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Can People Get Away With Sin?

Doesn’t it sometimes seem that certain people never face consequences for their sin? Perhaps you know folks whose ungodly choices have caused them great trouble and suffering, yet there are also those who are prosperous and apparently happy despite their sinful lifestyle. Like the writer of today’s psalm, have you wondered why it looks as if some people get away with wrongdoing? Why doesn’t God intervene?

There are certain things we’ll never understand, because the Lord’s knowledge is higher than ours. But we do know God’s character—He is slow to anger, longsuffering, and patient. We also know He will by no means leave the guilty unpunished (Num. 14:18). The consequences for sin are rarely immediate or visible, but they will come—if not now, then in eternity. 1 Timothy 5:24 says, “The sins of some people are quite evident, going before them to judgment; for others, their sins follow after.”

The only way to be rescued from righteous divine judgment is to run to the Judge for refuge—something no criminal would ever do in a human court. God’s judgment for your sins has been poured out on the Savior, who took the punishment in your place. If you will by faith trust in Jesus Christ and His sacrifice on your behalf, you can be declared “not guilty.”

How can you know God?

It all starts with accepting Jesus Christ as your Lord and Savior. Jesus Christ provides a relationship with the Father and eternal life through His death on the cross and resurrection, see Romans. 5:10.

Romans. 10:9 promises, "If you confess with your mouth Jesus as Lord, and believe in your heart that God raised Him from the dead, you will be saved." If you have not yet begun your personal relationship with God, understand that the One who created you loves you no matter who you are or what you’ve done. He wants you to experience the profound depth of His care.

Therefore, tell God that you are willing to trust Him for salvation. You can tell Him in your own words or use this simple prayer:

Lord Jesus, I ask You to forgive my sins and save me from eternal separation from God. By faith, I accept Your work and death on the cross as sufficient payment for my sins. Thank You for providing the way for me to know You and to have a relationship with my heavenly Father. Through faith in You, I have eternal life. Thank You also for hearing my prayers and loving me unconditionally. Please give me the strength, wisdom, and determination to walk in the center of Your will. In Jesus’ name, amen.

If you have just prayed this prayer, congratulations!

You have received Christ as your Savior and have made the best decision you will ever make—one that will change your life forever!

The Corrupting Influence of Sin

It can be sobering to think about life as a field of our own planting, and what’s in our field is determined by the type of seed we have chosen to sow. What if we selected the wrong “seed” but don’t realize it until years later, when we’re standing in a field filled with mature “plants” that are causing us pain and difficulty?

In this agricultural analogy of sowing and reaping, there are only two types of seeds—those that originate from our sinful desires and those that originate from the Spirit. The first kind of seed produces sin and corrupts our character, but the second kind produces Christlike qualities associated with eternal life.

Sowing and reaping is a principle we cannot change; it’s a reality of how our world works. The attitudes and actions we sow now will produce more of the same later, so what will we choose to plant? If we let sinful qualities take root, they will in time characterize our whole life (Gal. 5:19-21). The good news is that we can always change seeds. If we want a life that others see as a godly harvest, then we must plant the Spirit’s seeds and lean on Him to cultivate His fruit (Gal. 5:22-23).

Don’t Fall for Satan’s Lies

We’ve all occasionally fallen for a lie, whether it was something as trivial as false advertising or as serious as a scam that emptied a bank account. Whatever the trickery was, it can be traced back to the Father of Lies—Satan (John 8:44). And his most devastating deceptions are those that lead us into sin. This is why it’s vital to understand the devil’s pattern of deceit, which goes all the way back to the garden of Eden.

Satan’s first move was to entice Eve to doubt God’s Word, and his strategy was to ask, by means of the snake, “Has God really said … ?” (Gen. 3:1). People have been falling for this deception ever since. When they hear one of God’s clear commands, they rationalize that it’s not really what He meant or it doesn’t apply in their case.

Next, the devil directly contradicted God’s Word and impugned His character by denying that Eve would suffer any consequences for sin. Instead, the enemy promised her some amazing benefits if she’d eat the fruit. And this, too, is how he operates today.

When temptation comes, don’t believe Satan’s lies. Sin always has repercussions. Therefore, ask yourself if the temporary gratification of a wrong choice is worth suffering the consequences that are sure to follow.

Developing Faith Through Adversity

Paul spent years serving Christ, yet he experienced continual suffering. It doesn’t seem fair, does it? Why would God let him go through so much pain? It’s a question many of us ask today about ourselves. We think the Lord should protect us from hardships, but He doesn’t always do so.

Maybe our reasoning is backward. We think faithful Christians don’t deserve to suffer, but from God’s perspective, suffering is part of being a Christian. If we all had lives of ease without pain, we’d never really know God, because we would never need Him. Like it or not, adversity teaches us things that simply reading the Bible never will.

I’m not saying we don’t need to know Scripture; that’s our foundation for faith. But if what we believe is never tested, it remains head knowledge. How will we ever know the Lord can be trusted in the midst of trouble if we’ve never experienced hardships? God gives us opportunities to apply scriptural truths to the difficulties facing us, and in the process, we find Him faithful.

Trials can be a means of building faith or an avenue to discouragement and self-pity—it’s up to you. But if you’ll apply God’s Word to your situation, your trust in Him and your faith will be strengthened through adversity.

Because He Came, We Must Go

It’s a growing trend among businesses and organizations to compose a mission statement in order to keep focused on what matters most. But the idea isn’t new—we can see that Jesus had a clear focus on the mission His Father gave Him. At the age of 12, He was able to identify His purpose by telling His parents that He had to be in His Father’s house (Luke 2:49).

Do you have a clear understanding of what God’s mission is for you? The Great Commission’s global mandate is so vast that we sometimes lose sight of how to implement it locally. People are saved one at a time whether at home or abroad, and God uses ordinary Christians as His messengers of the gospel.

We shouldn’t neglect the opportunities God provides in our own neighborhoods and workplaces. Ina D. Ogdon’s old hymn “Brighten the Corner Where You Are” reminds us of this truth:
Do not wait until some deed of greatness you may do;
Do not wait to shed your light afar.
To the many duties ever near you now be true.
Brighten the corner where you are.

@Keith posted:

Don’t Fall for Satan’s Lies

We’ve all occasionally fallen for a lie, whether it was something as trivial as false advertising or as serious as a scam that emptied a bank account. Whatever the trickery was, it can be traced back to the Father of Lies—Satan (John 8:44). And his most devastating deceptions are those that lead us into sin. This is why it’s vital to understand the devil’s pattern of deceit, which goes all the way back to the garden of Eden.

Satan’s first move was to entice Eve to doubt God’s Word, and his strategy was to ask, by means of the snake, “Has God really said … ?” (Gen. 3:1). People have been falling for this deception ever since. When they hear one of God’s clear commands, they rationalize that it’s not really what He meant or it doesn’t apply in their case.

Next, the devil directly contradicted God’s Word and impugned His character by denying that Eve would suffer any consequences for sin. Instead, the enemy promised her some amazing benefits if she’d eat the fruit. And this, too, is how he operates today.

When temptation comes, don’t believe Satan’s lies. Sin always has repercussions. Therefore, ask yourself if the temporary gratification of a wrong choice is worth suffering the consequences that are sure to follow.

brother keith, donald trump is satan. glad he's no longer president. look how he set up his flock of white thugs to storm the capitol

The Slow Process of Erosion

When you hear the word erosion, what comes to mind? Most likely, you think about how land or rocks wear away over an extended period of time. In the same manner, erosion in our spiritual lives tends to happen subtly over the course of months or years.

What causes this spiritual stagnation and deterioration? The answer is often conformity to the world’s methods and values, plus compromise with sin. The process of erosion begins in the mind when we let our thoughts, attitudes, and desires be shaped by culture. Before long, we begin to conform to the godless and sinful behavior around us.

Is your spiritual life where you want it to be? Has it been gradually weakened by the pressures of the world? Are you letting social media, other people’s opinions, and the culture shape your reasoning, desires, and ambitions? If so, the way to counteract the erosion is to turn back to the Lord in obedience and let Scripture renew your mind with His truth. As you learn to see life from God’s perspective, your desires and behaviors will conform to His perfect will.

The Danger of Spiritual Erosion

When the Israelites demanded a royal leader just like all the other nations, God gave them King Saul. He was exactly what the nation wanted—an impressive man who stood head and shoulders above the rest. Saul probably started out with good intentions, but before long he veered off course, and his character began to erode because of his disobedience to God.

Saul’s downhill slide began with rationalizing and excusing his rebellious actions (1 Sam. 13:6-14). Then he picked which parts of God’s commands to obey and which to neglect (1 Sam. 15:10-23). He claimed he’d obeyed fully, but after being confronted, he shifted the blame to his army. Eventually he became consumed with jealousy, rage, and fear, which led to many foolish decisions. Saul’s life stands as an example of what happens when sin creeps in and begins the destructive process of corruption.

Spiritual erosion is dangerous because it occurs so slowly that we’re often unaware anything is happening inside us. Don’t wait until nearing the end of your earthly existence before looking for evidence of erosion. Check your heart regularly to be sure your soul is clean from the nagging, destructive presence of sin.

@Irfon Ali posted:

brother keith, donald trump is satan. glad he's no longer president. look how he set up his flock of white thugs to storm the capitol

I would say he's wicked but maybe not in the same category of Joseph Stalin, Adolf Hitler and Osama bin Laden.

When we say someone is satan, we are not saying that individual is the devil himself but he/she acts like the devil.

@Keith posted:

I would say he's wicked but maybe not in the same category of Joseph Stalin, Adolf Hitler and Osama bin Laden.

When we say someone is satan, we are not saying that individual is the devil himself but he/she acts like the devil.

trump is a great admirer of hitler, probably related too. he did many dumb and devilish acts, e.g. broadcasting that people should drink bleach, which some people did and died

The Believer’s Highest Honor

A tremendous contrast exists between what the Word teaches and what the world promotes. Our culture values power, leadership, and ambition, but for the Christian, serving God is our highest honor.

Sometimes people mistakenly think that only those involved in official church work are God’s servants, but every believer is called to serve the Lord. He places us in situations, vocations, and neighborhoods where we can have an impact for Christ. Think about the stay-at-home mom who raises godly children or a bedridden man who prays regularly for his church family. Though neither responsibility involves worldly power or recognition, both serve the Lord, and He is pleased by such faithfulness.

There are no unimportant positions in the kingdom of God. The type of service may change with seasons of life, but we’re always on duty for Him. To accomplish His purposes, the Lord uses whatever skills and gifts we have.

What an awesome privilege it is to be part of God’s work on earth. He doesn’t need our help, but He has chosen to incorporate our contributions into His master plan. Though we can do nothing without His enablement, He is honored by our service.

An Example of Service

When Jesus came to earth as the Jewish Messiah, He wasn’t what His nation expected. They were looking for a powerful king who’d liberate them from the Romans. While He could have banished the Roman presence from the region, that was not the mission His Father gave Him. Rather, “the Son of Man did not come to be served, but to serve, and to give His life as a ransom for many” (Matt. 20:28).

Jesus left the glories of heaven and humbled Himself to take on the status of a bondservant—which was at the time a permanent, unpaid slave and the ultimate demonstration of servitude. The Son of God came into the world, willing to do whatever His Father commanded. And that included dying on a cross for undeserving sinners like you and me.

A servant isn’t independent or self-centered but is instead focused on doing whatever his or her master says. That’s our calling as we follow in Christ’s footsteps of selfless service. Are you willing to accept this humble position? The culture may think you’re weak and foolish, but by serving others without grumbling, you prove yourself to be a child of God and a powerful light in a dark world.

Was Jesus Christ Really God?

Some people say they’re Christians but don’t acknowledge the divinity of Christ. They think He was simply a good teacher, healer, philosopher, or social reformer. I want to be crystal clear on this matter: You can believe all of these wonderful things about Jesus and even laud Him as a prophet sent by almighty God. But if you do not accept that Jesus Christ is God the Son and that He died for your sins, then you do not actually know Him.

It’s true Jesus was fully human, but the wonderful, supernatural mystery is that He was also fully divine. And believing this is absolutely essential to the understanding of how we are saved.

Now, you may have heard people falsely argue that Jesus never actually claimed to be God. Yet time and again in the Gospels, Jesus places Himself on equal footing with the Father (John 10:30; John 14:6-14). In fact, if Jesus was not truly God’s Son, then as C. S. Lewis observed, He was either a lunatic or the world’s most detestable liar. Don’t spend one more day believing Jesus is anything less than the Son of God. Your eternal salvation depends on it.

More Than a Savior

Who is this Jesus? It’s a question that has been asked by countless individuals for more than two millennia. And, to be sure, it is the most important question that can ever be asked and answered. After all, it’s how we begin our journey toward salvation.

So it’s essential to answer that question by saying Jesus is indeed our Savior. But He is also more—Scripture refers to Him as “the image of the invisible God” (Col. 1:15). No one has ever looked upon the face of the Almighty. In the Old Testament, some people found themselves in His presence, but they were never able to look fully upon His glory. However, when the Son came down from heaven, veiled in human flesh, He bridged the gap between the Father’s perfect holiness and mankind’s sinful condition. That’s why Jesus could say, “The one who has seen Me has seen the Father” (John 14:9).

The way we come to know the Father is by knowing the Son, who is the only full expression and explanation of God. Everyone who through faith trusts Jesus as Savior receives forgiveness of sins and Christ’s imputed righteousness. What’s more, believers are given divine insight into God the Father as well.

Spiritual Growth

The Holy Spirit’s presence is essential for the Christian life. Despite our best efforts, we have no ability to produce Christlike character on our own. Although we’ve been declared righteous through faith in Jesus, we still succumb to sin, pressures of the world, and the deceptions and temptations of the devil.

Thankfully, we have a resource that is greater than any hindrance—God’s omnipotent, indwelling Spirit. He continually works to transform us into Christ’s image by giving us holy desires and ambitions, making us sensitive to His leading, and empowering our obedience and service. When we’re submissive to the Spirit, we grow in our faith and resemble Jesus more and more.

However, this doesn’t mean that we play no part in the process. The practical truth is that we must exercise obedient attitudes even if we’re feeling otherwise. These include loving the unlovable, choosing joy instead of grumbling, being kind when we’d rather respond with harshness, and practicing patience despite frustration or anger. And the great mystery is that when we rely on the Spirit, our heart changes—love takes root, joy fills our heart, kindness feels right, and patience produces a peaceful spirit.

From Alienation to Reconciliation

One of the hardest truths for many nonbelievers to accept is that they’re enemies of God. Even though they aren’t close to the Lord, they still consider themselves good people. Surely, they think, I haven’t done anything bad enough to make myself His enemy. But the truth is, everyone begins life alienated from God because all mankind is born into sin (Psalm 51:5; Rom. 5:12).

To be saved, a person must first understand that the gap between perfect God and sinful man is vast. Human beings like comparing themselves with others to illustrate how good they are, but the standard for goodness isn’t other people; it’s a holy, perfect God. The only way to reach Him is through faith in His Son for forgiveness and reconciliation (John 14:6).  Whoever rejects Christ’s offer of salvation simply cannot spend eternity with God.

Only the cross of Christ spans the gulf between alienation and reconciliation. Jesus took our sins upon Himself and underwent the punishment we deserved. Now any person who trusts in the Savior’s substitutionary atonement can enter into a new life of communion with God.

The Answer for Discouragement

Situations in life sometimes cause us to lose hope. Occasional discouragement is normal because it’s part of living in a fallen world. The more important issue is how we respond. As believers, it’s possible for us to experience joy and peace even when our expectations aren’t met.

Following the example in today’s reading, begin by looking upward and telling the Lord that you are in despair. Ask Him to help you place your focus on Him instead of your circumstances. Recognize that it’s not just a situational problem but a spiritual issue as well. Get into God’s Word to discover what He wants to do in your life through the disappointment and pain. Notice how He used hardships in the lives of biblical characters like Joseph and David. Then remember His past faithfulness to you.

You may hurt for a season, but you don’t have to be overwhelmed to the point of giving up. As a Christian, you can take refuge in your all-powerful, all-wise, loving heavenly Father. Recall how He has worked in previous times of discouragement, and rest assured that this situation will be another faithfulness story to add to your collection.

The Value of Our Adversities

Are you wasting your troubles? Anytime God allows trials in your life, He has a purpose for them. We often won’t know His specific aim at the time; nevertheless, we should squeeze out every possible ounce of spiritual growth instead of falling into despair and discouragement. With a shift in perspective, the trial that looks as if it might destroy you could become an instrument of blessing.

The most natural response to adversity is to plead with the Lord to remove it. If that doesn’t work, we might be tempted to look for our own way out or blame whoever caused the problem. But no matter where affliction originates, by the time it reaches you, it’s been shaped according to the Father’s good purposes. The question is, Will you cooperate with Him or resist? When you let adversity do its work in you, it becomes an opportunity for growth.

Although we can’t see all the specifics of God’s plan, we know His goal is to use our hardship for good. So we are wise to let it mature us in the meantime. Even though the experience is painful, rest in the Father’s comforting arms, and trust that it’s all for a greater purpose.

Self-Inflicted Adversity

The difficulties we face originate from one of three sources. Some are allowed by the Lord to develop our faith, others are the result of Satan’s attacks, and still others could be due to our own sinful choices.

As you consider these three causes, which type is the hardest for you to bear? I think most of us would say the last one because we have nobody to blame but ourselves, and it seems as if no good could possibly result. Since Galatians 6:7 says we reap what we have sown, we see nothing ahead except a painful harvest.

But this kind of thinking fails to take into account the Lord’s redemptive abilities. He can use our failures to teach us valuable lessons—to fear Him, hate evil, and walk in obedience. What we learn can also become our protection from sin in the future, so in the end even our own mistakes are not wasted.

As painful as your situation may be, the heavenly Father deserves thanks for caring enough to discipline lovingly. Now it’s up to you. How will you respond to His warning? When we learn from experience, the scars of sin can lead us to restoration and a renewed intimacy with God.

Our Firm Foundation

At certain moments throughout history, God literally shook the earth. The ground quaked as His Son died on the cross (Matt. 27:51), and there will be an even greater upheaval in the future when Christ returns (Zech. 14:4).

But even in our present day, the Lord often lets the various foundations of our world shake—whether political alliances, financial systems, or other forms of human security. That’s when we can see the flimsiness of the institutions on which we’ve based our hopes. Not to mention that our personal lives can also be rocked by financial crises, relational conflicts, illness, or loss. If we’ve relied on the fragile footing of human wisdom, achievement, or pride, things may look good for a while, but a weak foundation cannot withstand the storms of life.

The believer, however, can have peace even in the midst of instability. That’s because we know God always has a purpose for the upheavals He allows to occur. Hardships have a way of shaking us out of our apathy and self-centeredness, and they serve as reminders not to trust in ourselves or the temporary institutions of this world. There is only one secure foundation: a genuine, saving relationship with Jesus Christ, which will carry us through any and all turmoil.

Developing Patience

On any given day, we may encounter frustrating people and situations, such as a mischievous child, uncooperative coworker, or slow commute. We might feel like lashing out, but God wants us to stay calm and be patient with everyone (1 Thess. 5:14). Scripture has a number of things to say about believers developing this important attribute.

First, it is our calling. God urges us to be tolerant, kind, and bear each other’s burdens (Eph. 4:1-3). Second, the Lord has set an example for us: He demonstrated patience toward Peter’s actions, the crowd’s demands, and the leaders’ false accusations. We should aspire to such composure. And third, we should recognize how damaging impatience is. It can hurt others and close off dialogue. Responding calmly gives people room to confess wrongdoing, explain their attitude, and make changes.

Patience is part of the spiritual fruit that increasingly develops as we’re conformed to Christ’s image (Gal. 5:22-23). When we rely on the Holy Spirit, He empowers us to wade through moments of waiting and provocation—without becoming agitated. A calm demeanor in times of delay or adversity can be a powerful witness to the transforming work of God.

Becoming a Patient Person

Continuing our discussion on patience, we can learn a lot about the topic from the story of Paul’s trial. Instead of letting his accusers stir him up, the apostle patiently went through the legal process. He refrained from attacking the opposition or decrying the injustice of the charges. And eventually Paul’s peaceful manner won favor with the governor and earned him a hearing for the gospel (Acts 25:24-25).

We need the Lord’s help to grow in patience like Paul. This will involve our …

Thoughts. We should try to shift our attention away from circumstances and onto our heavenly Father. His Spirit will help us gain the right perspective.

Emotions. When we notice negative feelings, it’s good to pause and ask the Holy Spirit to guide our reactions. Then we can request that He empower us to respond in a godly manner.

Speech. Pray for self-control over your tongue. A timely word can defuse a situation (Prov. 15:18).

The Lord will answer our prayers and provide what we need, just as He did for Paul when the apostle faced Festus and King Agrippa. Despite the injustice of those situations, Paul remained unprovoked. Imagine what God will do through you as you grow in the virtue of patience.

God’s Loving Outreach

The Lord’s encounter with the Samaritan woman is a wonderful example of His loving response to hurting individuals. Although this meeting may have appeared accidental, it was really a providential appointment with the Messiah.  

As the woman approached the well, Jesus initiated conversation by asking for a drink of water. Since Jews and Samaritans didn’t fraternize with one another, His direct approach surprised her. But it opened the door for dialogue.

Throughout the exchange, Jesus wanted to help the woman recognize her greatest need so He could meet it: salvation. It seems she’d been looking in the wrong places for love and acceptance, but now Christ was offering her the living water of the Holy Spirit—the only thing that would quench her spiritual thirst.

Like the Samaritan woman, we can at times be so intent on getting our immediate needs met that we fail to see God’s hand reaching out in love, offering true satisfaction. The world makes all kinds of promises about love, acceptance, and self-worth, but they never last. Only Jesus can fill our empty souls for eternity. So when your well runs dry, look for Christ and let Him quench your thirst with His Spirit.

Dead Men Walking

Zombie movies are science fiction, but did you know that, spiritually speaking, there actually are dead men and women walking around on earth? They look like everyone else, but deep down inside, their spirit is dead. Truth be known, everyone begins life as a spiritual “zombie.”

Human beings are composed of a body by which they interact with the world around them, a soul with which they relate to themselves and others, and a spirit through which they can commune with God. If the spirit is dead in “trespasses and sins,” the person may still lead a successful earthly life, but he won’t be able to connect with God or make himself acceptable in the Lord’s sight. In that way, the dead can do nothing.

It’s easy to imagine how this is true of someone who has given himself fully to debasing sin. But sadly, there are many moral church-going folks who are spiritually dead even though they are externally religious. However, the good news is that no one has to stay dead. Whenever anyone turns from sin and trusts in Jesus Christ for forgiveness and salvation, God in His mercy makes that person alive with Christ.

And the change is permanent. In John 5:24, Jesus Himself says, “Truly, truly, I say to you, the one who hears My word, and believes Him who sent Me, has eternal life, and does not come into judgment, but has passed out of death into life.”

The Blessing of Grace

Why did God save you? Was it because of His love for you, His mercy for your helpless condition, His desire to rescue you from hell, or His providential choice? All of these answers—along with many others—are correct. But do you know what God’s ultimate reason for salvation is?

According to today’s passage, He saved us “so that in the ages to come He might show the boundless riches of His grace in kindness toward us in Christ Jesus” (Eph. 2:7). We are not the shining stars of salvation; God is. He saved us in order to display His grace, which is His undeserved favor toward us.

God didn’t bestow grace on us at the moment of salvation, only to leave us on our own to live the Christian life as best we can. No, He lavishes it on us every day of our life. Through Scripture, His grace instructs us how to live righteously in this present age, and it empowers us to deny ungodliness and worldly desires (Titus 2:11-12).

Once God extends His favor to us through Christ, He will never take it away. We are saved by grace, we live in grace, and we will be recipients of it throughout eternity.

Run With Endurance

Athletic contests were popular in New Testament times, so it makes sense that the writer of Hebrews likened the Christian life to a race. Following Christ isn’t a short sprint but a marathon with many obstacles, hardships, and unexpected turns.

To encourage us on the course we’re running, God has given us a “great cloud of witnesses” (Heb. 12:1). These are saints from the past who faithfully walked with Him through all the trials and challenges of life (Heb. 11:4-38). Their examples inspire us to trust the Lord and obey Him no matter how difficult and confusing the hurdles in our path may be.

We are also urged us to “rid ourselves of every obstacle and the sin which so easily entangles us” (Heb. 12:1). If we’re going to be sustained throughout the race, we must honestly examine our life for anything that might prevent us from knowing the Lord and following Him. It could be habitual sin, an idol, worldly distractions, or false teaching that we’ve accepted as true.

And, of course, we need to fix our eyes on Jesus, the ultimate example of faithful endurance: He suffered for us on the cross so that we could be with Him forever.