Sin Never Pays Off

Genesis 36:9-12 (ESV) These are the generations of Esau the father of the Edomites in the hill country of Seir. 10 These are the names of Esau’s sons: Eliphaz the son of Adah the wife of Esau, Reuel the son of Basemath the wife of Esau. 11 The sons of Eliphaz were Teman, Omar, Zepho, Gatam, and Kenaz. 12 (Timna was a concubine of Eliphaz, Esau’s son; she bore Amalek to Eliphaz.) These are the sons of Adah, Esau’s wife.

I’m chief among sinners. My external actions often depart from God’s way. My thoughts and feelings, some of which, are born of my flesh conflict often with my new creation heart, and internally I give in to ways that are not God’s ways in thought and emotion. Sin. 

Romans 6:23 (ESV) For the wages of sin is death, but the free gift of God is eternal life in Christ Jesus our Lord.

Sin, in all its cancerous forms, never pays out life. Sin overpromises and never delivers life. Sin only produces death, things that come back to bite me on the backside. I know this theologically and by lots of experience. 

It’s not like the Bible doesn’t warn me though. There is abundant instruction to move me to righteousness, yet I will stray like a dumb sheep. Prone to wander, Lord I feel it. Prone to leave the God I love. 

When I read about Esau in Genesis, I can’t help but be taken back to the garden and I hear God’s voice saying, “The day you eat of it you will die.”

Nothing works right anymore because of the curse of sin. God chose Jacob to be the one through who his mission would run, yet Esau is born first. Somehow, through dishonest means, God’s eternal and holy mission gets set on track when Jacob buys Esau’s birthright with stew and then gets his father’s blessing through trickery and deceit. How God hits straight licks with crooked sticks is a mystery to me. But he does it, and somehow, he works all things for our good and his glory, even through the hands of sinners whose intent is far from righteous. 

I’m thankful for this truth. I’m a crooked stick. 

But Esau departs from the faithful way when he takes two wives and then takes them from a tribe of a different faith. Esau sees what Rebekah says outright to Jacob about Esau’s wives, that life is hard with them, so he takes another wife from Ishmael, hoping to please his folks. It is from this mixed up and unfaithful stewarding of marriage that Esau has a grandson named Amalek. 

It will be Amalek that will attack Israel from the rear hundreds of years later as they come out of Egypt, where all the old people and kids are located. Dang. 

A series of sinful decisions from Esau (Edom) will end up hundreds of years later paying out death on Jacob’s descendants.

Here are a few observations to help us fight well today:

  1. Sin is never isolated to me. Sin is atmospheric. It will end up hurting other people. Don’t believe sin’s allure. 
  2. Sin pays out death while promising life.
  3. Sin usually requires more sin to try and correct it unless we just come clean, repent, and turn to the Lord and his people for restoration. 
  4. Deal harshly with your own sin. 

Matthew 5:29-30 (ESV) If your right eye causes you to sin, tear it out and throw it away. For it is better that you lose one of your members than that your whole body be thrown into hell. 30 And if your right hand causes you to sin, cut it off and throw it away. For it is better that you lose one of your members than that your whole body go into hell.

  1. Sin will always have consequences, even unintended consequences. 
  2. Jesus can and will restore us when we come to him in faith and repentance. 

Until Jesus fully and finally establishes his kingdom in the new heavens and earth, we are going to have to deal with sin, but God has given us instructions on sin, and he has done the hard lifting to make sure the way is made. 

This woefully incomplete list of truths walk on the highway of the cross. The free gift of God is eternal life through Jesus Christ.

Sin has ultimately been defeated through Jesus’ resurrection, and we can by grace and faith, cut sin off and be restored. Consequences may not go away, but our status with God is fully and completely set in Christ. 

Four final actions to help deal a death blow to sin:

  1. Be killing sin or sin will be killing us. Kill sin by exposing it to light. How do I do that? See number 2.  
  2. Confess sin to God and a faithful friend in your church. 
  3. Turn from sin and live holy and right. 
  4. Lean on Jesus for forgiveness and restoration. 

If beset by sin today, get after killing it, and find that Jesus is waiting to welcome you home to his way of life. 

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