All sin takes its origin from a false view of things. Our first parents, Adam and Eve, would never have sinned had they not been deceived by the tempter. Eve saw that the forbidden fruit was beautiful, and she was persuaded also by the good food, that was pleasant to the taste and nutritious. Here was a deception. This fruit was never intended for nourishment, whatever might have been its flavor. It was intended for trial, and not for food.
Sin is very deceitful, alluring, and trapping. Hebrews 3:13 says that we are to "Exhort one another daily…lest any of you be hardened through the deceitfulness of sin." With many people sin is first despised, then as people become more comfortable with it, sin is tolerated, and then it is embraced.
But why is sin so openly embraced by so many? It is because they have not been properly taught the word of God. People, who become so involved in sin do not want to listen or receive God’s word. As the morality level of this nation declines, the church is also affected and has become more comfortable with sin. As Paul says in 2 Timothy 3:13, "While evil people and imposters will go on from bad to worse, deceiving and being deceived." Satan wants us to become complacent with sin so he can help us to be lost with him in the burning fires of a real Hell.
There seems to be no shame today by those who participate in sin. Jeremiah 6:15 says, "Were they ashamed when they had committed abomination? No, they were not at all ashamed, nor did they know how to blush." The modern world is rapidly casting aside all moral restraints. They want to "call evil good and good evil" (Isaiah 5:20). As our Lord says in Matthew 13:15, "For the hearts of this people have grown dull. Their ears are hard of hearing, and their eyes they have closed." Sin first has its beginning with lust. "Then when lust has conceived, it brings forth sin, and sin when it is finished brings forth death" (James 1:15). This is spiritual death, which is eternal separation from God.
There are no little sins or big sins. In God’s eyes all sin is sin. There is no difference. Homosexuality and adultery (1 Corinthians 6:9-11), murder and lying (Revelation 21:8), or prejudice (James 2:9) are all sins that will cause us to be lost. These, and any other sins which are not forgiven, will cause us to be cast into the lake of fire and brimstone along with Satan and be "tormented day and night forever and ever" (Revelation 20:10). Also, we dare not try to justify anyone in their sin because, "He who justifies the wicked and he who condemns the righteous are both alike an abomination to the Lord" (Proverbs 17:15).
From looking at the first time by which sin entered into the world, we may form some idea of its deceitful nature. This first sin is a sort of example of all other sins. They flow from this as streams from a fountain; they all partake of the poison of their origin. In all sin there is some bait, some apparent good, and some expectation of pleasure or profit from unlawful satisfaction. In all sin the mind is under a deceptive influence. Right thoughts and motives are for the moment forgotten or overdone.
But how do we protect ourselves from sin? We are to "Lay aside every weight and the sin which clings so closely, and let us run with endurance the race that is set before us" (Hebrews 12:1). We must "Abhor that which is evil, cleave to that which is good" (Romans 12:9). We are not to be "conformed to this world, but be transformed by the renewing of your mind" (Romans 12:2). How do we renew our mind to protect ourselves from sin? "Your word have I hidden in my heart, that I might not sin against you" (Psalms 119:11).
And then we must "Be doers of the word, and not hearers only, deceiving yourselves" (James 1:22), because "To him that knows to do good and does not do it to him it is sin" (James 4:17). The terror of the Lord awaits those who because of sin are unprepared to meet Him in the Judgment.
We have a cunning adversary whose craftiness and deceit should not be underestimated. We need to become aware of the devices which he uses to destroy men's souls, instruct men in the dangers which they pose to the soul, and become equipped to resist his assaults. The deceitfulness of sin is one of Satan's tools to destroy men's soul. Let us not be deceived by the devil. Let us take heed and beware of the devil temptations. ~
- Trey Jenkins
When Paul and Barnabas appointed elders in every church, they "prayed with fasting." (Acts 14:23) In 2 Cor 6:4-f, Paul wrote of those who were approved as ministers of God in "patience...labors...fastings..." etc. The King James version has "fasting" in 1 Cor 7:5, saying husband and wife should not stay apart "except it be with consent for a time, that ye may give yourselves to fasting and prayer; and come together again, that Satan tempt you not for your incontinence."
"Fasting" literally means abstinence from food, not eating; but it also has a religious significance, as seen above. There is no evidence that the ceremonial fasting of Judaism is bound upon the church, but we can see that fasting was practiced by early NT Christians. It seems the reference is to time set apart for spiritual matters, probably including the abstinence from food in this context, so that undivided attention might be focused upon eternal rather than upon temporal things. The repeated association of fasting with prayer, both in the Old and New Testament is not without significance. When one takes "time out" to think of God and eternity, what could be more natural than this quiet intimate communication. And conversely, as sincere personal prayer is neglected, fasting would be abandoned.
Some religions have made a mockery of fasting by their "Mardi Gras" (fat Tuesday) -- a day of uninhibited debauchery in preparation (?) for the fast of "Lent". And we suppose there will always be those who "fast to be seen of men." We can only pity such, and pray that our avoidance of such extremes will not be considered valid excuse for doing nothing whatsoever.
Do we fear to be alone with God? Or is it our conscience we dare not face, in quiet meditation? Is this world so important to us that we cannot shut it out, even for an hour of Bible reading and introspection?
Public worship, valid and proper, cannot take the place of private communion with God. "Enter thy closet" (Matt 6:6) "and thy Father which seeth in secret shall reward thee openly." ~