The Deadliness of Sin
What is the scariest way to die? When faced with this question, many will shudder with fear at the slow death they have pictured. Drowning, suffocation, a snake bite, burning in a house, etc. There are many ways to die that frighten the human heart to its core. However scary these are, let me up the ante one hundredfold. The death of sin and the deadliness of its sting are the most frightening to the human soul. Like venom, it fills the bloodstream of our spiritual soul, and slowly but surely, it severs the relationship our heart desperately needs with its Creator.
Surely, the first question that floods our minds is, “Well, why is sin so deadly anyway?”
The answer is multifaceted in nature. (I am not speaking of the death of sin quite yet, but rather its deadliness). What our daily battle between flesh and spirit consists of is actually a matter of affections. Every sin is deadly because its root is embedded in unbelief. It would be too simple just to say that sin is unbelief in God. Clearly, that is true; however, when one commits sin what are they not believing about God and His character?
When we choose sin over the Creator and Savior, we are saying to the Lord, “I have greater affection and desire for sin than I do You.” Our sin is unnatural in the sense that prior to the fall, humankind did not know sin. However, after Adam and Eve sinned, the desire to sin against God was now forged within mankind, therefore creating our natural, fleshly desire to choose sin (Genesis 1-4).
Secondly, when we choose sin over God, we are saying that our sin brings more delight to us than God can. One of the deadliest characteristics of sin is that we crave and love sin. When we sin, our belief in that moment is that our sin will bring us an eternal pleasure that God cannot provide. This is why the Psalmist (Psalm 14) and Paul (Romans 3) can agree that, “there is no one who does good, no not even one.” It’s not only that we don’t do good, but that we desire to not do good.
Thirdly, and (for the sake of the length of the post) lastly, when we choose sin over God, we choose love for self over love for others and God. Remember the book of Genesis, and how the fall of man found in chapter 3 portrays how Adam and Eve sinned against God. Following the fall and the curses it has plagued humanity with, Genesis 4 shows the outworking of a fallen, sinful nature. In this chapter, Cain slays Abel, displaying that when our vertical relationship with God is severed by sin, our relationship with man is also severed. When we choose to sin against God, we also choose to sin against our neighbor. Thus, Jesus gives the greatest commands of loving God and loving neighbor.
Think of it this way, when parents (God) lay a foundation of discipline for their children (us) and their child has a moment of disobedience, this displays the child’s lack of love for the parent. God has laid the groundwork of discipline for His children, and Jesus later builds on this groundwork when He states that the two greatest commands are to love God and to love people (Matthew 22:36-40).
Now that we understand the nature of sin, Paul explains the consequences that sin earns by saying, “The wages of sin is death […]” (Romans 6:23), but what is this death? This death is a spiritual one, ending in the complete separation from God in hell. Hell is the location, but the torment of death is being eternally separated from God.
But God, being just and loving toward His creation, removed Adam and Eve from the Garden, because if they ate of the tree of life, they would live in complete separation from God, in death, forever. Look throughout Scripture, those without faith in Christ, remain in the deadliness of sin, earning the death that sin has rewarded them.
Now, this is almost too much to handle. First, it is not almost too much to handle. It is too much to handle. There is so much sin in this world and in me, it seems hopeless. To understand the depths of grace that God has given us, we must first understand the depth of sin that indwells us.
Sin is the venom that courses through our veins, pulling and tugging at our heart, and begging us to depart from God. When Paul considered His own sin, he was grieved, and exclaimed, “Wretched man that I am” (Romans 7:24)
This is why we discuss sin. We need to come to this conclusion. We are wretched people in need of deliverance. Paul, understanding his wretchedness, asks, “Who will deliver me from this body of death” (Romans 7:24)? Is that it? Is there no hope for us?
We are wretched! Our sin is deadly and earns us death. Once we understand that our own wretchedness, sin’s venom has an antidote. There is a way not to be wretched in the eyes of God. There is a way to be freed from all sin, its deadliness, and death. One way. Jesus Christ, “the way, the truth, and the life” (John 14:6). “The wages of sin is death BUT the free gift of God is eternal life in Christ Jesus our Lord” (Romans 6:23). This is why our soul must exclaim, “Thanks be to God through Jesus Christ our Lord” (Romans 7:25).
The grace of God displayed through Jesus Christ’s life, death, resurrection, ascension, and second coming have rendered sin and death defeated, given us assurance of that victory, and have made us children of God. Then in Romans 8 Paul begins with, “There is therefore now no condemnation for those who are in Christ Jesus.” Sin’s power is defeated by the blood of Christ. It is not that we are freed to sin, but freed from sin. Christ’s grace is sufficient for all who come and believe in Him.
Sin leads to eternal death, but the Son leads to eternal life. Believe in the Son!
Pastor RJ Snyder