“For the wages of sin is death . . .” (Rom. 6:23).
How does one make it clear how detrimental sin is to life? Clearly define the penalty for sin and describe its horrendous consequences. This is exactly what God did as revealed through the Bible. Adam and Eve were told, “But of the tree of the knowledge of good and evil, thou shalt not eat of it: for in the day that thou eatest thereof thou shalt surely die” (Gen. 2:17). Paul wrote to the Roman brethren, “Wherefore, as by one man sin entered into the world, and death by sin; and so death passed upon all men, for that all have sinned:” (Rom. 5:12). There are other descriptions that are further deterrents to sin when properly seen from the pages of Scripture. Consider three.
- Creating Polluted Lives. Peter wrote, “For if after they have escaped the pollutions of the world through the knowledge of the Lord and Saviour Jesus Christ, they are again entangled therein, and overcome, the latter end is worse with them than the beginning” (2 Peter 2:20). This “pollution” is further described as a dog turning to his own vomit and a sow that was washed turning to the mire (cf. 2 Peter 2:22). Sin does things to the minds of people. Paul wrote, “Unto the pure all things are pure: but unto them that are defiled and unbelieving is nothing pure; but even their mind and conscience is defiled” (Titus 1:15). The filth of pollution is a detestable thing when viewed in physical situations. Such filth in spiritual areas (cf. James 1:21; Col. 3:8) should produce the same attitudes.
- Capturing as Prisoners. Paul wrote to Timothy, “In meekness instructing those that oppose themselves; if God peradventure will give them repentance to the acknowledging of the truth; And that they may recover themselves out of the snare of the devil, who are taken captive by him at his will” (2 Tim. 2:25-26). Peter writes of those captivated by sin in the days of Noah, who preached (cf. 2 Peter 2:5) by the same Holy Spirit, “By which also he went and preached unto the spirits in prison; Which sometime were disobedient, when once the longsuffering of Noah while the ark was a preparing, wherein few, that is, eight souls were saved by water” (1 Peter 3:19-20). The preaching of the gospel foretold by the prophet Isaiah is described as “to proclaim liberty to the captives, and the opening of the prison to them that are bound” (Isa. 61:1). Those incarcerating due to crimes and even POW’s of past conflicts know the horrors of lost freedom. Sin and Satan are cruel enslavers.
- Causing Perilous Losses. Paul prefaces a host of sins listed in 2 Timothy 3 with the words, “This know also, that in the last days perilous times shall come” (2 Tim. 3:1). Sin is a high-risk, high-cost way of living. Corruption and loss litter the landscape of a sad history of the world. Nations fall due to sin (cf. Ps. 9:17; Prov. 14:34). Belshazzar, king of the Chaldeans, learned this lesson the hard way (cf. Daniel 5). Homes suffer due to sinful pride. Haman brought punishment down on himself (cf. Esther 7:10) and on his sons (cf. Esther 9:7-10). Achan became synonymous for a troubler in his sinfulness (cf. Joshua 7:24-26). People do not name their newborn children Judas or Jezebel due to their connection with sinfulness and shame. Sodomy is a heinous term due to the sinfulness of its city namesake. When men see sin like God sees it, abhorring evil arises.