As I’ve said before, one of the many things I want to do with this blog is to help Christians fight temptation to sin. Temptation is an ever-nagging reality in this world because we will not be rid of our sinful hearts until the Lord brings us home, so please allow me to offer some further help toward saying “no” to sin and “yes” to Jesus.
One of the reasons we can so easily give in to temptation is because we forget the severity of the nature of sin. Instead of looking at sin from God’s perspective, we look at it from a human perspective that only takes into account how our sin compares to other people’s sin and how the culture views the things God calls “wicked”. We forget that what God thinks of sin is what matters, because he is the one that sin offends directly, personally, and primarily. This is why we should use the reality of hell in our daily fight against sin. Reminding ourselves of hell helps us see sin the way God sees sin. If eternal agony in hell is the way God has chosen to punish people for sin, then we can never take an “oops” view of sin or a “boys will be boys” view of sin. If hell is the punishment, then it would be accurate for us to say that the crime is loathsome and abominable in God’s sight (Proverbs 6:16-19). If God’s sees it this way, then we should too because God’s perspective is the ultimate reality.
A few years ago, my wife told me of a truth that she often repeats to herself that I too have found to be a valuable weapon against temptation. It goes like this: at any given moment there are people who are in hell for committing the same sins I am guilty of as well. This truth is weaponized when it is used in the midst of temptation by changing the wording a bit: there are people in hell right now for committing the same sins that I am tempted to commit right now. Does this help you grasp the gravity of your sin? I hope so, but you can’t stop at reminding yourself that your sins deserve hell, there’s something else you’ve got to preach to yourself.
The reason why sin deserves hell is because sin is that bad, and sin is that bad because sin is against God and God is holy, holy, holy. If God were not holy, then sin would not be that bad. But because he is holy, hell is the punishment. However, as a Christian, you’ve got to remember that inside God’s holiness is not just justice and wrath, but mercy and grace as well. So, after you have reminded yourself of the hell that you deserve, remind yourself of the heaven you’ve been given through the blood of your Savior Jesus Christ in spite of your sin. Hell says that sin is exceedingly bad and God is exceedingly holy, but hell also says that God’s grace and mercy to believing sinners is exceedingly wonderful! The bad news has got to be bad for the good news to be good.