In 1 Corinthians 10:6-11, the apostle Paul reminds the new covenant church not to crave evil. Paul recalls Israel’s past sinful cravings which led to idolatry as an example and a warning that those who persist in sin will not inherit the kingdom of God (1 Corinthians 10:5; see also 6:9-10). Yet for some of us, recalling the past is not enough to keep us from sin. The battle with sin can be such an overwhelming struggle at times because we underestimate how sin operates. This is why understanding the nature of sin is so important. If we are to endure temptation and overcome sin, we must understand that sin is deceptive, divisive and destructive.
Sin is deceptive in a variety of ways. Satan deceives us into thinking that what we are doing is not sin (1 Corinthians 10:12). Isn’t this precisely what took place in the Garden of Eden (Genesis 3)? Also, Satan’s schemes are so deceptive that once we are involved in sin, we begin to believe there is no way out, but this is not what the Bible teaches. The Bible teaches that the temptations we face are common to everyone (1 Corinthians 10:13), and because Jesus understands our temptations (Hebrews 4:14-16), we can go to Him for help in our time of need, for God is faithful and provides a way of escape, so we can endure the temptation (1 Corinthians 10:13).
Sin is divisive in that it separates us from God (1 John 1:1) and from each other (1 Corinthians 10:17). The prodigal son in Luke 15 understood that when he sinned, he sinned against God first, then against his father. This is the very perspective we must have. When we choose to sin, we sin against God, disrupting our fellowship with him; we sin against those affected by our sin, hurting them; and we sin against the church, affecting our fellowship with one another.
Sin is destructive. We see everyday how sin destroys people’s lives. Even for believers, after we have experienced the wonderful forgiveness God offers, the consequences of sin still linger. David’s life testifies to this fact (2 Samuel 11-24).
Learning from our past and understanding the nature of sin are helpful defensive strategies against temptation and sin; however, glorifying God in everything (1 Corinthians 10:31) is the most important aspect of Christian living. When our life is consumed by a passion for God’s glory, we will delight in Him and nothing else will do. You see, the Christian life is not about a list of don’ts; it’s about a gift given to us in which we are to delight: Jesus Christ, the beloved Son. When we get to the point in our lives that Christ satisfies our every longing, then the things of this world will loosen their hold on us. This is what brings glory to God. May Christ satisfy us all!