Paul puts it this way: “Do not be deceived, God is not mocked; for whatever a man sows, that he will also reap. For he who sows to his flesh will of the flesh reap corruption” (Galatians 6:7-8 Galatians 6:7-8 7 Be not deceived; God is not mocked: for whatever a man sows, that shall he also reap.
8 For he that sows to his flesh shall of the flesh reap corruption; but he that sows to the Spirit shall of the Spirit reap life everlasting.
American King James Version×). Speaking of humanity as a whole, he explains: “Destruction and misery are in their ways. And the way of peace they have not known” (Romans 3:16-17 Romans 3:16-17 16 Destruction and misery are in their ways: 17 And the way of peace have they not known:
American King James Version×; compare Isaiah 59:7-8 Isaiah 59:7-8 7 Their feet run to evil, and they make haste to shed innocent blood: their thoughts are thoughts of iniquity; wasting and destruction are in their paths. 8 The way of peace they know not; and there is no judgment in their goings: they have made them crooked paths: whoever goes therein shall not know peace.
American King James Version×).
Sin—disobeying God—produces suffering and pain. God hates sinful attitudes and deeds (Proverbs 8:13 Proverbs 8:13The fear of the LORD is to hate evil: pride, and arrogance, and the evil way, and the fraudulent mouth, do I hate.
American King James Version×) because of their horrible effects. Sin leads to broken relationships, violence and misery. It cuts us off from God (Isaiah 59:1-2 Isaiah 59:1-2 1 Behold, the LORD’s hand is not shortened, that it cannot save; neither his ear heavy, that it cannot hear: 2 But your iniquities have separated between you and your God, and your sins have hid his face from you, that he will not hear.
American King James Version×).
The utter selfishness that lies behind sins that are inconsiderate of others and even inhumane is vividly described in Proverbs 1:
“My child, if sinners entice you, turn your back on them! They may say, ‘Come and join us. Let’s hide and kill someone! Let’s ambush the innocent! Let’s swallow them alive as the grave swallows its victims. Though they are in the prime of life, they will go down into the pit of death. And the loot we’ll get! We’ll fill our houses with all kinds of things! Come, throw in your lot with us; we’ll split our loot with you.’
“Don’t go along with them, my child! Stay far away from their paths. They rush to commit crimes. They hurry to commit murder. When a bird sees a trap being set, it stays away. But not these people! They set an ambush for themselves; they booby-trap their own lives! Such is the fate of all who are greedy for gain. it ends up robbing them of life” (Proverbs 1:10-19 Proverbs 1:10-19 10 My son, if sinners entice you, consent you not.
11 If they say, Come with us, let us lay wait for blood, let us lurk privately for the innocent without cause:
12 Let us swallow them up alive as the grave; and whole, as those that go down into the pit:
13 We shall find all precious substance, we shall fill our houses with spoil:
14 Cast in your lot among us; let us all have one purse:
15 My son, walk not you in the way with them; refrain your foot from their path:
16 For their feet run to evil, and make haste to shed blood.
17 Surely in vain the net is spread in the sight of any bird.
18 And they lay wait for their own blood; they lurk privately for their own lives.
19 So are the ways of every one that is greedy of gain; which takes away the life of the owners thereof.
American King James Version×, New Living Translation, 1996).
Or, as another translation renders the end of Proverbs 1:19 Proverbs 1:19So are the ways of every one that is greedy of gain; which takes away the life of the owners thereof.
American King James Version×, “Greed kills selfish people” (New Century Version).
Sin is like a trap; lawlessness is a snare. It may look harmless until the consequences begin to appear. Then the sinner is trapped, ensnared by his own foolishness. Not only does sin harm others, but it destroys the sinner’s character and often endangers his life.
There is no such thing as a harmless sin. In the end, sin makes everyone a loser. Read Psalms 1:1-6 Psalms 1:1-6 1 Blessed is the man that walks not in the counsel of the ungodly, nor stands in the way of sinners, nor sits in the seat of the scornful.
2 But his delight is in the law of the LORD; and in his law does he meditate day and night.
3 And he shall be like a tree planted by the rivers of water, that brings forth his fruit in his season; his leaf also shall not wither; and whatever he does shall prosper.
4 The ungodly are not so: but are like the chaff which the wind drives away.
5 Therefore the ungodly shall not stand in the judgment, nor sinners in the congregation of the righteous.
6 For the LORD knows the way of the righteous: but the way of the ungodly shall perish.
American King James Version×;for a clear lesson in the fruits of living God’s way contrasted with the outcome of living sinfully.
Yet often sin appears enticing because frequently it offers temporary rewards and pleasures. We, therefore, are constantly faced with choices. Most of all we need to consider the consequences of those choices.
For example, “Moses, when he became of age, refused to be called the son of Pharaoh’s daughter, choosing rather to suffer affliction with the people of God than to enjoy the passing pleasures of sin, esteeming the reproach of Christ greater riches than the treasures in Egypt; for he looked to the reward [that God would give him]” (Hebrews 11:24-26 Hebrews 11:24-26 24 By faith Moses, when he was come to years, refused to be called the son of Pharaoh’s daughter;
25 Choosing rather to suffer affliction with the people of God, than to enjoy the pleasures of sin for a season;
26 Esteeming the reproach of Christ greater riches than the treasures in Egypt: for he had respect to the recompense of the reward.
American King James Version×).
It’s often difficult to see the end result of sin. Because the devil is the god of this age (2 Corinthians 4:4 2 Corinthians 4:4In whom the god of this world has blinded the minds of them which believe not, lest the light of the glorious gospel of Christ, who is the image of God, should shine to them.
American King James Version×) and will favor those who will choose to sin (Matthew 4:8-10 Matthew 4:8-10 8 Again, the devil takes him up into an exceeding high mountain, and shows him all the kingdoms of the world, and the glory of them; 9 And said to him, All these things will I give you, if you will fall down and worship me. 10 Then said Jesus to him, Get you hence, Satan: for it is written, You shall worship the Lord your God, and him only shall you serve.
American King James Version×), evil can appear to be a fast and sure road to pleasure and enjoyable things.
But such ill-gotten gain comes with a hidden price, as is clearly expressed in Psalm 73:
“For I was envious of the arrogant when I saw the prosperity of the wicked . . . They scoff and speak with malice; loftily they threaten oppression. They set their mouths against the heavens, and their tongue struts through the earth . . . Behold, these are the wicked; always at ease, they increase in riches. All in vain I have kept my heart clean and washed my hands in innocence. For all the day long I have been stricken and rebuked every morning . . .
“But when I thought how to understand this, it seemed to me a wearisome task, until I went into the sanctuary of God; then I discerned their end.
“Truly you set them in slippery places; you make them fall to ruin. How they are destroyed in a moment, swept away utterly by terrors! Like a dream when one awakes, O Lord, when you rouse yourself, you despise them as phantoms …
“For behold, those who are far from you shall perish; you put an end to everyone who is unfaithful to you. But for me it is good to be near God; I have made the Lord God my refuge, that I may tell of all your works” (Psalms 73:3 Psalms 73:3For I was envious at the foolish, when I saw the prosperity of the wicked.
American King James Version×; Psalms 73:8-20 Psalms 73:8-20 8 They are corrupt, and speak wickedly concerning oppression: they speak loftily. 9 They set their mouth against the heavens, and their tongue walks through the earth. 10 Therefore his people return here: and waters of a full cup are wrung out to them. 11 And they say, How does God know? and is there knowledge in the most High? 12 Behold, these are the ungodly, who prosper in the world; they increase in riches. 13 Truly I have cleansed my heart in vain, and washed my hands in innocence. 14 For all the day long have I been plagued, and chastened every morning. 15 If I say, I will speak thus; behold, I should offend against the generation of your children. 16 When I thought to know this, it was too painful for me; 17 Until I went into the sanctuary of God; then understood I their end. 18 Surely you did set them in slippery places: you cast them down into destruction. 19 How are they brought into desolation, as in a moment! they are utterly consumed with terrors. 20 As a dream when one wakes; so, O Lord, when you wake, you shall despise their image.
American King James Version×; Psalms 73:27-28 Psalms 73:27-28 27 For, see, they that are far from you shall perish: you have destroyed all them that go a whoring from you. 28 But it is good for me to draw near to God: I have put my trust in the Lord GOD, that I may declare all your works.
American King James Version×, English Standard Version).
No amount of temporary gain is worth the present and future consequences of sin!