dying roses

The False Beauty of Sin

By A.C.

From a very young age, the image of Satan that we are presented with is almost always the same. It’s some dark character dressed in red with horns and a pitch fork. And as we grow older, this image, although not as juvenile, remains the same. He is always presented on TV and motion pictures as some evil dark character that seems somewhat out of place. His evil presence, according to many of these films, can be detected immediately without hesitation. A certain look, or an eerie voice allows the viewer to visually understand that this character is different in some way than the rest. The intention is to make him unique. He has to be, he’s evil, he the Devil…

But what does the Bible say about this pitch forked enemy we know as Lucifer or the Devil? What are his true characteristics and how does the Bible warn us about his ultimate goal in the believer’s life?

The book of Ezekiel gives us the first glimpse into our adversary, seemingly from the moment before time as we know it, began. Chapter 28 verse 12 says this, “You were the model of perfection, full of wisdom and PERFECT IN BEAUTY. You were in Eden, the garden of God, every precious stone adorned you.” According to these not-so-easy to understand verses, God created Satan and he was physically beautiful. That was not an easy sentence to write, but if it’s in God’s word we can’t just dismiss what He may be trying to tell us. The remaining verses in Ezekiel, although tough to totally comprehend, says that because of his beauty, he rebelled against Almighty God.

Just as important as his physical attributes given to us in scripture, is how he tries to work against us. Does he use the core of his beauty in any way to tempt and deceive us? Are his attacks always in a dark negative tone or can it be more deviously clever than we think? Does he always come against us with things that are unpleasing to our human mind and hearts or does he appeal to the fallen nature known as “our flesh”?

Whatever methods he uses, his ultimate goal is to entice us away from our secured salvation from sin. Now I know there are many people who may say that once we become a Christian our salvation is eternally sealed. In some way I would agree, but what do we do with verses like this, “See to it brothers and sisters that none of you have a sinful unbelieving heart that turns away from the living God”? (Hebrews 3:12 NIV) If the Bible states that sin has the power to turn our hearts away from the only true God, then we need to know more on how it operates.

First we must realize that Satan does have full on frontal assaults when we are Christians. There’s no hiding this fact. Ask our brothers and sisters in Syria who are being beheaded for the faith that they refuse to deny even at the cost of their very lives. But what other methods does he use? Can his attacks come in a more subtle, appealing way? Many years ago I read this scripture in Proverbs that has remained ingrained in my memory. It talks about the deceitfulness of sin. “Do not gaze at wine when it is red, it sparkles in the cup, when it goes down smoothly. In the end it bites like a snake and poisons like a viper.” (Proverbs 23:31) Simply put, sin in its original state is fun, enjoyable, and appealing to the human eye, but in the end, ultimately, it brings death.

Sadly, many Christians have lost their way not because they were hit with a barrage of frontal attacks by the enemy but because they were enticed away by the false beauty of sin. From something that may have started out so innocent and simple, ended in embarrassment, heartache or even spiritual death. How many of us have been tempted in this way by the pull of the “beauty” of sin? It may not be as uncommon as you think. Do you think that the alcoholic started out locking himself in a room drinking a bottle of alcohol a night? No, it starts out many times with just a small glass during a party in order not feel out of place. And like most sin, once it hooks you in, it’s not so easy to get free from.

To my own shame I have succumb to pressures like this. You get with old friends and it’s a casual toast to remember “the good old days.” All sin needs is an open door. How many pastors have lost their ministries because of some “harmless” flirtation with the opposite sex? Harmless flirtations to full blown scandals. That is the damage sin can bring. Honest men and women who have had the very calling of God on their lives ruined through the “beauty” of sin. The Devil will stop at nothing to see our demise. Many Christians have married or gone into business with a non-believer even though scripture clearly warns against it. The excuses as to why it was done seem logical and innocent. I’m lonely or it’s a good way to supply for my family. It always has its start as the sparkling glass, and many times it ends with the bite of a viper.

Remarkably, no one is exempt from the beauty of these temptations. Satan even uses our own arrogance and pride to make us think “this could never happen to me.” The environment you live in or years served as a Christian doesn’t eliminate anyone from being a candidate to the physical lure and attractiveness of sin. In 1 Corinthians, Paul writes, “I strike a blow to my body (discipline my body) and make it my slave, so that after I have preached to others, I myself may not be disqualified for the prize.” (1 Corinthians 9:27 NIV) How can a man who wrote more than half of the New Testament and is a model Believer throughout Christian history be disqualified? Paul knew the draw and pull the “beauty” of sin possess.

If sin has this kind of deceptive draw and is originated through the evil powers of Satan, how do we as mere humans stand a chance?

Was it God’s design for us to fight these temptations off on our own? Did He ask us to pull it together and do our best? Never… In the small book of Jude comes one of the most powerful verses regarding sin in the entire New Testament. It’s our only answer to standing up against the beauty of the Devil’s schemes. It reads like this, “Now all glory to God, who is able to keep you from falling away and will bring you with great joy into His presence without a single fault.” (Jude 1:24 NLT)

The only way to resist the Devil’s lure of sin in your life: rest solely on the power of God working in you. God never intended to leave us defenseless against the attacks of the Devil no matter how appealing to the eye they may seem. Another translation has it, “To Him who is able to keep you from falling.” The power to overcome these temptations was given to us when God gave us His Holy Spirit. The more we give up the old desires we once had, the more the power of God himself fights on our behalf.

Paul says in the book of Galatians, “I have been crucified with Christ and I no longer live (for my own sinful desires) but Christ lives in me.” (Galatians 2:20 NIV) Think about what this verse tells us. Christ lives in me… The power of the God who created the universe is fighting sin on my behalf. And through the power that He gives, we can see the end result of the enticing circumstance before we engage in it. God gives us warning signals far in advance before it’s too late. He allows us to see the poison through the sparkle…

Do you feel like I once did, that sin has you wrapped too tight in its clutches that you can’t break free? Are you stuck in a compromising circumstance that Satan seems to have you and you can’t get out? If you’ve never experienced the life changing power of God that fights off sin, it’s never too late to call on Him for help. His word says, “If we confess our sins, He is faithful and just to forgive us our sins and cleanse us from all unrighteousness.” (1 John 1:9 ESV)

He’s waiting to set you free……

Just Something to Consider.