Duty free stores in international airports offer liquor and cigarettes at a reduced rate due to taxes exemptions. While in a duty free zone, you are exempt from the regular rules. It’s a type of “Get out of jail free” card to consumers who are typically charge a hefty tax for their purchases of “sinful” non-necessities.
Las Vegas capitalizes on an exempt illusion from sin. Nicknamed “Sin City”, many people go there because marketers advertise the lack of a sin penalty or tax – anything goes. To wit, their tag line states, “What Happens in Vegas Stays in Vegas”, as if sin doesn’t count while you’re there. News flash: God is everywhere, even in Las Vegas.
Las Vegas flaunts the sinful life. When you step off the plane, slot machines, neon lights, and show advertisements bombard your eyes. While you wait for your luggage, gambling opportunities abound so not a moment is wasted. Huge electronic billboards broadcast provocative messages, emphasizing sexuality in brazen images, leaving little to the imagination. The message is obvious – abandon your inhibitions and your morals, then have a good time. Intense peer pressure is applied to make you feel as though you’re not normal if you fail to participate in the debauchery.
One of the awesome and comforting things about our Holy God is that He is faithful in forgiving our sins (Psalms 103:12, Acts 10:43), even those sins committed willfully such as the ones encouraged in Las Vegas. Forgiveness is one of the great promises we have been given through the gift of God’s Holy Word and the sacrifice of Jesus Christ. We also know that, as a Holy God, He cannot break His promise to forgive, no matter what we do. These promises bring great comfort to all Christian believers.
Always the instigator, Satan lobbies a perverted logic, which confuses many Christians. One thing he suggests is that, since God will always forgive us, why don’t we simply do anything we want and then beg forgiveness? After all, He is obligated to forgive our transgressions if we ask and His grace increases the more we sin (Romans 3:3:7-8, 5:20). Some Christians have bought into this lie and view God’s grace as a license to sin and Las Vegas is a great place to do it. They consider those who try to walk closely with the LORD as foolish since they are missing out on the fun life offers.
Often those flaunting their license to sin frustrate those walking closely with God. Jesus warned us of this situation when He gave us the parable of the workers in the vineyard (Matthew 20) and the parable of the lost (prodigal) son (Luke 15). In each case, those who followed Godly ways were upset because they perceived themselves to be lacking in rewards. Doesn’t this just bolster Satan’s contention that it’s best to live however we like and then request forgiveness? Isn’t that normal according to His nature and the parables He gives us?
The answer is “No”! It is true that God will forgive you; however, what many people forget is that consequences follow all sin. We do not sin in a vacuum where sin is silent and unseen, with no effect on others around us. Sin always has consequences and the consequences are never good, even if you commit your sin in Las Vegas and in secret. There is always a cost to sin and that cost is greater than you ever wish to pay. Therefore, by sinning, you make yourself vulnerable to whatever consequence God judges appropriate for you to make as payment for your transgression.
Sin is also a thief. It robs both you and those around you. By sinning, at a minimum you are robbed of the peace and joy God wants you to have. You recognize your sin and feel guilt because of it. Feeling guilt is not the normal state God wants for you, He wants you to be full of joy. Sinning also robs you of the blessings God has planned for your life, which is part of Satan’s plan (John 10:10). Just as consequences always follow sin, blessings follow obedience (Deuteronomy 6:3, 28:1-14). By sinning, you deny yourself the cherished gifts that God would bestow upon you. Sinning also robs those around you of the benefits of the lost blessings.
Satan’s only mission is to steal and kill and destroy (John 10:10). As the father of lies (John 8:44), he has tricked many into believing that God’s infinite mercy offers us a license to sin. But, we as Christians are called to live up to a higher standard.
It is normal for God to bless us in our obedience. Remember that God knows your heart and therefore knows when you are invoking a non-existent license to sin. The right to sin is not part of His normal plan. Don’t be tricked into sin or the illusions of Sin City, which can be any city or town, not just Las Vegas. Walk closely with the LORD and enjoy the full measure of blessings that He has to offer you every day.
In His love and service,
A servant of Jesus Christ
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