Is Sin Really That Big A Deal? Part Two

If you have not read the first part of this two-part blog series, I sincerely suggest you do so before diving into this one. There are some foundational elements included in the first post that help to grasp the totality of what we are talking about in this one. So please, before you read on… go back.

Now that you’re done, let’s move on.

Since we focused on the foundational issue of sin in the last post, let’s now turn our attention more to the ingredients of sin. Maybe a better term might be the logistical process of sin. Remember, sin is a heart problem and not strictly a behavior problem, as we saw last time. The sinful behavior is the logical outcome of the sin being born in the heart. With that being said, let’s take a look at how that process plays out in our lives. Because to be honest, it is a very consistent process.

The most transparent example of the process of sin is found in Joshua 7:1-26. However, a key element in understanding all of this is found in Joshua 6:18-19. In fact, it would be helpful if you stopped now to go read those passages. I’ll wait… 

Done? Good. As you can see, after the fall of Jericho, God told His people not to take any of the treasures from the city for themselves. God ordained that those treasures were consecrated to Him and should be placed in the treasury. Apparently, a man named Achan decided on a different course.

Achan took some of these treasures for himself and hid them… more on that later. However, it would not be long before his sin would cause significant consequences. Funny how that happens. The next city they were to conquer, Ai, seemed to be an easy target. So easy that the Hebrews did not even send the entire army. If mighty Jericho fell, then Ai would be a pushover. Someone forgot to tell the people of Ai. The Hebrews were routed and lost 36 men.

Immediately, the people knew something was very wrong. This was confirmed by God (Joshua 7:11), who stated clearly that someone had taken some of the consecrated treasure from Jericho for themselves. To Achan’s credit, he admitted that it was he who had committed this sin. He showed them the hidden booty. He accepted responsibility for his sin. He also, in one sentence, gave us the entire process of sin. And this process is always the same. It always follows the same path. And it affects every single human being on the planet.

Achan describes the process as this: “I saw”; “I coveted”;  “I took”; “I hid” (Joshua 7:21). Extraordinary, isn’t it? How a process that presents itself so effortlessly causes so much pain and destruction. Because, ultimately, the process of sin is that simple. I saw; I coveted; I took; I hid. That is the lifecycle of sin. This entire process utilizes our heart (I coveted), our eyes (I saw), our hands (I took), and our shame (I hid) to lead us into this horrific construct known as sin. It enters our body via our eyes. It is then born in our hearts as covetousness. It manifests itself in our hands, our body. It leads us to shame and despair. This is how it works every single time.

Want another example of this process? About 350 years separated the events concerning Achan and Israel’s second king, David. We know a great deal about David’s life, but perhaps the event we are most acquainted with concerns David’s sin with Bathsheba. You will find this tragic story in 2 Samuel 11. Once again, it would be extremely helpful for you to stop now and read that chapter. Once again… I’ll wait.

Ok, now that you’ve read it, were you able to pick up on this process we saw with Achan? I hope you did. Let’s break down the process and see if it applies in this case. I saw: David saw Bathsheba bathing on her rooftop (2 Sam. 11:2). I coveted: David inquired after her because he wanted her (2 Sam. 11:3). I took: David had her brought to him in order to carry out his sin (2 Sam. 11:4). I hid: David then panicked and orchestrated a murder to cover up the illicit relationship (2 Sam. 11:14-17). 

Amazing, isn’t it? The universality of this sin process cannot be ignored or downplayed. It is of the utmost importance that we understand how sin works in us and why it works in us. Sin is one of the great equalizers in all of humanity. It detrimentally affects every single person that has ever lived or will ever live. We have got to stop minimizing our sin. Because when we minimize sin, we minimize grace. When God redeemed me, he did not make me a better version of me. He created a whole new me (2 Cor. 5:17). I didn’t need to become a better version of me. I needed to be an entirely different me.

No behavior modification construct could have possibly done that. We have to see our sin for what it is: a destructive, horrific infection designed to rob me of joy and to allow my Adversary to stalk me, as a lion stalks its prey (1 Peter 5:8). If we minimize our sin, then we minimize what Christ did on the Cross. There is no escaping that reality. Jesus died a brutal death. Have you ever thought about why the Father didn’t simply let Jesus die a more peaceful death? I mean, we talk about Jesus dying for our sin. But why didn’t God let Jesus die more simply and less painfully? He let John the Baptist die that way.

John the Baptist was beheaded. I certainly would not want to have to embrace this decision but, if I had the choice in manner of death, I would choose a quick beheading over unfathomable torture and humiliation prior to a prolonged, tortuous 6-hour death. Why was Jesus’ death more horrific? Because He was paying the debt for the most horrific thing ever unleashed on this planet: sin. The appalling nature of sin led to the appalling nature of Jesus’ death. The manner of Jesus’ death illustrates to us that sin really, REALLY is a big deal. Which makes grace an even bigger deal. And that’s the point.

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