slaves to obey, you are that one’s slaves whom you obey, whether of sin leading to death, or of obedience leading to righteousness? But God be thanked that though you were slaves of sin, yet you obeyed from the heart that form of doctrine to which you were delivered…
For the wages of sin is death, but the gift of God is eternal life in Christ Jesus our Lord.
Our sinful nature is why we need a Savior. All of us are guilty. But there is also good news. Jesus died for our sins. He took those sins and nailed them to the cross. He more than covered our sins (propitiation); He declared us righteous in God’s eyes (justification).
But now the righteousness of God apart from the law is revealed, being witnessed by the Law and the Prophets, even the righteousness of God, through faith in Jesus Christ, to all and on all who believe. For there is no difference; for all have sinned and fall short of the glory of God, being justified freely by His grace through the redemption that is in Christ Jesus, whom God set forth as a propitiation by His blood, through faith, to demonstrate His righteousness, because in His forbearance God had passed over the sins that were previously committed, to demonstrate at the present time His righteousness, that He might be just and the justifier of the one who has faith in Jesus.
So what should we do with this? If you have not believed and trusted in Jesus, make that decision to trust in Him and pray that Christ will come into your life, forgive your sins and give you the Holy Spirit to guide you and turn from your sins. When you believe and accept His grace, you will be saved and have eternal life. If you are a follower of Jesus Christ, know that you can have confidence in Christ and live in a way that honors Him (let your light shine). Allow the Holy Spirit to work in you life for the glory of God and to let go of those things that keep you from a close relationship with Him. He won’t take away all your problems, but He will be with you to get you through them. And you will have joy and hope.
Therefore we were buried with Him through baptism into death, that just as Christ was raised from the dead by the glory of the Father, even so we also should walk in newness of life.
For if we have been united together in the likeness of His death, certainly we also shall be in the likeness of His resurrection, knowing this, that our old man was crucified with Him, that the body of sin might be done away with, that we should no longer be slaves of sin. For he who has died has been freed from sin. Now if we died with Christ, we believe that we shall also live with Him, knowing that Christ, having been raised from the dead, dies no more. Death no longer has dominion over Him. For the death that He died, He died to sin once for all; but the life that He lives, He lives to God. Likewise you also, reckon yourselves to be dead indeed to sin, but alive to God in Christ Jesus our Lord.
Therefore do not let sin reign in your mortal body, that you should obey it in its lusts. And do not present your members as instruments of unrighteousness to sin, but present yourselves to God as being alive from the dead, and your members as instruments of righteousness to God. For sin shall not have dominion over you, for you are not under law but under grace.
What great news! We have a loving God who cares for us and is there for us and showed us His love by sending His Son to pay for our sins so that we may have eternal life with Him. He has adopted us as sons and daughters and given us an inheritance in heaven. All this awaits for us if we believe. Praise God!
But God demonstrates His own love toward us, in that while we were still sinners, Christ died for us. Much more then, having now been justified by His blood, we shall be saved from wrath through Him. For if when we were enemies we were reconciled to God through the death of His Son, much more, having been reconciled, we shall be saved by His life. And not only that, but we also rejoice in God through our Lord Jesus Christ, through whom we have now received the reconciliation.