In Hebrews 3:13, the author uses the phrase “the deceitfulness of sin.” “But exhort one another every day, as long as it is called ‘today,’ that none of you may be hardened by the deceitfulness of sin.”
What does this phrase—“the deceitfulness of sin”—mean?
It means that sin lies. It’s dishonest; it’s a fraud. Sin leads astray. We might even say that sin “seduces.” That’s the sense the same Greek word has in other places, as a temptress and a seducer (e.g. Mark 4:19). Sin whispers, “You will not surely die. This will taste good; this will satisfy; this will make you alive.”
But, it doesn’t! It does not make us alive; it kills. Our hearts may beat faster for a moment but then comes the flatline. In this way, sin is like radioactive material—any contact, even a little, is deadly. That’s why those who handle uranium wear special suits and gloves.
A few years ago, some guys in Mexico stole a truck that was carrying Cobalt-60, and, unfortunately for them, after the getaway, the men opened up the sealed containers on the truck. They, however, were not wearing special suits and gloves.
When I saw the news story break, it sounded like the men weren’t going to make it (here and here). If acute radiation syndrome, as it’s called, had already begun to set in, then the cells in their bodies had begun to stop dividing. They were nauseous and vomiting. Their skin had begun to turn red. And quickly, the effects would become neurovascular, which meant that as the news story was breaking, they were probably already feeling dizzy. Very soon, they would lose consciousness. They needed treatment—and treatment now!
Getting such treatment, however, would first mean their sin had to come into the light, and turning themselves in would have had its own kind of pain. When a truck of stolen cobalt goes missing and then becomes international news, you can’t just enter a hospital in the same town and say, “I have a tummy ache”—especially if your skin is cherry red!
When sin stays in the dark, its power grows and its infection spreads. Bringing sin into the light, however, stops the spread. In the light, sin can’t lie, can’t deceive, can’t seduce. The apostle John speaks to this when he wrote,
But if we walk in the light, as he is in the light, we have fellowship with one another, and the blood of Jesus his Son cleanses us from all sin . . . . If we confess our sins, he is faithful and just to forgive us our sins and to cleanse us from all unrighteousness. (1 John 1:7, 9)
Friends, if sin has seduced you, run to the light! Don’t wait until your hair falls out. Don’t hide in the dark allowing your acute radiation poisoning, your sin, to kill you. Instead, confess your sins to God, and he will cleanse you.
The forgiveness offered in Jesus is real. His death on the cross is sufficient; his Easter resurrection was victorious. Don’t be seduced. The pleasures of sin are fleeting. Come to the light, and find superior satisfaction in the love that God has for you.