The Deceitfulness of Sin

As human beings, we often fall into sin. We fall short of God’s glory. No one is righteous, not even one (Psalm 53:3). We have all sinned (Romans 3:23). Hence, the term fall and not jump into sin, but fall into sin. Have you ever thought of sin as a mistake, a slip of the tongue, a mere miss-step, ‘everybody is doing it, so it’s not that bad’ kind of a thing? Unfortunately, yes. Many of us have made such arguments before falling into sin. 

  1. We seek to make light of sin; we diminish its glaring ugliness and damning consequences.
  2. We become more callous in our disciplines. We let go and even toy with the guardrails; instead of staying away from them, we play near them and even push them further.
  3. We desire and entertain sin.
  4. We make excuses for it; we negotiate with our fleshly desires and convince ourselves of how that sinful action or inaction can be of some good, sometimes greater good that’s even beyond us.
  5. We sin willfully.

These are the exact steps the devil led Eve through in the Garden of Eden until she disobeyed God. It is the devil’s blueprint, and it has always worked. Think about that sin you are struggling with and when you last fell. You might just find that you went through the above process. Let’s discuss this spiralling down into sin process.

Making Light of Sin

When we, as Christians, are tempted, at first glance, we know how destructive sin can be. We are even aware it is God we are sinning against, and it is his command we are breaking. We realize we are losing our integrity even as we hide in the dark. We also recognize that we might get caught, suffer a jail term or, even worse, perish. We understand the hurt we might cause to our loved ones. We already perceive the disgrace we will bring to our family and friends. But at the moment of sin, we make light of it. In our minds, we diminish its ugliness, which blurs its obvious consequences. For Esau, it was just a bowl of soup. Is there anything wrong with quenching the burning pangs of hunger? But his action was equal to sexual immorality (Hebrews 12:16). For Eve, it was the lie that she would not surely die (Genesis 3:4). What sin are you making light of this moment? Keep doing that, and you are three steps away from falling into sin.

Toying With Guardrails 

Guardrails are on the road to keep us safe. They tell us we should go as far from the edge as possible, not vice versa. Our guardrails against sin are the daily disciplines of obedient Christians. These include reading and studying God’s word, praying at all times, being part of a local church (fellowship), and sharing our faith with the world. Now, there are individual guardrails that will help you avoid sinning. For instance, Billy Graham guarded himself from sexual sin by avoiding staying with women in closed places. We must have daily disciplines that will help keep us from sinning. You are about to sin when you trifle with those disciplines and move the boundaries. Are you still uncertain about whether to have your quiet time with God? Are you joking around with the Christian disciplines? Have you placed personal guardrails in areas where you are vulnerable to sin? Are those boundaries standing where you first kept them? Is it your phone that you have to guard yourself against? Are there friends you should cut links with? Is it a place you should avoid visiting? 

David pushed the boundaries; he sent someone to find out about Bathsheba (2 Samuel 11:3); what business did David have with another woman? He was a married man. He shifted his boundaries, and after knowing who she was (Bathsheba, daughter of Eliam and wife of Uriah the Hittite), he further sent for her (2 Samuel 11:4). For Eve, it was pushing the boundary farther than she should have, she replayed and said You should not eat of the fruit of the tree that is in the midst of the garden, neither shall you touch it (Genesis 3:3). God never said you shouldnt touch it (Genesis 2:17), she added to God’s word, she toyed with God’s boundaries. God was specific with which tree they should not eat, but Eve wasn’t; she said the tree was in the middle of the garden. Are you toying around with boundaries? If you’re still asking how far is too far, know you are inching closer to sin. 

Desiring and Entertaining Sin

Eve saw that the tree was good for food and a delight to the eyes (Genesis 2:6). David saw a woman bathing. The woman was very beautiful ( 2 Samuel 11:2). King Saul saw the best fat animals and the shiniest treasures in the land of Amalek. He chose to spare them instead of destroying everything as commanded (1 Samuel 15:9). If we look at that which is wrong too long, it soon becomes too good to let go. We desire it for ourselves, to satisfy an apparent need in us. At this point, our desires become our god. Dietrich Bonhoeffer put it this way, “At this moment God . . . loses all reality. . . . Satan does not fill us with hatred of God, but with forgetfulness of God.” In the moment of lust, we forget about God. Sin blinds the eyes of our hearts to reality. Stop!!! Stop looking. Turn and fix your gaze on the Lord instead. Are you neglecting the discipline of beholding Christ in his glory (2 Corinthians 3:18)? If so, you are only one step closer to sin against him. 

Jesus warns against the sin of lust in Matthew 5:27-28. Lust is sexual immorality committed in the heart. It is looking at another, desiring them and satisfying the sinful urges in your heart/mind. Matthew Henry comments on Matthew 5:27-28 by saying, “feeding the eye with the sight of the forbidden fruit; not only looking for that end, that I may lust; but looking till I do lust, or looking to gratify the lust, where further satisfaction cannot be obtained. The eye is both the inlet and outlet of a great deal of wickedness.” Potiphar’s wife lusted over Joseph, and all she wanted was to sleep with him (Genesis 39:7). Samson lusted over a prostitute in Gaza. He slept with her (Judges 16:1). Let us make a covenant with our eyes not to look at anything with lust (Job 31:1). Let us not only cover our eyes but also avoid conversations that direct our minds to lust and other sinful thoughts. It is also imperative to say that those who dress to be looked at and lusted after are no less guilty. Jezebel would seek such by her dressing (2 Kings 9:11); remember, it is the devil who tempts. Be intentional about how you dress and present yourself to guard others from sinning.

Negotiating With The Flesh

When we are enticed and ready to sin, we will readily dismiss any warnings and put all effort into reasoning through the sinful situation. David’s servant, in a way, may have wanted to divert David’s attention from looking at Bathsheba sexually as an instrument to satisfy his sexual urges by reporting to him who Bathsheba was. Rather than a sexual object, she was Eliam’s daughter and was a married woman to Uriah the Hittite, a Gentile (2 Samuel 11:3). But David wouldn’t have any of that; he wasn’t ready to back down, for he had already made up his mind; he wanted the beautiful woman. For Eve, she thought she wouldn’t die, and at that moment, she was hungry. The tree was good for food, and in fact, the tree was desired to make her wise. Indeed, is it wrong to want to be wise (Genesis 3:6)? Even if it were you, wouldn’t you want to know good and evil and be like God? As we say today, “Wisdom ni kitu ya kumnyima mtu kweli?” Amnon was hell-bent to make sure he slept with his sister Tamar. He convinced himself of how much he loved her (2 Samuel 13:1;4); he even pretended to be sick to have her attention. Before committing incest, he was confident that he was madly in love with her; no one would tell him otherwise, even Tamar, who suggested that he should ask for her hand in marriage instead of doing such evil, but the man wouldn’t listen (2 Samuel 13:12-13).

In our effort to numb the guilt of sin, we try to make sense of the sinful situation by convincing ourselves of how good it can be. We say things like it is not that bad… It’s just once, and everyone is doing it. Can it really hurt… It’s just a small thank you; it’s not a bribe. I appreciate him letting me go. But we love each other; how can we not have sex? In fact, we are about to get married… It’s just two glasses. That won’t get me drunk; a little wine is good for the stomach… Wine is good, and it’s better than beer or those other stuff… By the way, let me tell you about her so you can also put her in your prayers…etc.

This is not to say that these things take time, that you will see each stage happening before you sin. Sometimes it might, sometimes they overlap each other, and most of the time, you don’t realize how close you are to sin. Fellow saint, let us be wary and discern the devil’s schemes; he is so good at luring us to sin against God. Remember, he entices our sinful flesh, and then we are the ones who act and sin against God (James 1:14-15). 

Lastly, let’s keep good company. As we encourage each other in righteousness, we will be keen enough to care for one another when we are being deceived by sin (Hebrews 3:13). Also, maintain the Christian disciplines of being in the word of God (2 Timothy 3:15), prayer, fellowship and evangelism you will be a workman approved for good works. Discipline yourself (1 Timothy 4:7) by the power of the Holy Spirit (Philippians 2:12-13) and by putting on the full armour of God so that you can master the schemes of the devil (Ephesians 6:11). 

References

  1. Dietrich Bonhoeffer, Temptation (London: SCM, 1961), 33.
  2. Matthew Henry, Matthew Henry’s Commentary on the Whole Bible: Complete and Unabridged in One Volume (Peabody: Hendrickson, 1994), 1633.

Categories

Share

Africa, the Prosperity Gospel, and the Problem of Unguarded Churches

There can be no denying that distortions of the…

Africa, the Prosperity Gospel, and the Problem of Unguarded Churches

Christianity’s Impact on World History 

The incredible advances that our modern world has made…

Christianity’s Impact on World History 

How to Pray

That prayer is essential to the Christian life is…

How to Pray

Skip to content