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Seven Bitter Fruits of Sin

September 18, 2018

In this post, we’ll look at the mystery of sin in the life of an unbeliever. What does this secret power look like in the life of your unbelieving friend, relative, or neighbor? This person does not see anything of the splendor of the Christ and does not yet have the life of Christ in his or her soul. 

This is of huge importance. What you believe about sin will shape your convictions about missions 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. 

Someone once told me he was witnessing to a colleague at work. He said, “You know, Colin, this guy lives like the devil, but he is good at heart.” I said, “Well now, wait a minute. How can he be good at heart if he lives like the devil? Surely if he lives like the devil, there must be something wrong with his heart!”  

Sin is not to be overlooked in someone’s life. If sin is not addressed, it produces seven bitter fruits:

Seven Bitter Fruits of Sin   

1. Deception 

Every sort of evil that deceives…  (2 Thessalonians 2:10) 

Notice what the Scripture says: “evil… deceives.” Satan makes sin look attractive. This is the nature of sin; it always does that. 

Some sin will disgust you. You will wonder to yourself, “How could anyone do that?” But some forms of sin will be attractive to you. That is where Satan deceives, and it goes all the way back to the Garden of Eden.  

2. Perishing 

Evil that deceives those who are perishing. (2 Thessalonians 2:10)  

Notice the present tense. There is a theme that runs right through the life of a person who is without Jesus Christ. There is 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 to Love the Truth 

They perish because they refused to love the truth. (2 Thessalonians 2:10) 

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. The greatest barrier to faith lies 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 an old church. On one wall were written the words of the creed. On the other wall were written the words of the Ten Commandments.  

The atheist looked at the creed and he 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 root of unbelief lies not in the head but in the heart. 

4. Delight in Wickedness 

All will be condemned who have not believed the truth but have delighted in wickedness. (2 Thessalonians 2:12)  

“Delight[ing] in wickedness” is the explanation of “not believ[ing] 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. Powerful Delusion 

For this reason God sends them a powerful delusion. (2 Thessalonians 2:11) 

The reason is that they refused to love the truth. This is looking down the line of what happens when a person persists in resisting and pushing Christ away. Here are folks who’ve heard the truth and they’ve refused it.  

You cannot get away from God’s activity here, “God sends…” God gives them what they desire. They do not want the truth, and so now they’re unable to receive it.  

I want to press home on all who’ve not yet received Christ. I want to warn you against the danger of continuing to refuse him. As you hear the Word, some of you are putting off a response to Jesus, “I’ll become a Christian later. I’ll respond to God in my own time.” 

You feel him reaching out to you and you’re pushing him away. Every time you hear the Word of God something happens in your soul. The Word of God you hear today will make you softer or it will make you more resistant to Christ. It never leaves you the same.  

6. Faith in the lie 

God sends them a powerful delusion so that they will believe the lie. (2 Thessalonians 2:11) 

“The lie” goes all the way back to the Garden of Eden when Satan said, “You will be like God” (Genesis 3:5). We are tempted by this lie often. We hear ourselves say, “You’re a good person. You don’t need Christ’s sacrifice. You can work it out yourself.” 

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

7. Condemnation 

All will be condemned who have not believed the truth but have delighted in wickedness. (2 Thessalonians 2:12)  

This is a terrible word. Don’t you shudder when you read the word, “condemnation?” 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 that has meaning for us is found right here: “All will be condemned who have not believed the truth but have delighted in wickedness” (2 Thessalonians 2:12). 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 7:3). 

Then Jesus used an awful phrase, “There will be weeping and gnashing of teeth” (Matthew 8:12, 13:42, 13:50, 22:13, 24:51, 25:30). Did you know that Jesus said that phrase seven times? I do not want that for you. Those who pray for you do not want that for you. 

Our Need for a Savior

That’s why we need a Savior. That’s why Jesus Christ has come into the world. This is what we need saving from—the mystery of sin that is at work in every human life. 

So I invite you to come to Christ today, not to push him away. Tell him, “I need you, Jesus, to do for me what I now know I cannot do for myself.” Ask him, “Lord, will you breathe your life into me? Will you open my eyes to your glory? Will you change this heart that loves sin and resists you? Do this miracle of grace in me!” 

And I give you this promise from Jesus himself. He said, “Whoever comes to me, I will never drive away” (John 6:37). 

[This is a re-post of an article originally published on April 19, 2018, and it is an adaptation of Pastor Colin’s sermon, “The Lord Jesus Christ: Coming in Glory,” from the series Staying the Course When You’re Tired of the Battle][Photo Credit: Unsplash]

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.



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