If there is no difference then we would be without hope? Evil will manifest itself in mankind before Christ will come.
Genesis 6:5 Then the LORD saw that the wickedness of man was great on the earth, and that every intent of the thoughts of his heart was only evil continually. 6 The LORD was sorry that He had made man on the earth, and He was grieved in His heart. (NASB)
Man had sinned in the garden, by exercising free will to disobey God’s only command (at this point in creation). But by the time of Noah, evil was prevalent throughout the earth. There was a change that took place in God’s attitude over this period, which had not before been revealed in our history. Note there was no change in God’s character. God changes not. But, God was sorry that He had made man. Evil was the cause impacting this change in God’s attitude concerning man. This is evidence of our deprived nature. Man if left alone to his own nature and totally to his own free will has no restraint. God’s Holy Spirit is the apparent restrainer of man’s tendency to sin, but He does not restrain our choice to reject that restraint.
Today many across the Globe including within this Nation and continent have forsaken God’s guidance, and they no longer fear Him. But what we need to see is the fact that although God hates sin and loves the sinner, when man goes beyond just being a sinner with conscience to being evil devoid of conscience for this is his nature apart from God; then God turns to destroy evil which man has become (Isa. 47:10-11). His hate of sin when that sin overwhelms the man so that “every intent of the thoughts of his heart was only evil continually”; then God hates the very man himself who has become this very evil that possesses him. This eventually results in God’s final interactions with evil, which result is final destruction by means of hell and the lake of fire.
God punished sin, by requiring payment for it; Jesus came to make that payment for us. But when man himself becomes pure evil through his rejection, God has predetermined his choice, which is to individually judge him for destruction from the earth.
Genesis 8:21 The LORD smelled the soothing aroma; and the LORD said to Himself, “I will never again curse the ground on account of man, for the intent of man’s heart is evil from his youth; and I will never again destroy every living thing, as I have done. (NASB)
God smells man’s offering — his obedience and it is good.
Genesis 38:7 But Er, Judah’s firstborn, was evil in the sight of the LORD, so the LORD took his life. (NASB)
So if sin is evil and evil is the intent of man, how can there be a difference? Think of it this way sin confessed is forgiven and stamped paid in full. The man who hates his sin can only do that with God in his life. He trusts God for his righteousness.
We have seen in our day evidence of God’s dealings with evil in the destruction of Hitler’s regime in Germany; Saddam’s in Iraq; but Jesus said that the earth is headed for another day such as Noah’s when evil will be rampant throughout this earth because there is no restraint.
Genesis 39:9 “There is no one greater in this house than I, and he has withheld nothing from me except you, because you are his wife. How then could I do this great evil and sin against God?” (NASB)
In one sense all sin is evil, but man who fears God tends to avoid it for that reason, or else he will hide it because he sees it for what it is. Throughout Deuteronomy the instruction was to purge evil from the individual, from the congregation and from the land.
But what occurs in the heart and mind of God and His people when a society outwardly becomes evil with no restraint and no regard for God, because they have totally rejected the God of creation, who restrains evil?
In the past Evil was happening but under restraint. Is today different? Evil is not hard to imagine as being on the rise, but it is not yet the controlling factor in our society. But it’s takeover in the human heart is becoming more easily imagined. We are actually observing the rise of evil in governments around the globe. Governments that at one time sought to thwart evil, are now being possessed of it, and even will encourage it. To the point that any nation that once recognized and attempted to uphold God and His laws, now will oppose Him, and will ask that you do the same. The very purpose for Christianity — the spread of the gospel, is now opposed as a form of hate speech. The pot is beginning to boil in these last days, will there be someone to turn down the heat before we become an ash heap? But even if….there then is one to rise up from the ashes like the phoenix, will you be able to trust him? Will the world’s form of peace, being expressed “in him” be to your benefit as a God fearing believer? Will you see and recognize this evil when it is here manifest, for it must manifest before Messiah will come to destroy it. If you do understand it you will also recognize it’s power to destroy you bodily?
28 Do not fear those who kill the body but are unable to kill the soul; but rather fear Him who is able to destroy both soul and body in hell. Matthew 10:28 NASB
This attempted destruction of Christianity has already begun in other places around the world. It will get worse, you can even see it coming if you have eyes to see.
Mankind is about to find itself in the valley of decision. Seek Him while He may be found. God loves you, don’t reject His love. Christ died to prove that love, by paying the price for your sin.