so he left all that he had in joseph’s charge, and because of him he had no concern about anything but the food he ate.
now joseph was handsome in form and appearance. and after a time his master’s wife cast her eyes on joseph and said, “lie with me.” but he refused and said to his master’s wife, “behold, because of me my master has no concern about anything in the house, and he has put everything that he has in my charge. he is not greater in this house than i am, nor has he kept back anything from me except you, because you are his wife. how then can i do this great wickedness and sin against God?” and as she spoke to joseph day after day, he would not listen to her, to lie beside her or to be with her. [genesis 39:6-10]
do you obey the law?
do you pay all the tax you owe?
do you act ethically at work?
are you faithful to your spouse?
are you kind to your children?
i know we cannot do these things perfectly of course, but if your answer is, “yes, i strive to obey the law, pay the taxes i owe, act ethically at work, am faithful to my spouse, and kind to my children” then i have another question for you:
the root reason cannot be:
“because i don’t want to get arrested or fined by the government, i don’t want to get fired, i don’t want to get divorced, i want to have peace in the house”
“i support my government, it is my patriotic duty to pay my taxes, i love my job, i love my wife, i love my kids.”
the root concern that joseph gives for not sinning against his master is this:
“how then can i do this great wickedness and sin against God?”
do we have this high view of God? do we believe that all sin is–what rc sproul calls “cosmic treason?”
when david committed rape and murder, he knew that while he had hurt bathsheba, uriah, and his own name and his family, but the one he truly dishonored was God Almighty:
against you, you only, have I sinned
and done what is evil in your sight,
so that you may be justified in your words
and blameless in your judgment. [psalm 51:4]
this confession before God does not undermine the seriousness and horror of david’s crimes against humanity–instead it shows how much holier God is than we are, the slightest denial of God dwarfs any calamity that we bring against our fellow man, and we do it all the time, all day long.
they have all turned aside; together they have become corrupt;
there is none who does good,
not even one. [psalm 14:3]
with paul, we cry:
for I do not understand my own actions. for I do not do what I want, but I do the very thing I hate. [romans 7:15]
wretched man that I am! Who will deliver me from this body of death? [romans 7:24]
let us feel the weight of the wickedness that we perpetrate against God! when we are resist sin, the way joseph did, let us not take credit for how Christ in us, and commit the sin of pride, self-sufficiency and self-saving. we have Holy Spirit power that has worked in us to resist–let us praise God for making us alive, helping us to resist sin, causing us to walk in good works through Christ–and give God the glory!
but God, being rich in mercy, because of the great love with which he loved us, even when we were dead in our trespasses, made us alive together with Christ—by grace you have been saved— and raised us up with him and seated us with him in the heavenly places in Christ Jesus, so that in the coming ages he might show the immeasurable riches of his grace in kindness toward us in Christ Jesus. for by grace you have been saved through faith. and this is not your own doing; it is the gift of God, not a result of works, so that no one may boast. for we are his workmanship, created in Christ Jesus for good works, which God prepared beforehand, that we should walk in them. [ephesians 2:4-10]
let us resist sin, not because of the negative consequences that could come if we do not, but because we are empowered by what God in Christ has done in us and for us!