One of the major tenets of the Bible is that no man can achieve, or live up to, the righteous standard of God.
“…for all have sinned and fall short of the glory of God.” Romans 3:23
The Apostle Paul explains that the reality of God is manifested in several ways, i.e. His creation, His word, and man’s conscious. Paul also explains that to deny the reality of God will necessitate His wrath on the deniers.
“For the wrath of God is revealed from heaven against all ungodliness and unrighteousness of men, who suppress the truth in unrighteousness, because what may be known of God is manifest in them, for God has shown it to them…so that they are without excuse…” Romans 1:18-20
But man has always wanted to do it their way throughout history as it is even today.
“…although they knew God, they did not glory Him as God…but became futile in their thoughts, and their foolish hearts were darkened. Professing to be wise, they became fools…” Romans 1:21-22
One of the ways in which God deals with man’s sin is to let them pursue their natural inclinations and turn them over to suffer the natural consequences of their sin, i.e. abandonment.
“And even as they did not like to retain God in their knowledge, God gave them over to a debased (reprobate) mind, to do those things which are not fitting…” Romans 1:28
The Greek base for reprobate means worthless. Synonyms include depraved, corrupt, or perverted. The phrase ‘not fitting’ means unnecessary, unbecoming, or in fact abominable. It further means to discard the pursuit of one’s purpose.
Then Paul goes on to list several of those things that are ‘not fitting’ which can lead to God’s abandonment. Included in Paul’s list are such deadly sins as sexual immorality and murder. However, included in that same list are more subtle transgressions not always considered as condemnable by man but in reality are equally deadly.
The list includes covetousness, envy, and deceit. Those who do such things are labeled whisperers, backbiters, proud, and boasters.
“…being filled with all unrighteousness…covetousness…envy…strife, deceit…they are whisperers, backbiters…proud, boasters…” Romans 1:29-30
Covetousness is synonymous with greed and is the root from which sins of the flesh grow. Envy is very similar and includes the jealousy from seeing someone else prosper in any way.
Strife means contention between individuals for whatever reason while deceit means basically to defraud another by any means.
Whisperers and backbiters are similar, i.e. while backbiters speak against or slander others openly, whisperers do the same privately.
And then there are the proud and boasters. Proud in the present context means arrogant to the point of rejecting God. Boasting goes even further, i.e. it includes claiming to be what one is not or claiming to have that which one does not possess.
Now it is natural to think that such subtle sins which are common in the everyday life of most Christians do not carry the same penalty as, say, murder. According to the Bible, such thinking is folly.
“…who knowing the righteous judgment of God, that those who practice such things are deserving of death, not only do the same but also approve of those who practice them.” Romans 1:32
Recall that no man can live up to the righteousness of God. Even those whose sins are minimal in the eyes of others such as coveting or envy are still deserving of death. But the God-Man Jesus did fulfill perfectly the righteousness of God and on the cross He paid on our behalf the required price for even those sins that man esteems lightly.
Pastor Joel Osteen recently authored a book entitled: ‘Every Day a Friday…’ Perhaps a more meaningful title would be: ‘Every Day a Good Friday…’
It’s a healthy thing to pause and quietly consider how far we’ve removed ourselves from reality. It’s even a better thing to concentrate on the remedy.
The Lamb of God was born to die and His cross and resurrection is the only and total hope for mankind. Why would anyone reject such a gift?