April 29, 2014
But each person is tempted when he is lured and enticed by his own desire. Then desire when it has conceived gives birth to sin, and sin when it is fully grown brings forth death. James 1:14-15
Sinners take note: there is a lesson to be learned in the story of California's James Manning.
Of course, in order to learn that lesson you have to know Mr. Manning's story. The tale begins with Mr. Manning being arrested for drug possession. On the day he was to appear in court, Mr. Manning found he had no way to get there. Now I can give you this good piece of news: Mr. Manning did make it to court on time. The bad news is he stole a car in order to get there.
That's right. Mr. Manning added "grand-theft auto" to his already existing drug charge.
Sadly, Mr. Manning doesn't have much of a defense. The auto dealership in Redding, California, called the police and told them their car's GPS showed it was parked in front of the local courthouse. To make a long story a bit shorter, the police waited around until Mr. Manning came out and arrested him a second time.
A crazy story? You bet! But it gets worse. When the police checked out the stolen vehicle, they found some marijuana hidden inside and added another drug-possession charge to the beleaguered James Manning.
Well, Daily Devotioners, that's the story... and the lesson to be learned ...?
The truth you should glean from Mr. Manning's tragic comedy is that one sin leads to another. Mr. Manning's story proves that truth which is shared in Holy Scripture. Adam and Eve's questioning God's commands soon had them eating the forbidden fruit. The jealousy of Joseph's brothers forced them to lie to their father and sell their little brother into slavery. The desire of Ananias and Sapphira to keep their money motivated them to lie to the Lord.
Yes, one sin leads to another.
And the solution to avoid such a sorry state of affairs? Simple: don't sin. Go ahead, give it a try. See how long you can last without breaking one or two or more of God's rules. You can't do it, can you? Of course you can't; none of us can.
This is why we sinners need the forgiveness that comes through the Savior's life, death, passion, crucifixion and resurrection. Through Jesus' work, all who believe on Him are saved, and their sins are washed away.
That's a good thing. That means we can confess our sins and God who is faithful and just will forgive us of our sins and cleanse us from all unrighteousness. No longer do we have to try to cover up our wrongdoing; no longer do we need to commit a second, third or fourth transgression to cover the guilt of the first.
THE PRAYER: Dear Lord, I give thanks that You have been merciful to me a sinner. Now may I, forgiven by the Savior, lead a life in which sin does not give birth to more sin. To that end I pray the presence and power of the Holy Spirit. In the Name of the Savior I ask it. Amen.
Pastor Ken Klaus
Speaker emeritus of The Lutheran Hour®
Lutheran Hour Ministries