None of us can even begin to fathom the depth and breadth of our sin and its consequences. Not many of us even try. You’d think that the reality of hell that is designed to punish forever and ever without end would enlighten us to what God thinks of it.
It’s the very handiwork of the “Evil One. It required the suffering and death of a perfect sacrifice to mitigate. The stakes are eternal. Our entire life on earth and destination in the hereafter is affected by sin and how it is dealt with.
The Westminster Shorter Catechism describes sin as: “Any wont of conformity unto, or transgression of, the law of God.” Whenever we do not conform to what God says or whenever we don’t do what God commands, we are sinning.
And we’ve all gotten quite used to a life of sin. Some we fight against, others we casually accept. But we are in no way as horrified by it in our lives as we should be.
I was thinking the other day about the harm that one person can do and the ripple effects of even one sinful choice. A relative’s wife walked out on him after a few years of marriage. She had her reasons; I can truly believe that he’s a difficult person to live with. It wasn’t a biblical divorce by any stretch. She just wanted out, had the means to do it and left.
So what are the consequences of this? A man has lost his wife. She has been taken from him against his will. She is missing today, tomorrow, and every day thereafter. All those future moments of love and companionship, all those trips they might have taken, those parties they might have attended. Gone. All gone. All the memories of them together, tainted. They are now unusable for reflection unless the goal is to become sad. She stole the future and robbed him of his past.
Her family which had become his adopted family as he’s an only child and an orphan—
gone. Those relationships have ended. Any future holidays or birthday celebrations have vanished. All memories are soiled.
The friends they had in common naturally chose sides so he lost some of those in the divorce.
The church they attended together, he no longer attends. Yes, she claims to be a Christian. Even though he’s the victim, he feels like the villain. Few have come to give his solace. The church didn’t administer any discipline so the sin remains uncovered, unrepented of; it continues to stink to high heaven.
Each day, in addition to the loss of a wife, family, friends there is the regret, the sadness, the pain. So joy and peace have been stolen from him as well. How many night’s sleep has been compromised?
One decision. A minor sin in today’s world. What’s the breaking of a vow anyway? No one really cares.
This was a simple divorce, no children. Imagine now a divorce with children and custody battles and two formerly close families torn apart? Many of you do not have to imagine this at all; for you it’s a horrible reality.
And that’s what sin is, a horrible reality. And yet we have been ordered not to sin. We have been given the work of the Holy Spirit to enable us not to sin. We have been given Scripture and churches and friends and pastors and counselors and family members and books and seminars. We know the answer.
The answer is to deny sin fertile ground to grow. The answer is to deny ourselves daily and pick up our crosses. The answer is to live a life of gratitude for the person and work of Christ and remain faithful to Him and turn our backs on our former selves.
We know the answer. We should know how horrible sin is. We know that we are meant to be free of it. What will we do tomorrow?