Why Does Sin Look So Good?
By faith Moses, when he became of age, refused to be called the son of Pharaoh’s daughter, choosing rather to suffer affliction with the people of God than to enjoy the passing pleasures of sin, esteeming the reproach of Christ greater riches than the treasures in Egypt; for he looked to the reward.
Sin promises pleasure without consequences, love without commitment, fulfillment without sacrifice. Sin pledges that things, circumstances, or people will satisfy without God’s direction or blessing. Our desire for affection and fulfillment is perverted when we attempt to meet our needs without trusting in God’s faithful provision. Sin swears happiness without obedience to Christ and his commands.
Sin does not provide forgiveness, fulfillment, or the freedom we seek: it fails to bless by creating fleshly bondages, disappointed expectations, and emotional destitution. Money, sex, and power are the ultimate sinful idols of our society—they promise happiness, love, and influence. However, sin make promises it will never keep. Sin is a hollow promise that fails to deliver. By sin’s own design, it cannot bring true fulfillment: only God’s blessing of intimacy in Christ can provide heart-satisfying joy. Sin is deception of the worst kind.
Sin lives in a costume; that’s why it’s so hard to recognize. The fact that sin looks so good is one of the things that make it so bad. In order for it to do its evil work, it must present itself as something that is anything but evil. Life in a fallen world is like attending the ultimate masquerade party.
Impatient yelling wears the costume of a zeal for truth. Lust can masquerade as a love for beauty. Gossip does its evil work by living in the costume of concern and prayer. Craving for power and control wears the mask of biblical leadership. Fear of man gets dressed up as a servant heart. The pride of always being right masquerades as a love for biblical wisdom. Evil simply doesn’t present itself as evil, which is part of its draw.
You’ll never understand sin’s sleight of hand until you acknowledge that the DNA of sin is deception. Now, what this means personally is that as sinners we are all very committed and gifted self-swindlers . . . . We’re all too skilled at looking at our own wrong and seeing good.
Paul David Tripp, Whiter Than Snow: Meditations on Sin and Mercy (Wheaton, IL: Crossway 2008), 32.