Today God has given me something in Psalm 73, verses 13 through 17, which say:
All in vain have I kept my heart clean and washed my hands in innocence. For all the day long I have been stricken and rebuked every morning. If I had said, “I will speak thus,” I would have betrayed the generation of your children. But when I thought how to understand this, it seemed to me a wearisome task, until I went into the sanctuary of God; then I discerned their end. (Psalms 73:13-17)
Sometimes it can seem almost as if it’s not really “worth it” to be a Christian. By that, I mean it can at times seem like you’re going through a lot of effort keeping yourself “holy,” and really aren’t getting much in return. Of course, this comes from a wrongful perception of what is really worthwhile, as well a misunderstanding about what Jesus has done for us, but even so it is possible to be misled into thinking that way. Regardless, we know that the Psalmist is questioning why he ever signed up for this deal, when it seems as though God won’t even protect him from being beaten and rebuked.
Sin can appear very appetizing. Solomon put it best in Proverbs 23 (if you take drunkenness to be a stand-in for all types of sin):
Do not gaze at wine when it is red,
when it sparkles in the cup,
when it goes down smoothly!
In the end it bites like a snake
and poisons like a viper. (Proverbs 23:31-32)
Sin is never good. It certainly seems good in the moment, at times it can even seem as though there’s nothing wrong with it. However, no sin is ever good, nor “worth it,” nor correct under any circumstances (a point which has been debated, but is none-the-less true). Something which the Psalmist realizes at the end of this passage (i.e., in this section: “But when I thought how to understand this, it seemed to me a wearisome task, until I went into the sanctuary of God; then I discerned their end.“). More than that though, you have to lose sight of Christ in order to commit any sin. What more effective way is there to show disdain for Christ giving His very life for us, to chose sin (even if only for a time) over Him?