Why Sin Ain't It
I was reading in Exodus a few weeks ago and stumbled upon a passage that makes you never want to read the Old Testament again. It was about MURDER.
“Whoever strikes a man so that he dies shall be put to death. But if he did not lie in wait for him, but God let him fall into his hand, then I will appoint for you a place to which he may flee. But if a man willfully attacks another to kill him by cunning, you shall take him from my altar, that he may die. - Exodus 21:12-14
In short, if you murder on purpose, you’ll be put to death. If you murder by accident, you’ll be punished and in due time, you’ll be set free.
I stared at this for a while and wondered: “What does this have to do with me in 2019?!” I am currently not a murderer nor will I ever be. I hope to never accidentally murder anyone- those stories always break my heart. Drunk driving, texting and driving, accidental gun discharges...I hope that I never wind up on either side of such unimaginable tragedies. So, why does this matter to me? Sometimes we read something in the Bible and our temptation is to assume that it is so far outside of our current reality that it doesn’t apply. I encourage you in these moments to take pause and really think and ask the Lord to show you what this verse means to you NOW.
After a few moments, I heard the Lord speak to my spirit “The wages of sin is death”. Murder is very obviously a sin. So is gossip. So is lying. So is adultery. So is knowing that God has instructed you to do or not to do something and failing to do so. (James 4:17) All of those, not just murder, lead to DEATH. Death in my spiritual fruit, death in my blessings, death In my relationships. and even eternal death if repentance never comes forth.
This passage, while specifically about murder, is also really a bold metaphor for our choices. When we willingly, unashamedly, repeatedly, and even decidedly choose sin, we die. We don’t win at the sin game because we are never playing with sin, sin is always playing with US. We can think we’ve got a handle on it but a little yeast works through the whole dough. (Galatians 5:9) That means that the second we let in a little sin, it’s already working its way through us and we’ve already lost. And what about those times we accidentally fall into sin? Those have consequences too. Maybe not immediate “death” but severe punishments. I let it slip that my friend and her husband talked about divorce and she feels betrayed. I lie to my parents about where I’ve been or what I’m doing and they no longer believe me when I speak. I slip up on my sexual boundaries and wind up ...need I say more? All sin has consequences.
I hope you’re still reading because it matters. It’s not the fun-blessings-galore type of post but sin, intentional or accidental, has real spiritual and natural consequences. Is there grace for it? ALWAYS. How fortunate are we that we have been saved BY grace and that we have the power to overcome sin because we are loved by the only one who already did. But we cannot abuse grace. We can’t run into sin over and over and play the grace card in an effort to escape consequences. Because we’ve been graced with the power to choose LIFE. And as we’ve already discussed, here is no life in sin, only death. (Romans 6:23)
Whether we choose it outright or stumble into it, sin leads us to places we never wanted to go and we end up there longer than we ever planned on stay. We, along with the help of the Holy Spirit, can always repent (turn away from) the sin that tempts us and run after Christ. It is in Him that we can have life and life abundantly. It is in Him that we escape the grip of eternal death.
My prayer for you and for me is that we wouldn’t indifferent or cavalier when it comes to our sin. I pray that we take it seriously and allow the Holy Spirit to reveal to us where we are running right into death. I pray that we allow the Holy Spirit to lead us back into LIFE. We get life and life abundantly in CHRIST. That is our promise. I pray we choose that every day over the sin that tempts us.