The dangers of sin. (Doesn’t it seem I say this a lot- yet bear with me!)
Hardly a day goes by where we are not made aware of the destructive nature of sin. Whether it be from the word of God, the news, friendships, or the ramifications we experience for our own sinful acts. When the destructive element of sin surfaces, I find myself wondering how we get ourselves into this mess. Look at the miserable end of king Saul’s life.
Saul was a man mighty in stature and valiant in battle, yet the combination of pride, fear of what others thought about him, and a diminished view of God’s holiness led to dire temporal consequences… his death and the death of his sons. Several of Saul’s sins are readily visible through the Bible. He performed sacrificial duties restricted to the priesthood. He made rash vows compulsively and tattooed God’s name to his sinful actions. He refused to completely obey the word of God. He obsessively hunted and tried to kill David. Ultimately, he consulted with a medium to speak with the dead! As far as sins go, according to the law, a couple of these actions should have resulted in Saul’s public execution and/or removal from the camp of Israel.
So… how did Saul descend into this pattern of cataclysmic rejection of God’s commands? I think the answer is found in God’s description of David, “God has sought a man after his own heart.” (1st Sam. 13:14). I believe the Bible shows us that the sin emitting from king Saul resulted from Saul divorcing himself from the pursuit of God. This is no small concept.
The older theologians (such as Calvin) spoke frequently and deeply about our union with Christ. Union with Christ describes the work of the gospel; that is, the good news is that we are in Christ and Christ is in us because of His substitutionary death and resurrection. It is our union with Christ that produces a massive change within us. This change is known as justification and sanctification. However, when we fail to live into this union, we open ourselves to sins we once thought beyond us. It is vital that we understand that we may still be saved and sin against God—sin does not undo the saving work of Christ, but it does hinder or slow the process of sanctification. The point I wish to make here is not one of soteriology but that of our intimacy with Christ.
Saul illustrates that a break in the pursuit of God results in dramatically appalling sin. In fact, we can see the same thing in David. In fact, we observe this truth in us! Our response emerges easily from this awareness—am I seeking to know the Lord? Am I after His heart, or am I after anything else?
I believe the Scripture demonstrates it is both possible to be saved by Christ and face misery from our sins. However, I believe the Bible also demonstrates it is possible to be saved by Christ and be in a continual state of joy and rejoicing. What makes this possible? The presence of God, not our determination to be “better”.
Let’s close with this question: Are you abiding in the presence of God because you are after His heart?
I hope this encourages you to know and enjoy the Lord!