The Wages of Sin, But---?
Psalm 105:7, 23-38
In The Brothers Karamozov Dostoevsky has four main characters—Fyodor, the brutish, immoral uncaring father, and his three sons: Dimitri, the sensualist who lives for alcohol, women, and a good time; Ivan, the rationalist who worships reason; and Alexie, the youngest, who believes in God and His Word and is challenged to live his faith in the mess of his family.
Several years ago a young friend went away to University, became enraptured with his literature professor, and thought about going to bed with her. He announced that he had strong intellectual doubts and was no longer confident of his childhood faith. (It’s amazing how we suddenly get strong mind questions about God when our heart wants to disobey a command like, “Don’t commit adultery.”) Because my friend was an English major I challenged him to read Dostoevsky’s classic with me. “Listen, before you make such a major life choice, why not let a world class novelist show us where different life choices might lead?” He was willing. So we read, talked, and the Spirit of God broke the spell. He reaffirmed his childhood commitment to Jesus. Was this a good choice?
Many in our culture hold that God’s commands about morality are outdated and should be changed, especially when they block our intense drives for self-fulfillment and companionship. Psalm 105:7 does not buy into the idea that God’s moral standards no longer apply or can be disregarded in our part of the world.
“He is the Lord our God; his judgments are in all the earth.”
The Psalmist goes on in verses 23-38 to prove the point by showing how God destroyed Egypt because Pharaoh rejected His Word. In the first century the Apostle Paul reaffirmed this stress upon the fact that the wages of sin is death (Romans 6:23).
I’m glad that God didn’t end his statement with death. He went on to share “But the gift of God is eternal life through Jesus Christ our Lord.” This life is not only the gift of an eternal home, it is also the power today not to give in to our sexual lusts, but instead to enjoy sex in a husband wife relationship where children can be enjoyed as a gift by both parents and grandparents. Years later I see the happiness that flows because my friend made the right choice at a crucial turn.
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