While the term sin has fallen out of use for the most part in our nation, and many of those activities formerly classified as sin are now considered acceptable, it doesn't mean God has changed his mind on what sin is, or how serious the consequences of sin are. The wages of sin is death (Romans 6:23), not just physical death, but spiritual death, eternal condemnation. The Hebrew writer tells us, "For if we sin willfully after that we have received the knowledge of the truth, there remaineth no more a sacrifice for sins, but a certain fearful expectation of judgment, and a fierceness of fire which shall devour the adversaries" (Hebrews 10:26-27).


Sin, then, is serious, and avoiding sin should be a priority for everyone. The Son of God came "that he might destroy the works of the devil" (1 John 3:8). Jesus takes sin seriously, shedding his blood for our forgiveness, and exhorts us to take sin seriously, as well. How seriously should we take sin? Consider Jesus own words on avoiding temptation. "And if thy hand or thy foot causeth thee to stumble, cut it off, and cast it from thee: it is good for thee to enter into life maimed or halt, rather than having two hands or two feet to be cast into the eternal fire. And if thine eye causeth thee to stumble, pluck it out, and cast it from thee: it is good for thee to enter into life with one eye, rather than having two eyes to be cast into the hell of fire" (Matthew 18:8-9).


Typically Jesus' words are described as hyperbole, an exaggeration for the sake of emphasis. While both the eyes and feet can represent the mediums through which sin enters the mind, and by which one goes to engage in sin, it is just as true that Jesus would have us do whatever is necessary to avoid sin, to not be cast into the hell of fire, an eternal fire of punishment. Some would say this is radical action, something Jesus would never seriously consider, but the question is what should one do to avoid being lost forever? Is taking action to avoid sin too radical in view of eternity? Jesus would also tell his disciples, in discussing the sin of sexual immorality, "For there are eunuchs that were so born from their mother's womb: and there are eunuchs that were made eunuchs by men: and there are eunuchs that made themselves eunuchs for the kingdom of heaven's sake. He that is able to receive it, let him receive it" (Matthew 19:12).

Society tells us God is love, and that in his love he will overlook our sins. Certainly God does love us, enough to send his Son to die for us. He is gracious and merciful. His love, grace, and mercy, however, are in Christ (2 Tim. 2:1), and to be in Christ means we live for him, not for self or sin (1 Peter 4:2). Do we take sin as seriously as God and Jesus do? We must if we hope to see eternal life.

Robert Johnson, Longview, TX