What's So Bad About Sin?
One of the Bible's fundamental principles helps us understand why God wants us to quit sinning and turn to Him. That basic principle is this: We reap what we sow!
Paul puts it this way: "Do not be deceived, God is not mocked; for whatever a man sows, that he will also reap. For he who sows to his flesh will of the flesh reap corruption ..." (Galatians 6:7-8). Speaking of humanity as a whole, he explains: "Destruction and misery are in their ways. And the way of peace they have not known" (Romans 3:16-17; compare Isaiah 59:7-8).
Sin-disobeying God-produces suffering and pain. God hates sinful attitudes and deeds (Proverbs 8:13) because of their horrible effects. Sin leads to broken relationships, violence and misery. It cuts us off from God (Isaiah 59:1-2).
The utter selfishness that lies behind sins that are inconsiderate of others and even inhumane is vividly described in Proverbs:
"My child, if sinners try to lead you into sin, do not follow them. They will say, 'Come with us. Let's ambush and kill someone; let's attack some innocent people just for fun. Let's swallow them alive, as death does; let's swallow them whole, as the grave does. We will take all kinds of valuable things and fill our houses with stolen goods. Come join us, and we will share with you stolen goods.'
"My child, do not go along with them; do not do what they do. They are eager to do evil and are quick to kill. It is useless to spread out a net right where the birds can see it. But sinners will fall into their own traps; they will only catch themselves! All greedy people end up this way; greed kills selfish people" (Proverbs 1:10-19, New Century Version).
Sin is like a trap; lawlessness is a snare. It may look harmless until the consequences begin to appear. Then the sinner is trapped, ensnared by his own foolishness. Sin not only harms others, it destroys the sinner's character and often endangers his life.
There is no such thing as a harmless sin. In the end, sin makes everyone a loser. Read Psalm 1 for a clear lesson in the fruits of living God's way contrasted with the outcome of living sinfully.
Yet often sin is enticing because frequently it offers temporary rewards and pleasures. We, therefore, are constantly faced with choices. Most of all we need to consider the consequences of those choices.
For example, "Moses, when he became of age, refused to be called the son of Pharaoh's daughter, choosing rather to suffer affliction with the people of God than to enjoy the passing pleasures of sin, esteeming the reproach of Christ greater riches than the treasures in Egypt; for he looked to the reward [that God would give him]" (Hebrews 11:24-26).
It's often difficult to see the end result of sin. Because the devil is the god of our age (2 Corinthians 4:4) and will favor those who will choose to sin (Matthew 4:8-10), evil can appear to be a fast and sure road to pleasure and enjoyable things.
But such ill-gotten gain comes with a hidden price, as is clearly expressed in this Psalm:
"For I was envious of the arrogant; I saw the prosperity of the wicked ... They scoff and speak with malice; loftily they threaten oppression. They set their mouths against heaven, and their tongues range over the earth. Therefore the people turn and praise them, and find no fault in them ... Such are the wicked; always at ease, they increase in riches. All in vain I have kept my heart clean and washed my hands in innocence. For all day long I have been plagued, and am punished every morning ...
"But when I thought how to understand this, it seemed to me a wearisome task, until I went into the sanctuary of God; then I perceived their end.
"Truly you set them in slippery places; you make them fall to ruin. How they are destroyed in a moment, swept away utterly by terrors! They are like a dream when one awakes; on awaking you despise their phantoms.
"... Indeed, those who are far from you will perish; you put an end to those who are false to you. But for me it is good to be near God; I have made the Lord God my refuge, to tell of all your works" (Psalms 73:3-28, New Revised Standard Version).
No amount of temporary gain is worth the present and future consequences of sin!
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