The Passing Pleasures of Sin
“But, honestly now, how can we possibly expect married people who are living in adultery to break up their marriage?” This is a question over which every sincere student of God’s Word has agonized. When we consider the tears, the heartache, the children, the finances, the physical and emotional trauma—we cannot help but wish it could be otherwise! Surely,God does not expect adulterous marriages to be dissolved!
But then we reconsider the biblical perspective. We find that, more often than not, living righteously before God entails tremendous hardship and deprivation. We find that the peace, joy, and genuine happiness that characterizes the Christian life is achieved through (i.e., in the midst of) suffering—not through an absence of hardship. Remember Moses (Hebrews 11:23-27)? Moses literally grew up in Pharaoh’s own household. Imagine the tender affection which he received at the hands of Pharaoh’s daughter. She literally “nurtured him as her own son” (Acts 7:21, NASB). Imagine the deep emotional and psychological bonds that were formed between Moses and his adopted family! Imagine the intellectual influence exerted on Moses’ mind, since his educational basis was derived via the Egyptian world view (Acts 7:22). Visualize the irresistible attraction and allurement of the riches and power that were his. For 40 long years, Moses sank the roots of his very being deeper and deeper into a maze of human relationships and strong emotional ties.
But in God’s sight, this relationship could not last. When Moses realized this, he was forced to amputate the ties of a strong physical, psychological, and emotional relationship in deference to an obedient relationship with God. His choice to forego momentary pleasures meant hardship, suffering and ill-treatment (Hebrews 11:25). Listen to the inspired writer: “By faith Moses, when he became of age, refused to be called the son of Pharaoh’s daughter, choosing rather to suffer affliction with the people of God than to enjoy the passing pleasures of sin (Hebrews 11:24-25, emp. added).
We, too, must come face to face with the same dilemma. It may be the decision to subdue an insatiable desire for alcohol; it may involve the severance of a financially productive business relationship; and yes, it may entail foregoing a marital relationship. In short, living the Christian life may mean the radical and total disruption of social and family existence (study carefully Matthew 10:34-36; Luke 12:51-53).
The real tragedy is, most are unwilling to make such essential decisions. The sacrifices are simply too great. In Moses’ case, he considered “the reproach of Christ greater riches than the treasures of Egypt; for he was looking to the reward” (Hebrews 11:26). Each of us must decide. Are we willing to launch out and take the necessary steps to please God?
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