Know Your Bible

VOL. 10                                                                                                                                                                             October 2, 2011                                                                                                                                                                     NO. 36


 When Sin Becomes Trivial

People sometimes indulge themselves in wickedness to the point that it no longer seems wicked. The danger of sin is that it can easily deceive us and eventually lull us to sleep so that our former awareness of God's will and sin's violation of that will becomes foreign soil to us.

Daily exhortation is the Lord's means appointed to prevent the process of hardening exerted by sin's deceitfulness (Heb. 3:13). "...lest any of you be hardened by the deceitfulness of sin." The Lord said that the heart becomes hardened, calloused, by sin because of its deceitful quality. There is something about sin -- any sin -- all sin -- that is deceptive. While we seem to be faring well and enjoying ourselves, basking in the adulation and esteem of others, sin is hardening our hearts. It is through this process that sin becomes trivial, a light thing to us.

In 1 Kings 16, near the end of the chapter, we have an example of sin becoming trivial in the day of King Ahab. Ahab served as king in the Northern Kingdom of Israel, in that long line of wicked kings after Jeroboam. Not one of his predecessors had deviated from the ways of evil launched into by Jeroboam. For years these kings had practiced evil instead of righteousness in leading the people of the nation. Is it any wonder that Ahab did wickedness "more than all who were before him" (v. 30)? Sin had become the usual way of life for all of the leaders of the nation. Verse thirty-one says that he took as wife Jezebel, the daughter of Ethbaal, king of the Sidonians, and that he went to serve and worship Baal in a temple that he had built in Samaria. The Lord's explanation as to how such departure from God could take place is found in the same verse: "as though it had become a trivial thing for him to walk in the sins of Jeroboam the son of Nebat." Sin had become trivial to him.

Remember that a calloused attitude develops slowly, so that the person is hardened in his feelings, insensitive in his response to those influences designed by God to prick and goad him to do right.

The warnings of God mean increasingly little to him as the hardening process proceeds. When sin becomes trivial to one, it usually spreads contagiously so that it is then trivialized by many; in fact, the trivializing of sin becomes almost institutionalized.

I hope this thought scares us to avoid sin. It is not the harmless plaything that we sometimes think it to be. It can paralyze us spiritually and damn us eternally!

When our attitude toward the vulgar and irreverent speech so common in our world declines so that we begin viewing it as not so bad after all, we need to wake up. When we start thinking that one's clothing has little to do with his godliness, so that we start experimenting with styles and garments bordering on indecency, we need to wake up. When we start thinking that our children's popularity and acceptance are more important than the positive influence for good that they should exert, then we need to wake up. When we allow the ungodliness and abounding iniquity in the world to dampen our zeal to save the lost and to set examples for good, we need to wake up. When we permit the loose thinking in the world and in the church to drift into our attitude and practice, no longer striving to hold fast to the pattern of sound words set forth in the Scriptures, then we need to wake up. Sin is becoming trivial to us, and the sad thing is that we don't even realize it.

"And do this, knowing the time, that now it is high time to awake out of sleep; for now our salvation is nearer than when we first believed. The night is far spent; the day is at hand. Therefore let us cast off the works of darkness, and let us put on the armor of light. Let us walk properly, as in the day, not in revelry and drunkenness, not in lewdness and lust, not in strife and envy. But put on the Lord Jesus Christ, and make no provision for the flesh, to fulfill its lusts" (Rom. 13:11-14).

---Bobby L. Graham

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Who Would You Blame?

Read This Little Bit Of Fiction (or is it?)

When he was a baby, they were so proud to take him to worship. Everyone "oohed and aahed" and played "kitcky-koo." They never missed a service at church.

As a little boy, they taught him to behave during the worship. They helped him regularly with his Bible class lessons. When he turned eight, things changed a little. His father took a job that meant lots of extra money for the family, but less time for worship. His father always insisted on his going to Bible classes and worship with his mother. His son had to learn to love the Lord and hopefully would obey the gospel and be a fine Christian. But the father found it increasingly difficult to go with his family.

At eleven, the father thought it was time for his son to be a great athlete and so introduced him to all the little leagues in football, basketball, and baseball. The boy did so well in sports that sometimes he had to play in a game or practice on Wednesday nights. Naturally, he need to focus on athletics. He did.

When he became a teenager he began thinking that one day he too would be successful like Dad. He would bring home lots of money, drive fine cars, and dress in expensive clothes. He learned by observation how important these things were to his father. At fifteen, he still had not obeyed the gospel.

By and by his father received several promotions and raises. He became a chief executive in his firm. Attending services at church became less important than meetings with clients, associates, and other businessmen. Soon Sunday found him at 8 a.m. on number one tee at the local country club. His son always wanted to go and, if nothing else, caddy for his Dad. He really admired his father. By now his interest in Bible study was zero. He found excuse after excuse not to attend worship.

Mother also felt the pressures of her husband's new responsibilities. There were parties to attend -- and organize. There were social clubs she was expected to join. She found that she actually enjoyed all of this immensely. She had important friends and was very popular in society. She also found less and less time to worship. She had turned down the opportunity to teach a class of children -- no telling how many times.

At eighteen he entered college. He never attended another worship. He never obeyed the gospel.

One night during a frat party he took a "chug-a-lug" dare and became exceedingly drunk. The story in the local newspaper began with, "A tragic accident involving several young people took the life of a prominent business man's ..." It was a sad funeral. Family and friends from all over attended. One person pondered thoughtfully why the boy never was saved. He wondered, "Who was to blame?"

---Dudley Ross Spears

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Know Your Bible" is e-mailed weekly by the church of Christ which meets at 112 Roberts Avenue in Wise, Virginia. If you know of others who might benefit from the articles contained in this bulletin, we would be glad to have you submit their e-mail addresses and we will include them in next week's mailing. If you are receiving this bulletin and do not wish to continue to do so, please e-mail us with your desire to be removed from the mailing list and we will remove your address promptly. Continue to the bottom of this page and further instructions will be given as to how you may contact us.

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