Which is the more dangerous sin, the one that creates a chemical dependency, such as drugs or alcohol, and destroys a body, or the one that creates an emotional or behavioral aberration, such as envy or complaining, and twists a person’s spirit?

We know the answer to that, do we not? All sin is dangerous. But perhaps the physical effects of many sins are not evident, so we attribute less weight to them. (Probably most or all sins have some physical manifestation.) We treat them with less seriousness. They are more respectable to us.

In a way, however, all sin is addictive. All sin traps the sinner. All sin is controlling.

The wicked will be captured by his own iniquities,
and he will be held by the cords of his own sin. Prov 5.22.

The righteousness of the upright will deliver them, but the faithless will be captured by their own desires. Prov 11.6.

The Hebrew word behind “captured” is used most of the time in the Old Testament of a city, of men, of spoils, or even of a kingdom being captured or taken, according to the Theological Wordbook of the OT. It is a powerful image for the effects of sin in one’s life. Continue reading

“How,” the man thought to himself, “how
Did I ever reach this lowest point in my life?
And now it seems I have no strength to stop.
The end is in sight, this path’s ignoble ruin.
Must I observe my final steps to death?”

He did not reach his present state at once,
But inch by imperceptible inch was moved
Away from ultimate good, by a velvet voice,
His conscience squelched, his eternal soul convinced
That one small step made no real difference.

The cold of winter seeps into my bones,
My body aches, my limbs are hard to move,
The heavy air would lull my eyes to sleep;
The chill of sin, the chains of self remove:
The first and fiery love help me to keep,
Devotion, zeal, and faith may Jesus prove,
Let not decisions be unmoving stones.

Some preachers and missionaries hate to show weakness. They apparently believe it undercuts the message of God’s power in the gospel. They give the impression that they have arrived, in the spiritual sense, that they are nearly perfect, all the while using language of humility about how we are all sinners.

Perhaps they fear for their “jobs.” (Some people in full-time ministry are lackeys; some churches like lackeys.) Perhaps they fear showing vulnerability. Whatever their reasons, they do their Lord a disservice. They provide bad examples, because they put forward a false front. Continue reading

What future is there for us, O man of sin?
What world create to last beyond desire?
What force produce to resist that certain doom?
Between us can we find eternal room?

But for a fleeting time our pleasures last,
So soon do passions die, our shameful past
A shadow, our present but a lightning flash —
For lack of air is doused our flickering flame. Continue reading

READ: ““Blessed are you who weep now, for you will laugh” Lk 6.21b.

THINK: We ought to cry for our own sin, Lk 22.62, and for the condemnation of the rebellious world, Lk 19.41. Jesus cried in the presence of death, Jn 11.35, an act of solidarity, Rm 12.15. He who refuses to cry now, will later lament, Lk 6.25; Jn 16.20. Let us change worldly laughter into crying, Jas 4.9. Because the time is short, “those with tears” should live “like those not weeping” 1 Cor 7.29ff. In heaven no one cries, Rev 21.4.
Continue reading

READ: “So then, my dear friends, flee from idolatry” 1 Cor 10.14.

THINK: Paul uses the verb flee in the sense of “to keep from doing [something] by avoiding it because of its potential damage, flee from, avoid, shun” (BGAD). Besides idolatry, the saint flees from sexual immorality, 1 Cor 6.18 (because this “is never right” 1 Cor 6.13 NBV), “all these things” (love of money, etc.), 1 Tim 6.11, “youthful passions” 2 Tim 2.22. This flight permits the pursuit of the virtues of Christ, 1 Tim 6.11. It reminds one of Joseph, Gen 39.12. Sin must be dealt with in a serious way. Continue reading

Sin multiplies

A single sin does not remain alone, but leads to another. And yet another. Like the Jewish religious leaders. Envy led to murder, which led in turn to the release of a murderous rebel.

But the chief priests stirred up the crowd to have him release Barabbas instead.
Mark 15:11 NET

Know that a sin, as small as it may seem, opens the door for still more iniquity to take control of a person. Continue reading

We use the phrase “body and soul” to refer to a complete dedication to some activity or cause. Similarly, Paul uses the terms flesh and mind to indicate the life totally consumed by the devil’s will.

We too all previously lived among them in our fleshly desires, carrying out the inclinations of our flesh and thoughts, and by nature we were children under wrath, as the others were also.
Ephesians 2:3 HCSB

“Flesh” (some translations say “body”) is the human decision to give oneself over to the desires and carnal passions. The term “thoughts” or mind, indicates perception, here in the participation in evil, or a “mental orientation” (Richards 605).

Here’s how one version translates it. “All of you used to do whatever felt good and whatever you thought you wanted” (CEB).

Em contrast to the total domination by the devil, Paul celebrates God’s intervention, beginning in verse 4.

Thanks to him and his salvation, the “walk” in sin (verse 2) becomes the “walk” in good works (verse 10).

GraceThey say that love is blind. Perhaps it would be better to say that love ignores the challenges and difficulties of a relationship with the opposite sex. A line of thought that ignores evidences will reach wrong conclusions, which will lead in turn to great disappointments.

Some think about God’s grace as others consider love, as the blanket solution:

What shall we say then? Are we to remain in sin so that grace may increase? Absolutely not! How can we who died to sin still live in it?
Romans 6:1-2 NET Continue reading