Tag Archives: Sin

Righteous or Disgraceful?

Proverbs 14:34

Righteousness exalteth a nation: but sin is a reproach to any people.”

America the Beautiful

The United States of America has been a pretty great place.

Many other nations have been defended with her military. Many freedoms have been advanced and celebrated. Many have come to the land of freedom with virtually nothing only to become wealthy and prosperous. More aid and missionaries have been sent out into the world than pretty much any other nation.

Because of all of these great things and more, millions of people try to get into the USA every year. These are amazing things, and others want a part of it!

The Great Satan

The United States of America has also become a nuisance.

Religious zealots around the world (primarily among Muslim extremist groups) have declared the USA “The Great Satan”. With all of our freedoms and accomplishments, they have been used to exploit each other and others. Moral superiority is claimed, yet those freedoms and accomplishments have become a log in the eye and a stumbling block. This “Christian nation” (as most other countries see it) also produces the most pornography and bigotry, exploits other nations for profit, and has some pretty backward laws and judicial decisions that create a culture the requires “Caution: Contents Hot” to be printed on coffee cups!

While greatly loved, the USA is also a bit of a global laughing-stock!

The Christian

Have you ever wondered why it seems the world is once again turning against the Church?

Christians have been called to a higher moral standard and a dedication to serving God by loving this fallen and hurting world. We are to be Christ to the nations.

The Western World has done a rather fantastic job of portraying a bunch of stuck-up, whiny, entitled hate-mongers who only love themselves and take advantage of others.

Fortunately, God always has a remnant of faithful followers (Romans 11).

And the funny thing about this remnant: they rarely have time to feel embarrassed or ashamed of those who make the Bride of Christ look bad. They are too busy loving everyone … including those who make the Bride of Christ look bad!

Choose today how you will live. Will it be as one who is righteous or disgraceful?

Heavenly Father, thank You for Your grace and love. Thank You for saving us from our disgrace. Thank You for Your Word and Your Holy Spirit who guides us in all righteousness. Help us to choose You and walk in Your ways.


Enjoying Sin

Proverbs 14:9

“Fools make a mock at sin: but among the righteous there is favour.”

Television

Watch almost any program on television today, and it is easy to see a stark difference from the 1950’s and 1960’s.

Programs from the ’50’s and ’60’s promoted good morals, honesty, and integrity. There was rarely a dirty word uttered, married couples had separate beds (let alone hearing about people who were not married having sex), bad guys usually had some sense of decency, and a “wild-child” was considered a black sheep. Liars were corrected. Selfish people were left to their own devices. Yet, forgiveness was promoted and self-control taught.

Look at today:

  • It is getting increasingly harder to find shows without foul language, and that language is getting worse and more prevalent all the time.
  • Marriage is often portrayed as old-fashioned or as more of a chore than a blessing. Divorce is celebrated. Sleeping around is celebrated. Independence is often valued more highly than cooperation and commitment to a significant other.
  • Bad guys are not only more ruthless and vile, but many times they are also celebrated as an anti-hero.
  • Partying, promiscuity, binge-drinking, drug use, immaturity, rudeness, and all manner of nastiness to ourselves and others is promoted as a fun and viable alternative to boredom and the status quo.
  • Holding grudges and doing what you want is taught as healthy, with just a pinch of forgiveness when it suits us.

Two Paths

The Bible warned us two thousand years ago in 2 Timothy 3 that this is exactly what would happen. Society on the global scale would by and large leave God behind, all of His precepts and promises, and do and promote everything they wanted.

You must ask yourself which path you will follow: The path the world is taking that walks away from God and promotes the self, or the path few choose which is walking with God? (See Matthew 7:13-23)

The path the world takes leads straight to destruction (v. 13), and it is led by many who profess to be Christian or simply “good people” but will also be destroyed (vv. 15-23).

Only those who follow Truth, who choose the narrow path, enter eternal life (v. 14). Only those will find favor with God.

Choose life. (Deuteronomy 30:19)

Gracious God, thank You for loving us so much that You came to die on the cross to forgive us of our love of sin over You. Help us to choose You over our sinful selfishness. Help us enjoy You, and to love those who choose sin.


Two Pursuers

Proverbs 13:21

21 Evil pursueth sinners: but to the righteous good shall be repayed.

Yesterday, Jason discussed how bad company will make us bad ourselves.

To go a step further, when we live a life of sin, whatever that may look like, we tend to gather like-minded people around us, reinforcing our sinful behaviors. Eventually, we have to deal with our sin.

If all we have around us is our sin and those who promote it, what should we expect? That everything will be alright? That we will never have problems?

This verse tells us that, in fact, the consequences of our sin track us down. The Apostle Peter told us in 1 Peter 5:8 that the Devil is actually seeking us out to destroy us!

Whatever vice or sin we have in our life is a beacon for Satan, calling him after us to pursue us and drag us deeper to our death. Things will only get worse the longer we live in our sin. Eventually, it leads to not only a literal death but eternal destruction.

The Other Pursuer

Those who live a life of righteousness, a life given to God, can expect a different outcome.

While a righteous person may interact with the more sinful, they are not tainted by that sin. Instead, they more closely associate with those who promote righteousness, or at the very least keep God central in their lives.

An interesting thing happens when we pursue God:

7 Submit yourselves therefore to God. Resist the devil, and he will flee from you.

8 Draw nigh to God, and he will draw nigh to you. Cleanse your hands, ye sinners; and purify your hearts, ye double minded.
James 4:7-8

Do you see it?

Not only does God actively pursue those who pursue Him, but the Devil will actually run away!

We must remember, however, that he only runs away because he has been close. The more we walk with God, the more the Devil will want to break us apart.

The great news is that as we pursue God, we have God defending us.

Ultimately, we are repaid with eternal life.

Precious Savior, thank You for rescuing us from our sin and the grip of the Devil. Help us see You pursuing us. Give us the faith to pursue You. Give us the strength to resist the Devil when he comes after us, for by Your power he will flee!


Sin, Sweet Sin

 Proverbs 9:16-17

“Whoso is simple, let him turn in hither: and as for him that wanteth understanding, she saith to him, Stolen waters are sweet, and bread eaten in secret is pleasant.”

In previous verses we have read about foolish young men who got into trouble simply because they wandered into the wrong part of town. In this case, however, what we are looking at is the baiting of a righteous man.

The Prey

In verse 15 we read that the foolish woman calls out to “passengers who go right on their way.” In other words, these are men who are “minding their own business” (NLT), or “going straight on their way” (ESV). They are the picture of travelers who have no intention of falling into sin, but are intent on following the “right way.”

Let there be no misunderstanding, those who want to stay on the right path of life are always going to be under attack. They are always going to be considered prey. Like a fisherman seeking a trophy catch, the foolish woman longs to mount the virtuous, the pure, the right-walking man on her wall.

I have personally seen and heard both men and women brag of their hellish plans. Men say, “If you really love me, you’ll give it up.” Women say, “I know he’s married, but I’ll make him give in.” Professors say, “This semester I will break your faith in God.”

The Problem

Sadly, so many that have been taught to live pure lives, who have tried to walk in the “right way,” have no idea what is out to get them. They assume that good and bad is obvious: good things are sweet; bad things are sour. They are unaware of poisons like automotive engine coolant, the sweet fluid that has killed many a wayward pet.

It is not to the stupid that the foolish woman calls, but to the naive. Because they have not been exposed to or stained by the evils of the world, the “simple” can be easily tempted. They are essentially “fresh meat” for the temptress.

Therefore, it is so important, when we “train up a child in the way that he should go,” that we speak truthfully about sin. Children need to know why sin is tempting. They need to know it can taste really sweet. They need to believe we’re not depriving them, but preparing them.

The Pan

The reason sexual/sensual sin is so dangerous is because it initially fulfills what it promises. There is a rush that comes from drinking stolen water. The thrill of eating bread in secret is hard to compare. Therefore, the temptress is not lying when she throws out the bait. What she is saying is true, so the one being tempted starts to think, “What’s so wrong with it?”

But just like a baited hook, there is a line attached to every sweet temptation. Once the hook is set, one rarely gets free, but ends up either in hot water, or the frying pan.

A Prayer

Lord, give us wisdom and discernment. Help us to avoid temptation, especially when the bait looks so sweet, so promising. Give us holy x-ray vision so that we may see the hidden hooks.


Hating Evil, Not People

Proverbs 8:13

“The fear of the LORD is to hate evil: pride, and arrogancy, and the evil way, and the froward mouth, do I hate.”

 God Hates

This is something most Christians, and most non-Christians, do not like to discuss … at least in the Western culture.

This is not the hatred people like those from Westboro Baptist Church preach. They preach that God wants to send people to Hell, that God hates you because of your choices.

One of my most favorite definitions of evil is “the absence of God.” Therefore, God hates those things that separates God from us.

Pride

You can take pride in something, in that you take joy in something (something most people mean). The pride that is evil is when it elevates us or something to the place of God.

This is the problem with Gay Pride parades. This is the problem with much of the sports world. This is the problem with Hollywood. This is the problem with some patriotism (not just for the USA. The Nazi’s and Russians proved during the 20th Century what patriotism gone crazy can do).

Pride elevates and celebrates everything more than it should be, especially if it is something that should not be celebrated. The first thing that comes to mind is being a “player”, or simply being sexually promiscuous. Our society has done an amazing job of promoting sex.

Arrogance

The by-product of pride is arrogance. Why does God hate arrogance?

Arrogance says “I am better than you! I can do this better than everyone! I know what I am doing!”

This might be true, but this is like saying “I am better, and you are worthless.”

Many Christians throughout the centuries have been guilty of this, as well.

These are the Christians who look down on non-Christians for being impure and sinful (Luke 18:9-14).

These are the Christians who have stood outside of abortion clinics calling women sluts and sinners.

These are the Christians who say they believe the only right way to believe.

The Evil Way, The Froward

It is easy to see that it can be quite easy to stray.

The evil way is any way that is against or not with God.

A froward mouth does not have to use “four-letter words”, but can be the one who promotes evil, praises the self, or blasphemes God.

Blasphemy of God includes cursing and swearing, sure; but it also includes denigrating others, false teachings, or even bad teachings.

All of these God hates.

But God never hates you. Period.

Dear Lord, teach us to hate what You hate. Teach us to love all people regardless of their actions and words. Strengthen us to follow the right path – Your path.


Starting Fights?

Proverbs 3:30

“Strive not with a man without cause, if he have done thee no harm.”

My dad and I have some similar stories from our youths. He was a lot rougher than I, but we both had our ways of treating other people which were not as wholesome as they could have been.

My dad was the kind of boy who would disrupt class because he could. He would start fights and usually finish them, too. He would even punch a guy for looking at him the wrong way.

I would occasionally physically respond/retaliate/initiate with people (especially my younger siblings), but my weapon of choice was words. I would stretch the truth to see what I could get away with saying. I would tell someone a mis-truth (using elements of truth) to get a reaction. I would start rumors to watch the impending chaos.

Usually, the other person/people had done nothing to us, at least not meriting our actions.

The rest of Proverbs paints a picture that people such as the younger me and my dad are wicked and destined for destruction.

The NIV states the verse this way:

Do not accuse a man for no reason—    when he has done you no harm.

There may not be anyone on this planet truly innocent, but we can be innocent of certain things. When we prey on the innocence of others through deceit, violence, malice, or just because they were the ones in our way at that moment, our victims are innocent.

Keep in mind, the person who said “I have sinned in that I have betrayed the innocent blood,” the blood of Jesus, was an Apostle. Judas Iscariot, a man who walked and talked with Jesus for about three years and knew Him intimately, accused the Son of God and had Him dragged away to death.

We need to remember that though we spend time going to church services and even reading our Bible, if we do not put our faith into action we can easily slip into sin.

We need to remember that we all, like Judas Iscariot, have accused Jesus and put Him on that cross.

We need to remember that only the Holy Spirit can truly guide us in all righteousness.

Precious Lord, thank You for your forgiveness of our lies and abuses, for putting You on the cross. Thank You that You have redeemed our lives. Guide us by Your Holy Spirit every moment to not bring harm to the innocent but to lift them up and lead them to You.


They Turned

Proverbs 1:31-33

Therefore shall they eat of the fruit of their own way, and be filled with their own devices. For the turning away of the simple shall slay them, and the prosperity of fools shall destroy them. But whoso hearkeneth unto me shall dwell safely, and shall be quiet from fear of evil.

As we have learned over the past several days, a fool turns away from God and wisdom. They essentially repent of God. They may have logic and reason, but do they have wisdom?

Turning from Wisdom

The “New Atheists” of today (such as Richard Dawkins and Sam Harris) are indeed very intelligent. However, they tend to be rather mean-spirited in their attacks on religion and faith, and in the process fail to see their own hypocrisy. They, too, work on faith in many things, for humanity does not yet have all of the answers. They need faith that everything they claim as truth is true or that we will verify them as true in the future.

Another group of those who have turned away from God are criminals of all sorts. There are many criminals who are very intelligent, yet the evidence of the lack of wisdom is that they commit crimes. One of the greatest examples of intelligent criminals is Leopold and Loeb. These two young friends (who graduated college young) were 19 and 18, respectively, when they decided to commit the perfect crime. They kidnapped and killed Loeb’s 14-year-old second-cousin Bobby Franks. The only physical problem with their crime was that Leopold accidentally dropped his custom-made eyeglasses where they left the body. In other words, they were eventually caught. With all of their intelligence, they lacked the wisdom to not commit any crimes.

Consequences

Turning away from wisdom and God is not only dangerous, it has dire consequences. Whether it is dealing with hurt feelings, broken relationships, jail/prison time, or any other consequence, there are always consequences. The worst, by far, is eternal condemnation.

Father, forgive us when we fail to seek your wisdom and heed Your call. Help us remember to pray for those who do not know You, and give us the wisdom  to know how to interact with all people. We thank You that took the ultimate consequence upon Yourself through the cross for those of us who believe. We praise You and pray in the name of Jesus Christ. Amen.