Proclaim. Mobilize. Equip.
Call 866-865-6253

The Seven Bitter Fruits of Sin

April 19, 2018

I was having breakfast with someone who was witnessing to a colleague at work. “You know, Colin,” he said, “this guy lives like the devil, but he is good at heart.” I said, “Wait a minute. How can he be good at heart if he lives like the devil? Surely, if he lives like the devil, there is something wrong with his heart!”

What you believe about sin will shape your convictions about mission and evangelism. How we engage in this work, and what we think needs to be done, will in large measure be shaped by what we believe the human problem really is.

What does the mystery of sin look like in the life of your friend, neighbor, or relative who doesn’t know Christ, doesn’t see anything of his splendor, and doesn’t yet have the life of Christ in his or her soul? Sin will produce in this person’s life seven bitter fruits:

1. Deceit

The coming of the lawless one is by the activity of Satan with all power and false signs and wonders, and with all wicked deception for those who are perishing, because they refused to love the truth and so be saved. (2 Thessalonians 2:9-10, emphasis added)

Evil deceives. Satan makes sin look attractive. That is its nature. It always does that.

Some sin will disgust you, and you will wonder how anyone could do such things. But other forms of sin will be attractive to you. That is where Satan deceives.

2. Perishing

The coming of the lawless one is by the activity of Satan with all power and false signs and wonders, and with all wicked deception for those who are perishing, because they refused to love the truth and so be saved. (2 Thessalonians 2:9-10, emphasis added)

Notice the present tense. There is a theme that runs through the life of a person who is without Jesus Christ, an unraveling of life that is going on now, a taking down, a becoming less. This is a process that has already begun. By nature, we are perishing.

3. Refusal

The coming of the lawless one is by the activity of Satan with all power and false signs and wonders, and with all wicked deception for those who are perishing, because they refused to love the truth and so be saved. (2 Thessalonians 2:9-10, emphasis added)

These people heard the truth, and they refused to believe it. But the real issue here is that they refused to love it. The heart governs the life more than the head.

[Tweet “The greatest barrier to faith is not in the doubts of the mind, but in the desires of the heart.”]

Long ago, I heard the story of an atheist who visited a church. The creed hung on one wall, the Ten Commandments hung on the other. The atheist looked at the creed and said to the pastor, “This I cannot believe.” The pastor pointed to the commandments on the other wall and said, “Are you sure it isn’t these you will not obey?” The greatest barrier to faith is not in the doubts of the mind, but in the desires of the heart.

4. Pleasure

Therefore God sends them a strong delusion, so that they may believe what is false, in order that all may be condemned who did not believe the truth but had pleasure in unrighteousness. (2 Thessalonians 2:11-12, emphasis added)

“Pleasure in unrighteousness” is the explanation of not believing the truth. Where the heart loves wickedness, the mind cannot embrace the truth. It’s impossible! Jesus said, “How can you believe if you accept praise from one another, yet make no effort to obtain the praise that comes from…God?” (John 5:44).

5. Delusion

Therefore God sends them a strong delusion… (2 Thessalonians 2:11)

This is looking down the line of what happens when a person persists in resisting Christ and pushing him away. “For this reason,” they refused to love the truth. Here are folks who have heard the truth and refused it. So God gives them what they desire. They do not want the truth, and now they are unable to receive it.

The secret power of sin is at work in you. Every time you hear the Word of God, it will make you softer or it will add another layer to the hard shell of your resistance to Christ. It never leaves you the same. Jesus said,“The light is among you for a little while longer. Walk while you have the light, lest darkness overtake you. The one who walks in the darkness does not know where he is going” (John 12:35).

6. Belief

Therefore God sends them a strong delusion, so that they may believe what is false… (2 Thessalonians 2:11, emphasis added)

This is “the lie,” and it goes all the way back to the Garden of Eden when Satan said, “You will be like God” (Genesis 3:5). “You’re a good person. You don’t need Christ’s sacrifice. You can work it out yourself.”

When a man feels he is the captain and commander of his life, that he is his own god and law, and that he can stand on his own goodness, you know he has swallowed the lie, and he is living under a powerful delusion.

7. Condemnation

Therefore God sends them a strong delusion, so that they may believe what is false, in order that all may be condemned who did not believe the truth but had pleasure in unrighteousness. (2 Thessalonians 2:11-12, emphasis added)

We rejoice in the Word that says, “There is now no condemnation for those who are in Christ Jesus” (Romans 8:1), but the reason it has meaning is right here. To those who have resisted the claims of the Savior, who have not loved the truth, but have believed the lie, Christ will say, “Depart from me; I never knew you” (Matthew 7:23).

Then Jesus used an awful phrase: “The sons of the kingdom will be thrown into the outer darkness. In that place there will be weeping and gnashing of teeth” (8:12, emphasis added).

These are the seven bitter fruits of sin: Deceit, perishing, refusal, pleasure, delusion, belief, and ultimately condemnation. That’s why we need a Savior. This is what we need saving from!

[This post is an excerpt from Pastor Colin’s sermon “The Lord Jesus Christ Coming in Glory“. | Photo Credit: Lightstock]

The Author
Colin Smith

Colin Smith is the senior pastor of The Orchard Evangelical Free Church in the northwest suburbs of Chicago. He has authored a number of books, including Heaven, How I Got Here and Heaven, So Near - So Far. Colin is the president and teacher for Unlocking the Bible. Follow him on Twitter.



Explore this topic further

The Biblical Story of the Body

There is a good, better, best pattern to the Christian life. To be in Christ is good. To be with Christ is better, better by far. But even for those who are with Christ now, the best is yet to be.  I want to encourage you as we look together at what the Bible...

Read Post

Confessions of an Arrogant Heart

If you know me, this article is for you. If you’ve ever discovered my arrogant heart by teaching me or disagreeing with me, this is for you.  In a more general sense, if you’ve ever tried to collaborate with or constructively critique another person, and they lacked the teachability or humility...

Read Post

3 Daily Wages of Sin in Your Life

For the wages of sin is death, but the free gift of God is eternal life in Christ Jesus our Lord. (Romans 6:23)  I love re-reading parts of Scripture that I have read many times. And Romans 6:23 is one of those verses I’ve read a lot. I’m pretty sure I used this verse in...

Read Post
For your gift of any amount

Listener Favorites 2019

Most Requested Sermons of the Past Year

Get Unlocking the Bible's Weekly Email

"This Week at Unlocking the Bible" features new articles, radio programs, devotionals, and ministry updates

We will never sell or misuse your information.