Today is a day of reckoning. A wave of judgment is sweeping leaders from their high positions of cultural, political, corporate, and religious power because they used those positions to indulge their self-centered sexual appetites on subordinates.
Things that in the dim, hidden realms of their imagination and control looked deceptively like perks of privilege and sexual entertainment — pleasures they pursued without giving serious thought to how the human objects they used would be damaged — now look lurid, foul, abusive, pathetic, and shameful when dragged out into the bright light of public exposure.
Victims are speaking out, many for the first time. Their anger is justified and palpable, and their words are carrying real consequences to their once-insulated abusers. So far this has been a very good thing. It would be a great mercy if lasting cultural intolerance resulted in the balance of power changing between lecherous leaders and vulnerable subordinates.
Is Your Heart Being Hardened?
But God is doing far more than exposing the sin of leaders. He is showing again how deceitful and desperately sick the human heart is (Jeremiah 17:9) apart from Christ, and reminding us that we have such evil blood still coursing in our veins, so prone to be “hardened by the deceitfulness of sin” (Hebrews 3:13).
And for those who will hear it, God is offering us total forgiveness and freedom. He has sent his Son into the world precisely to liberate us from our sick hearts and sin’s slavery, no matter how lurid and shameful. There is an escape; there is a safe place.
But the time is urgent and short. God can turn a day of reckoning into a day of amnesty. But he’s calling today, “Today, if [we] hear his voice, [let us not] harden [our] hearts” (Hebrews 3:15).
Christians in Bondage
God makes this offer to both Christians and non-Christians. Obviously non-Christians remain in sin bondage. But many Christians are also in the bondage to a secret sin they fear to expose. They were offered a forbidden fruit, they listened to their deceitful desires, and they ate. They didn’t fully realize they were enslaving themselves to sin (Romans 6:16), but having been snared by enticement, they have discovered sin to be a ruthless slave master.
The Bible is very clear (and our experience confirms) that we who are new creations in Christ (2 Corinthians 5:17) still endure the strange experience of having inside us remnants of the “old self, which belongs to [our] former manner of life and is corrupt through deceitful desires” (Ephesians 4:22).
Therefore, we must choose to “put off your old self” and “put on the new self, created after the likeness of God in true righteousness and holiness” (Ephesians 4:22, 24). We live with a regenerated nature and a corrupt nature, a new heart but an old disease still infecting our beings. And we are called to direct our regenerated heart to follow Jesus (Proverbs 23:19) and to die to the sinful desires and directives still in us.
That’s why the warnings in Hebrews about sin’s deceitfulness and responding “today” are addressed to Christians.
So, it is to our deceitful, sinful desires that this proverb is addressed: “There is a way that seems right to a man, but its end is the way to death” (Proverbs 14:12). This describes the deceitful nature of all sin, not just the sexual kind dominating the news.
But the sexual kind is a prime example of how sin ensnares us into slavery. It entices us with a promise of forbidden pleasure by making the way of death appear “right” to us. In the soft, hazy light of seductive temptation in the unreal world of our fallen imagination, we appear autonomous, others appear soulless, and sin appears consequence-less — all of which are lethal lies.
Then, having believed the promise and obeyed sin, we find ourselves ruled by condemnation and fear. Guilt brings down its hammer blows against us, and our sin’s exposure threatens to destroy our reputation, relationships, and perhaps far more. Meanwhile, weakened by indulgence and shame, sin re-entices us as a poisonous form of seeking comfort, and the cycle keeps repeating till escape seems hopeless.
This is the ancient serpentine strategy to imprison us in dark, damnable dungeons in order to alienate us from God and others — and, if possible, to destroy us. But as long as it is called “today,” we are not hopeless. There is an escape. But only one.
Door in the Dungeon
Into the dark dungeon of sin, where we followed our desperately sick, sinful desires, came Jesus.
Our Creator knew everything about us — every sinful thought we’ve had, every sinful word we’ve said, and every sinful, despicable thing we’ve done — and came anyway to rescue us from our hearts by taking the full punishment for our sin and our unholy shame on himself, and offering us his cleanness and holiness instead.
And when he did, Jesus made a door — he became the door (John 10:9) — in the wall of our sin dungeon leading to eternal guilt-free, sin-free, joyful freedom. He became the light in our darkness, our salvation from damnation and sin’s slavery, our refuge from divine judgment, removing all real reason for fear (Psalm 27:1–2).
In Christ, God, who is the most fearsome adversary of the sinner, who has the power to throw us into hell, becomes our one safe place free from all condemnation and fear (Romans 8:1). Jesus offers us safe escape out of the dungeon.
But this offer — an offer made to both non-Christians and professing Christians — is made to those who will confess their sin, repent of it, and follow Jesus. This offer is made to perpetrators who have selfishly abused and damaged others and live in a cell of secret shame. It is made to their victims living in dark cells of bitterness and resentment. The full price for sin has been paid; full justice has been done. Therefore, full forgiveness and full freedom is yours, if you’ll take it.
Do not wait any longer. Stop listening to the tyrannical threats of sin and Satan. Jesus offers this gift today. Today is the day to walk out the door. “Today, if you hear his voice, do not harden your hearts” (Hebrews 3:15). “Behold, now is the favorable time; behold, now is the day of salvation” (2 Corinthians 6:2). If you wait longer, your heart may be “hardened by the deceitfulness of sin,” and the door may close (Hebrews 3:13).
God can turn a day of reckoning into a day of amnesty. But he’s calling today. Come out of the dungeon.
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