Monday, August 7, 2017

Why Do Men Sin? Did the Devil Make Me Do it?

"I'm OK!"
It is unpopular to talk about sin, even among professing Christians. On one hand, we have the Osteen-style preachers who won't use the word lest they damage someone's self-esteem. On the other, we have liberals who deny sin, and claim that men are naturally good, but merely make mistakes, or have been led off the right track by their environment.

In contrast, the Bible, the expression of God's opinion on the subject, talks a lot about sin. For example, James, the half-brother (or step-brother) of Jesus, makes this declaration: "Each person is tempted when he is lured and enticed by his own desire. Then desire when it has conceived gives birth to sin, and sin when it is fully grown brings forth death" (James 1:14-15). He was paraphrasing the words of his better-known sibling: "Do you not see that whatever goes into the mouth passes into the stomach and is expelled? But what comes out of the mouth proceeds from the heart, and this defiles a person, for out of the heart come evil thoughts, murder, adultery, sexual immorality, theft, false witness, slander. These are what defile a person" (Matthew 15:17-20). Both men describe sin's origin, not in external influences, but rather from within, from a man's heart itself. As the Prophet Jeremiah also said, "The heart is deceitful above all things, and desperately sick" (Jeremiah 17:9).

When Scripture describes the hatred of God toward sin, it cannot be understood to mean that He is angry at poverty, or bad schools, or low self-esteem, or any of the other popular justifications for sin. Rather, as Jeremiah also says, "Your evil will chastise you, and your apostasy will reprove you" (Jeremiah 2:19). God's wrath is against what comes from us, not what goes into us! Therefore, the same Prophet asks, "Why should a living man complain, a man, about the punishment of his sins?" (Lamentations 3:39).

The self-esteem preachers are propagating a lie! God is no Santa Claus, no therapist, no personal life coach, no cheerleader. Rather, He is God, and an absolutely righteous one at that! He cannot, and will not, tolerate wickedness: "You [God] are of purer eyes than to see evil and cannot look at wrong" (Habakkuk 1:13). When the self-esteem preachers hide that information, then they are condemning men to Hell. And it is not good enough that anyone feel good about himself in Hell. God will judge those preachers, and hold them accountable for their wicked refusal to tell the truth (Ezekiel 3:18).

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