Updated: Dec 21, 2022
By Drew Zuverink
"For the wages of sin is death, but the gift of God is eternal life in Christ Jesus our Lord."
Every Christian knows that they aren't supposed to sin. Pastors preach sermons about it, youth pastors plead with their students to avoid it, parents teach their kids about it, even unbelievers know that Christian's are supposed to avoid sin. But why? Why is it so important to avoid things that the Bible calls sin? Consider with me three reasons not to sin.
1) Because every sin is harmful. Some of you already believe this, but stay with me, don't skip to the next point just yet. It is very important to understand that every single thing that the Bible lists as a sin is harmful to the person committing the sin or to someone else who is affected by it. This is a big deal because it means that God wants people to avoid sin because he doesn't want people to be hurt by it. It is easy for us to understand why we shouldn't murder, clearly that is harmful to others, but we often struggle to avoid other sins that we think aren't all that harmful. This is a terrible mistake on our part. What we fail to realize is that every sin is harmful and God only bans harmful things. Imagine yourself as a young child who has been warned by an adult not to eat the little red holly berries in the forest. In your mind, you cannot understand what could possibly go wrong if you ate some - after all, berries taste good, and aren't they healthy too? So you ignore the warnings of the adult and you decide to eat a handful of holly berries, only to soon find out why the adult told you not to. Soon you are nauseous, vomiting and dealing with stomach cramps. This is what humans are like when we doubt that certain sins will hurt us. Christian's do not avoid sin because they don't want to go to hell, Christian's avoid sin because sin is harmful to us and harmful to others. We trust that God is protecting us when he commands us to avoid certain things. It is important for unbelievers to know that God wants humans to flourish and so he put boundaries in place.
Consider just two quick examples that unbelievers usually find difficult to understand.
a) Premarital sex. Sex outside of the context of marriage is harmful; it leads to unwanted pregnancies, broken hearts, STD's, future intimacy issues and statistically speaking - few relationships last if sex is introduced before marriage. I think it is safe to say that the world would be a better place if everyone waited until marriage to have intercourse.
b) Homosexuality. Same sex relationships are also prohibited by God, not because he hates love, but because homosexuality is harmful. If you doubt this point I encourage you to research all of the diseases that can come from engaging in same sex relationships. Again, it might be unpopular to say this, but the world would be a better place if the only kind of sex was between a man and a woman.
2) Because the consequences of sin last far longer than the sin itself. This is one of the absolute worst parts about sin. The sin itself is over relatively quickly, but the effects last for a long time. This also adds extra urgency to our efforts to avoid sin. Consider how quickly one act of premarital unfaithfulness is over and consider how long the effects of that one action will last. Or consider how quickly the sin of gluttony is over but how long it will take to lose the weight. How long does it take to slander or to gossip - it's over in seconds, but how long will the fall out be? Because the effects of sin are not over with quickly, it is very important to avoid sin as if it were essentially life threatening. One minute of sin has the potential to destroy relationships, families, careers, and on and on the list goes.
3) Because sin is stupid. Sin is illogical, did you know that? It really does not make any logical sense to choose to sin. Think about it; if sin is harmful, if the enjoyment of sin is over with quickly, and if the consequences of sin last for a very long time, why on earth would we choose to sin? The answer is because sin is illogical, it doesn't make sense. Of course we will all still choose to sin, because humans are not always the most logical of species, we often make decisions based upon pure emotion, but it's still important to know that sin is stupid. All Christian's know this deep down. We have all committed sins and immediately regretted it thinking, "Why in the world did I choose to do that again?!" It isn't enough to stop sin by itself, but part of winning the battle against sin is remembering that it is illogical.
The Christian's battle with sin is an exhausting never ending struggle filled with wonderful victories and devastating defeats. May the grace of God, and these three reasons, help us to live a life filled with more victories. Remember also, many unbelievers do not understand why God would prohibit certain things. That is completely understandable if they have not grown up in a church. Be patient with them, and do your best to explain how all sins are harmful, and God wants humans to flourish.