In the past few weeks I have witnessed several dear friends flirting with sin in a way that has been terrifying. These friends love Jesus very much, but circumstances in their lives have exposed areas of easy entrance for the tempter.
As I’ve pondered their struggles, and my own wandering heart, I have been reminded of an exhortation I received many years ago.
When I was in seminary, the chancellor was Dr. Chuck Swindoll. “Chuck” was beloved by the seminary students and the chapel was packed for the morning service.
As he stepped to the pulpit, he carried a weight on his brow, a bible in his hand, and a written statement. He proceeded to share with us the news that another pastor from our seminary had fallen into grave sexual sin, disqualified himself from the ministry, and destroyed his family.
After sharing the news with us, Dr. Swindoll shared a message that I don’t remember verbatim, but the heart of which I hope to never forget.
He challenged us to consider the end of our sin, to consider where sin would lead us. Over the years I have followed his advice and I’d like to take a moment to help you do the same.
Consider the End of Your Sin
I want you walk with me through a scene in your future. You need to see what lies ahead on the path where sin is leading you. This is aimed at fellow pastors, but the idea is applicable to all of us.
Envision yourself calling together your elders and sitting in their midst, telling them about how you have betrayed their trust. See their sunken faces and feel their broken hearts.
Listen to them consider how they will tell the church. Imagine the confusion of the congregation and how it will affect those who have heard you speak so often of Jesus being better than anything else.
Imagine how the name of Christ will be mocked among your community and beyond.
Then I want you to picture walking out to your car and getting in it.
Drive down the road near your house, and around your neighborhood a few times. Picture that place where you walked the dog with your children in the evenings.
Now, pull into your driveway and walk up to the door of your home.
Hear the scampering feet of your children running up to you and putting their arms around your legs saying “daddy’s home!” See the way they love you and trust you.
Drink that in deeply.
Now, tell them to go on outside and play because you have to talk to their mommy about something. As you walk toward the kitchen where she is faithfully going about her day, look at those smiling pictures on the wall. Remember the happy days you shared together.
Lead her by the hand to your bedroom where you used to make love.
Ask her to have a seat.
Feel your heart scamper and the lump form in your throat.
See her eyes ask what is wrong. Then watch her weep as you tell her you have been unfaithful.
Hear her wail.
See her sob.
Feel her hit your chest and fall to her knees in despair.
Imagine the phone call to her parents, and to yours. Hear the silence on the other end of the phone as they take in what you’ve told them.
Get in your mind the day you gather your children and sit them down to explain why mommy and daddy are going to be spending some time apart and why you are going to be selling the house they love so much.
See yourself taking down those smiling pictures from the wall and taping up the moving boxes, unsure if you’ll ever open them again.
Do you see it?
Sin doesn’t tell you about those days, does it?
Sin Hides the Cost
Satan does not tell you what sin will cost you, because the price tag is too high.
He is a liar (John 8:44 ) and deception is his forte (2 Corinthians 11:3 ). He wants you to think that sin will not cost you as much as it will. He wants you to think that you can keep things hidden or that you can get out at any time. He wants you to think that your small compromises today will not lead to a great fall in the days ahead.
But that is a lie. He only speaks lies.
Sin is stronger than you or I will ever be.
Some of you are standing at a cross road in your life right now. You have been sipping on sin’s potion and are becoming intoxicated by its lies. Satan wants you to keep sipping so that you will become drunk with delusion and not consider God’s warning of the of destruction that lies ahead.
Hear and heed these words with me, please.
“Be sober-minded; be watchful. Your adversary the devil prowls around like a roaring lion, seeking someone to devour.” 1 Peter 5:8
If you are entangled in sin, call a trusted friend right now and tell them you need help. Do not wait another minute. Sin wants you to think that you can stop by yourself—do not believe it. Darkness is the ground in which sin grows strong.
If you think this could never happen to you, be careful, we are warned “let anyone who thinks he stands take heed lest he fall” (1 Corinthians 10:12 ).
Satan will be content with you hearing this warning, as long as you don’t part with your sin. But John Owen’s counsel is always true, “be killing sin or it will be killing you.” Satan’s aim is to destroy your life now and to harden your heart so that you will inherit eternal destruction.
Consider the Savior
Friends, Jesus is an all-sufficient Savior who shed His blood to save you from sin, on Judgment Day, and every day before for it. “Let us then with confidence draw near to the throne of grace, that we may receive mercy and find grace to help in time of need” Hebrews 4:16 .
Whether you are a pastor or not, married or not, have children or not, we need grace to resist the power of sin’s deception. Thankfully, Jesus promises to supply it.
Plead with God to help you see the end of your sin, and then flee to the Savior. There is much that can be said about this, but for now, let the sobriety of sin’s end lift your eyes to where our help comes from (Psalm 121:1 ).
May our words not echo those of the man in Proverbs 5 who ignored the warning of wisdom.
Keep your way far from her, and do not go near the door of her house, lest you give your honor to others and your years to the merciless, lest strangers take their fill of your strength, and your labors go to the house of a foreigner, and at the end of your life you groan, when your flesh and body are consumed, and you say, “How I hated discipline, and my heart despised reproof! I did not listen to the voice of my teachers or incline my ear to my instructors. I am at the brink of utter ruin in the assembled congregation” (Proverbs 5:8-14)
Lord, we need help. Make us sober-minded and help us to see the end of our sin.