Ralph Venning’s The Sinfulness of Sin is a little know classic book about how much God hates sin and how devastating it is in our lives. He provides these warnings about how deceitful our hearts are with regard to sin. Spend time mediating on each to honestly determine which is most damaging your relationship with God and obedience to Him.
Ten Ways We Deceive Ourselves about Sin
- We persuades ourselves that something isn’t a sin even though it looks like sin. (We rationalize ourself into the sin or fall to temptation because we desire it). For example, the devil dealt with Eve in the beginning and deceived her. She was suspicious that what the devil urged her to do was evil, but he cunningly insinuated that however it seemed to her, yet it was not so. In this way the pride and wantonness of people is maintained – that though these things appear to be evil, they are not evil.
- We persuade ourselves that what may be sin in another person cannot be sin in us, all things considered, because we are necessitated. For example, a poor man is forced to steal. But no man is necessitated to sin, even though under necessity; sin is sin in any or in all. Though temptations may mitigate and excuse somewhat, yet they cannot excuse totally from its being a sin, and they cannot un-sin sin.
- We tell ourselves that it will only happen once. But if sin is good, why only once, and if evil, why once? One sin committed but once is one and once too much. Besides when the Serpent’s head is in, it’s hard to keep out the whole body; one makes way for the other. It is almost impossible to sin once and only once.
- We convince ourselves that it is only a ‘little’ sin. But that which is against a great God and deserves so great a punishment as death cannot be a ‘little’ sin; for the wages of sin and every single sin is death (Romans 6:23)
- We tell ourselves that it’s a secret and that no one will know. But this is a cheat, for it is impossible to sin so secretly but there will be at least two witnesses. God and conscience know all the sins that we commit.
- We believe that we will gain from it such that the profit, pleasure or honor outweight the cost. Sin’s gain is loss for he who gains even the world by sin pays too dearly for it. It means the loss or at least the hazard of our soul. The precious substance promised by sin ends in a pernicious shadow and the spoils we get by sin only spoil us. Sin promises like a god, but pays like a devil. Sin’s performance is contrary to its promises; it promises gold and pays dross.
- We rationalize by saying, “Others do it” and “God will forgive me”. It is not what others do, but what they are to do that we are to follow. We must not follow any man or a multitude of men to do evil. If others will risk their damnation, what is that to us? It will be no comfort to have had companions in sin and to meet them again in hell.
- We justify it by saying “all I need to do is repent and God will forgive me”. To this we must say that he who promised forgiveness to them that repent has not promised repentance to them that sin. Besides, even if sin were to cost no more than repentance, anyone in his right mind would be loth to buy repentance at so dear a rate; for repentance, though it may free them from greater, puts men to more grief and pain than ever sin could afford them pleasure.
- We test the patience of God by taking His mercy for granted and because we believe that we have escaped punishment so far. No evil has befallen you. If this is so, however, it may be so much the worse for us. Not to be punished may be the worst punishment (Isaiah 1:15; Hosea 4:14, 17). What will it cost if God does awaken me, and if not, what will it cost when God shall damn me?
- We rationalize that we sin because we’re so weak. That we cannot help it. But this is a thing that none but fools and children can accept. That which is only a weakness today may become a disease tomorrow, if not prevented. Once the will is engaged, it is past weakness and has become a sin.