Proverbs 14:12 says, “There is a way that seems right to a man, but in the end it leads to death.” God illuminated this verse last year with a fresh perspective that increased my awareness of His presence in my life over these last 12 months. Previously, I looked at this verse as if sin were the way that seems right but continually leads to death for all those who engage in its seductive siren song. But over the last year, through relationships with people who don’t believe what I believe, I have observed something. In fact I share something with people that believe differently than I do, and it is this, sin never seems right before you do it.

I’ve listened to people’s stories of walking on the edge of sin and all of a sudden something in them says, “this just isn’t right, I’m not going to do this.” And listening to others process on the back end of a decision and say, “I didn’t think it was right but I did it anyway.” It’s fascinating really. People sinning is not fascinating, or sin leading to death is not fascinating; however, sin not seeming right to men (and women) is fascinating. The reason this interests me is I’ve observed that sin (at least how I typically think about it) cannot be the way that seems right to a man, but in the end leads to death.

Again, I’m not saying sin doesn’t have consequences or doesn’t harm us. I’m simply observing even in the midst of people committing sin, I don’t know many people who think, “I think this is the best decision that will bring life to all around me!” So, if sin isn’t the way that seems right but leads to death, what is?!

I believe the way that seems right but in the end leads to death is performance based living in relation to the God of the Scriptures. In today’s world it makes sense to most people that, you get what you pay for, or you get out of something what you put into it. Or what comes around goes around. In Biblical communities we would call that sowing and reaping. In another religion it might be called, karma. The problem is none of it is based in God’s grace. Grace is unmerited or unearned favor or acceptance. In addition, grace is the divine influence upon a man, which allows him or her to really live.

The funny thing about grace is that it actually doesn’t seem right, at first glance. In fact, grace appears unfair. How and why can God be good to people that didn’t prove that they were worthy of His favor or who don’t do enough to maintain the constance of His favor?  The New Testament appears highly offensive! Not because God belittle’s us, but because He refuses to accept our spiritual capital as payment for His favor and blessing. This is not to say that there are not consequences to sin, but those wages of death are not paid by God, but by sin itself. God’s economy does not operate on  profit and loss, buying and selling, or wage and debt. God’s economy operates on gifts, inheritance, and giving & receiving.

God can only give to you from the essence of who He is and in Him is LIFE! He doesn’t operate in death and decay. In fact the only time death and decay work in our lives is if we refuse to accept His already given acceptance also known as abundant life! Again, I’m not advocating for “anything goes,” or being lazy is ok because we are in a new covenant. I have addressed this in other posts and don’t want to belabor this point again. But I’ll leave it at this, Jesus defeated sin, crucified your sinful nature, thereby breaking sins power over your life. The process we are in is believing that’s true, allowing our minds to be renewed (by the Spirit) to this truth, and feasting on His abundant life, which now resides within us.

Earning and performing seem right and can even feel right. After all, this is how the world works, right? But in the end it leads to death because it thrives off the sin of self righteousness. The truth is we were made to live from His investment, His sacrifice, and His life. This is the power of Romans 5, “while we were yet sinners, Christ died for us.” When mankind was at its worst (killing its Creator), God was at His best, reconciling the world to Himself through His death (See 2 Corinthians 5:18-19). This doesn’t make sense and seems upside down. The truth is, this reality reveals how upside down our understanding of God and His desire for the world really are. So, let God reveal Himself to you, through His word, through community, and by His Spirit. And as always, this is very good news!