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The Progression of Sin

“But evil men and impostors will grow worse and worse, deceiving and being deceived” (II Tim. 3:13).

Sin begins in the heart. “But each one is tempted when he is drawn away by his own desires and enticed. Then, when desire has conceived, it gives birth to sin; and sin, when it is full-grown, brings forth death” (James 1:14-15). When Eve “saw that the tree was good for food, that it was pleasant to the eyes, and a tree desirable to make one wise, shew took of its fruit and ate” (Gen. 3:6). David saw a very beautiful woman bathing, lusted after her, and committed adultery with her (II Sam. 11:1-4). This pattern has never changed.

But sin does not satisfy the desire for it. Eve was not happy with what she did and David regretted his sin for the rest of his life. Truly “the eyes of man are never satisfied” (Prov. 27:20). Once the excitement of sin is gone, there is guilt and depression. That is why sin is so addictive. Most people go right back to it for the feeling it gives.

Sin is not just addictive. It is progressive. It is like a drug. At first it only takes a little to get high. The user has to take a higher dose and then he must take it more often. Usually he feels the need to take a different, more potent substance to have a feeling of euphoria.

Drugs are not the only culprit. The ancient Romans developed a craving for perverted and violent entertainment. The sight of bloodshed for sport became a national pastime with the gladiatorial contests. When watching men fight to the death became commonplace, spectators demanded more blood and different kinds of brutality. Promoters and politicians responded with horrific battles between men and wild animals and reenactments of famous battles. The populace soothed their conscience by telling themselves that gladiators were often condemned criminals who were going to die anyway.

Many of you who read these words have watched entertainment go from bad to worse. There was a time when profanity and cursing were not permitted in movies or on television. But once the movie Gone with the Wind crossed the line with a single word in 1939, there was no stopping the demand for more from moviegoers. They needed to hear more foul language for laughs. They craved more and more indecency until nudity became normal in films.

Does the path of sin ever reach a point where people say they’ve had enough? The prodigal son would say yes. When he hit rock bottom he came to his senses and returned home (Luke 15:11-19). Nations can get their fill of evil when they begin to pay the price for it. The Jews wouldn’t listen to Jeremiah and other prophets who warned them. After seventy years in the strange land of Babylon, they had a different attitude. They were still far from perfect, but that experience for the most part weaned them from the idols they had refused to give up before.

The life of King Saul and even the story of Solomon show what can happen once we go down this road. It is amazing that all of us to some degree make this mistake. The even more remarkable part is that God is willing to forgive us when we repent.

Kerry

West End church of Christ bulletin, February 25 2024

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