When God created man, he was perfect. He didn’t have the same sin problems like we have. For him, loving everything pure and holy came naturally. Sin wasn’t appealing. Separation from the face of the God he loved was unthinkable. That’s why Satan, in the form of a snake, had to work so hard to get Eve, and then Adam, to sin.
But when Adam chose to disobey God, he began a process of degradation that has continued to this day. Because of this process, we have to struggle with sin. It’s natural for us to desire our own selfish pleasures. Too often, Satan doesn’t have to argue with us. We’re sold before he even has a chance to start his pitch.
Sometimes it can be easy to think that if we just try a little harder, we can stop messing up. The problem with this idea is that sin isn’t just what we do. It’s how we think.
“Ye have heard that it was said by them of old time, Thou shalt not commit adultery: But I say unto you, That whosoever looketh on a woman to lust after her hath committed adultery with her already in his heart” (Matthew 5:27, 28).
You see, sin is more than an action. Sin is about what goes on in our hearts. If my heart is sinful, no amount of effort can make it pure. Just trying harder can’t free me from sin. “Who can bring a clean thing out of an unclean? not one” (Job 14:4). “Because the carnal mind is enmity against God: for it is not subject to the law of God, neither indeed can be” (Romans 8:7).
Necessity of Grace
Paul expressed the hopelessness of our lost condition this way:
“For we know that the law is spiritual: but I am carnal, sold under sin. … For I know that in me (that is, in my flesh,) dwelleth no good thing: for to will is present with me; but how to perform that which is good I find not. For the good that I would I do not: but the evil which I would not, that I do. … O wretched man that I am! who shall deliver me from the body of this death? I thank God through Jesus Christ our Lord” (Romans 7:14, 18, 19, 24, 25).
Our only hope for having a changed heart is for Jesus to change it for us. The Bible calls this change a new birth: “Jesus answered and said unto him, Verily, verily, I say unto thee, Except a man be born again, he cannot see the kingdom of God” (John 3:3).
Sin separates us from God (Isaiah 59:1, 2). The reason Jesus came to this earth was to connect us to Heaven, to make a way for our hearts to beat with the same heartbeat of love, joy, and purity that His does.
“‘Every good gift and every perfect gift’ (James 1:17) is from God. There is no true excellence of character apart from Him. And the only way to God is Christ. He says, ‘I am the way, the truth, and the life: no man cometh unto the father, but by me.’ John 14:6” (Steps to Christ, 21).
Wow! Just think about how much Jesus loves us: He came to die so that Heaven could fill our hearts with pure joy, matchless love, and a million other blessings besides… That’s truly amazing.
Activity: Incentives and Deterrents
God has given us many reasons to give our hearts to Jesus and not to give our service to Satan. A few of these reasons are: enjoying the beauty of heaven, being able to meet angels, and one day seeing a smile on His face as He says, “Well done, My faithful servant.”
Try to list at least five more reasons why we should give our hearts to Jesus, and five reasons why it isn’t a good idea to serve Satan. Which side do you choose?