“Behold the Lamb of God, which taketh away the sin of the world” (John 1:29).
Many people, and even common religious liturgies misquote this verse, replacing “sin” with “sins.” Does it really matter? What is the difference?
Both the apostles Paul and Peter testify that the Lord Himself bore their sins upon the cross (Hebrews 9:28; 1 Peter 2:24). Without this blessed assurance there could be neither peace secured for the believer’s conscience nor a righteous basis for worshipping God. The Christian is exhorted to come boldly into the presence of God by the blood of Jesus, which has purged his sins (Hebrews 9,10), but note that this standing is only true of the believer.
In total contrast is the state and condition of the unbeliever. He is far off, in guilt, in darkness, in death (John 3:18). If Christ was the Lamb that takes away the “sins” of the world, all people would stand guiltless before God, but this is not the case.
Jesus Christ is “the Lamb of God, which taketh away the sin of the world” so that we can declare to you that whoever—in the whole world— will believe the gospel message has pardon from God. But all who refuse must die in their sins (John 8:24), and be terribly judged because they refused the message of grace (John 3:36).
—William Kelly, adapted