Sin seeks to use what is good in order to deceive and to destroy all that it can in the process. We see this tactic first employed in the biblical account of the fall of mankind. In Genesis 3:1 the serpent asks Eve, “Did God actually say, ‘You shall not eat of any tree in the garden’?” One of Satan’s main tactics is to parse the commands of God and present us with potential loopholes. We often accept his offer, forsaking the simplicity of God’s commands for convenient complications.
Where Compromise Leads
Through their compromise, Adam and Eve really did become more like God, but not in a desirable way. Consider this: up to that point they knew only good; now they would know evil as well. God already knew what evil was but mankind did not yet have knowledge of it. This knowledge of evil was obtained by participating in evil, which had both immediate and massive downstream consequences. Death was now a possibility and mankind was on track to experience that as well.
Participation in sin does expand our knowledge and awareness, but it makes us aware of realities we consequently wish we’d never known. Once we know these things, we cannot un-know them. And yet in the foolishness of our human pride, we still fall for the same gambit over and over. We compromise repeatedly as our flesh seizes the opportunity and our minds rationalize the sins we commit. Presented with a convenient mistruth, we are willingly led down a path of compromise.
Sin is Aggressive
In the next chapter of Genesis (4:7) it says that “sin is crouching at the door…” I find this insight into the nature of sin to be helpful. Sin is not only what we seek to do that is contrary to God’s commands, it is also what waits to surprise and tempt and attack us. Sin is an aggressor in addition to being a passive availability.
Sin sees that we are humble and tempts us to be proud of our humility.
Sin sees that we are compassionate and seeks to lead us to approve of the sins of others.
Sin sees that we are patient and encourages us to tolerate evil.
Sin sees that we are obedient and seeks to lead us into bondage to those who would do us harm.
On any evidence of the fruit of the Spirit, sin takes notice and seeks to distort and destroy.
This should cause us to live with greater awareness, not more fear. And this is why we must live in continual repentance and confess our sins often – to God but to each other as well, as we are commanded to do in scripture. The heart indeed is desperately wicked, and we will need far more than pep talks and self-help books to live lives that are pleasing to God.
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