We live in a world that is incredibly uncomfortable with the idea of sin. No one wants to be wrong, but with the rise of “alternate facts,” we’ve seen more than ever the extent people will go to in order to be right. Some churches choose to skirt around any discussion of sin, but even those that do address sin tend to focus on the biggies: lust, hatred, murder. 

This can put us in the dangerous position of downplaying our own sin. If we aren’t “bad” people, we can backslide into thinking we are doing pretty ok with our faith. Maybe we swear when driving, or get drunk a few times with friends. Maybe we laugh along with coworkers making a cruel joke, or let jealousy of a friend’s life turn into disgust. But after all, God loves us, right? So it must all be ok.

I hope that this article will be convicting, both for you and for me, as we look into how God feels about sin, the natural outcome of those sins, and what lengths He was willing to go to in order to rescue us. 

When this question creeps into my own brain, warning bells go off. When I feel old temptations rise into my mind again, or start to think something I’ve been doing really isn’t that big of a deal, I realize that I’ve heard that question before.

The serpent in this story is, of course, the devil. And you can bet that he hasn’t moved into comfortable retirement after tempting Eve in the Garden. He will use this same wording – literally the oldest trick in the book – to make you question too. This is especially difficult for us when something isn’t explicitly in the Bible. Things like road rage, online pornography or Facebook comment feuds aren’t mentioned in Scripture because they weren’t invented then. But that doesn’t mean God hadn’t thought of them.

If you start to question whether something that’s tempting you is really sinful, take a look at what is driving that urge. There may not be a “thou shalt not” in the Bible, but if the action is grounded in lust, anger, disparaging another person who is made in the image of God, or any similar action, then the verdict is clear: Don’t do it.

This is true no matter how that action makes you feel. Our world puts such a strong focus on doing what makes you feel good or what brings you joy. If it’s “your truth” then why would a loving God tell you not to do it? Joy is essential for a healthy life, and we serve a God who wants us to know true joy and happiness in Him – right now! As Christians we aren’t called to trudge through this earthly life, joyless and pining for heaven. That’s why He has put up good and healthy barriers for us. 

The devil may tempt you with a temporary happiness from engaging in that sinful behavior. The world may even applaud you for bravely embracing your true self. But there’s no good ending for someone who willfully engages in sinful behavior. Galatians 6:9 reminds us “Whoever sows to please their flesh, from the flesh will reap destruction; whoever sows to please the Spirit, from the Spirit will reap eternal life.”

woman with hands over eyes laying on ground, why do i feel so inadequate?

Photo credit: Pexels/Rafael Barros

This life is fleeting. Even the most determined atheist will agree with that. And it’s a generally agreed upon fact that none of us makes it out of here alive. 

So what’s next?

That’s a question for another article, but if we trust the Bible then we can confidently say that all of us, believer and skeptic alike, will one day stand before the throne of God.

Those who know the Lord and have followed His commands will enter the Kingdom of Heaven and spend eternity beside the Father. There’s only one option for everyone else. 

I’ve heard more and more jokes about how hell will be where all the “fun” people go, and how they’d rather be there anyway. Let me be as clear as I can be: there is nothing good or fun about hell. The Bible speaks firmly about this. There are countless verses to back this up, but let’s look at Jesus’ story of Lazarus and the rich ruler:

The rich man in this story clearly had a fun life. He had the best clothes and partied all the time. But his life was not turned towards Christ, and he paid the price for his decisions after death. He begs for even a drip from Lazarus’ finger to quench his maddening thirst, but even that is denied him. Please understand, God takes sin very seriously.

So how do we avoid such a wretched, eternal fate?

And how do we keep ourselves in God’s love?

man walking against stormy cloudy sky, how to make the most of time in evil days

Photo credit: Unsplash/Guille Pozzi

Yep! 

(Just kidding.) But if you are asking yourself this question, you are in good company. The disciples asked Jesus this exact same question as they came to understand the weight of sin and just what they had to do to receive eternal life. Jesus’ response?

We often hear this verse relating to school exams or sporting events, but Jesus had much, much, bigger things in mind. He is talking about our salvation. 

Understanding the sheer weight of sin, and the hopelessness of our situation should do two things:

1. It should make you more aware of your own sins. Even those little ones that seem pretty okay.

2. It should make you want to fall on your face in worship of a God who would go to such lengths to rescue us from that fate.

I quoted the first half of Romans 6:23 above, but the second half is crucial for us as well:

God cares about us. He cares about you. He cares about us so much that He sent His one and only Son to earth, to die. Jesus willingly left the right hand of God and humbled Himself to be wrapped in human flesh. He suffered the same everyday trials as us: hunger, runny noses, stubbed toes. And He suffered a betrayal, an unjust trial, and an agonizing and humiliating death on the cross. He took the punishment for humanity’s sin so that we could have a path to life. He overcame death itself. 

And if that isn’t miraculous enough, know that God had been planning this event since before Genesis 1:1. Before there was light or form to the earth, there was God. And He knew exactly what He would do to rescue His people. 

Sin is serious business. Even the ones that we take lightly or brush aside. But God takes our salvation seriously as well. 

Salvation isn’t a one-and-done event. Because we are still imperfect people, we will always be tempted and will sometimes fall into wrong, sinful behaviors. But as followers of Christ, we can always, always, always come to Christ in repentance. That’s what sanctification is all about; learning and growing and becoming more like Christ every day. 

So don’t walk away from this article beating yourself up over the sins you take for granted. (I know you do it because I do it too. We are all sinful creatures.) But take heart that God has gone to great lengths to forgive that sin. And the best part is that it is all already forgiven. Now He just wants you to come to Him in repentance, and walk in faith.

More from this author
How to Interpret the Bible More Easily with an Inductive Study
Lies about Forgiveness, and How Christians Ought to Respond
How We Can See God's Majesty All Around Us, All the Time

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Bethany Pyle is the editor for Bible Study Tools.com and the design editor for Crosscards.com. She has a background in journalism and a degree in English from Christopher Newport University. When not editing for Salem, she enjoys good fiction and better coffee.