by David Buffaloe
I can remember as a child my childhood fears. I remember the fear of the monster under the bed, and the bogey man in the closet. Though today I know these monsters to be but an overactive imagination, to a child these were very real fears. Many children go to bed with a night light burning to keep back the imagined monsters.
As we grow up, the childhood monsters lose their strength in the light of reason. We now know that there is no gremlin under the bed waiting to "get" us once the lights go out. As we cast away the imagined monsters we need to be careful not to throw away our fear of the real monsters of life. Just because we discover a brightly-colored snake is harmless we have no reason to presume that all brightly colored snakes are harmless. The prettiest snakes are usually the deadliest. If Eve had held to a sensible fear of brightly-colored snakes perhaps we would not be in the state we are in today.
When our forefather Adam rebelled against God and took to himself that which was forbidden, his action brought spiritual death into all of creation. Adam disbelieved the promise of God, that "for in the day that thou eatest thereof thou shalt surely die" (Gen. 2:17). There was a monster in the room, and Adam invited this monster into our lives. His action did not just bring spiritual death on himself, but he brought a curse on every one of his offspring.
Sin is a monster, for like the serpent, it's venom always brings death. "The wages of sin is death" (Rom. 6:23). The mole that lives underground its whole life has no eyes for the light. The child of Adam can see physical light, but spiritual light means nothing to him. Without born-again eyes, none of us can see the things of God. Israel, born in bondage but never born again, continued to look backwards rather than go forward. They would rather bear the taskmaster's lash than the joy of the Promised Land, for their conscience had been so hardened by the gods of Egypt that they could no longer see the God who saved them.
In our country there is a widespread belief that sin is like the childhood bogey man. Some believe that sin is anything that hurts another person. It is true that sin can hurt another person. When you commit the sin of murder you take another person's life. Yet sin does much more than hurt people. Sin is an eternal offense against God that must be paid. When King David took another man's wife and then had that man murdered he told God, "Against Thee and Thee only have I sinned, and done this evil in Thy sight" (Ps. 51:4). His actions hurt others, but he ultimately hurt God most of all.
Sin is an awful thing. It promises much but delivers little. The person in sexual sin believes that his violation of God's commandment is but a little thing, that the giving of the body is no more than a handshake between two people. "Because I love him, I give myself to him no matter what God's Word might say." Oh dear one, do you not see that you are clasping a viper to your chest? That snake may be pretty, but in time its fangs will take your life. Another says, "If I put others above my God this is but a little sin. God will forgive it, for God is love." How foolish! Didn't our Lord say "he that loveth father or mother more than me is not worthy of me: and he that loveth son or daughter more than me is not worthy of me" (Matt. 10:37)?
Sin is an awful offense against God and man. Sin is worse than the devil himself, for sin made the devil what he is. Sin caused Judas to lovingly kiss thirty pieces of silver, and then later to betray Jesus Christ with those same lips. That old time preacher Thomas Brooks said: "Sin is the only thing that God abhors. It brought Christ to the cross, it condemns souls, it shuts heaven, and it lays the foundation of hell."
David Buffaloe pastors Rock Hill Baptist Church in Lexington, Tennessee.