“And you He made alive, who were dead in trespasses and sins, in which you once walked according to the course of this world, according to the prince of the power of the air, the spirit who now works in the sons of disobedience, among whom also we all once conducted ourselves in the lusts of our flesh, fulfilling the desires of the flesh and of the mind, and were by nature children of wrath, just as the others” (Ephesians 2:1-3).
A continual challenge of discipleship is to see sin as it truly is. The allure of sin’s passing pleasures can be likened to the lipstick put on the proverbial pig. No one in their right mind would ever kiss a pig because of the lovely shade or scent of its lipstick. Yet, people still sin.
In this inspired portrait of sin, three of its most gruesome characteristics are emphasized.
Sin is deadly (v. 1). Crossing God’s clear and non-negotiable boundary line between good and evil, light and darkness, righteousness and sin brings instant death. Missing the mark of obeying God’s declared will immediately severs fellowship with Him.
Sin is disobedience (v. 2). Desiring to do something—anything—other than God’s will is not a minor or insignificant spiritual shortcoming. It is open rebellion toward the One who sits as Sovereign in the heavenly places. Painting sin with pastel colors does not change the black-and-white fact that it is open spiritual rebellion.
Sin is doomed (v. 3). From its very first occurrence, God has vehemently opposed humanity’s ungodliness and unrighteousness. His wrath toward wickedness is consistent and continuous. The lake of unquenchable fire and brimstone remains the certain destiny of all impenitent sinners.
The gospel does not eliminate these horrific facts about sin; it provides an enduring escape from them. Thanks be to the God who is rich in mercy and great in love for giving us such an antidote for sin and its gruesome characteristics.