Culture is changing before our eyes. There seems to be a trend where society promotes detestable things as acceptable. The world views sin as mere mistakes.
But sin and mistake are not synonymous terms! A mistake is unintentional. It is an accident or error caused by carelessness or insufficient knowledge. Sins are different. It is the willful violation of biblical boundaries.
Many people see boundaries as restrictive. God cares for us, and His boundaries are in place for our safety and blessing. These biblical guidelines benefit us and cause us to enjoy an abundant life. They are good and not to be despised!
Choose Words Carefully
Don’t soft-sell sin by calling it a mistake! If it was truly a mistake, then so be it. But if we crossed a God-boundary, then call it what it is—sin. Jesus is very pointed in describing evil:
Mark 7:21–23 (AMPC)
21 For from within, [that is] out of the hearts of men, come base and wicked thoughts, sexual immorality, stealing, murder, adultery,
22 Coveting (a greedy desire to have more wealth), dangerous and destructive wickedness, deceit; unrestrained (indecent) conduct; an evil eye (envy), slander (evil speaking, malicious misrepresentation, abusiveness), pride (the sin of an uplifted heart against God and man), foolishness (folly, lack of sense, recklessness, thoughtlessness).
23 All these evil [purposes and desires] come from within, and they make the man unclean and render him unhallowed.
Sin and mistake are not synonymous terms!Doug Jones
Things are on that list that today’s culture says is permissible! But if God calls something evil, then we are to call it evil. To do otherwise is not acceptable nor permissible.
We see another list in Galatians 5:19–21 (NKJV): “Now the works of the flesh are evident, which are: adultery, fornication, uncleanness, lewdness, idolatry, sorcery, hatred, contentions, jealousies, outbursts of wrath, selfish ambitions, dissensions, heresies, envy, murders, drunkenness, revelries, and the like.”
This is not all-inclusive. The phrase, “and the like,” implies it is a short list of what the flesh will produce when it is in control. If God calls something a work of the flesh or evil, do not be found calling it a mistake or a birth trait!
When it comes to behavior, take responsibility. Own it! An individual who “comes clean” is on the way to a restored life. Those who hide their behavior, lie, do not divulge situations on their own, or are caught in sin have not taken responsibility yet.
People justify themselves—it’s someone else’s fault. A husband says, “My wife drove me to it.” The wife says, “My husband made me do it.” But Psalm 32:5 (NKJV) says this: “I acknowledged my sin to You, and my iniquity I have not hidden. I said, ‘I will confess my transgressions to the Lord,’ and You forgave the iniquity of my sin. Selah.”
Accepting responsibility is a mark of maturity. The sooner sin is acknowledged, the sooner restoration is possible. This is not about an emotional, “I’m sorry.” This is about producing behavior that reveals we are on a repentant road.
Cooperate With God
Repentance affects not only one’s heart and emotions but also one’s conduct and behavior. Matthew 3:8 (NIV) says, “Produce fruit in keeping with repentance.” The Weymouth New Testament in Modern Speech says it like this: “Therefore let your lives prove your change of heart.”
To repent means turning from a way of life that is contrary to God and toward a lifestyle defined by God’s way. But behavior is not where we begin! Thought always precedes action. Lasting repentance demands a change of perspective first. That means we need to go to the Word of God and change the way we think.
Those who understand the difference between mistakes versus sin will stop their sinful acts. They will replace them with conduct that ensures that sin has no chance for future expression.
Get into God’s Word and find out exactly where boundaries have been placed. Then spend time renewing your mind.
[Editor’s Note: Doug Jones is an instructor at Rhema USA.]
Visit rbtc.org to learn more about Rhema Bible Training College.
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