By Leonard Lauriault: QCS Religion Columnist
Ah, the joys of summertime. Recently, I felt an itch on the back of my arm, which I ignored at first because, after all, it was just an itch and I could stand it. But as the little itch continued, I got concerned that a disease-carrying mosquito was biting me. So, I slapped the back of my arm and scratched the itch, thankfully, finding no evidence of a mosquito bite.
The thought of a mosquito reminded me of how Satan entices us with seemingly harmless activities. When we allow him to plight and bite we become subject to the results of the bite, which range from a minor itch to a deadly disease (Romans 6: 23). The itch and the disease are both like sin. As with each successive mosquito bite, ignoring the itch of sin (guilt) becomes easier (Hebrews 3: 12-14). We put up with a little sin now and before long, we’re openly proud of our own sin and even encourage others to sin (Romans 1: 18-32).
Proverbs 23: 29-32 describes the results of indulging sin using alcohol abuse as an example. When we continue to sin without repenting and turning to God, we eventually reach a point from beyond which we cannot return (Genesis 3: 13; James 1: 13-16; Hebrews 6: 4-12). The poison of Satan’s bite so infects our lives with the deceitfulness of sin that our natural defense against the disease no longer functions (1 Timothy 4: 1, 2; Ephesians 4: 18, 19; 2 Thessalonians 2: 9-17). Intoxication by sinful pleasure keeps us from seeing our own moral decline sneak up and bite us on the backside.
Nearly all the great world powers have ceased to exist because of moral decline. As Americans, we cannot legislate morality but we also mustn’t allow the further legalization of immorality because those who don’t learn from history are doomed to repeat it.
Our moral decline has partially happened because we’ve categorized each sin based on how bad we think it is. We must realize that all sin is sin and there’s no little sin in God’s eyes because Jesus had to die for each one (Isaiah 53: 6; Luke 15: 3-7). Murder and sexual immorality are no more or less heinous in that regard than favoritism (or “white” lies, or greed, or envy, or selfish ambition, or not doing the good we know to do, James 2: 8-12; 4: 17; Galatians 5: 19-26; Ephesians 5: 3-7; Hebrews 12: 28).
Even the “morally good” should consider themselves the worst of sinners, remembering that even the worst of sinners can be saved through repentant obedience (Romans 3: 23; 1 Timothy 1: 15-17). Again, Jesus died for every single sin, even the good we could’ve done but didn’t. We need to start calling it like it is. Our “little indiscretions” are nothing less than sin and we’d better start taking antibiotics now to stop the progress of this disease.
Concoctions are available to stop the itch or any infection from insect bites. Cures haven’t been found for many of the diseases spread by mosquitoes yet; but, God has provided the cure for sin (Isaiah 53: 5; Mark 2: 17; Matthew 13: 15; Acts 2: 38, 39). Once we’re inoculated, we continue to be healed by repenting and asking forgiveness whenever we sin (2 Chronicles 7: 14, 15; 1 John 1: 5-9; Galatians 3: 26-4: 7).
As Christians, we need boosters to help prevent recurrence of the disease of sin. Regular church attendance (Acts 20: 7; Hebrews 10: 23-29), daily personal Bible study (Psalm 119: 9-16; 1: 1-6; Matthew 6: 10-13), and constant prayer (1 Thessalonians 5: 16-18; Hebrews 4: 14-16) are necessary to ward off evil similarly to using bug repellant. Rather than flirting with sin, we need to take these precautions so we can tell Satan to “buzz off,” like swatting at a mosquito before it alights to bite (1 Corinthians 10: 1-13; James 4: 7-10; Matthew 4: 1-10).
Mosquitoes and other pesky insects are now active. Your best defense against them is bug repellant. If you’re not already protecting yourself against the disease of sin and moral decline, make a habit of church attendance, Bible study, and prayer. If you haven’t been to the Great Physician to receive his inoculation against sin, make an appointment as soon as possible. House calls are free and the inoculant can be administered by any Christian; thus, even a person like me can make the house call (Matthew 28: 18-20; Acts 10: 1-6; 11: 14). The inoculant is as widely available as water and is effective when received in combination with faith and repentance (Acts 8: 35-38; 22: 16; Mark 16: 15, 16).
Leonard Lauriault is a member of the church of Christ