Have you ever done something, and when it was all over, said to yourself, “If I knew that was going to happen, I never would have done it?”
I mean, we all have done something like that, I am sure, at some point in our lives. We have all heard at one time or another the old saying, “If I only knew then what I know now, I would have made a different decision.”
We say these things to ourselves because there are consequences to our decisions and actions, and when the consequences are harmful, we try to make sense of why we did them in the first place; or at least we should. If we knew what the outcome or consequence would actually be prior to the act itself, would we make the same decision?
This is the same thought we should have when it comes to sin in the life of a follower of Jesus Christ. Too many times have I heard from a professing Christian, “Well I am not perfect and I am going to sin,” as if saying this justifies the sin they are committing. But when the consequence of that sin comes, they make excuses as to why they did it in the first place.
You see, while it is true that a true Christian can and does commit sin, it is also true that because of Jesus Christ, Christians have been given the power over sin. In other words, Christians have been given the power not to sin, but because of our pride and selfish desires, we sin. I believe the saddest thing that anyone could ever say is that their sin only affects themselves and no one else, which is a lie from Satan himself.
Let me give you an example. Back in the Garden of Eden, God gave Adam freedom to eat from every tree in the garden except for one. Simple little command, isn’t it? I mean he could eat from any tree there with the exception of the one tree; and God told Adam if he did eat from the one tree, there would be a consequence. Then the serpent comes and tells Adam and Eve that the consequence would not occur and that instead, they would be like God knowing good and evil, and they both gave in to their pride and selfish desires and ate of the forbidden tree.
What happened next has affected all of mankind and even all of creation ever since. You see, God came to Adam and confronted him and Adam continued to sin by blaming Eve and even blaming God for why he did what he did. God then cursed the earth and all of creation and told Adam he would have to work hard to get anything to eat from now on, and God told Eve she would have pain in childbirth. God also cursed the serpent and told him that there would be a “seed” that would crush his head (this is referring to Jesus Christ). The end result: Adam’s sin didn’t just affect him, it affected all of mankind since then and has affected all of creation as well. If you don’t believe me, go ask a farmer how hard he has to work to get the earth to give him a harvest.
If Adam truly knew what the outcome was going to be like, do you think he would have made the same decision? What about true Christians? If we could see the end result of our sin and how it would affect those around us, would we still make the decision to sin anyway?
Well actually, we can see a result of our sin by looking at the cross of Jesus Christ. Sin is such an offense to God that it took God Himself to send His Only Son to bear the penalty for our sins so that we could receive forgiveness for our sins and receive salvation. My sin and your sin affected the Son of God to the point of death.
Shouldn’t this cause us to stop to think and not want to sin? The next time you are about to commit a sin, remember the price that was paid for that sin and ask God for the strength to stand against it and to make a better decision for the sake of Jesus Christ.
The Rev. James Cole is pastor of Sovereign Grace Community Church in Grovetown.