Daily Devotional for Thursday February 17, 2005

The Wages of Sin is Death

(Romans 6:23)

As I followed the double-murder trial of Scott Peterson, the Kobe Bryant rape case, the murder of Lori Hacking by her husband, and other high-profile-legal cases, I can hear Paul standing before the people of his day declaring, ?The wages of sin is death!?

A reoccurring point I make many times every week is that sin has a HUGE price tag. Sin is like having a Platinum American Express card with no limit and spending all day shopping on Rodeo Drive in Beverly Hills. You can buy anything you want no matter how much it costs. You come home with new clothes, shoes, jewelry, appliances, furniture, artwork, and anything else you wanted to buy. Then one day, the bill comes in the mail. You open it and all of a sudden the reality hits that YOU NOW HAVE TO PAY FOR ALL OF THE THINGS YOU BOUGHT! Your sin will always cost more than you ever wanted to pay!

Look at the Peterson case. Scott chose to live a life of sin and is going to pay for those choices with his very life. He made the choice to cheat on his wife and have sex with Amber Frey and she only became involved in this case because she chose to sin and have sex with a man she was not married to. According to the jury, he then decided to kill his wife and unborn child. When you open your life to sin, one sin begets another sin, and you end up doing things that you would never imagine doing. Never forget, sin is a choice and always costs more than you ever wanted to pay.

In the Kobe Bryant case, he was accused of raping a young woman who worked at a hotel he was staying at. Even though the criminal case against him was dropped, the indisputable fact is he CHOSE to engage in sex with a woman who was not his wife. Kobe was not one of the ?bad boys? that sadly make up much of the NBA these days. He is one of the best basketball players on the planet, had a squeaky clean image, and was courted by major corporations to endorse their products earning tens of millions of dollars on and off the court. While he will still be one of the game?s highest paid players, gone forever, are the multi-million dollar endorsement deals. He has already paid millions in legal fees, and still has a civil trial pending that could cost him millions more. Never forget, sin is a choice and always costs more than you ever wanted to pay.

In the murder of Lori Hacking, her husband Mark has confessed to shooting her in the head while she slept. The motive seems to be the fact that his choice to lie about his academic record and being accepted into the Duke Medical School had been exposed. He had carried out his lie to the point he and Lori were actually preparing to move to North Carolina, and in the process, his wife found out that it was all a lie. The weight of his lies being exposed apparently were too much for Mark and he killed her. He will now spend the rest of life in prison. Never forget, sin is a choice and always costs more than you ever wanted to pay.

Other high-profile cases recently included Chandra Levy and Congressman Gary Condit. Again, the choice by a man to engage in an adulterous affair destroyed his political career whether he had anything to do with her murder or not. Sadly, the choice by Chandra to sin by engaging in sex with a man who was not her husband probably led to her death. President Clinton chose to have sex outside of his marriage and his choice to sin will be one his lasting legacies. Monica Lewinsky will be forever known as ?that woman? for her choice to engage in sexual sin. A woman in Houston was recently sentenced to 30 years in prison for using her Mercedes to run over her cheating husband numerous times in the parking lot of a hotel where he was caught with another woman. Never forget, sin is a choice and always costs more than you ever wanted to pay.

One of the beautiful things about the Bible is that it does not hide the sins of even those men who did great things for God. It documents the consequences of their sins, showing that even those of great faith, who do great things for God, must pay the price when they make the choice to sin.

I love you and care about you so much. I am using these public stories today to help warn you that sin is not free . . . it costs! I am sure we can all look back at the sins we chose to commit in our own life and see the high price we paid for those sins. Don?t forget, sin is a choice. You CHOOSE to sin. The next time you are confronted with the choice to sin or not, remember, it is not a matter of if you will pay a price for your sin, only a matter of how much of a price you will pay. In the end, it is never worth it. Whatever temporary benefit you received from your choice to sin is quickly replaced by the permanent scar that sin will always leave.

I will be praying for you today. Praying that you choose NOT to sin as you are confronted with that choice each and every day. It simply is not worth it. Also, never forget that you don?t sin in a vacuum. There is a ripple effect from sin that touches many innocent people. When you choose to sin, it is like the performer on the old Ed Sullivan Show who would spin the plates on 8 poles. He would get all 8 plates spinning at once then have to go back to the first one and get it going again then the next one and the next. Eventually, all 8 plates would end up crashing to the floor broken into many pieces. You can only sin so long before you have to deal with the consequences of your sin.

My word to you today is simple. You have choices to make every day. You choose to sin or obey God. Let me leave you with the last part of Romans 6:23, ?But the gift of God is eternal life in Christ Jesus our Lord.? The choice you make is literally one of life and death. The choice to sin brings death, the choice to follow the Lord brings life!