Take care, brothers, lest there be in any one of you an evil, unbelieving heart, leading you to fall away from the living God. But exhort one another every day, as long as it is called today, that none of you may be hardened by the deceitfulness of sin. (Heb. 3:13-14)
The Honey Bun looked appetizing; it smelled safe, and the crinkle of the wrapper was enticing. The first bite was delicious. But then I flipped it over. On the other side of the Honey Bun was an enormous spot of mold. Like the Honey Bun, sin is deceptive: it looks good, smells good, and sounds good. However, under closer examination, it’s covered in mold. It will make you sick. And the more you eat, the sicker you get.
“Take care,” says the writer of Hebrews. Watch out! We are in a spiritual battle and the enemy has one objective … that you would fall away from the living God. His arrow is aimed at your heart. “Twang” … you can hear its release. It’s gliding through the air. It strikes and you sin. Bulls eye!
In Romans 7:11 Paul says, “For sin, seizing an opportunity through the commandment, deceived me and through it killed me. And in Ephesians 4:22, he refers to our former life as being corrupted by “deceitful desires”. In short, sin is deceptive. But how? What are the lies that sin communicates to us?
Sin will bring me happiness and fulfillment
No matter how much money I earn; no matter how many shots I toss back, no matter how many gadgets I accumulate, I am never fully satisfied. Sin has a mammoth appetite. Like the grave, it “never says enough” (Pr. 30:15-16). It is a bottomless pit. You will keep falling deeper until you hit the bottom … DEATH (Pr. 27:20). “For the wages of sin is death” (Rom.6:23).
Sin is my key to freedom
Sin tells us that God’s restrictions are destructive; that He doesn’t want us having fun. It says that sex isn’t designed for a man and women in the bonds of marriage, but that sex is free and for all. It says that honesty can sometimes be a dangerous pitfall, so lying is a safe alternative. It says that humility is dangerous and that pride is a wall of protection. But in the end, we find ourselves enchained to the thing we thought would bring freedom. We become prisoners in a self-made dungeon of sin (Pr.5:22).
Sin is harmless
Sin does bring pleasure for a season (Heb.11:25b). That’s why it’s so deceptive. But its consequences are vast, severe, and eternal…
Sin causes circumstantial consequences. For instance, if I break the law, I go to jail. If a teenage boy or girl has sex, just once, they can still get a disease or conceive an unexpected child.
Sin causes spiritual death (Is.59:2). God is Holy and our sin has alienated us from Him. We are unworthy of Him, unfit for heaven, and we have no way of solving the problem. We wander through life separated from God.
Sin causes physical death (Heb.9:27). Because of sin, our body is dying. Not only will we die, but our life is like a clock ticking down until it stops.
Sin causes eternal death (Rev.20:14-15). If the problem of spiritual death and alienation from God isn’t solved, it will follow us into eternity. We will reside in a place of eternal separation from the goodness of God. The lake of fire.
If sin is the deadliest enemy on earth then why does everyone do it? The writer of Hebrews would answer, “because they have an evil and unbelieving heart”…
“For who were those who heard and yet rebelled? Was it not all those who left Egypt by Moses” (Heb.3:16).
Remember what happened to Israel? They made it to the border of Canaan but refused to enter. Because of a false report brought back by the spies who were sent to canvas the land, they disobeyed God. “We can’t defeat the giants”, they cried. They saw their inability rather than God’s ability. And in the result, they disobeyed God because they didn’t believe God (Heb.3:18-19).
When we continue in sin, we do the same. We do not obey God because we do not believe God. It’s similar to a child’s attitude to their parent’s rules. Our parents told us, “don’t do that”, or, “don’t go there”. What did we do? We disobeyed. Why? Because we really didn’t believe our parents. We didn’t think that it was as dangerous as they said.
All of God’s commandments are given to us for our benefit and protection. But sin will tell us a lie: that it brings happiness and fulfillment; that it is the key to freedom, and that it is harmless. So we choose to believe the lie of sin rather than the loving command of God. We hold onto pride; we surf on pornographic websites, and we overeat. As a result, we destroy friendships because of pride; we ruin our marriage because of infidelity, and we become overweight because of gluttony. Bull’s eye. We fail to enter God’s rest.
This is a salvific warning: a warning of not entering God’s eternal rest in heaven. Once God saves us, no one can snatch us away. Sin was defeated on the cross, yes. But the evidence of that will be a lifestyle of trusting God in obedience to His Word. God will preserve those who belong to Him (1Pet.1:5). To turn back from following Christ may prove that we were never saved. Maybe we began following Him for the wrong reason. Find security in Christ, yes. But “let us fear lest any of you should seem to have failed to reach it” (Heb.4:1b). Have a healthy fear of sin. For the wages of sin is death.
Do you not know that the unrighteous will not inherit the kingdom of God? Do not be deceived: neither the sexually immoral, nor idolaters, nor adulterers, nor men who practice homosexuality, nor thieves, nor the greedy, nor drunkards, nor revilers, nor swindlers will inherit the kingdom of God” (1 Cor.6:9-10)
As Christians, the more we reject God’s warnings and convictions, the more calloused our heart will become. “I’ll do it tomorrow”, you say. But tomorrow never comes. We never intended to end up this far away from God. But here we are, so far away we don’t know how to return. Have you strayed, rebelled, or run away from God? Then repent and return. He will not reject you. He is full of mercy. Place your feet on the narrow path before it’s too late.
Are you walking closely with Christ? Praise God! Stand firm in your most holy faith. Hold onto your hope in Christ. Believe and trust Him; Obey and serve Him. Hold on. We are almost home. Our Lord has saved us and our God will keep us!
But beware. A “life” of sin is an indication of unbelief. It should be a red flag. If I turn back and continue in a life of sin, it may indicate that I never honestly believed in Jesus for my salvation. If I cannot trust a simple command of Christ, how can I be certain that I trusted in Him for my salvation. Maybe, like Israel, when the time comes to enter the “promised land” (a picture of heaven), we will be unable.
Be on guard against the lie of sin. It wants you to go to bed with it. What it doesn’t tell you is that it has spiritual aids. Just one time could mean death!