Although sin manifests in many forms, all sin shares a common root. Like a disease, the various sins we commit are merely the symptoms of a greater problem; if we treat only the symptoms we’ll never recover from the disease itself.
When we look at a story like Sodom and Gomorrah, we often focus in on the various sins the cities committed which lead to their destruction. But these sins we symptomatic of a much greater problem. Like Sodom, we as individuals often try to treat the symptoms of our disease; we try to stop sexual immorality, stop slander, stop theft, stop alcoholism. But what if we are merely treating the symptom?
How many times have we cut off a sin in our life only to have a new one spring up in it’s place? We have to kill sin at the root, and we learn how from stories like Sodom and Gomorrah.
First in order to have victory over sin in our life, we must identify the root. Which leads to step one on this path to victory:
1. Identify the Root!
“Now the people of Sodom were wicked and were sinning greatly against the LORD.” – Genesis 13:13
“And among the prophets of Jerusalem I have seen something horrible: They commit adultery and live a lie. They strengthen the hands of evildoers, so that not one of them turns from their wickedness. They are all like Sodom to me; the people of Jerusalem are like Gomorrah.” – Jeremiah 23:14
“In a similar way, Sodom and Gomorrah and the surrounding towns gave themselves up to sexual immorality and perversion. They serve as an example of those who suffer the punishment of eternal fire.” – Jude 1:7
The Lord wants to show mercy.
“Then the Lord said, “The outcry against Sodom and Gomorrah is so great and their sin so grievous 21 that I will go down and see if what they have done is as bad as the outcry that has reached me. If not, I will know.”
22 The men turned away and went toward Sodom, but Abraham remained standing before the Lord. 23 Then Abraham approached him and said: “Will you sweep away the righteous with the wicked? 24 What if there are fifty righteous people in the city? Will you really sweep it away and not spare the place for the sake of the fifty righteous people in it?25 Far be it from you to do such a thing—to kill the righteous with the wicked, treating the righteous and the wicked alike. Far be it from you! Will not the Judge of all the earth do right?”
26 The Lord said, “If I find fifty righteous people in the city of Sodom, I will spare the whole place for their sake.”
27 Then Abraham spoke up again: “Now that I have been so bold as to speak to the Lord, though I am nothing but dust and ashes, 28 what if the number of the righteous is five less than fifty? Will you destroy the whole city for lack of five people?”
“If I find forty-five there,” he said, “I will not destroy it.”
29 Once again he spoke to him, “What if only forty are found there?”
He said, “For the sake of forty, I will not do it.”
30 Then he said, “May the Lord not be angry, but let me speak. What if only thirty can be found there?”
He answered, “I will not do it if I find thirty there.”
31 Abraham said, “Now that I have been so bold as to speak to the Lord, what if only twenty can be found there?”
He said, “For the sake of twenty, I will not destroy it.”
32 Then he said, “May the Lord not be angry, but let me speak just once more. What if only ten can be found there?”
He answered, “For the sake of ten, I will not destroy it.”
33 When the Lord had finished speaking with Abraham, he left, and Abraham returned home.”
God does not want to destroy us, instead He longs to show mercy to us. As believers in Jesus, He wants to help us overcome sin our life and the first step is Identifying the root!
What was the root?
““Behold, this was the guilt of your sister Sodom: she and her daughters had arrogance, abundant food and careless ease, but she did not help the poor and needy. 50 “Thus they were haughty and committed abominations before Me. Therefore I removed them when I saw it.” – Ezekiel 16:49-50 NASB
- Locate the root?
Where is the root? What is it’s source?
“”17 After he had left the crowd and entered the house, his disciples asked him about this parable. 18 “Are you so dull?” he asked. “Don’t you see that nothing that enters a person from the outside can defile them? 19 For it doesn’t go into their heart but into their stomach, and then out of the body.” (In saying this, Jesus declared all foods clean.)
20 He went on: “What comes out of a person is what defiles them. 21 For it is from within, out of a person’s heart, that evil thoughts come—sexual immorality, theft, murder, 22 adultery, greed, malice, deceit, lewdness, envy, slander, arrogance and folly. 23 All these evils come from inside and defile a person.” – Mark 7:17-23
Jesus taught that sins were symptoms, they come out of us and manifest in different forms, but their source and root is within us. The root is inside you.
“ For the love of money is a root of all kinds of evil. Some people, eager for money, have wandered from the faith and pierced themselves with many griefs. 11 But you, man of God, flee from all this, and pursue righteousness, godliness, faith, love, endurance and gentleness.” – 1 Timothy 6:10-11
“For where your treasure is, there your heart will be also.” – Matt 6:21
- Kill the root!
“When Jesus had finished speaking, a Pharisee invited him to eat with him; so he went in and reclined at the table. 38 But the Pharisee was surprised when he noticed that Jesus did not first wash before the meal.
39 Then the Lord said to him, “Now then, you Pharisees clean the outside of the cup and dish, but inside you are full of greed and wickedness.40 You foolish people! Did not the one who made the outside make the inside also? 41 But now as for what is inside you—be generous to the poor, and everything will be clean for you.” – Luke 11:37-41
Cut off the root, and you’ll have lasting victory over the symptoms!
Secondly, if God found a remnant of people living righteously, He’d spare the whole city. If we want God to have mercy on our people, we must live righteously as Christ followers and welcome them into the love of God as we go!
Sidenote: Sodom and Gomorrah? Help the poor. Clean the inside of the cup? Help the poor. Salt and Light? Help the poor. Ephesians 2? Help the poor.