I was once alive without the Law; but when the commandment came, sin became alive and I died. And the very commandment which was intended to bring life, actually proved to bring death for me. For sin, seizing its opportunity through the commandment, beguiled and completely deceived me, and using it as a weapon killed me.
At the root of sin is deception. There were set rules in the garden of Eden designed to protect mankind. In order to live as God had designed, Adam and Eve were to exercise their freedom within certain boundaries. Disobeying God in that perfect place could bring nothing good. However, a shrewd serpent tickled Eve’s ears with a lie. God had told Adam that eating from the tree of the knowledge of good and evil would surely bring death. The serpent then told Eve that eating from this tree would bring wisdom and knowledge comparable to that of God’s. This deception that brought sin into the world is the same deception that continues to keep people away from God today. It is the message that tries to convince us that evil is good and that wrong is right.
The deception of sin is cunning, and at its foundation is the ego. This makes sense because the path of goodness puts me last. The goodness of God does not take but gives. It does not hoard for itself but shares generously. Sin appeals to our egos by false flattery and promises that cannot be kept. The only guarantee that sin can make is that it is an illusion. When sin tells me that I deserve vengeance for being wronged, the truth is that vengeance belongs to the Lord. When I take that into my own hands, I am neither honoring myself nor obeying God. When we are tempted by the pleasures of lust, sin fails to mention that those pleasures are in fact damaging and hollow. Sin tries to convince us that bad behavior can somehow build us up when in fact it does nothing but tear us apart. The deception of sin has as its only aim the destruction of mankind.
Looks can be deceiving, and emotions can be fleeting. The scriptures give us much insight into the way that sin operates so that we can see these tactics from a distance. Ultimately, the way that we combat this deception is by resting on God’s truth and following his instructions. When we are faced with a decision, we need only weigh our options against biblical teaching. Let us measure the results of our decisions against the goals of God’s words and actions. Right decisions will lead us to honoring God, giving selflessly, protecting our souls and spirits, seeking to advance God’s kingdom, and pleasing our Lord. Father, give us wisdom to notice and effectively combat the deception of sin, and create in us a desire to rid our lives of it.