Sin is not always easy to identify when you see it. It doesn’t wear a label saying it is a sin. It often doesn’t look like a sin. It can easily get confused with good. That is why it looks so tempting. We need to know how sin works so we can identify it and defend ourselves against it.

Sin began with the devil. That is true of all sin. It begins with the devil. The devil is a fallen angel. He was created as a holy angel but he along with others rebelled against God.

The devil uses lies and deceit. He wants to mislead us away from God. The purpose of all temptation and sin is to drive us away from God, to keep us from serving God, to keep us from having the blessings which God has prepared for us.

Many people often mistakenly think that a sinful action is just a “mistake.” Maybe it is even something to laugh about but certainly not take seriously. After all, no one is perfect and you are entitled to some “mistakes.”

Sin is more than a mistake. It is anything that goes against the will of God. When the devil leads us into sin, he separates us from God.

God is very clear about what he requires of us in the Bible. It came be summarized like this: Love God and love everyone.

But Satan likes to make us doubt what God says. He puts questions into our minds: “Is it really wrong? Is it so terrible to sin once in a while? Is God really serious about what he says? Did God really mean his word to apply our time?” For example, God in the Commandments says: it is wrong to fear, love or trust something more that we fear, love or trust God; it is wrong to misuse God’s name; we are to gladly go to hear God’s word, obey those in authority over us; not murder or hate; not commit adultery or lust, not steal, not slander or covet. But the devil comes into our minds with his questions: “Is it really wrong? Did God really say that?”

The next step is to deny that doing what God has forbidden is really wrong. So people are misled to think that is all right to worship other gods as long as you are sincere about it. Or that it is not wrong to disobey laws. Or it’s not wrong to try to steal money if you steal it from those who have more than they need or deserve. They end up thinking we don’t need to follow those old laws anymore.

When you take a good look at what the Bible says is sin, you will see that sin looks good. It would be fun to do it. It might give you pleasure. It would actually be good for you, not bad. That is how sin works. First, it leads you to doubt if it is really wrong. Then it denies that it goes against any law of God. And finally it makes disobeying God’s law look like it would be the good thing for you.

That is how Satan has worked in the past and that is how he still works today. The Bible calls Satan the father of lies. He is always trying to deceive.

The only reason we sin is because we are convinced that somehow it is the better thing to do. It looks good to us in some way. But when you sin, you have been deceived. Sin does not give what it promises to give. In the end it brings the curse of God

And this is why Christ died. Paul said, “Christ Jesus came into the world to save sinners.” We have all been misled. But Christ gave himself into death for our sins.

The mercy of Jesus makes us happy. We don’t want to offend the one who saved us. In order to avoid offending him, remember how sin works so that we don’t fall into the same old trap.

(Pastor Marc Frey is the pastor at Peace of Our Savior Lutheran Church and Preschool (WELS) New Carlisle, OH www.peaceofoursavior.net)

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