The Progression of Sin

In the twilight, in the evening, in the dark and black night. – Pro 7:9

In Proverbs chapter seven, a story is told of a young man that is seen walking down the pathway towards a immoral woman’s house. The woman is known for her inability to stay at home, and for her frequent liaisons when her husband is out of town. As the young man walks down the path towards her house, the writer of proverbs describes his journey as ‘in the twilight, in the evening, in the dark and black night.’
When I first read this I was a bit confused. When did he journey to her house? Was it in the twilight? Or was it in the evening? Or was it in the black and dark night? The twilight isn’t the same as the evening. And the evening isn’t the same as the dark and black night. What is he saying?

The writer here is speaking of the young man’s descent into darkness. He is speaking of the progression of sin that happens in a person’s life. The young man followed the path of sin, from it’s conception to it’s conclusion. It’s the same path that sin takes all of it’s victims.

Each one is tempted when he is drawn away by his own desires and enticed. Then desire, when it has conceived, gives birth to sin; and sin, when it is full grown, brings forth death. – James 1:14-15

Sin never starts out big. It doesn’t begin in complete darkness. It first begins at twilight, the place right before the darkness falls. Sin always begins with temptation.

The Twilight of Temptation

The twilight represents temptation. Temptation itself is not sin, but the gateway to sin. Jesus was tempted, but never sinned. The bible says that Jesus was tempted in all points as we are, yet without sin.

Temptation is, however, a dark experience. It is a time of struggle. It is a point of decision. It, many times, is a place where desire is at its peak, and an awareness of God is at its lowest. It is a time when faith must be strong, because all feeling is pulling towards sin.

Temptation is like the twilight. The light is still there, but darkness is fighting hard against it. The light of God is in us, but the blackness of temptation is strong.

But as strong as temptation may be, sin is not inevitable. There is no temptation that is so strong that we cannot escape from it. God is faithful, and will always provide a way of escape.

No temptation has overtaken you except such as is common to man; but God is faithful, who will not allow you to be tempted beyond what you are able, but with the temptation will also make the way of escape, that you may be able to bear it. – 1 Corinthians 10:13

The Evening of Sin

Temptation happens when we are lured away by our own desire, but the moment that we take the bait, we have sinned.

Sin is the moment of decision. It is the moment we decide to keep looking, it is the moment we decide to give in, or to cast off restraint. It happens in the mind before it happens in the body.

David sinned when he decided not to turn away from looking at Bathsheba. Moses sinned when he looked this way and that. Judas sinned when he left the table.

The apostle James says that ‘desire, when it has conceived, gives birth to sin.’ When the thought is conceived in our mind, sin is created. It’s just like a pregnant woman: the life begins at conception and is brought forth at birth. In the same way, sin is first at work in our hearts, and then is brought forth into the act committed.

Jesus said that when a man looks at a woman to lust after her he has already committed adultery with her in his heart (Mat 5:28). The decision to harbor adulterous thoughts (or any other sinful thought) is, in the sight of God, just as bad as committing the act itself. It shows that you only lack opportunity, or that only physical consequences hold you back from the act.

For the man who harbors sin in his mind only does so because he doesn’t fear being caught. No one sees his thoughts (except for God, but that doesn’t seem to be stopping him). It only shows that if he had the opportunity, and if no one would catch him, he would commit the act. For it is obvious that the fear of God is not holding him back.

David’s sin with Bathsheba is prime example of this. What happened to this spiritual giant that brought him down to such depravity?

When David strolled upon his rooftop that evening (2 Samuel 11), he spotted Bathsheba bathing on her rooftop. This was the moment of temptation. David took the bait rather than turn his eyes away. Sin was conceived in his mind.

God was far from his thoughts that day, for that sin was born into the world when he brought her into his house. It went from mind to matter in a short time. Sin was born, and it was about to grow.

The Black and Dark Night of Death

Sin, if not dealt with quickly, will always bring forth death.

sin, when it is full grown, brings forth death. – James 1:15

Sometimes the destruction of sin can be averted if it is dealt with soon enough, other times it cannot be undone.

Sin is a monster. When it is born into the world it continues to grow. It wreaks havoc on every aspect of a person’s life. It will destroy and destroy until it ultimate destroys the soul in hell.

Sin started out small with David. It was first the sin of gazing upon a woman that was not his own. He could have dealt with that sin then and there, but he let it grow. He could have repented before God, and sent to that woman’s house to tell her not to bath on her rooftop anymore. He could have aborted that monster before it was born and no one would have been harmed, but he didn’t. He let it grow.

He committed the act and sin was born. The monster was let loose, and the destruction began.

First he tried to cover his sin with lies, but it did not work. He could have humbled himself and repented. It would have been hard, but it would have been way better than what he did next.

He then sought to cover his sin with murder. It seemed to work. He took Bathsheba as his own wife and, for a little while, everything seemed fine.

But it wasn’t fine.

The destruction of this monster of sin was yet to be completed.

God was very merciful towards David, however. Merciful enough to send the prophet Nathan to his house, to point the finger at him and say, “You are the man!” If it had not been for this faithful man of God, David’s soul may have been forever lost.

David finally repented after the rebuke of Nathan, but the destruction of sin kept going and going. Before it was all over, three of David’s sons had died, Uriah had died, and a host of soldiers died in Absalom’s rebellion. David’s daughter and all of his wives were raped, and his kingdom nearly snatched from his hand by his own son. All of this because of David’s decision not to look away.

It truly was a dark and black night.

The Power of Redemption

Yet David was blessed. He was blessed because he served a God who forgives. Despite all the evil that David did and caused, God still loved him; and God still forgave him. He didn’t spare him from the consequences of his sin, but he provided a pathway back to a life of righteousness.

David’s path to restoration was rocky, but it was an ascent out of darkness. He was a broken man for the rest of his days, but he once again lived in the light of God’s presence. He once again partook of the joy of his salvation.

Things were bad for him, but they would have been much worse. His repentance was the sword that killed that monster of sin. It’s path of destruction would not be easily erased, but at least it could destroy no more.

Jesus Christ died on the cross to save us from the power of sin. Sin is a monster, but it is no match for the grace of God. Where sin is great, God’s grace is greater. God’s grace can take the darkest of situations and turn it to a story for good. It’s never too late to turn around from that descent into darker and blacker darkness. It won’t be an easy road back, but it’s the right road, and it’s the road to healing–both for you and for those whom you have hurt. Don’t wait.

If you have sinned, turn to God today. He is very gracious. He is very merciful. He WILL forgive you, and accept you–if you repent. He loves you as a son or a daughter. As far as He is concerned, your past will be no more. He won’t hold one of your sins against you. Put your trust in Jesus Christ today. Cry out to him this moment, “God be merciful to me, a sinner!” As surely as He lives He will listen to you, forgive you, and receive you as his child. Don’t wait.

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