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What the Bible says about Sin Destroys Ideals
(From Forerunner Commentary)

An ideal is a concept or standard of supreme value or perfection, something perceived as the ultimate object of attainment. It is indicative of this world's cynical attitude that it often calls a person with high ideals impractical, a visionary, or a dreamer. This is interesting because most of us had high ideals in our youth. What enters to destroy our idealism? We meet the world, and sin enters to a degree we have never before experienced.

A tragic process begins when we become involved in sin. At first, we regard it with horror. Then, if we repeat the sin, we feel unhappy and ill at ease about it. Yet, if we continue to commit it, we will soon do it without a qualm. Each sin makes the next one easier because the ideal is gradually being lowered. Along with it, one's conscience also adjusts downward, and it will quit working at its former higher level. Like a drug, sin has an addictive quality that pulls a person down each time he surrenders to it.

Mark 10:17-24 relates the story of a young man who greatly desired to be in the Kingdom of God. But when Jesus, who loved him, told him what was required of him, his sin of coveting trumped his desire for the Kingdom, persuading him to lower his ideal to the things of this world! Such is the fruit of sin. It causes us to adjust our standards, hopes, and dreams downward and convinces us to settle for something far less than what could have been.

Jeremiah 4:22 shows what happens as we repeat this scenario: "For My people are foolish. They have not known Me. They are silly children, and they have no understanding. They are wise to do evil, but to do good they have no knowledge." Eventually, godly ideals are gone. The people Jeremiah speaks of had practiced sin so frequently and fervently that they had lost the knowledge of godliness. What is the result? A person blind to truth. Like a slow suicide, this process destroys the standards that make life worth living.

John W. Ritenbaugh
The Elements of Motivation (Part Seven): Fear of Judgment

Related Topics: Sin Destroys Ideals


Mark 10:17-24

Mark 10:17-24 tells the tragic story of a wealthy young man who greatly desired to become part of Jesus' following. Because he wanted eternal life and to be in God's Kingdom, he asked Jesus what he must do to obtain them. When Christ replied that he would have to get rid of all he had, his high ideals came crashing down. A sin smashed them because his sin was stronger than his ideals. Jesus says in verse 24: "And the disciples were astonished at His words. But Jesus answered again and said to them, 'Children, how hard it is for those who trust in riches to enter the Kingdom of God!'" The young man's covetousness destroyed his ideals, and he was willing to settle for less.

Sin destroys ideals. A tragic process begins when we become involved in sin. At first, we regard sin with horror. If we continue to commit the sin, we will still feel ill at ease and unhappy about it, but gradually our consciences will adjust. Each sin makes the next one a bit easier. Over time, the conduct will become entirely acceptable, and we will sin without a qualm. Sin is addictive like a drug. As the addiction becomes stronger, the ideal depreciates until it is completely gone.

John W. Ritenbaugh
What Sin Is & What Sin Does

1 John 2:1-6

Eternal life is to know God (John 17:3). Do we want to know God and do His will at the same time? Keep His commandments. Do not sin. Overcome and grow in the grace and the knowledge of Jesus Christ (II Peter 3:18). To do this, we have to desire to live the eternal life given us by the Father through Jesus Christ. This does not come easily. Our Savior describes this way as difficult and narrow, for human nature stands ever ready to throw stumbling blocks in our path.

Sin destroys ideals. As we sin, the high standards of eternal life are gradually eroded away, and we become willing to accept just about anything. Sin destroys innocence, and in the process creates fear, cynicism, guilt, and restlessness. Sin destroys the will, gradually removing the barriers to sin more and the incentive to do well.

Sin produces more sin, sickness, pain, slavery, and finally, death. This cycle will never change unless each person, as God summons him, takes it upon himself to allow himself to be motivated to use the gifts God gives. It takes a great deal of effort to do this. Jesus warns it will be difficult.

John W. Ritenbaugh
The Elements of Motivation (Part Six): Eternal Life


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