Snake! Sin! Spirit!

She never saw it.  She had spent hours enjoying beautiful Laurel Pocket Wilderness, a state recreational area just a short drive from Dayton.  She was within sight of the car when the rattlesnake struck with lightning speed.  She describes the bite as feeling as if hit by a baseball bat in full-swing.  Then the pain began to work its way up her body.  When she arrived at Rhea Medical Center, she was unconscious.

On Tuesday night in Business Ethics, I discussed the need for businesses and corporations to have and enforce ethics statements.  The answer is a very small word.  It describes a very big problem.  The word is sin.

Often when I teach about sin, I share something I found years ago as I was perusing the Apocrypha.

“Flee from sin as from a snake; for if you approach sin, it will bite you.  Its teeth are lion’s teeth, and can destroy human lives” (Sirach 21:2).

Sin is like a snake.

Like Indiana Jones before me, I hate snakes.  I am afraid of rattlesnakes and grass snakes.  The color or size does not matter.  I keep my distance!  Isn’t that wisdom?

But if I were truly wise, I would also keep my distance from sin!  Sin is bad (perhaps the biggest understatement in the entire history of this blog)!  I should hate it and stay far away from it.  The problem, however, is that it–sin–is inside me!  Theologians call it “indwelling sin.”  The Apostle Paul described the condition as “sin living in me” (Rom. 7:17).  Romans, chapter seven, is Paul’s autobiographical battle with this unwanted guest.  Thankfully, there is another Guest inside!

The Holy Spirit.

He, too, dwells within (Jn. 14:17 ).  And, although He is a quiet Guest (some have described Him as a “Gentleman”), He is not impotent.  Sin is a strong force within me, seeking to cause my death (Rom. 8:13; Js. 1:15).  But the Spirit of God is more than willing to help me kill sin before it kills me (Rom. 8:13).

So–a question we should ask ourselves is this:  Are we drawing near to God through His Holy Spirit (Js. 4:8), or are we drawing near to sin, allowing it to easily entangle us (Heb. 12:1)?

The Spirit is God’s power at our disposal.

Oh–my unconscious friend at Rhea Medical Center?  She’s fine.  God stopped the spread of the poison at her waist!  Now she’s got a cool story!  She was bitten by a rattlesnake and lived!  Not everyone who is bitten lives.  Not everyone bitten by sin lives either.

Beware of snakes.  More importantly, beware of sin!

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