I know I’m not supposed to sin. I realize it is going against God’s perfect design.” So, why do I? I would argue from both experience and scripture that we sin because we believe a lie. And not just a lie, but the lie behind the lie.
In Genesis, we encounter the story of the fall. The woman is standing in front of the Tree of Knowledge of Good and Evil and faced with a dilemma. God commanded her not to eat of it, but it was good for food. It was pleasing to the eye. Now, I certainly will not argue the pleasure sin brings, as fleeting as it may be, it still brings pleasure. Whether it’s the sin of pride, lust, greed, etc., it satisfies at a basic level. However, when we start to seek scripture and discover who God is and what he desires, we find that premise to be false.
All throughout scripture, there is a particular theme when it comes to sin. Sin kills, destroys, and leaves us feeling empty. Conversely, God gives life, restores, and fills us up. So, again, why do we sin? Well, as I stated above I believe it is because of the lie behind the lie. The first lie is that God is lying, simple as that. He doesn’t want you to have fun. The second lie is slightly deeper, though. It’s the lie that sin satisfies even with the knowledge that God also satisfies. We often believe God satisfies, but we also believe sin satisfies. We treat the two opposing views as if they are equal truths. They are not.
What we find in scripture is an overwhelming amount of evidence pointing to God being the only source of satisfaction.
“And the Lord will guide you continually and satisfy your desire in scorched places and make your bones strong; and you shall be like a watered garden, like a spring of water, whose waters do not fail.”
“As for me, I shall behold your face in righteousness; when I awake, I shall be satisfied with your likeness.”
“Of David. Bless the Lord, O my soul, and all that is within me, bless his holy name! Bless the Lord, O my soul, and forget not all his benefits, who forgives all your iniquity, who heals all your diseases, who redeems your life from the pit, who crowns you with steadfast love and mercy, who satisfies you with good so that your youth is renewed like the eagle’s.” Psalm 103:1-5
“But whoever drinks of the water that I will give him will never be thirsty again. The water that I will give him will become in him a spring of water welling up to eternal life.” John 4:14
The scriptures have endless proof that God is this for his people. Yet we continue to sin. Is God truly satisfying? If you are a Christian, then you can’t deny this truth. Ok, so he’s satisfying, but is he pleasurable? And that is where we get deceived. Although I would argue that satisfaction is linked to pleasure (possibly the same in most cases), most of us don’t make the connection. We see God as satisfying in the sense that he is barely sufficient. Meaning, that he can adequately meet our needs but never satisfy our lusts. So, in one sense God is good, faithful, true, and righteous. But, in another, he is missing a key ingredient that we believe we need to be happy. Pleasure. In short, God can’t make me truly happy.
However, once again the notion is crushed by scripture.
“You make known to me the path of life; in your presence there is fullness of joy; at your right hand are pleasures forevermore.” Psalm 16:11
I find it interesting that the Psalmist chooses to use the word “forevermore” here. It would have been enough, I think, to just end it with “pleasure”. Certainly, we would have no argument as Christians that God isn’t pleasurable. But he uses “forevermore” intentionally, knowing the implications of it.
If at his right hand are pleasures forevermore then we will never cease to be filled to the brim with pleasure. Absolute, unadulterated pleasure is what God promises those that love him and are called according to his purpose. Furthermore, we see that it’s at God’s right hand where the pleasures are to be found. If we look in Ephesians 1:20-23 we will find this, “[God] raised [Christ] from the dead and seated him at his right hand in the heavenly places… He put all things under his feet and gave him as head over all things to the church, which is his body, the fullness of him who fills all in all.”
We need to look no further than the cross of Jesus Christ. For in the person and the work of Jesus, we will experience pleasure for eternity. I pray we put aside the fleeting “pleasures” of sin and cling to the ledge of God’s great grace. For on that ledge, we will find a savior who not only lifts us up but is ready and willing to show us the vastness of his glorious joy.