Sin is progressive by nature. Unrepentant sin always gets worse and worse. Sin, left to its progressive nature, therefore, eventually leads to death (Romans 6:23). But God does not want this. In fact, one of the reasons God lets people get worse is because he desires for them to get better.
Sin Is Progressive Because God Desires Repentance
Throughout the pages of Scripture, it is clear that the punishment on earth for sin is a progressively worsening life of sin. Progressive sin on earth is its own punishment (2 Peter 2:13). Eternity in hell will be the final consequence of sin, but here on earth God does not punish people as their sins deserve (Psalm 103:10 (NIV), Acts 14:17, Matthew 5:45).
God desires everyone to repent of their sins, “The Lord is not slow to fulfill his promise as some count slowness, but is patient toward you, not wishing that any should perish, but that all should reach repentance” (2 Peter 3:9). To help us repent, God allows are sins to get progressively worse and worse. He would rather we inflict ourselves with more pain if it means we will eventually hit rock bottom and turn to him rather than live comfortably and die away from him forever.
Progressive sin is the one of the best chances humans have at waking up from our sinful slumber towards God’s holiness. If you don’t see the harm in porn, God will allow your sinful appetite to grow darker and more abusive than you ever thought possible, with the hope you will finally see how evil your sexual addiction really is. If you don’t see the problem with your greed, God will allow your desire for wealth to ruin every relationship that is dear to you, with the hope you will finally see how your idolatry of money is killing you. If you don’t see the harm in following other religions than Christianity, God will allow you to become an extremely radical, insane person, with the hope of you being confronted with the fallacy of your beliefs.
If we won’t repent, God loves us too much to allow us to remain comfortable in sin. Sin always brings us progressively closer to death because God desires everyone to wake up and find life in him before it’s too late.
Sin Is Progressive Because God Desires Us to Draw Closer to Him
Nothing will make you feel more helpless than addictive, progressive sin. C.S. Lewis explains:
No man knows how bad he is till he has tried very hard to be good. A silly idea is current that good people do not know what temptation means. This is an obvious lie. Only those who try to resist temptation know how strong it is. After all, you find out the strength of the German army by fighting against it, not by giving in. You find out the strength of a wind by trying to walk against it, not by lying down. A man who gives in to temptation after five minutes simply does not know what it would have been like an hour later. That is why bad people, in one sense, know very little about badness — they have lived a sheltered life by always giving in. We never find out the strength of the evil impulse inside us until we try to fight it: and Christ, because He was the only man who never yielded to temptation, is also the only man who knows to the full what temptation means — the only complete realist.”
The problem with sin is that the human heart is not strong enough to withstand its control. In fact, without the redeeming, regenerate work of Jesus Christ, the heart itself is corrupted with sin at its core, “The heart is deceitful above all things, and desperately sick; who can understand it?” (Jeremiah 17:9).
Since our own heart is the problem apart from Christ, our own heart will not be the solution. Our only hope will be to draw closer to God. Mark 3:27 (NLT) states, “Who is powerful enough to enter the house of a strong man like Satan and plunder his goods? Only someone even stronger–someone who could tie him up and then plunder his house.” Satan and our sinful nature are a team. We are not strong enough in our own power to defeat them. Our progressive sin proves this. Therefore we must seek God and his power to set free.
Sin Is Progressive Because God Desires Us to Be Born Again/Transformed
Progressive sin is seen not only with specific, addictive sins. Progressive sin can be seen from a macro perspective by looking at a human’s life from birth until death. If that person does not ever seek Christ, there sin problems only get worse with age.
Babies are the most innocent of all humans. But within babies lies the seed of sin that will grow each day. David, disgusted with his sin with Bathsheba, knows his problem of sin goes deeper than his current actions. His sin nature started at the moment his life began, “Surely I was sinful at birth, sinful from the time my mother conceived me” (Psalm 51:5).
We don’t sin and then become sinners. We sin because we are sinners. Progressive sin starts at birth. We were born with the seed of sin in us, growing as we grow. Therefore, since we were born sinful, we must be born again. (See Romans 5:12-21)
God allows humans to get progressively worse in their sins because he desires us to be born again. The gospel of Jesus Christ is truly our only hope of salvation. We must believe in Jesus, ask him to wipe away our sins, relying on his grace alone through faith alone, repenting of our sins, and then seeking to follow him as his true disciples (John 3:16, Ephesians 2:8-10, Acts 2:38, Romans 10:9-11).
God loves us too much to allow us to remain comfortable in sin, so he allows it to get worse and worse. God allows progressive sin because he desires repentance, he desires us to draw closer to him, and he desires each of us to be born again.