I was recently doing some research for Dr. Bill Welte and in the process came across a podcast with John Piper[i]. During the podcast, the interviewer quoted Piper as saying, “It makes sense to stay as far away from the sin line as we can.”
Is that what I do? Or at times do I do the opposite? Do I try to see how close to the sin line I can get without actually sinning? Is that in and of itself sinning? Am I toying with holiness by seeing how close to the sin line I can get away with? Seems to me, when I adopt such an attitude, I am missing the fundamental meaning of holiness.
Walking close to the sin line continues to fan the embers of desire for that sinful thing or action. It is trying to have our cake and eat it too, perhaps literally.
Paul warns against such an attitude: But put on the Lord Jesus Christ, and make no provision for the flesh, to gratify its desires. Romans 13:14
Scripture portrays a very different perspective of sin.
Flee from sexual immorality. 1 Corinthians 6:18
Therefore, my beloved, flee from idolatry. 1 Corinthians 10:14
For the love of money is a root of all kinds of evils. It is through this craving that some have wandered away from the faith and pierced themselves with many pangs. But as for you, O man of God, flee these things. 1 Timothy 6:10-11
So flee youthful passions … 2 Timothy 2:22
Flee? And do what?
1 Timothy 6:11-12 continues…But as for you, O man of God, flee these things. Pursue righteousness, godliness, faith, love, steadfastness, gentleness. Fight the good fight of the faith…
2 Timothy 2:22 continues: So flee youthful passions and pursue righteousness, faith, love, and peace, along with those who call on the Lord from a pure heart.
As I flee from the sin line, I move in the direction of holiness. If I encroach on the sin line I hover ever-so-closely to sin and more often than not, sin will draw me in.
But each person is tempted when he is lured and enticed by his own desire. Then desire when it has conceived gives birth to sin, and sin when it is fully grown brings forth death. James 1:14-15
Rather than seeing the sin line as desirable we would be better off seeing the sin line as the line of death and decay. We would be far less enticed to linger near it if we saw it for what it really is… death.
As we consider those things that tempt us, rather than see how close we can come without sinning perhaps we should be seeing how fast and far we can flee.
Diane Hunt serves part-time on the staff of America’s Keswick, providing ministry support from her home in North Carolina. She is also a biblical counselor and women’s event speaker. For more information about having Diane speak at your next event please contact her at firstname.lastname@example.org.