Genesis 3:1-4, "Now the serpent was more crafty than any of the wild animals the LORD God had made. He said to the woman, "Did God really say, 'You must not eat from any tree in the garden'?" The woman said to the serpent, "We may eat fruit from the trees in the garden, but God did say, 'You must not eat fruit from the tree that is in the middle of the garden, and you must not touch it, or you will die.'" "You will not surely die," the serpent said to the woman."

One of the subtle strategies of the devil in enticing people to destroy their relationship with God is by diluting the consequences of sin. When God told, “You will die,” the devil said, “You will not surely die.” Eve took seriously the words of Satan than the words of God. She ate the fruit thinking that nothing God warned would happen. She failed to understand that God is not like a man who is casual in his words. She allowed the father of lies to fool her.

Even today the devil is continuing to fool multitudes by blurring their understanding towards sin and its consequences. He lied in the minds of many, “How can a loving God send you to hell? How would a merciful God punish you for your sins? Jesus died for your sins, so you don’t have to be concerned about how to conduct your life according to God’s word. Live the way you want and you will certainly not die; nothing will happen; God’s grace is all-sufficient to cover your sins.”

So people made their mind to focus on a God who is always loving, gives whatever people ask, blesses everyone, forgives whenever people sin, gives good health and wealth, offers peace and joy. Now that’s true! However, the devil has fooled people to ignore the other undeniable aspects of God’s character - such as holiness, justice, discipline and judgment. The devil has been successful in tempting people to direct their complete attention on God’s love without holiness, blessings without obedience, forgiveness without repentance, heavenly joy without godly sorrow, crown without cross, peace without righteousness, grace without godliness and faith in Jesus without fear of God.

It is regretful to see countless Christians living a compromising and easy-going life by claiming to believe in the loving God. To the Romans, who had partial understanding of God's nature, Paul exhorted, “Consider therefore the KINDNESS and STERNNESS of God: sternness to those who fell, but kindness to you, provided that you continue in his kindness. Otherwise, you also will be cut off” (Rom. 11:22). Here is a caution that God would not spare anyone if we abuse His kindness for self-indulgence. In the same epistle Paul also cautioned, “Do you show contempt for the riches of his kindness, tolerance and patience, not realizing that God's kindness leads you toward repentance?” (Rom. 2:4)

Dear brothers and sisters, God poured out His abundant grace and kindness upon us so that we would repent (without wallowing in self-condemnation) and change our lifestyle (without giving excuses to live a sinful life). We may not be entirely perfect but there is ongoing repentance and progressive growth in the holiness of God in all those who pursue His kingdom and righteousness. Moreover, the fall of man should constantly remind us that God is awesome; He cannot compromise with sin! Isn’t it amazing that the entire humanity was cursed because of one disobedient act of our first parents? What does this speak about God's view of sin? And what about the horrible death of Christ on the cross? Shouldn’t that bring to our mind that God put himself in terrible agony to provide forgiveness for our sins, revealing that He is never casual with sin and neither should His children be?

What about us? Do we take light of God’s warnings? Are we fearing God and shunning evil? Isaiah cried, "Hear the word of the LORD, you who tremble at his word" (Isa. 66:5). I am afraid to see many Christians losing the fear of God and becoming desensitized to the conviction of the Holy Spirit in regard to sin and righteousness. Do we seriously consider the exhortations and encouragement of God given in His Word or are we philosophizing our own view about who God is? One of the frequent exhortations given in God's word is, "Do not be deceived."

Are we seriously considering the sober teachings of the Holy Scriptures on the destructive nature of sin? If unrepentant, the Holy Bible explicitly teaches that – “the sexually immoral, idolaters, adulterers, male prostitutes, homosexual offenders, impure, thieves, greedy, drunkards, slanderers, swindlers, the cowardly, the unbelieving, the vile, the murderers, those who practice magic arts, the liars, the envious, the aggressors will not inherit the kingdom of God.” (1 Corinthians 6:9-10; Revelation 21:8; Galatians 5:19-21; Ephesians 5:5). Therefore, let us renounce every deceptive belief of the devil that ignores holiness and encourages people to sin and face terrible consequences.

(To be continued.....)

(Previous reading - Part 1)

Stephen David