The Lifecycle of Sin

(James 1:13-15) Wake up. Eat. Work. Live. But we know there's so much more to our inner-lives than daily motions. James explains the clear choices which lead to sin.

a year ago   •   2 min read

By Jordan Hopkins

Doesn’t it irk you when someone makes excuses for their bad choices?

When in a tight corner of anxiety and guilt, though, it can be easy for anyone to turn to unhealthy ways of dealing with fear and stress.

When it comes to sin and evil, God wants us to “choose life.”

A couple weeks ago, we explored the story of Cain and how he allowed himself to be overcome with his evil desires. In the end, it caused death.

The New Testament offers the same warning to us that God offered to Cain…

When tempted, no one should say, “God is tempting me.” For God cannot be tempted by evil, nor does he tempt anyone; but each person is tempted when they are dragged away by their own evil desire and enticed. Then, after desire has conceived, it gives birth to sin; and sin, when it is full-grown, gives birth to death.

James 1:13-15 (NIV)

James makes a super clear point: those bad desires, those injustices and evils around us—God has no hand in causing them.

Instead, James illustrates the cycle of sin with the life cycle of a person, how one thing “gives birth” to another. In other words, sin is the result of incubated misplaced desires.

So, here’s that cycle according to James…

Staircase of sin's choices: Desire, Deceit, Decision, Detriment, and finally Death.
"The Life Cycle of Sin" by ScriptureSauce.com

I’m fully aware the Biblical view of sin does not jive with moral relativism. However, even the strongest adherent to relativism would agree the current racial injustices are horrible. They would also agree the above pattern (from desire to death) has played out over the centuries regarding racism, war, and other injustices.

? The Bad News

But wait! Aren’t humans inherently good and loving?

Originally, yes. We are created as God’s image. But humanity has made the deliberate choice from the start to choose death, not life.

But wait! I’m not deserving of death for thinking a few wrong thoughts am I?

It’s deeper than that. The book of Romans (and James’ description above) all point to a hard reality: the final result of sin is death for any person.

We see it play out everyday. Earlier this evening I read a news story of a mother shoving her autistic son into a body of water (on two separate occasions) to end his life. This is a very tangible, obvious example of sin’s life cycle. It’s heartbreaking. Unfathomable. Strikingly evil.

However, the Bible is clear we are all in the same boat. Even for those of us who see ourselves as verified saints. We “all have fallen short of the glory of God” because we all have partaken in the life cycle of sin.

? The Good News

That’s tomorrow. (Please don’t throw things!)

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Post photo by Nathan Hulsey on Unsplash

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