In my preparations for lessons on sin and judgment, I came across this commentary on Ezekiel that quoted what Thomas Guthrie said about sin. These reminders are not to suggest that we all are the worse sinners possible – but to show how low we can go in a life of sin.
“Look now at sin; pluck off that painted mask and turn upon her face the lamp of God’s word. We stagger, it reveals a death’s head . . . It is a debt, a burden, a thief, a sickness, a leprosy, a plague, a poison, a serpent, a sting — everything that man hates. It is a load of curses and calamities beneath whose crushing, intolerable pressure, “the whole creation groans.” Name me the evil that springs not from this root– the crime that lies not at this door. Who is the white-haired grave digger that digs man a grave? Who is the painted temptress that steals his virtue? Who is the murderess that steals his life? Who is the sorceress that first deceives, and then condemns his soul? SIN! Who, with icy breath, blights the fair blossoms of youth? Who breaks the heart of parents? Who brings grey hairs with sorrow to the grave? Who . . . changes sweet children into vipers, tender mothers into monsters, and their fathers into worse than Herods. . . ? SIN! Who casts the apple of discord on household hearths? Who lights the torch of war, and carries it blazing over happy lands? Who by divisions in the church, rends Christ’s seamless robe? SIN! Who is this Delilah that sings the Nazarite to sleep, and delivers up the strength of God into the hands of the uncircumcised? What Siren is this, who, seated on a rock by a deadly pool, smiles to deceive, sings to lure and kisses into perdition? Who petrifies the soft and gentlest heart? Who hurls reason from her lofty throne, and impels sinners, mad as Gadarene swine, down the precipice, into the lake of fire? SIN! Who having brought the criminal to the gallows, persuades him to refuse a pardon and with his own insane hand to bar the door against the messenger of mercy? SIN. Who nailed the Son of God to that bloody tree?
“Oh Sin! You are a hateful and horrible thing; ‘that abominable thing which God hates.’ And what wonder? You have insulted His Holy Majesty; you have bereaved Him of beloved children; you have crucified the Son of His infinite love; you have vexed His gracious Spirit, you have defied His power; you have despised His grace; in the body and blood of Jesus, as a common thing, you have trodden under foot His matchless mercy. Brethren, surely the wonder of wonders is, that sin is not an abominable thing which we also hate.”
“Why do I play with sin and blame God when the world comes falling in around me and I find myself suffocating in the muck? I watched a little girl feed her pet boa constrictor. The snake wasn’t very long (perhaps 30 inches). She had it in an aquarium and put a mouse in there (these snakes live on living prey). The mouse was very nervous about the whole thing. The snake lay on one side of the aquarium with its tongue flicking out every so often. The mouse nervously, and with rapid movement, surveyed the new place. It approached the snake and checked it out from a distance and then left. Back it came some moments later and did the same thing. It wasn’t happy at all about its companion — the snake watched, all “knowing” that time was on its side. Soon the mouse grew less nervous and more self-centered, it began to wash itself and look around with less nervousness, satisfying it’s curiosity. The snake began to move. Ever so slowly. The mouse ran right up to it sniffed at the head of the snake and walked off. The snake began to tower itself in the aquarium and go through all kinds of motions while the mouse watched from a distance. The snake moved closer while the mouse was engaged in its own antics (obviously uninterested in the mouse). The mouse adjusted itself to the presence and movements of the snake and pretty soon the snake towered above the mouse as the mouse busied itself with a bit of head rubbing and foot washing. The snake towered down about eight inches above the mouses head, slowly lower itself and then . . . so quickly that the motion startled me, it grabbed the mouse by the head as it also wound itself around the victim.
“There they both lay with the victim’s head inside the mouth of the snake. Some little struggling (not much) and death silently took place. Then I watched the boa swallow whole what I knew he couldn’t swallow whole. With real patience, slowly but very surely the mouse vanished inside the snake. With one high stretch of the neck and what appeared to be a bit of triumph in the eye of the snake, the tail of the victim vanished.
I thought of the mouse’s early nervousness; its becoming accustomed to the company; the patience of the serpent, the naivete of the mouse; the cunning of the serpent; the speed of the actual entrapment; the serpent’s ability to do what I didn’t think he could do and the utter doom of the victim Do I need to tell you I thought of you and me and the Devil? WHY DO I PLAY WITH SIN? WHY DO I DABBLE IN SIN?”
P 238 of A commentary on Ezekiel
WRONG IS WRONG
We are in a time of sagging morals, and Satan is providing rationalizations for improper behavior. Those who would live faithful Christian lives must not be “ignorant of his devices.” (2 Corinthians 2:11). Wrong is wrong despite our efforts to excuse our actions.
WRONG IS WRONG, EVEN IF YOU DON’T GET CAUGHT. From little things like littering the highways and breaking the speed limits to “more serious offences” such as adultery and stealing, our society seems to think the only wrong is getting caught. It is just not so. “The eyes of the Lord are in every place beholding the evil and the good” (Proverbs 15:3).
WRONG IS WRONG, EVEN IF I DO IT FOR A GOOD CAUSE! The honorable purpose does not justify a dishonorable deed. Many who would not think of gambling have no resistance to buying a raffle ticket or playing bingo if the proceeds go to a “good cause.” Stealing is stealing even if it is done by a mother to feed her children who have been neglected and abandoned by their father.
WRONG IS WRONG, EVEN IF OTHERS DO WORSE THINGS. It will be of little comfort to you in the judgment, if you should be lost knowing that others you know did things which you considered to be worse than your sins.
WRONG IS WRONG, EVEN IF IT DOESN’T BOTHER YOUR CONSCIENCE. Conscience can be trained to accept wrong-doing but sin is a transgression of God’s law (1 John 3:4) and whoever transgresses God’s law has sinned, even if his conscience does approve.
WRONG IS WRONG, EVEN IF IT IS COMMONLY CONSIDERED ALL RIGHT. You shall not follow a multitude to do evil (Exodus 33:2). Christians should “Enter not into the path of the wicked, and go not in the way of evil men. Avoid it, pass not by it, turn from it . . . “ Abstain from every appearance of evil.” (1 Thessalonians 4:21-22).