The harmfulness of sin, Pt1

Scripture: “But Paul cried with a loud voice, saying, Do thyself no harm: for we are all here,” Acts 16:28

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There is nothing more contradictory than to speak of harmless sin. Yet such a description is often used of those actions that are decidedly contrary to God’s word. (James 1:15. Euthanasia)

Our text shows a man about to act in accordance with the best counsel that his heart can provide. It was to kill himself. He felt himself in danger of the death penalty for allowing prisoners to escape {Acts 12:19} so felt that he would escape that penalty by killing himself. Wise logic indeed! Such a death is called the last remedy by Seneca the philosopher.

I. ALL UNCONVERTED MEN ARE ENGAGED IN HARMING THEMSELVES
The word harm means ‘wicked’ ‘evil’, Matt 21:41, 24:48. No matter how benign the actions may appear, they are evilly conceived and will produce evil.

1. Man’s heart can produce nothing but harm. “ . . . every imagination of the thoughts of his heart was only evil continually,” Gen 6:5. No matter what the objective behind a decision, the end is always evil. “There is a way that seemeth right unto a man, but the end thereof are the ways of death,” Proverbs 16:25. “The way of a fool is right in his own eyes,” Proverbs 12:15. None may harm man but himself. God wishes him no harm (Eze 18:23, 32, 33:11, 1 Tim 2:4) and the devil is not permitted to harm him except through temptation in which man must first yield agreement to whatever happens to him.

2. The greatest harm has sprung from decisions for good. Eve’s sin is the chief example, Gen 3:6. Uzzah is another example, II Sam 6:6-7. Even Calvary sprang from such a decision, John 11:48-51. Again, Judas thought it good to betray Christ in order to enrich himself by 30 pieces of silver.

3. That man’s life is not swiftly ended is of God’s mercy alone. God must preserve men from the dire consequences of their decisions for good or else they would come to a swift end. Man has greatly damaged the fabric of the earth by his folly and greed. It is but a picture of the harmful course that he adopts. Even Penicillin has produced evil, enabling men to escape the earthly wages of their sins.

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