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Stumbling vs. Diving Into Sin

(The following is the February 3 devotional from my Next Step Devotions book. Before reading it, I suggest you read Matthew 26 and pay close attention to verses 14-16.)

As Jesus’ crucifixion approached, Judas Iscariot plotted to betray him. It’s unthinkable how one of the twelve apostles could entertain such a thought, much less act on it, but Judas did. He went to the chief priests and asked them what amount they would pay if he turned Jesus over. His greedy hands took thirty pieces of silver. Then, “from that time he started looking for a good opportunity to betray him” (v. 16).

Judas illustrates the difference between stumbling into sin and diving in headfirst. Judas plunged into sin. He wanted to do this. He went out of his way to plot the betrayal and took deliberate actions to carry it out, from initiating the arrangement with the chief priests to the betrayal with a kiss in the Garden of Gethsemane. There was nothing accidental about this horrific sin.

All sin is terrible and separates us from a holy God regardless of how we got there. We can’t excuse sin whether we stumble or dive into it. However, one difference between stumbling and diving (besides deliberate planning) is our response to it. When we plunge as Judas did, we are content to wallow and remain in it because it’s where we want to be. There is no repentance because there is no remorse. If we stumble into sin by giving in to momentary unexpected temptation while living in a genuine relationship with Christ, we hate it when we sin. We are disgusted by it. It breaks our hearts, and we are genuinely sorrowful over it. We confess it and seek the presence and power of the Holy Spirit to keep us from doing that again.

We must take all sin seriously. We should hate and turn from it, never plotting it and diving in as Judas did. God said, “Be holy because I am holy” (Lev. 11:45).

Next Step:

Reflect on your recent sinful behavior. Did you stumble or dive into it? If you dove in without remorse, seriously evaluate if you have a genuine relationship with Christ. Whether you willingly plunged or stumbled into sin, confess it and turn from it.

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