1 Samuel 16:7, “Man looks at the outward appearance, but the LORD looks at the heart”
Romans 6:23, “The wages of sin is death, but the gift of God is eternal life in Christ Jesus our Lord”
An inmate escaped from prison the day before he was scheduled to be released. Why would he do that? I have no clue and that’s exactly what a Rhode Island prison spokesman wondered as he answered questions for reporters. He said, “For the life of me, I don’t know what possessed him to leave with only one day of his sentence left to serve.”
Once captured, the escapee would be arraigned on charges that could land him back in prison for up to 20 years. Most of us probably would wonder about the shortsightedness of this inmate. However, we might not be as conscious of our own nearsighted approach to sin. We might not see the absolute mindlessness of trading a few moments of materialism, stubborn independence, or selfish pleasure for lasting regret.
The prophet Jeremiah saw what didn’t make any sense. In Jeremiah 5, he reminds us how much we should respect God’s power, and that short-term pleasures will bring long-term losses. My beloved, sin thrives on self-deception and doesn’t look ahead to the end result. The sin back at the dawn of creation recorded in the book of Genesis, in essence, is the same as it is today, rebellion against God. The Bible isn’t a written record of perfect people (except Jesus Christ). Thus, from the beginning, which is recorded in Genesis to the end recorded in Revelation, God’s Eternal Word points out in painful detail the mistakes made by its characters.
Adam and Eve failed to obey God’s specific restrictions (Genesis 2:15-17; 3:1-7). Abraham lied about his relationship to Sarari (Genesis 12:10-20). Moses grew angry and struck the rock in disobedience to God (Numbers 20:7-12). David committed adultery and murder (2 Samuel 11-12). Solomon started out well but turned from God for a time (1 Kings 3:5-9; 11:1-43. Peter denied knowing Jesus (Matthew 26:69-75). These are just a few examples … so brethren, it is for our instruction that the Bible records the sinful actions of many of its key figures.
So, if you are enslaved to sinful practices or destructive habits, you can also be delivered as those mentioned above by admitting your sinfulness and helplessness to God. Then accept His free offer of complete forgiveness through the precious blood of Christ, who died in your place. God can transform your heart and enable you to change, making possible what seems impossible to you, because dramatic change is possible when we open our hearts to Jesus Christ. Instead of being “a slave of sin,” we can be “set free” (John 8:34-36). The transformation that happened to bigoted Saul of Tarsus on the road to Damascus can happen any day to anyone and that person may be you (Acts 9:1-9). So, my questions would be these:
(1) How has sin damaged the lives of people you know?
(2) How has it damaged you?
(3) Have you experienced God’s forgiveness?
The miracle of the new birth is an offer of God to you. If you have never done so, acknowledge your sinfulness and accept Christ’s sacrifice on the cross for you (Acts 16:31; Romans 3:23). If you have strayed from the Lord, confess to Him your wrongdoing and receive His forgiveness now. We must not blame God when we sin. We are responsible for our own actions! Yes, it is reassuring to know that God understands our weaknesses and our temptations (Psalm 103:14); however, we must always avoid rationalizing. The Bible makes no allowance for excuses. How wonderful that “if we confess our sins, He is faithful and just to forgive us our sins” (1 John 1:9).
Sin’s pleasures have such great appeal,
They truly look like bargains rare;
But seldom do we clearly see,
The hidden cost that we must bear … D. De Haan
There are no good excuses for sin.