In 1987, Harper’s Magazine invited seven ad agencies to create a humorous campaign designed to rehabilitate the reputation of the seven deadly sins. The ad for lust pictured two silent film stars in a passionate embrace. The headline read, “Any sin that’s enabled us to survive war, death, pestilence, and famine can’t be called deadly.” The ad’s tagline read, “Lust, where would we be without it?”
The modern view of sin is generally light-hearted. Most people accept sin as a fact of life, so they don’t worry much about it. The Bible’s view is quite different. Scripture portrays sin as a deadly trap. In 1 Corinthians 10:1–13, the apostle Paul points to Israel’s history to show the seriousness of sin. Paul compares Israel’s experiences with Moses to baptism and communion, the two rites of the Christian church. The Israelites were protected by the cloud, passed through the sea, and drank from the rock. But these miraculous things did not shield them from the consequences of their disobedience. Paul soberly warns, “God was not pleased with most of them” (v. 5).
According to the apostle, their severe experience of divine discipline should be taken as a warning. Sin is no light matter. We should not toy with it. The temptations we face are common to all. We can never say nobody else has ever been tempted like us. But, since we are no longer slaves to sin, we do not need to fall into its trap. God will not permit us to be tempted beyond the point of endurance and will always provide a way out (v. 13). Why, then, do we sometimes give in to temptation? Because we choose to do so.
>> Temptations may be an inevitable part of the Christian life, but disobedience is not. One way to deal with temptation is to pause. When temptation strikes, count to ten and remind yourself that you do not have to yield.
Father, we ask that with each temptation we face, we will remember You—and how much better Your eternal promises are than the empty pleasures of sin.