Flee From Sin

07/26/2017

Flee From Sin

Ants are fascinating creatures. I have always been intrigued by ant farms and watching how they operate. While I was on my mission trip last week, we moved a piece of carpet that was outside on the ground. We discovered that there was a colony of ants living under that carpet and they went into survival mode when we disturbed their ecosystem. Hundreds of ants convened to take their eggs and food down into the tunnels for protection. Within just a few minutes, all evidence of the ants was gone, and they were safe hidden away in their tunnels. It was captivating to watch this happen in real time. However, I hate ants when they end up making a home for themselves in my apartment. This is precisely what happened to me this spring.

The invasion happened the same way that all ant invasions happen. At first, there are just a couple ants, so you kill them. Then there’s a few more the next day and a few more the day after that and a few more the day after that and then, suddenly, you realize “I’ve been overrun!” It didn’t matter how many I killed because they would just send reinforcements and come back even stronger. I tried everything I could to get rid of them but to no avail. Finally, I went and bought the good stuff. It was a slow acting poison that the ants love the taste of so they come, grab a mouthful, and take it back to share with the colony. The entire colony is poisoned and dies within a couple of days. I won back my kitchen and bathroom and achieved sweet victory over the pest.

It takes the poison about 48 hours to kill the ant once digested, so they keep coming back for more. I was watching the ants go crazy over the poison, and I thought to myself, “you guys are idiots! You’re rushing back to indulge in what is killing you, and you have no idea.” Then a sobering thought came to my mind, “They are just like us.” What I mean by that is that we often run to the thing that will kill us and that thing is sin.

I’m sure that you are familiar with what sin means but you may not know the origin of the word. Sin first makes an appearance in Genesis 4:7 with the story of Cain and Abel where they both offer a sacrifice to God, but Cain’s sacrifice was deemed unworthy. The word that is used for sin throughout the Old Testament is actually an archery term. It essentially means to miss the bullseye with your arrow; thus you have missed the mark. That is exactly what happened to Cain with his sacrifice. Able gave God the “firstborn of his flock (sheep) and of their fat portions,” (Gen 4:4) whereas Cain, a farmer, gave out of the excess of his fruit. While Cain still gave something to God, he missed the mark because it isn’t a sacrifice if it’s out of the excess.

As I watched those ants willingly and happily (I’m just going to assume that ants have emotions) march back and forth from the poison to their colony, I thought about how often we do the same with Sin. We know that sin is not good and we know that God desires for us to avoid sin but yet we still willingly and, often, happily march right to it. Just like the ants, we tend to not realize the harm it is doing to us and to others until it is too late. Romans 6:23 tells us “For the wages of sin is death…” I once heard someone explain that this doesn’t merely mean that we are going to eventually die because we are sinful, although that is true, it also means that we are going to face death in this world because of our sin. Just think of how often we see relationships with significant others, friends, family, co-workers, etc. die because of sin that was committed. How often are jobs, income, bank accounts, and lifestyles ruined because it took too long to for us to realize that we were stuck in sin? The consequence of sin is always death.

If there was some way for one of the ants to realize what was happening with the poison, then there is a chance that it would have articulated in Antonese (the well-known language of ants) that all of the other ants need to stay away thus saving them and the colony. While that wasn’t the case for the ants, it is the case for us. We have the entirety of the Bible telling us this very message. Not only that, but we had our savior come and die for us to give us the power to turn away from sin. There is more to Romans 6:23 than “For the wages of sin is death,” it continues to say “but the gift of God is eternal life in Christ Jesus our Lord.” Because of what Jesus did at Calvary “Sin will have no dominion over you since you are not under the law but under grace.” (Rom 6:14) Sin no longer is our master, and we now have the freedom not to choose it ever again.

Paul takes that truth a step further when he says in Romans 8:13 “For if you live according to the flesh, you will die; but if by the Spirit you put to death the deeds of the body (sin), you will live.” The term “put to death” is a strong statement in the middle of that verse. The Greek word the Paul uses is

thanatoo

, which is a term that is used in battle. The idea behind it is that you have won the fight with someone and they are down on the ground; now it’s time to kill them. It is a little bit gruesome, but that is how we must treat sin. Sin is on the ground and defeated because of Christ’s resurrection; now it’s up to us to kill it and remove it from our lives.

The easiest way to not fall into sin is to not go near sin. However, our world is full of temptations, and we now live in a time when self-worship is openly accepted. We are constantly told that do whatever makes you happy and that is sin’s greatest deception; that it will make us happy. I am more than willing to concede that sin will make us happy, if it didn’t why would we do it? However, that happiness is fleeting and what we exchange for that pleasure is the joy of the Lord. If we believe that God is good and that He loves us, then we must trust Him when He tells us that we need to avoid sin no matter how enticing it may be.

I imagine that those ants are quite satisfied as they are at an all-you-can-eat smorgasbord, devouring all that their little hearts desire. At that moment their life is pretty good but what they are indulging in will eventually kill them. That is precisely how sin works in our lives. Sin always seems great in the moment, but it will eventually come back to hurt us and leave us broken hearted. That happiness that we felt when we gave ourselves to sin will be replaced with guilt, pain, regret, and emptiness. Take it from a man who has fallen into sin more often than he would like to admit. We need to flee from sin the minute that we set our eyes on it.

However, if you find that you are already deep in sin, take heart because your savior is there for you. Repent is a word that litters the Bible and it literally means to turn and go the other way. Once you realize that you are in sin, you need run the other way and go to God for forgiveness. The idea behind repentance is that you then never go back to that sin. Remember, we are under grace, and there is ample forgiveness for us, but we must flee from sin at all cost because we have been set free from its power. I’ll leave you the first verse of chapter five in Galatians, “It is for freedom that Christ has set us free. Stand firm, then, and do not let yourselves be burdened again by a yoke of slavery.”

Kyle Smith, Director of Youth Ministries


2 Responses to “Flee From Sin”

  1. Barbara Edens says:

    Great analogy of the ant and Satan. Thanks for another article Kyle.

  2. Laura McCullough says:

    I wish my sin creeped me out like an ant swarm does. I might notice it and repent quicker.

    Good blog, Kyle.

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