This article on Proverbs 5:21 is about getting caught in the power and bonds of sin, and being free in Jesus Christ.

Source: Clarion, 2001. 2 pages.

Proverbs 5:21 - Cords of Sin

When the evil deeds of a wicked man ensnare him; the cords of his sin hold him fast.

Proverbs 5:21

Ever hear of Houdini? Years ago he used to tie himself up or let himself be locked in places. Then he’d try to loosen himself or pick the lock to let himself out. Imagine someone tying himself up with rope so tightly that he couldn’t get himself loose again! You’d think he were crazy, wouldn’t you? Why would you tie yourself up like that? There’s nothing like being free! The sad thing is that we all have a tendency to do that. Not physically, but spiritually. Because of our sinful nature, we want to tie ourselves up until we can’t get loose again.

That text quoted above speaks of tying oneself up with sin. It actually has two images in it. The first part speaks of the evil deeds of a wicked man ensnaring him. The idea here is of very fine, almost invisible nets which people in the Middle East used to set out to catch doves or pigeons. They would scatter some grain, and then the birds would fly into those nets and become entangled in them.

Get the picture? The first time a certain sin is committed, it’s pleasant. However, there’s still the feeling of guilt. The second time is easier. The conscience doesn’t resist as strongly anymore. The third time it’s easier yet. It’s justified with some excuses. It becomes easier and easier to do the wicked deed. At the same time it becomes harder to resist. Eventually the conscience falls silent and the evil deeds have ensnared or captured that person. He or she would have a harder and harder time giving it up. Even though it’s not really as pleasant as before anymore, the person is captured by the sin.

The second phrase of the text speaks in terms of the cords of sin holding that person fast. Someone who gives in to a sin and continues in it becomes completely tied up by his or her sin. A person’s sinful thoughts and desires, as it were, make a rope of his sin. And as that person continues in that sin, he wraps those cords of sin round and round himself until he can’t move anymore. He ends up becoming completely tied up, unable to loosen himself anymore. Continuing in a sin results in that sin eventually tying you up hand and foot more and more so that you can’t escape it anymore.

Continuing in sin doesn’t give the satisfaction promised but only entraps and enslaves. That can take place even with the language you use. A person starts to use unsavoury language with other people at work, maybe to show off. Once begun, it eventually becomes harder and harder to stop using that kind of language. Or think of relationships. Someone falls into a sinful or abusive pattern in a marriage relationship and it becomes a destructive way of life which entraps you, holds you fast.

That’s the harvest of sin. In Romans 1 the apostle Paul writes about the wicked and states that because they rejected the truth, God gave them over to shameful lusts. The more people continue in any sin, the more God gives them over to that too, until the cords of sin completely hold that person fast.

Maybe you’ve become ensnared by evil and are now bound by cords of that sin, so that you’re all tied up and you can’t get yourself out and you don’t know what to do. Maybe you realize that, but figure you can never be free of that sin anymore. Don’t give up! Those cords which hold you so tightly that you can’t move can still be broken! You need to get down on your knees and go to Jesus Christ in humble repentance. He alone has the power to break the cords and set you free from those self-made bonds of sin!

Jesus Christ let Himself be bound with cords in Gethsemane. He even let Himself be nailed fast to a cross. And He, the Son of God, let that happen to Him so that He might untie us and free us not only from the guilt but also the power of sin. We see that not even a sealed grave could hold Him anymore. He suffered, died and rose again so that sin might not longer reign over our mortal flesh.

If we go to Him in true, humble repentance, his Spirit will break the entanglements and cords of sin. Instead we will more and more be bound to Him with cords of love. And the question should be easy to answer, shouldn’t it? What would you rather be: completely tied up by cords of your sin or completely surrounded by cords of God’s love?

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