Are You Drinking Poison?

I heard a remarkable illustration in a sermon by Gary McHenry about a poison so potent—that if even a small vial were poured into the ocean, EVERY fish and living creature in the ocean would die. This illustration provoked two thoughts: First, who in their right mind would do something so diabolical? Second, could anyone who had actual knowledge of the fatal consequences of this poison—ever be convinced to drink it? You see…

The poison in the illustration represents sin—and it’s killing the entire human race!

“For the wages of sin is death, but the gift of God is eternal life in Christ Jesus our Lord.”

Romans 6:23

So I ask, “Why do we so often choose the poison of sin—even after we are born again?

Well, as born again Christians, we have two competing natures—the old nature (in Adam) which desires to sin and the new nature (in Christ) which desires to resist sinning. 

“For since by man came death, by Man [incarnate Christ] also came the resurrection of the dead. For as in Adam all die, even so in Christ all shall be made alive.” ‭‭

1 Corinthians 15:21-22

The person who is not born again—has no such competition within, because his soul and spirit are dead to God. He does not have the capacity for godliness because he has only the sin nature. Sure, he can do “good works,” but his motivation for those works is always tainted by his sinful nature. He cannot avoid drinking the poison of sin because, without Christ, he doesn’t have the capacity to NOT sin. And we know from experience that our actions conform to our design.

Only the born again believer has the capacity to resist sin and live in the righteousness of Christ because his soul and spirit are now inhabited by God’s Spirit.

While our physical self still has the capacity to sin, we now have the ability to resist sin AND to live godly. When Christ was crucified, the old man was crucified with Him, resulting in the Christian no longer being a slave to sin!

“…our old man was crucified with Him, that the body of sin might be done away with, that we should no longer be slaves of sin.” ‭

Romans 6:6

At the moment we are born again, the Christian receives a new nature. It is instantaneous. Sanctification, on the other hand, is the process by which God develops our new nature, enabling our inner man (soul) to mature and become strengthened in righteousness and develop the mind of Christ. This is a continuous process with many victories and many failures. Even in the most mature Christians—like the Apostle Paul—this battle rages continuously because, by nature, our flesh is never any better than the day we were saved. In Romans 7, Paul laments that he does what he doesn’t want to do and, in fact, actually does the evil actions that he hates; but his inner man (soul and spirit) “delights” in God’s law. 

The battle for sanctification is real, and it is one Christians will wage throughout their lives. 

But shall we endeavor against sin, or shall we continue to drink the poison of sin which destroys everything good about life?

My friend, we must look at sin for what it is…not just a deeply cutting crime against the love of Christ, but it is the most potent poison we will ever drink. That is why Paul BEGGED believers to live in holiness:

“I BESEECH you therefore, brethren, by the mercies of God, that you present your BODIES a living sacrifice, HOLY, acceptable to God, which is your reasonable service. And do not be conformed to this world, but be transformed by the renewing of your mind, that you may prove what is that good and acceptable and perfect will of God.” ‭‭‬ 

Romans 12:1-2

My friend, to avoid drinking poison, we must grow. It begins with what we put in our mind. What we watch, what we hear, where we go, what we think about. We must feed our soul with God’s Word and with His presence to strengthen our soul and work victory over our body so we can live in the beauty and enduring love of God’s righteousness instead of the hell of sin. Believers are encouraged to put to death the deeds of the body (Romans 8:13) and to not live in anger, wrath, malice, etc. (Colossians 3:8). 

Ultimately Christ will rescue us from this fouled up, sinful body and what a glorious day that will be!

“For our citizenship is in heaven, from which we also eagerly wait for the Savior, the Lord Jesus Christ, who will transform our lowly body that it may be conformed to His glorious body, according to the working by which He is able even to subdue all things to Himself.”

Philippians 3:20-21

We would love to hear your thoughts about this devotional. Did God speak to you or challenge your daily walk with him? Or is there a topic that you would like Kimberly to cover or expound on? Please share with us in the comments below.

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2 Responses

  1. In Romans 6:3 it says “for the wages of sin is death.” People who are saved will not die and live forever with Christ. But those NOT saved will endure eternal suffering in hell. If the wages of sin is death, how can these people endure eternal suffering if they are dead? I find it hard to distinguish between the eternal people saved with Christ, and the people eternally suffering from NOT being saved. Could you explain?

    1. Before answering this question, I need to lay a foundation using some of our Basic Bible Concepts, where we teach human design and the law of sin and death. Humans are created with a body, soul and spirit. In the Garden, when Adam and Eve sinned, their body did not die—their soul and spirit did. To be “spiritually dead” means to be separated from a relationship with God. To communicate with God, who is a Spirit, our spirit must be made alive through the gift of salvation. Sure, our dead spirit can communicate with other dead spirits—but not with God.

      After Adam and Eve sinned, they hid themselves when they heard the voice of God. They were afraid. God is the perfection of love and a relationship with Him casts out fear. (1 John 4:18) Their sin had severed them from the relationship with God and thus, they were afraid. Adam and Eve had violated God’s righteous nature. Because He is just, the consequences were spiritual death (and eventually physical death as well).

      So what is this thing called “death” that is the punishment or “wages” for sin?

      In order to understand “death” it helps to understand “life.” Jesus said:

      “I am the resurrection and the life. He who believes in Me, though he may die, he shall live. And whoever lives and BELIEVES in Me shall NEVER die.”
      ‭‭John‬ ‭11‬:‭25‬-‭26‬

      It is clear that Jesus is the giver of ETERNAL life and if you don’t have HIM—then you will experience ETERNAL DEATH. So eternal death is experiencing the absence of Jesus, who IS life. This is hell, which I like to describe as “a sense of the absolute absence of God’s presence.” Often, we hear people refer to earthly conditions stemming from war, disease, strife, or even small unpleasantries as “hell.” But is anything on earth truly an accurate description of hell, or are unpleasant situations just God’s compassionate forewarning of much worse things to come? The big difference between the horrors here on earth and the hell in the afterlife—is—after your body dies, there is no respite from the misery.

      This everlasting death is the DIRE and permanent consequence of rejecting Christ. After this body dies, there are no second chances to avoid the terrors of hell. How does the scripture describe the absence of God’s presence?

      The scriptural descriptions of hell emphasize torment and suffering and possibly the most terrifying aspect of hell is its duration: IT’S ETERNAL! The Bible says:

      “…when the Lord Jesus is revealed from heaven with His mighty angels, in flaming fire taking vengeance on those who do not know God, and on those who do not obey the gospel of our Lord Jesus Christ. These shall be punished with EVERLASTING DESTRUCTION from the presence of the Lord and the glory of His power…” ‬‬
      ‭‭2 Thessalonians‬ ‭1‬:‭7‬-‭9‬

      “But the sons of the kingdom will be cast out into outer darkness. There will be WEEPING and gnashing of teeth.” ‬‬
      ‭‭Matthew‬ ‭8‬:‭12‬

      “The devil, who deceived them, was cast into the lake of fire and brimstone where the beast and the false prophet are. And they will be TORMENTED day and night forever and ever. And ANYONE not found written in the Book of Life was cast into the lake of fire.” ‭‭‬‬
      Revelation‬ ‭20‬:‭10‬,‭15‬

      The verse in Thessalonians is a real eye-opener as it references punishment as being “everlasting destruction” and defines it as being banned “from the presence of God and the glory of His power.” You see, as long as we have physical life, we are the beneficiaries of the blessings of God’s presence and power which are manifested all over the earth. All of the beauty we see and enjoy right now is because of Him. The air we breathe is because of Him. Everything that is going right for us right now is because of Him. He created life and sustains it. Without Him, there would be the same void of nothingness that preexisted creation (Genesis 1). Can you imagine what your life would be like without nature, the presence of other people, animals, AND devoid of the experience of—joy, love, and peace—just to name a few? For as long as we experience physical life God…

      “makes His sun rise on the evil and on the good, and sends rain on the just and on the unjust.” ‭‭‬ ‬‬
      Matthew‬ ‭5‬:‭45

      God’s presence is responsible for ALL the GOOD things we experience!
      Hell is the absence of God’s presence for eternity AND this includes ALL of the manifestations of His goodness! When one dies without being reconciled to God, the anxiety will last forever and ever with—zero relief! Can you imagine being tortured with loneliness, fear, anger, sadness, regret, hate, dissatisfaction, emptiness, meaninglessness, and every negative emotion imaginable…for ALL eternity? What about being in physical pain with absolutely no relief? Can you imagine knowing you will never see another sunrise, smell another spring rain, snuggle with a loved one, enjoy the company of your pet, hear the sound of laughter, taste your favorite food, or be able to lie down and have a good night’s rest? This is hell…plus what I’m sure are other unimaginable terrors from which there will be NO respite or escape.

      Jesus provides the only rescue plan to save us from hell.

      Today is the day of salvation. If you are already born again, you are entrusted with the life-saving Gospel.

      Now I saw a new heaven and a new earth, for the first heaven and the first earth had passed away. Also there was no more sea. And I heard a loud voice from heaven saying, “Behold, the tabernacle of God is with men, and He will dwell with them, and they shall be His people. God Himself will be with them and be their God. And God will wipe away every tear from their eyes; there shall be no more death, nor sorrow, nor crying. There shall be no more pain, for the former things have passed away. ‭‭
      Revelation‬ ‭21‬:‭1‬, ‭3‬-‭4‬

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