[forthright] Have You Thought Enough About Sinning?

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From: Forthright Magazine <forthright@...>
Date: Thu, 23 Feb 2006 17:18:57 -0600
Forthright Magazine
Straight to the Cross

Where will you go this year? Why not
"Straight to the Cross"?

COLUMN: Fidelity

Have You Thought Enough About Sinning?
by Mike Benson

I listened to her sob over the phone, "This isn't
supposed to be happening to me -— I'm a Christian
wife and mother...!" The very sound of her voice
made my heart feel like lead. For months she had
been involved in an affair with a man she had met
at work. A friendly chat had evolved into dinner,
then intimacy. Now her adultery had been exposed.
She was pregnant with her lover's baby and could
no longer hide her burgeoning figure. Everybody
knew -- her non-Christian friends at work, her
family, her church family, her husband, and her
God. She lamented her behavior and wanted ever-so-
desperately to turn back the clock —- to undo her
illicit deeds. Then too, she worried about how her
future would unveil. "Where will I live?" she
asked. "Who will take care of me and the baby?"
"What about my other children?"

I wanted to say some magic words. I wanted to
alleviate her grief and mend her broken heart.
Most of all, I wanted to see her restored to the
Lord and her marriage repaired. My last wish
wasn't possible. Having severed her sacred trust
with her husband, he had filed for divorce. In a
few days the legal work would be completed and
their eleven-year bond would be dissolved in a
court of law.

I didn't say it to her on the phone, but I
couldn't help ponder later, "She should have
thought more about sin." That's right! She should
have thought MORE, not less, about sin. Often
times we get ourselves into trouble because we
don't think enough about sin and its consequences.
Jesus said, "... It is more profitable for you
that one of your members perish, than for your
whole body to be cast into hell" (Matthew 5:29b.)
Hell. Wages (cf. Romans 6:23; Numbers 32:23;
Galatians 6:7,8.) Consequences. Satan doesn't want
us to think about consequences -— only the
momentary gratification and pleasure. If he can
divert our attention away from the results, we
will falter and sell our soul for a "mess of
pottage" (cf. Genesis 27).

I have a new-found appreciation for the words of
the Hebrew writer: "By faith 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" (Hebrews 11:24,25 NKJV). Moses
thought about sin. He considered the eternal
dimensions of staying in Egypt and sharing in the
sensual pursuits of his peers.

"What faced [Moses] was a crisis decision: whether
to remain in the eyes of men 'the son of Pharaoh's
daughter,' or to throw in his lot with the
despised people of God. He could not be both an
Egyptian and an Israelite. On one hand was all the
splendor of Egypt, with its rare treasures and its
magnificent heritage; to be in Pharaoh's palaces
and to possess perhaps even the throne, to be in a
position of power and in a place of privilege and
refinement -— all the things (the author describes
them as the fleeting pleasures of sin) an ancient
empire could offer. On the other hand were
poverty, contempt, and affliction; for Israel at
this time was a nation of slaves, groaning under
its heavy load, with broken spirits and vanished
hopes, hemmed in inexorably to daily abuse. Yet
Moses, by faith, recognized these to be the people
of God. He deliberately chose to travel with them
the dangerous way rather than to continue in ease.
He saw, by faith, that to continue in ease would
be sin and further, that the pleasures of sin give
no lasting satisfaction ..." (Neil Lightfoot, "The
Faith of Moses," Jesus Christ Today, 215-216).

"Bred in a palace, he espoused the cause of the
people; nursed in the lap of luxury, he embraced
adversity; reared in the school of despots, he
became the champion of liberty; long associated
with oppressors, he took the side of the
oppressed; educated as her son, he forfeited the
favor of a princess to maintain the rights of the
poor; with a crown in prospect, he had the
magnanimity to choose a cross; and for the sake of
his God and Israel, he abandoned ease, refinement,
luxuries, and the highest earthly honors, to be a
houseless wanderer" (Quoted anonymously in Arno C.
Gaebelein, Moses -- His First and Second Coming,

Like Moses, we need to think more about sin and
what happens if, or when, we yield to our desires:

"A brief, lustful look could lead to an affair."
"A simple wink could wreak my marriage."
"Moral compromise would invalidate my example."
"A single click of the mouse could lead to a wrong relationship."
"A short-term thrill would devastate my family."
"An affair will jeopardize my salvation."
"The fleeting excitement of passion will rob me of inner peace."

Dear Christian, have you thought enough about
sinning? "... But fornicators and adulterers God
will judge"(Hebrews 13:4b; cf. Revelation 21:8).

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