“For the wages of sin is death, but the gift of God is eternal life in Christ Jesus our Lord”
Romans 6:23, NIV
Christmas is coming. The shops are full of inducements to buy what we want, when we want it, without consideration of the financial consequences of unwise purchasing decisions. The encouragement to ‘Buy NOW – Pay Later’ screams at us from advertisements for all the products which are deemed essential in our consumer driven society. It’s a tactic that commercial interests use – because it works!
But it’s a tactic that Satan has been using since the beginning – for the same reason. It works! Mankind is still paying for the Fall! The words ‘forbidden fruit’ are used to describe the things that carry a hidden price tag. Even though his sin was later forgiven, David spent the rest of his life paying for the consequences of his relationship with Bathsheba. And when you read the stories of the Kings of Israel and Judah you read story after story, telling of the personal and national consequences there were of buying in to Satan’s temptations.
Temptations are always dressed up to be attractive – otherwise we wouldn’t stretch out the hand of our life to take hold of such ‘forbidden fruit’. But there is always a price to pay. And sometimes the cost is very high. Often we have to spend a lot of time on Healing Retreats, helping people to unpack the consequences of wrong choices they have made.
Our Scripture for today not only reminds us that the hidden price of sin is death. But it then goes on to remind us that God’s great gift to sinners is eternal life. Repentance and forgiveness are the doorways to living in the blessing of the eternal life that Jesus won for us on the cross.
So, why would you want to risk having to pay later for Satan’s forbidden fruit? In his first letter, Peter tells his readers, “You have spent enough time in the past doing what pagans choose to do . . . but they will have to give an account to him who is ready to judge the living and the dead” (from 1 Peter 4:3-5). May I encourage you to use these weeks of preparation for Christmas as a season of heart-searching and turning away from the things for which Satan will exact his price by urging you to Buy Now – Pay Later?!