Family Bible Study lesson for Feb. 13: How Much Does Sin Cost? : Friday, Jan. 28, 2005
January 28 2005 by John Pond

Family Bible Study lesson for Feb. 13: How Much Does Sin Cost? : Friday, Jan. 28, 2005
Friday, Jan. 28, 2005

Family Bible Study lesson for Feb. 13: How Much Does Sin Cost?

By John Pond
Focal Passage: Hosea 4:1-9; 5:13-15

Sin? In a "Golden Age of Exoneration," as John Leo describes it, there is no concept of personal sin. Instead, negative behavior is a result of outside forces; someone else is to blame. Sin is denied and our culture sits back comforted and innocuous to its danger. Yet, sin is real. It is destructive, but curable.

Does sin have a cost? One writer has said, "There is always an advertised price for sin. But that price is always lower than the actual price it carries." The apostle Paul states, "The wages of sin is death" (Rom. 6:23). The term for "wages" means provision for one's living expenses. These wages are not paid in a lump sum but regularly and periodically. In light of this definition, sin becomes a contemptible paymaster whose dark shadow obscures life and foretells the greater darkness that is to come. "Sin pays its wages in full with no cut" (A.T. Robertson).

The prophet Hosea faced a culture very much like our own. Having lost the true essence of religion, his society became obsessed with sexuality and a form of moral relativity. The word Hosea had for his people was one of judgment and God's stubborn love.

The reality of sin

Hosea 4:1-3

Using legal language, Hosea spoke the "word of the Lord," arguing that God's people had violated the covenant made between them and their God. They had sinned against Him. Hosea stated that there was no faithfulness (truth), kindness (loyalty) or knowledge of God in the land. They had violated the steadfast relationship between God and each other. Furthermore, there was no longer any knowledge of God's law and purpose. God's people were strangers and foreigners to His covenant.

On the other hand, they had violated all the ethical demands of God's law (the Ten Commandments). They swore (cursed one another in God's name), lied (gave false witness undermining the judicial system), stole (each other's personal life and liberty), committed adultery and casually committed premeditated murder.

Thus sin covered the land with a darkness that blinded all its inhabitants. Even the land mourned.

Sin's consequences

Hosea 4:4-9

Israel could only remain the chosen people of God so long as the people maintained their intimacy with Him. This intimacy was violated by their obstinate rebellion. Something had happened. With no knowledge of God nor truth or faithfulness, the Israelites had failed.

God charged that one particular group had brought Israel to this perverted conclusion - the official priesthood.

The priests were accused of two tragic acts of disobedience: they failed as teachers to instruct God's people in God's word and purposes; and they failed to condemn the plethora of apostate acts of God's people. Instead, they encouraged those acts and prospered from them. They transformed the nation's disgrace into their own personal profit.

The tragedy lies in the fact that those who were given the greatest responsibility and privilege sold out to the promised delights of sin's deception and systematically misled a whole nation.

Searching for healing

Hosea 5:13-15

The covenantal relationship had gone sour. God had become like a festering sore and canker (5:12 NEB) upon the people. The One who should have been their close companion became an irritant and deadly enemy to remind them of their apostasy. They knew there was a serious problem, but rejecting the only One who could help, they looked to Assyria.

In response, Hosea said God would pounce on His people and shred them into insignificant pieces (a reference to the Assyrian and Babylonian exile). No one could rescue them or heal their wounds.

Their sin doomed them to an existence void of God's presence and promised blessing, imprisoning them in a captivity of disgrace and delusion. But God's love is tough. He does not strike without healing. "I will depart until they acknowledge their guilt and seek My face searching for Me," Hosea said. God's judgment proffers God's gracious hope and healing to those who diligently and in repentance seek Him with all their heart.

1/28/2005 12:00:00 AM by John Pond | with 0 comments

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