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SIN TAXES!

Years ago an 89 year-old preacher friend told me tersely one day, "You can't win sinning." Since Eve and Adam got themselves into a jam by eating forbidden fruit, billions of human beings have learned first hand that in the end sin, far from satisfying, brings suffering and loss that often can't be completely repaired. Sin is hard on us, no matter how fun and appealing the devil and marketing experts can make it look. A reporter wasinterviewing a grizzled old man, sitting with his hands folded in his lap, behind his farm  house. "Sir, I'd like to know the secret of your long life," said the reporter. "Well, I drink whiskey every day, smoke cigarettes all the time, dance wildly every night, and I've lived with many different women." The reporter was astonished and exclaimed, "That's remarkable. And exactly how old are you,  sir?" The man replied, "I'll be twenty-seven next week."

There is a debate about so-called "sin taxes - in the state of Tennessee. State lawmakers recently voted to raise taxes on alcoholic beverages, tobacco products, etc. The debate over whether or not we should -tax sin" will continue. But there can be no debate that sin taxes. That is, it makes onerous and heavy demands and subjects us to excessive stress (one definition of' "tax" from Webster's New Ideal Dictionary,  G. & C. Merriam Co.. 1968). Sin is subjecting  our culture, our homes, our marriages and our very lives to excessive stress. From sexual immorality to murder to materialism to profanity to prejudice - sin has saturated our society. Prisons bulge with those who discovered too late that sin taxes. Adultery at first allures but in the end assassinates a marriage. Pornography promises pleasure but soon is bringing nothing but pain and guilt. All of us are either being taxed by sin or know someone whom sin is taxing. Sin always taxes, whether we tax sin or not. My old friend was right-you can't win sinning.

Revelation 9: 1 -11 is an astonishing passage of Scripture that describes, in dramatic apocalyptic language,  the taxing nature of sin. The apostle John describes a horde of hellish locusts let loose on earth with authority to torment men "and their torment is like the torment of a scorpion when it strikes a man" (vs 5). David Roper suggests the locusts portray the tormenting nature of sin. The world says sin will thrill you, but the Bible's message is sin will torment you. "The wages of sin is death" Romans 6:23a). "Sin is first  appealing, then appalling; first alluring, then alienating,- first deceiving, then damning; it promises life  and produces  death. 11 is the most disappointing thing in the world. " Sin still taxes.

Dan Gulley
Smithville church of Christ