Summary: Sin is dangerous - even "little" sins are a slippery slope which can become nearly impossible to escape.
The Slippery Slope
February 4, 2001
Read from Romans 1:18-32
Here we read a passage that shows how clearly sin has captured our world
- we read a disturbing picture of a culture in moral free fall, all restraints gone, full of compromise with righteousness, headed toward destruction and judgment
- a society not unlike the world we live in
But, you know what this passage of scripture makes me think of?
How in the world do I get Niagara Falls from the Apostle Paul’s sobering picture of a sinful world?
How many of you have been to Niagara Falls?
If you’ve never been there, you can only imagine the power and majesty of the sight
Pictures or video do not do it justice
One of the amazing things about Niagara Falls is the amount of water that goes over the brink of the falls each minute
-averaging about 194,940 cu ft per second, - that’s about 93,150,000 gallons per minute
One of the things I remember about living near the falls is that each year, you’d hear two or three times about someone going over the falls
Some, stupidly, did it on purpose, and most often paid for their stupidity with their lives - we read of stupidity in this passage from Romans 1
- others fell in close to the brink and never had a chance
But what makes me want to relate this passage of scripture we just read with Niagara Falls is this:
- you could be a mile or so upriver from the brink of the Falls, and there were places that the water was not too deep so that you could have walked across the river.
- but the flow of the water to the brink was so strong, the current so rapid, that there were warning buoys several miles upstream, to warn boaters, swimmers, whoever might be in or near the water
- because once you got caught in that current, you were on a slippery slope, a downhill slide to the brink
- which meant almost certain death
That’s why this message this morning is called The Slippery Slope
Because Paul’s picture of sin in Romans 1 clearly reveals the downward spiral that’s common of sin in a culture
- and in the individual
As we look at this passage this morning, we’ll see this downward progression
First people reject God - we’ll take a look at how that can start
- that makes it easier to compromise right and wrong
- next, they make up their own ideas about what a god should be and do
then they fall into sin
—sexual sin, greed, hatred, envy, murder, strife, deceit, malice, gossip and more
Finally, they grow to hate God and worse still, encourage others to do so
It’s also clear that God does not cause this steady progression toward evil
Rather, when people reject him, he allows them to live as they choose
God gives them over, or permits them to experience, the natural consequences of their sin
Once caught in the downward spiral, no one can pull himself or herself out.
Sinners must trust Christ alone to put them on the path of escape, to pull them off of the slippery slope, to rescue them from the downward spiral which is inevitable once we start down that wrong path.
- and that involves a choice we make to acknowledge God’s rule in our lives
- literally His right to be Lord - which brings us full circle
- that means we want to stay so far from the brink of the falls, so far upstream from the cliff over which these millions of gallons of water cascade each minute
- that we cannot get caught in the current of culture and get swept along into sin
To ask how close to the brink can we get is the wrong question for us as believers
The right question is, how far away can I get?
Now, it’s important to remember the entire context of this passage this morning
we must remember this:
In Romans 1:18-through chapter 3, Paul develops his argument that no one can claim by their own efforts or merit to be good in God’s sight
—not the masses, not the Romans, not even the Jews
- in our case this morning, not even we believers can claim righteousness through our own efforts or merit
All people everywhere deserve God’s condemnation for their sin
- then vs 24 tells us:we are justified freely by his grace…
Only when we come to understand that, can we truly receive and appreciate the mercy of God as the wonderful gift it is