How many of us go out one day and decide we are going to cheat on our spouses? Or suddenly decide we are going to steal something from someone? Or plan on getting so angry that we say mean and hurtful things to someone we love? Not too many of us. But people end up doing these things every day. When you ask them why, they might say it just happened. But the real reason is the progressive nature of sin.
King David in the Bible is a prime example in his adulterous relationship with Bathsheba. David had plenty of wives and concubines. But he also had an appreciation for beauty and Bathsheba was a beautiful woman. A beautiful woman who happened to take baths on her rooftop in full view of the palace. King David desired her, and because of that desire and his position of power, he made love to her. Then, when she became pregnant, he tried to hide what they had done by sending for Uriah hoping her husband would make love to her and claim the baby as his own. When Uriah did not, David had him killed.
Notice the progressive nature of his sin. David looked and lusted. He took what was not his to take. David tried to hide what he had done. Finally, David ordered the death of a righteous man to cover up his sin.
We usually do not set out to betray the people we love. But we let one thing lead to another until we are in over our heads, drowning in our sin. We start looking at pornography and end up committing adultery. We think a little lie won’t hurt anyone and then we end up telling even bigger lies to hide the first lie. We deny responsibility until finally we are untrustworthy. The devil loves to get us to take that first step in sin because he knows what a slippery slope a sinful life can be.
C.S. Lewis, in The Screwtape Letters, has one demon giving this advice on humans: “It does not matter how small the sins are provided that their cumulative effect is to edge the man away from the Light and out into the Nothing. Murder is no better than cards if cards can do the trick. Indeed the safest road to Hell is the gradual one–the gentle slope, soft underfoot, without sudden turnings, without milestones, without signposts.”
Sin has a progressive nature that we must not discount. The way is straight and narrow. The first step off it means we might not find our way back to it again.