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The Nearsightedness of Sin

God told Adam and Eve they would surely die if they ate of the tree of the knowledge of good and evil. Our first parents understood the commandment. But when Eve “saw that the tree was good for food, and that it was pleasant to eyes, and a tree to be desired to make one wise”, she ate the fruit and gave it to Adam who ate as well (Gen. 3:6). They knew this was wrong and they knew there would be consequences. Their own desires blinded them. They lived for the moment, and their story is repeated every day. People lie to themselves about the future so that they can enjoy pleasure in the present.

The devil is masterful at hiding the consequences of sin. He blinds the eyes of unbelievers (II Cor. 4:4), but he temporarily blinds Christians as well. He makes sin look so enjoyable that we ignore its results. William Gurnall said, “Satan leads poor creatures down into the depths of sin by winding stairs, that let them not see the bottom whither they are going...Many who at this day lie in open profaneness never thought they should have rolled so far from their modest beginnings.”

Every beer and liquor advertisement uses this deception. They present alcohol as the way to fit in and have fun. This lie has blinded men for thousands of years. Solomon wrote,

“Look not thou upon the wine when it is red, when it giveth his colour in the cup, when it moveth itself aright. At the last it biteth like a serpent, and stingeth like an adder” (Prov. 23:31-32).

How many teenagers who thought drinking was cool later wish they had never tasted alcohol? How many homes have been ruined by it? How many lives have been lost because of it?

The effects of prescription pain medications and substances like cocaine and meth appeal to some thrill-seekers. They don’t consider what meth will do to their teeth and the rest of their body. They don’t think about the money they will spend, the chances they will take, or the harm they will do to themselves and to their families. They don’t consider the nightmare they will go through if they decide to get off those drugs once they become hooked on them. But they don’t care. If it works today, why worry about tomorrow?

Solomon talked about another fellow who is like an ox headed for the slaughterhouse. This young man is “void of understanding” (Prov. 7:7). A woman dressed in “the attire of an harlot, and subtle of heart” met him and “with her much fair speech caused him to yield” (Prov. 7:10, 21). In the end,

“He goeth after her straightway, as an ox goeth to the slaughter, or as a fool to the correction of the stocks; till a dart strike through his liver, as a bird hasteth to the snare, and knoweth not it is for his life” (Prov. 7:22-23).

When a man is seduced by a strange woman, he is as dumb as an ox. He sees only what his physical appetites tell him.

A wise man considers the long run. He looks at the consequences and weighs them against the thrill of the moment. “A prudent man foreseeth the evil, and hideth himself: but the simple pass on, and are punished” (Prov. 22:3).

Moses chose to “suffer affliction with the people of God” rather than “to enjoy the pleasures of sin for a season” (Heb. 11:25). Let us be like him.


West End Bulletin 7/26/20


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