Primarily, sin is choosing vice over virtue (or evil over good). It is “the attitude” of seeing vice as an easier or more convenient way out over good in sorting out or dealing with life’s challenges, or achieving set goals, targets, or objectives.
The cowardice in sin is the lack of exercise of the moral and spiritual strength and will required to say ‘no’ to wrong in the face of its satanic, subtle and overt appeals, pressures and manipulations, and say ‘yes’ to right in the light of God’s Truth and Its principles. It is the satiation of urge and propensity for pleasure, indulgences, face-saving, gain, profit or benefit, advantage, power, wealth, position etc, that does not give priority to God’s interest and the standard of His Truth, as well as consider the good interest of others! Such self-centered choices and their consequences were recorded in the Scripture as lessons and warning for us so as to avoid making the same mistakes.
Judas Iscariot was one of the twelve Apostles of our Lord Jesus Christ and the treasurer of the ‘Apostolic Council’. He had the rare privilege of been among the original twelve chosen by the Lord himself to follow and work with him one on one. He partook and tasted of the power of the age to come (the power of the Holy Spirit) through the ministry of our Lord Jesus. The Scripture confirms this; “He (Jesus) called his twelve disciples to him and gave them authority to drive out evil spirits and to heal every disease and sickness. These are the names of the twelve apostles: first, Simon (who is called Peter) and his brother Andrew; James son of Zebedee, and his brother John; Philip and Bartholomew; Thomas and Matthew the tax collector; James son of Alphaeus, and Thaddaeus; Simon the zealot and Judas Iscariot who betrayed him” (Matthew 10:1-4).
Unfortunately, all Apostle Judas cared about was money. He was not concerned about morality or spirituality. He was not concerned about other people’s feelings, needs, rights or safety. All he wanted to do was to get more and more money no matter the means and consequences. He simply loved money more than he loved anything or anyone; including Jesus!
His Apostle colleagues saw Jesus as Son and servant of God, but, he saw Jesus and his ministry as ‘valuable commodity’ and ‘business’ to trade with and make good money from; he reduced everything in life to money – to him, life was a ‘money show’ no matter whose interest or life was endangered (John 12:1-6). Eventually, he ‘pulled off’ a deal with the Jewish religious authorities, selling out his boss to them for thirty pieces of silver. This was what led to his destruction; out of guilt he committed suicide (Luke 22:1-6, Matthew 27:1-10). He was guilty of embezzlement, betrayal of trust, complicity in murder, and ‘self-homicide’.
David Jesse was the second king of Israel. He was greatly loved and favored by God (1 Samuel 15:28). One day while relaxing at the palace penthouse he saw a woman taking her bath in one of the houses in the palace neighborhood. The woman’s beauty struck and captivated him. He failed to check the initial seed-feeling of lust, covetousness, and adultery that popped up in his heart when he saw the woman’s nakedness and beauty. Despite his comprehensive knowledge of the Laws of God’s Truth, he chose to do evil. He eventually had the woman brought to the palace, slept with her, got her pregnant, and later arranged for her husband’s death! He chose (out of cowardice) to permit lust, selfishness, callousness, , insensitivity, and greed rule him, committed adultery, masterminded murder, and engaged in spiritual pride and insult to Divinity (2 Samuel 11:1-27).
Mrs Potiphar was the pretty wife of highly placed General Potiphar of the Egyptian Army in Joseph’s time. Though under her husband Joseph was a chief slave servant, she lusted after his good looks and made several amorous advances at him, but he refused her. She felt spited and despised by Joseph’s refusal to do her immoral bidding. She sought vengeance by setting him up! Under the pressure of inordinate desire, she chose lust, wantonness, shamelessness, lying, vindictiveness, defamation of character, oppression, and exploitation over self-control and goodness (Genesis 39:6-21).
Mr and Mrs Ananias were prominent members of the early church in Jerusalem. They scorned the omniscience of the Living God and despised the spiritual authority of the Apostles; they lied to God and his servants, attempting to claim nobility when in fact they were practicing scoundrels! They chose dishonesty over honesty and presented it before God as truth, taking the path of dishonesty, fraud, lying, hypocrisy, and spiritual insult to Divinity. They were struck down by the power of God the same day (Acts 5:1-11).
Why is doing good or “behaving well” naturally difficult for man? The Scripture explains why: “…for all have sinned and fall short of the glory of God…I am unspiritual, sold as a slave to sin…I do not understand what I do. For what I want to do I do not do, but what I hate to do…I know that nothing good lives in me, is, in my sinful nature. For I have the desire to do what is good, but I cannot carry it out. For what I do is not the good I want to do; no, the evil I do not want to do – this I keep on doing.” (Romans 3:23; Romans 7:14b,15,18,19).
That is it – our ‘fallen’ (spiritually corrupt) human nature; it is the reason we ‘misbehave’ and ‘misfire’. And because of this, “…we were by nature objects of (God’s) wrath” (Ephesians 2:3c). The flesh will always perform poorly in spiritual and moral matters because its natural tendency is primarily toward things, projects, schemes that produce or lead to death or mortality, not life! The flesh (our emotion and bodily desires) is constantly at war with the Spirit of God’s Truth, such that many times we end up doing what we ought not to do (Galatians 5:16-17). Yet the flesh counts for nothing (because it’s an agent of death); it is the Spirit that gives life (John 6:63).
Apostle Simon Peter ‘meant it’ when he confidently told Jesus he would rather die with him than deny him. Within his emotions he was sure he felt and saw that level of commitment to his master, but he was naïve about the weakness of our emotion when the going gets tough! Our emotion is extremely unstable when things get rough, tough, difficult, or threatening! It is not a good lifeboat to rely on during storms! Instead of protecting and preserving you, it has the unsavory habit of ripping you apart!
For those who say they don’t believe in God; that they don’t believe he exists; that He is an invention of poor and naive minds, ‘denying’ the existence of God is a horrible, naïve and evil choice – the Scripture calls their position ‘foolish’ (deception, illusion). The Scripture says, “The fool says in his heart, ‘There is no God.’ They are corrupt, their deeds are vile…” (Psalm 14:1). Such minds are still thousands of years backward in ‘spiritual civilization’ (enlightenment of the mind by the Spirit of God). Let me ‘prove’ this to you by this illustration the Holy Spirit of God gave me (the Scripture says the Spirit will guide us into all Truth! John 16:13).
Every of the ‘modern wonders’ you see around you now has always ‘been’ right from the beginning of creation, only that they were not in forms we now know and see them to be; they were all ‘hidden away’ in creation – the computer, radio, aircraft, television, automobiles etc. But when it was time for them to be ‘revealed’ or ‘known’ in their present forms, human knowledge was ‘allowed’ to ‘expand’ to discover them and they were retrieved in their ‘dismantled’ or piecemeal storage or hidden forms. We assembled them and they are right with us now; they are now the ‘wonders’ of our time. But the greatest and eternal Wonder of creation is God from Whom all things proceeded and are sustained (Genesis 1:1)!
For example, if somehow, a man who lived say 4,000 years ago was given a parcel containing a detailed description of a smart phone, computer, or an aircraft with their manuals; he wouldn’t believe they ‘existed’! He would quickly call it outrageous figment of the imagination of the mind of the bearer of the parcel. Why? Because his mind was not just yet expanded in knowledge to that dimension of physical reality at that particular point in time. There was just no way he could logically comprehend the truth of the information set before him except by one way; FAITH! Or how do you translate or explain to him things like capacitor, circuit, program, software, monitor, electric current etc. The frontier of human knowledge had simply not touched this dimension of physical reality at that time of human existence and history.
But, all the same, the information was ‘essentially true’ even at that time; only that it would take about 4,000 years later for him to physically experience it, and his mind the opportunity to logically comprehend it! So is the Truth of the reality of God’s existence.
God offers to help us “behave well.” God’s divine intervention to help us ‘behave well’ and ‘be like him’ is called ‘Grace’. It is a ‘clause’ in the eternal standard of God that allows him help and bail man out of the mire and eternal judgment of moral and spiritual corruption as well as rid and acquit him of sin and its guilt. There are two sides to grace: The first dimension is that of provision of divine help for salvation and spiritual regeneration offered and made available to man by God through our Lord Jesus Christ. The second dimension is that of undeserved favor and unconditional mercy offered to us by God for the forgiveness of our sin; again, through our Lord Jesus Christ.
For me, this is a clear proof that God is not a “high-handed, inconsiderate perfectionist” as some of us erroneously and foolishly accuse him. Instead, he is the all-wise, all-loving, faithful, all-good, ever reliable and compassionate God! Through grace, God provided what is called Redemption. Redemption through grace saves and restores us to God’s infallible, eternal standards, ‘perfection’, and fellowship; the state of spiritual restoration to ‘behaving well’ (i.e. getting back to the true image and glory of God)!
The Scripture clearly states that God wants us to be like his Son Jesus. The Scripture confirms; “…For whom I am again in the pains of child birth until Christ is formed in you…until we all reach unity in the faith and in the knowledge of the Son of God and become mature, attaining to the whole measure of the fullness of Christ….” (Galatians 4:19; Ephesians 4:13-16). Jesus in turn is “the exact representation of the being of God, and in Jesus, all the fullness of God dwells” (Hebrews 1:3; Colossians 1:19). Do you now see the divine sequence and connections of the principle of God’s Grace, and how it works through faith in Christ to restore the authentic God-image in us?
This grace of God is available to you now. Why not take hold of it this very moment. Confess your sin (wrongdoings), renounce them and ask Jesus to cleanse you from it all with his precious blood (spiritual and moral stain removal and ‘decontaminant’). Ask him to give you his Holy Spirit (the Holy Spirit empowers and enables you ‘behave well’ by producing the nature of God in you. This nature of God is called ‘the fruit of the Spirit’ – Galatians 5:16-26). Ask Jesus to be your personal Lord and Savior forever. The scripture says, “Salvation (Redemption) is found in no one else, for there is no other name under heaven given to men by which we must be saved” (Acts 4:12). Why not ‘snap up’ this opportunity now? Delay is dangerous!
If you genuinely do this and continue to grow and develop in this newness of life, you will escape the inevitable judgment of God on all ‘ill behavior’ (sin) and all who engage in it (Galatians 5:19-21, Revelation 21:8). You will become a joint heir with Jesus in the kingdom of God as well as partake in his eternal life (Romans 8:16,17; Revelation 21:6,7).
Photo credits: rigzone.com and izquotes.com via googleusercontent.com.