Sin! The Worst Deal Imaginable

Sin often seems like it would be good for us, even though it is truly not. This is seen with Eve as she was tempted by the serpent. The fruit of the tree which God had forbidden looked pleasant, looked like it would taste good, and seemed like it would give her wisdom which she thought she needed.  She took the bait.  

The Bible doesn’t deny that sin can be pleasurable temporarily.  The Bible testifies of God’s wrath being against those who seek fulfillment of their needs and desires by means which He has forbidden; those who put their needs and wants before honoring God and keeping His commandments.  Such suppress the truth about God that they know in order to somehow, in some way, gratify self instead of obey God and wait on Him in faith to provide fulfillment by means that are lawful in His eyes. 

In relation to that, the common reaction of man to his own rebellion against the true God is to somehow alter his concept of “God” in a way that is suitable to how he has chosen to live.  

Romans 1:18-23: “For the wrath of God is revealed from heaven against all ungodliness and unrighteousness of men, who hold the truth in unrighteousness; Because that which may be known of God is manifest in them; for God hath shewed it unto them.  For the invisible things of him from the creation of the world are clearly seen, being understood by the things that are made, even his eternal power and Godhead; so that they are without excuse: Because that, when they knew God, they glorified him not as God, neither were thankful; but became vain in their imaginations, and their foolish heart was darkened.  Professing themselves to be wise, they became fools, And changed the glory of the uncorruptible God into an image made like to corruptible man, and to birds, and fourfooted beasts, and creeping things.” 

This is why the concept which many have of “God” is a god that lets them decide right and wrong for themselves- at least in certain ways which are compatible with the gains and pleasures which they value most.  The “god” behind this mentality is Satan.  The idea that we can be autonomous and do what’s right in our eyes is satanic.  Satan didn’t want God to reign over him and Satan wanted (and still wants) man to follow him in his rebellion against God’s reign.  Satan wants to make the world devoid of all worship of the true God, and even of the very remnants of His laws and institutions.  It has been rightfully said that man is foolish to think that he can turn from God and not serve Satan. Also in relation to these things, there is a higher law than that which society deems acceptable.  If that were not the case, we could indeed never even say that there was such a thing as a corrupt society.  

The disobedient attitude towards God’s Law, and hence against God’s Ultimate Righteous authority, is the ultimate crime deserving of the most severe punishment.  It is not merely doing bad things that people go to the fire of hell forever for, but the enmity against a good and perfect God involved in the practice of sin- which was persisted in against many chances to acknowledge and turn from that enmity in order to find His mercy.  

It is because man would not be subject to God’s authority that sin came into the world- the very thing that is the spring of all trouble, disease, sorrow, mourning, and pain that are in this world; as well as the spring of death itself.  Therefore, all who continue to refuse to be subject to God’s authority contribute in some way to the ongoing corruption of mankind and the evil in the world.  That is sin’s true face despite all the convenience, pleasure, and glamor that might temporarily be associated with it.

Those who think they can do what God has forbidden in any way and/or not do all they are obligated by Him to do basically put themselves in God’s place and assert the reign over their own lives in defiance of Him. Consider a person proclaiming himself or herself to be God.  There is no doubt that that’s exceedingly evil beyond words.  Yet that’s what those who go their own way and deny God’s authority over their lives essentially do, though most would never say so out loud. 

Psalm 14:1 says: “The fool hath said in his heart, There is no God.  They are corrupt, they have done abominable works, there is none that doeth good.” 

This verse literally means that the fool has said in his heart “no God” (instead of “yes God”).  You don’t have to be an atheist or a professing Satanist to do this.  You just have to refuse a commandment of God to go your own way like Adam and Eve did.  The testimony of God’s Word is that those who do so are corrupt, abominable, and incapable of pleasing God as they oppose His Ultimate Righteous authority.

Subjection to the true God on His terms is the supreme issue of the Universe.  Whether we are so or not is the difference between heaven and hell.  Those in heaven do God’s will (Matthew 6:10) while those who go to hell go to hell for doing their own will.  There is no true Biblical salvation that doesn’t settle this issue in favor of genuine subjection to God’s Word.  It is a timeless principle that nobody receives eternal life from God who doesn’t take self off the throne of their life to yield control to the One who has the full, non-transferable right to it. 

Genesis 3:24: “So he drove out the man; and he placed at the east of the garden of Eden Cherubims, and a flaming sword which turned every way, to keep the way of the tree of life.” 

There is only one true God.  When the Lord commanded “Thou shalt have no other gods before me” He was forbidding man to worship any so-called god besides Him- the true God who created all things and who revealed Himself to Israel and was incarnate in Jesus Christ.  Man’s rebellion against God involves his esteem of exalting created things, and the gratification of his own senses, above his Maker and His laws. Some people and cultures choose, like the Israelites in the wilderness did, to “represent” their god(s) by statues and images; others simply misrepresent Him by a concept in their mind, as is more common today in the Western world.  Regardless of how such a misrepresentation is expressed, it is idolatry all the same. 

Idolatry can even be in those who say that they believe in the God of the Bible.  How?  Simply by overlooking passages in the Bible that bother you and/or not honestly dealing with the plain truth in certain passages.  Those who do such often also focus solely on certain passages and select phrases from the Bible, which when taken alone and not considered carefully, don’t really bother them.  

The unclean lives of multitudes of professing Christians which are plagued with sexual  immorality, careless ease, and fleshly indulgence testify that idolatry has touched the realm of professing Christianity in nations that appear to have a large “Christian” population according the professions of their inhabitants.  When such things are effectively rebuked among professing Christians, then the excuses start coming.  And the excuses professing Christians make for their unholy lives are all rooted in a concept of “God” that does not line up with how He has revealed Himself in Scripture regarding His character and His expectations of man.

We see many lessons and warnings about idolatry in the account of the Israelites and Moses’ brother Aaron making the Golden Calf (in the Book of Exodus) while Moses was communing with the Lord on Mount Sinai.  It is highly doubtful that the Israelites believed that the calf they made was actually God Himself.  They considered the calf as a representation, an aid to worship, to remember “God” with, like all idolaters who make graven images to represent “God”, consider their images to be.  Idolaters generally don’t call their idols “idols” just like most sinners give a more generous label to their sins than the Word of God labels them as they are in truth.  This seems true of idolatry even more than most other sins, as it is especially cherished by mankind and lies at the root of other sins. 

The Israelites made the Golden Calf out of impatience.  They didn’t want to have to wait for Moses to come down from the mountain to lead and instruct them.  They wanted to get things moving; they didn’t want to have to wait.  Waiting is uncomfortable.  They essentially wanted to live and move on their own terms while disregarding the true God, while at the same time convincing themselves that they weren’t really disregarding Him.  The calf was their self-deceived method of being led by their own evil hearts and yet claiming that “God” was with them and leading them.  They simply substituted a “God” they were comfortable with in place of the Jealous, Awesome God who gave them the Ten Commandments and guaranteed vengeance on those who broke them. 

How could they do this after seeing the true God’s power in delivering them from Egypt so recently?  And having even more recently seen His consuming fire on Mount Sinai and hearing Him give the Ten Commandments with His own voice, even forbidding the very thing that they were now doing?  On the surface, that seems hard to believe.  But even a few days, let alone a few weeks, of agonizing waiting can make people desperate.  And when people are desperate, unless they’re extremely careful and honest, they’ll start to believe and act upon what their hearts desperately want, despite all the evidence which they’ve been given to the contrary.  We know from the New Testament commentary by the disciple Stephen in Acts chapter seven that the people wanted to go back to (what they foolishly imagined in their desperation was) a more comfortable, stable life in Egypt.

The Israelites wanted God to be a certain way and wanted to regard Him as being with them unconditionally, just like people today and throughout history have.  Therefore, they misrepresented Him horribly so they could feel okay about taking the course they had set their own hearts on and feel okay about giving themselves over to satisfy their carnal passions.  They still called the idol “the Lord” and offered sacrifices.  However, the difference between the true God and the character of their “God” of convenience showed itself very quickly when “the people sat down to eat and to drink, and rose up to play.”  This obviously wasn’t innocent play, but rather a discreet reference to revelry and sexual immorality.  Idolatry and immorality are often closely connected.  The former will always accompany the latter.  Receiving the fear of the true God will cause one to flee from sexual immorality.  It is no wonder that Moses, a man who revered the true God’s honor, couldn’t stand to see His worship corrupted and His Holy character badly misrepresented.

We don’t have the right to make God according to our own understanding.  Yet that’s the common “politically correct” assumption, not only in secular society, but even in many churches.  The concept is also blatantly promoted in religious groups that are popular (though they say they’re not religious groups) such as the Freemasons and AA (Alcoholics Anonymous).  We also don’t have the right to mix the worship of the true God revealed in Scripture with the ways those that worship other gods serve their gods.  God directly warned Israel about this in Deuteronomy 12:29-32.  

The true God has revealed Himself to us perfectly in His Son Jesus Christ.  John 1:18: “No man hath seen God at any time, the only begotten Son, which is in the bosom of the Father, he hath declared him.” Man-made versions of “Jesus” (which the versions of “Jesus” that you see in the media qualify as), could easily be no different than the Golden Calf.  Though they might be portrayed as speaking some of the same words that the real Jesus spoke and doing some of the things recorded of Him in Scripture, they cannot possibly represent the true Jesus rightly.  John 1:14: “And the Word was made flesh, and dwelt among us, (and we beheld his glory, the glory as of the only begotten of the Father,) full of grace and truth.”  No artist or actor can replicate that glory- not even close.

See how those who actually did witness and hear Jesus reacted to His preaching.  

Matthew 7:28-29: “And it came to pass, when Jesus had ended these sayings, the people were astonished at his doctrine: For he taught them as one having authority, and not as the scribes.”  

I question whether anyone ever really gets that impression at all from the attempts of actors playing Jesus or of artists trying to draw or paint Him.   It is certain that no one gets it adequately from such.

A false jesus doesn’t have to be an artistic representation or a person claiming to be Jesus.  It could be any concept of Him that is contrary to how He is revealed in the Bible and what He has spoken in the Bible.  A common misrepresentation of “Jesus” is one that only has nice, positive things to say who doesn’t expose and rebuke sin.  

As simply reading the Gospels demonstrates, that is not the true Jesus.  False representations of Jesus are idols just like the Golden Calf.  

No one fully comprehends the heights and depths of God’s vast nature- but we can know what we need to know about who He is and what He requires of us by how He has revealed Himself in His Word.  The point is that we must seek that revelation and thereby have our understanding of God molded according to who He is in truth.  We don’t have the right to think of God as we would have Him to be.  It is wrong to fashion our concept of Him according to our own understanding which inevitably degrades the glory of the true God.  It is wrong to harbor concepts of Him not based on His revelation of Himself in His Word.  We have to make a choice to be honest about everything God has said about Himself in the Bible and not alter that to suit ourselves, no matter how uncomfortable doing so makes us.  We have to make a choice not to entertain in our minds a chosen concept of “God” that is pleasant and/or suitable to the desires of our own hearts.  Proverbs 28:26: “He that trusteth in his own heart is a fool: but whoso walketh wisely, he shall be delivered.”

We see also in Exodus 32:9-14 how Moses interceded for the people when God threatened to destroy them for their complicity in fashioning the Golden Calf.  The Lord spared (most of) them therefore for the time being.  It is a picture of Christ’s intercession for those who rejected Him and crucified Him.  Nevertheless, most of the Israelites in the wilderness yet remained disobedient to the Lord and never entered into the Promised Land, as we learn from the book of Numbers.  Only the younger generation who were children at the time of this incident entered, along with a few others who were consistently obedient to God’s voice.  Christ died for sinners and on the cross made intercession for them.  This was not a plea for their unconditional forgiveness (that would be criminal and blasphemous), but rather a plea that they might have more time yet to repent and be reconciled to the true God in order to obtain His mercy and grace, and be properly prepared for Judgment Day.

In the second Psalm we have a clear prophecy about the Messiah and the vain attempts of man to oppose His Supreme Authority.  

Psalm 2: “Why do the heathen rage, and the people imagine a vain thing?  The kings of the earth set themselves, and the rulers take counsel together, against the Lord, and against his anointed (His Christ), saying, Let us break their bands asunder, and cast away their cords from us.  He that sitteth in the heavens shall laugh: the Lord shall have them in derision.  Then shall he speak unto them in his wrath, and vex them in his sore displeasure.  Yet have I set my king upon my holy hill of Zion.  I will declare the decree: the Lord hath said unto me, Thou art my Son; this day have I begotten thee.  Ask of me, and I shall give thee the heathen for thine inheritance, and the uttermost parts of the earth for thy possession.  Thou shalt break them with a rod of iron; thou shalt dash them in pieces like a potter’s vessel.  Be wise now therefore, O ye kings: be instructed, ye judges of the earth.  Serve the Lord with fear, and rejoice with trembling.  Kiss the Son (this is a reference to welcoming His reign), lest he be angry, and ye perish from the way, when his wrath is kindled but a little.  Blessed are all they that put their trust in him.”

The clear message is that Christ’s resurrection is proof that He is the Lord, God’s chosen King, and that all who do not bow to Him in humble obedience will be dashed in pieces when He comes back to rule the world with a rod of iron.  Though in a way this is directed to people in power in this world who would oppose Christ, like Herod and Pilate, it applies just as much to all of us.  We are all called to abandon the throne of our life to the one whom it rightfully belongs to that His truth might prevail in us.

Romans 15:9-12: “Now I say that Jesus Christ was a minister of the circumcision for the truth of God, to confirm the promises made unto the fathers: And that the Gentiles might glorify God for his mercy; as it is written, For this cause I will confess to thee among the Gentiles, and sing unto thy name.  And again he saith, Rejoice, ye Gentiles, with his people.  And again, Praise the Lord, all ye Gentiles; and laud him, all ye people.  And again, Esaias (Isaiah) saith, There shall be a root of Jesse, and he that shall rise to reign over the Gentiles; in him shall the Gentiles trust.” 

Christ’s ministry was “for the truth of God.”  That is virtually the same thing as what was said of Jesus by the angel before He was born. “And she (Mary) shall bring forth a son, and thou shalt call his name Jesus: for he shall save his people from their sins.” (Matthew 1:21)  

Nobody can come to Jesus for salvation and be accepted who is not wholeheartedly seeking to be saved from their sins.  Those who won’t confess and forsake them can’t ever have mercy (Proverbs 28:13).  We must submit to the truth of God to have an interest in Jesus Christ.  But sadly, misleading versions of the gospel abound that give people the idea that they can be saved in their sins by just trusting Jesus as their personal savior.  That is not Biblical.  There is no opposition between Christ’s office as a Savior and His office as a King.  We should receive the entirety of God’s Word then and throw away doctrines and theologies which directly say or imply that there is even the potential for such opposition.  We must be under the Lord’s reign.  An atonement must also be made for sin in order for there to be any hope of pardon for those who have sinned.  Christ accomplished that when He died on the cross and tasted death for every man.  Christ died to reconcile man to God- not God to man.  There is a universe of difference there.  A free offer of pardon does not mean an unconditional oneIt is blasphemous to assert that God’s authority can be trampled on because Christ died for sinners.  

We thus read in Romans chapter six “What shall we say then?  Shall we continue in sin, that grace may abound?  God forbid.”  We can safely say then that God forbids us from continuing in sin.  His grace therefore won’t abound towards those who continue living by their own authority and refusing the reign of His Holy, Just King.

When the Bible talks about the fear of God it means “the fear of God” (really).  A word that is often used in the New Testament to refer to the fear of God, is “phobeo” in the original Greek text (think of the word “phobia”).  It is clearly speaking of an intense dread of displeasing and offending God (not an unreasonable, superstitious fear of God).  Without this fear at the foundation of one’s life it is impossible to shun sin’s temptations and to live worthy of God’s kingdom.  We are told directly in Proverbs 9:10: “The fear of the Lord is the beginning of wisdom: and the knowledge of the holy is understanding.”  

It’s plain then that to receive the true knowledge of God we must receive the fear of Him.  Jesus Himself commanded in Luke 12:4-5: “And I say unto you my friends, Be not afraid of them that kill the body, and after that have no more that they can do.  But I will forewarn you whom ye shall fear: Fear him, which after he hath killed hath power to cast into hell; yea, I say unto you, Fear him.”  The Greek word for fear here is indeed “phobeo.”  Jesus indeed spoke of the need to fear God in relation to God’s power to cast our entire beings into hell.  

Any who doubt whether God should really be feared only need to look at the drastic, dreadful things He did in Scripture to make an example of those who turned from Him and did wickedly.  There are many, many such examples of God doing so towards individuals, families, cities, and nations.  There are also the terrors of the endtime and of the Day of Judgment that we are warned about in the Book of Revelation. There has even been a time already when the Lord killed every single person on earth except eight people. If your “God” has not done so, your god is not the God of the Bible

We have the story of Noah and the flood in Genesis chapters 6-8.  We see there that the earth is corrupt and full of violence (Genesis 6:11).  We see God’s grief at what His originally good creation had become. We see how God spared righteous Noah and his household as the only household where the pure worship of God had not been dishonored and defiled.  Noah prepared an ark at God’s direction and God sent him and his household into it- and then destroyed everyone else.  That is good to remember to prevent us from thinking that we can indulge in a little sin and not take keeping God’s commandments so seriously. 

There is no doubt that Noah warned others of the coming judgment.  In 2 Peter 2:5 we are told that he was “a preacher of righteousness.”  In that very verse, most of the rest of mankind is called “the world of the ungodly.”  They likely didn’t consider themselves ungodly, except maybe as a joke.  They likely told Noah not to take life so seriously.  Maybe they even told Him “Don’t be so uptight. God is love,” as an excuse to ease their guilty consciences and continue in their sinful lives as they lived carelessly of God’s inevitable severe judgment upon them.  They likely mocked and said things like “If God destroys me, he’ll have to destroy virtually everyone else too.” 

The Bible notes the time during the flood when the mountains were covered (Genesis 7:20).  People might have thought that if somehow Noah was right and there was a flood, they’d just go live up in the mountains.  But they underestimated the Lord’s power.  They had never seen it lethally unleashed like that until it was too late for them.  The Bible says that the unrepentant treasure up wrath for themselves on Judgment Day (Romans 2:5).  Nobody is getting away with anything.  When God’s wrath fully comes, it is then too late to repent and get right with Him.  We have warnings, examples, instruction, and promises that the people in Noah’s time never had.  They were expected to fear God and turn from their careless, evil ways.  How much more are we?  Yet the serpent’s lie of “Ye shall not surely die” is alive and well. 

We see by the New Testament commentary in Hebrews chapter eleven that the world was condemned for not fearing God like Noah.  True faith believes God’s warnings as well as His promises.  His genuine salvation can never really be laid hold of, and continued in, when His warnings are disregarded (see Hebrews 11:1, 7). 

Jesus compared His second coming and our need to be prepared for it with the flood in Noah’s time and the days leading up to it.  He noted the carelessness of the people in being consumed with the pleasures of life as an example and warning to us.  In their excessive care about temporary things, they neglected to turn to the Lord with their whole hearts in order to be ready for the Judgment like Noah and his household were ready.  We have a window of opportunity to prepare to meet our God that won’t open again once it is shut.  Those in Noah’s time found that out.  

Even the sinners who do not receive a harsh judgment from the Lord in this life will nevertheless find out firsthand on Judgment Day that the God who kicked Adam and Eve out of the Garden for their transgression against Him, who destroyed the world of the ungodly by a flood in Noah’s time, who destroyed Sodom and Gomorrah by fire, etc. never changed.

Aaron’s email is: [email protected]