Calling Sin By Any Other Name

In Genesis 39:7 and Genesis 39:10, we find Joseph in a difficult position of being seduced by Potiphar’s wife. How tantalizing this woman’s offers must have been to a young man like Joseph. But because of his reverence and faithfulness to God, Joseph flatly resisted her advances (Genesis 39:8-9). His moral convictions obviously stemmed from his clear view of sin, because he responded to her by saying, “How then can I do this great wickedness, and sin against God?” (Genesis 39:9).

Today, it is popular to call sin by more acceptable societal euphemisms. However, calling sin by any other name, will only weaken our resistance and trivialize sin’s harmfulness to us. To Joseph, sin was not “an error of judgment” — not a mere “slip of the tongue” — not an “indiscretion” — not a “moment of weakness.” Joseph saw sin for what it really is — a heinous offense against the Lord — and he did not play down the gravity of the offense.

Unlike man’s faulty and fickle standards, God’s moral standards are absolute. It is only when we see sin as something abhorrent to the Lord, will we be motivated to make right moral judgments. Calling sin by a more “soothing” name, will change neither its offensiveness to God nor its cost to us (1 John 3:4; cf. Isaiah 59:1-4; Romans 6:1-2,23).

Mike Riley, Gospel Snippets

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