The Mockery of Sin

“Fools make a mock at sin: but among the righteous there is favour.” (Proverbs 14:9)

Several years ago I went on a golf outing with three close friends to Myrtle Beach, SC. We got a special deal which included lodging and allowed us to play as much golf as we desired. The weather was outstanding and the fellowship was great, but the golf was less than stellar. We were all amateurs playing courses that were much too difficult. Late on the second day the least stellar of our group (I’ll call him Joe) was about to tee off when a lone crow appeared overhead. Just as our friend began his backswing the crow began to caw very loudly, causing him to hit a poor shot. When he finally found his ball in the woods, took his drop, and prepared for his next shot the crow reappeared and, once again, announced his presence at the most inopportune time. While the crow followed our group for the rest of the round, he only harassed Joe, and only when he prepared to take his shot. Joe blamed the crow for his poor play. There may be some truth to that, but it sure seemed as if the crow was simply toying with Joe, mocking, rather than causing his apparent lack of skill.

Sin in the life of a believer is much like that crow. It distracts, deceives, and taunts him, until he finally comes to the brutal realization that there is no lasting pleasure in sin. The scripture calls such a man a “fool” and condemns him for his tendency to “make a mock at sin.” Failing to take sin seriously is, indeed, unwise.

Sin mocks men by failing to deliver on its promises.

Sin promises happiness, but delivers grief. It promises freedom, but delivers bondage. It implies uprightness, yet produces guilt. While guaranteeing life, it produces death.

King David understood better than most the tragic results of toying with sin. One brief moment of indulgence; one impulsive act of passion which he assumed would remain hidden, led to a lifetime of heartache and regret. He satisfied his fleshly appetite and enjoyed the pleasures of sin for a season, but the season was brief and the consequences devastating. Shame, death, and the never-ending hostility in his family became poignant reminders of David’s sin. The anguish of heart was unmistakable as David begged God to forgive him in the 51st Psalm. David received forgiveness, but that forgiveness did not remove the human consequences of his sin.

Sin mocks men by concealing its true character.

Is it not bizarre how some men will defend that which is evil at its core?  Then they will declare to be evil that which God calls good.  While it may indeed seem strange, it is very common, and has been for centuries. Sin convinces men that wrong deeds are always reasonable when they produce desirable results. In I Samuel 15 King Saul justified doing wrong because he was convinced the deed would produce something beneficial. Sparing the best of the oxen was a direct violation of God’s specific command (V.3). Yet in Saul’s mind it was a “good” thing to do because he could use those animals to worship God (Vs. 15; 21). He would be giving God the best of the spoils. How could that possibly be bad? That choice and Saul’s refusal to acknowledge that it was a “bad” (sinful) thing to do was the final blow to his reign as King of Israel (V. 28). Sin never produces positive results because it is evil at its core.

Sin mocks men by enslaving them.

It’s a sinister process that begins with a positive appeal, develops slowly and only reveals its poison after trapping its prey. Eve was drawn in. So was Achan at Jericho. Samson, one of the strongest men who ever lived, was ensnared as well. Just as the fisherman baits his hook and waits, sin sets the trap and waits. Normally, once a fish is hooked, he’s doomed. He may struggle to get free, but the hook has a barb which makes his efforts pointless. Writhing, wriggling and thrashing about serve only to further embed the hook. Should he manage to break the line he still spends the rest of his life carrying the hook. What’s amazing is that even fish eventually learn to avoid the temptation.

Man is different. He has the capacity for reason, and God has given him the ability to learn the impact of certain choices without experiencing the consequences. He gains that knowledge by observing the world around him and evaluating what he sees, incorporating the historical written record as one element of his evaluation. God has also given us the written instruction of His word, and believers have the added benefit of the Spirit of God living within, who will “guide” them into “all truth” (John 16:13). The primary key is our submission.

For those who are willing to seek after God’s wisdom and exalt righteousness, while condemning sin,  there is favor. No benefit is gained by pursuing sin for its pleasure or excusing it for man’s approval. Can a believer be the unwitting victim of sin’s mockery? Absolutely, but he shouldn’t be! God has not only given us the wisdom necessary to avoid sin’s deception, He has already won the victory on our behalf, and failing to appreciate His sacrifice is the greatest mockery of all.

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