The Way of the Transgressor – J. Russell

J. Russell

Filled with wisdom and inspired by the Spirit of God the wisest of men wrote in the long ago, “Good understanding giveth favor: but the way of the transgressors is hard” (Prov. 13:15). That this thought is not common to the Old Testament alone is seen in Paul’s epistles to the Romans and Galatians wherein he declares with great force that “the wages of sin is death” and “whatsoever a man soweth, that shall he also reap.” (Rom. 6:23; Gal. 6:7).

Despite the explicit teaching of the Holy Book depicting the hideousness of sin and the exacting punishment of the transgressors, modern psychiatric methods, streamlined philosophic standards, and psychological approaches are gradually but surely deceiving men into thinking that the sting has been taken out of the “old monster.” Today when a man murders his neighbor in cold blood, the lawyers argue, the judge looks wise and the jury deliberates, and then decides that a “mental disorder” brought about the violation of law—and the criminal goes to a mental institution instead of the penitentiary! The world (or at least, the nation) is being thoroughly indoctrinated with the insidious and malicious teaching that all violation of law and precept—or most of it—is due to a “mental weakness.” Everyone who commits a sin (and they shrink from the use of the word, sin) needs to be psychoanalyzed. What the sin-sick patient needs is the Great Physician.

That there are cases of great mental disorders is not for a moment denied. It is against the misuse and abuse of the possibility of this condition that the objection is raised.

Recently a young mother and wife in a Texas city of considerable size, not being content with making a home for her child and husband, found her affections being directed to another man. In her sad state of infatuation for her designing “Romeo” she decided to consult a “good” psychiatrist. The result was the calm and deliberate advice to leave her husband and marry the other man if that would make her happy. Wisdom of fools! Advice of demons! No thought whatever was taken with respect to the happiness of a dependent baby and a devoted husband. The young woman was advised to “do what comes naturally” and not to go against her desires, regardless of their nature, for after all she must be happy. With bitter tears is this wayward woman learning that “the way of the transgressors is hard.” The flimsy apology made for sin will not mock God’s plan, for “whatsoever a man soweth, that shall he also reap” (Gal. 6:7).

Could we have spoken to David when he walked the floor in anguish of soul because of the scarlet sin of adultery, he would have informed us, with shame etched in his every feature, that the way of the transgressor is a hard way. If the terrible and illicit relationship with the wife of another man was only a “mental weakness” or just “a natural and normal human trait” not to be too severely condemned, God would have sent David a psychoanalyst instead of Nathan the prophet. In a masterful way, the prophet painted the ugliness of David’s sin and pointedly declared, “Thou art the man!” “And David said unto Nathan, I have sinned against the Lord. And Nathan said unto David, The Lord bath put away thy sin; thou shalt not die” (2 Sam. 12:7, 13). In David’s repentance his sin was forgiven, but his sin had to be revealed in all its terrible form before this was brought about. Even then the king of Israel had to reap what he had sown in seeing the child he adored suffer for days and then slowly close its eyes in death. Certainly David would cry, “The way of the transgressors is hard!”

To picture Achan in his final woe (Josh. 7) would be to learn the same lesson. Some modern philosophers would declare that Achan just had an uncontrollable urge to take what was not rightfully his and that there was no cause for censure. Yet the Bible is swift to reveal the action committed by this Israelite as being worthy of death. “And it shall be, that he that is taken with the accursed thing shall be burnt with fire, he and all that he bath: because he hath transgressed the covenant of the Lord” (Josh. 7:15). As Achan sees his little ones dying under the blows of falling stones and as he himself feels the terrible pains of death, he could gasp the dying words, “The wages of sin is death!”

Any effort to take the sting out of sin and to underestimate its abominable nature is deceit in its ugliest form. All the vain and puerile efforts of heathen philosophers could not avail in directing man in the proper course of true religion, and we are persuaded that those in modern times who try their knowledge and wisdom in the field of sin and its nature are doing no better. It is no wonder that God inspired Paul to state, “For after that in the wisdom of God the world by wisdom knew not God, it pleased God through the foolishness of preaching to save them that believe” (1 Cor. 1:31).

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