|Mike Hosey, An Elder|
In Romans 6, the Apostle Paul writes about the intersection of death, sin and life. Towards the end of his chapter, he argues that the wages of sin is death (Proverbs 6:23). That means that the payment for working for sin, or working to fulfill sin, or living for sin, or being alive to sin is funded from the payroll account of death! Interestingly, that payment of death is most often delivered in a very peculiar but cruel way. To understand this cruel method of payment, consider the ironically evil benefits of sin. A person derives a certain amount of pleasure from sinning. There really is no denying this. It is usually the chief reason people sin. This does not mean, however, that pleasure is bad. In fact, pleasure is good. It was created by God, and it exists for a good purpose. It is obtaining pleasure in a way contrary to how God intends for humans to enjoy it that is bad or sinful. As a person pursues the pleasures of sin, his senses become more and more dulled to the pleasures he thinks he is getting. All addictions are an excellent example of this life-stealing sin process. With addictions, a person gets less and less pleasure, and so needs more and more exposure to the substance or behavior to which they are addicted. As one famous theologian put it, there is an ever increasing craving for an ever diminishing pleasure. And pleasure is a hallmark of full life. A person who pursues sin is dying. And the more he pursues it, the more dead he becomes. He becomes more dead to pleasure, more dead to general life, and more dead to the joys of Christ.
But if that same person dies to sin, and decides to come alive to Christ, his life becomes new. Interestingly, the more he pursues Christ, the less he will enjoy the pleasures of sin. That same person will increasingly enjoy Godly pleasures. In truth, most of the pleasures he might have enjoyed in a sinful context, he can enjoy in a Godly context, and not only can he enjoy them, they become greater as they are transformed to healthy joy. The slaking of lust becomes loving marital intimacy. Those who have experienced both sides of that spectrum will tell you the wholesome side is far more pleasurable than the sinful side. Partying in selfish wild contexts converts to solid and true fellowship. Pursuit of self-ambition becomes pursuit of the advancement of God’s kingdom, and then witnessing (and sharing in) the joys of changed lives. The more you live for Christ, the more you will wish to die to sin. Once come alive to Christ and are able to compare the pleasures side by side, you will find that there is no comparison!