Making Biblical Decisions: Run from Sin – November 10, 2023

Often, the Christian seeks to get as close to sin as possible without technically sinning. Like little children who have been told not to touch one another, we sit with our fingers millimeters away from the other. All the while saying, “I am not touching them.” We dabble with the world, its belief system, and its priorities. Because we don’t take sin seriously, we don’t fear it. And because we don’t fear sin, we boldly stand in its presence. However, God expects us to respond very differently in our lives. Instead of standing in the presence of sin, living in sin, and loving sin, we are to run from sin. Paul recognized the dangers of dabbling in sin. So he instructed Timothy to flee (2 Timothy 2:22).

We cannot overemphasize the importance of extricating ourselves from sinful situations. Embarrassment, peer pressure, and a love of sin often keep us from leaving. At other times, bold overconfidence in our ability to resist temptation draws us into sin. However, the one who plays with sin is unwise. We would do well to get up and leave. Christ instructs us to take sin so seriously that we remove offending appendages that cause us to sin (Matthew 5:29-30). The principle is that sometimes extreme actions are necessary to remove ourselves from sin. It very well might be best for the man involved in sexual immorality with a co-worker to quit his job. It might be best for the young person to move to a new school if the temptation to sin is significant in that place. It might be best to get rid of the TV or computer if it leads to sin. Joseph left us an excellent example in Genesis 39. Hundreds of miles away from any who knew him, Joseph served as a slave in Potiphar’s house. As he served there, Potiphar’s wife sought to seduce Joseph into an affair. We must understand that in the Egyptian culture, sexual promiscuity was expected. As long as they sought to keep the affair secret, no one would bat an eye. Yet, in his integrity, Joseph took sin seriously. He refused to take part in an affair. When Potiphar’s wife continued her efforts, he literally left the room and ran. Many today view Joseph’s actions as extreme and unnecessary. Today, they would view Joseph as weak and hurtful. But Christians should view these actions as exemplary and illustrative. Don’t play with sin. Run from it!

Many times, emotions run high during temptation toward sin. We fail to run from sin because of the temptation’s strength over our emotions. With this understanding, the writer of Proverbs twice instructs Christians to hide from sin before encountering it. All too often, Christians seem to have a fearless confidence towards sin. They seem to believe they are some super-Christian who can resist all temptation. Scripture reveals the foolishness of such thinking. In Proverbs 22:3 and 27:12, the writer instructs us, “The prudent sees danger and hides himself, but the simple go on and suffer for it.” To take sin seriously, Christians should be alert, aware of their weakness and sinful tendencies, and guard against unnecessary temptation. Unfortunately, too many Christians play the simpleton and live as though they do not fear sin. Time after time, they mindlessly put themselves into situations of overwhelming temptation that could have been avoided.

The world mocks the individual who seeks such protection. The prudent man who guards against sin will be called prudish, puritanical, and stupid. In 2017, Vice President Mike Pence became the latest news feature. Word had leaked that he refused to dine alone with a woman other than his wife. He stated that he followed this rule to protect his marriage from infidelity. He recognized the probability of temptation to sin and refused to allow himself into that situation. Vox ran an article eviscerating his stance, caricaturing him as a misogynist.[1]

Yet, Christians must understand the world differently. The world loves sin and cannot understand why all will not participate. The Christian hates sin. So, the Christian should hide from it and run from it. Unfortunately, Christians don’t always hate sin as much as they love the world. So, when the world mocks, the Christian folds. However, a greater danger lies in this love for the world. James reveals that this love (or friendship) of the world places us in opposition to God (James 4:4). When we fail to run from sin and instead partner with the world, we become spiritual traitors. Rather than aligning with God, we choose to align with God’s enemies. Thinking that the way of the world in sin will bring us happiness and satisfaction, we cross over to enemy territory and join the world’s cause against God. However, we fail to understand that the world is not our friend. Like a roaring lion, Satan seeks to devour us (1 Peter 5:8). Sin is not something to trifle or play with. It is as dangerous as any poison. As we make decisions, we must ask, “Is this sin?” When the answer is “yes,” we must run.  

[1] Joanna L. Grossman, “Vice President Pence’s ‘Never Dine Alone With A Woman’ Rule Isn’t Honorable. It’s Probably Illegal.,” Vox, December 4, 2017,