I don’t know if they had wieners and marshmallows, but I do know a lot of money just went up in smoke!  If you do the calculation, it amounted to several million dollars!  No!  I’m not talking about something on the evening news.  This happened back in Acts 19:18-19, when Paul preached in the city of Ephesus.  Believers were so serious about becoming Christians, they publicly confessing their sins.  Then, those who had practiced magic began to bring their occult books.  The pile grew as others joined their act of true repentance.  Not only did these new disciples now have no need for these perverse books, they didn’t want anyone else using them either.  And so, the heap mounted higher.  Someone tallied the value of the books and the total reached 50,000 days’ wages.  Next, they lit a fire and watched them burn.

When I read that bible passage, I think about the Lord’s church, today.  Just how serious are you and I about being free of sin in our lives?  Jesus taught that if my best eye causes me to sin, I should gouge it out and throw it away.  Similarly, if my strongest hand causes me to sin, I should cut it off and throw it away.  He said, in Matthew 5:29-30, “It is better for you to lose one part of your body than for your whole body to go into hell.”  The more I understand how despicable sin really is in the eyes of God, the more drastic the measures I will take to be free of it in my life.

Sometime, read Numbers chapter 25.  God’s people, as a nation, had fallen into gross immorality.  A resulting plague from the Lord swept through the camp killing thousands.  To stop the plague, Moses told the tribal judges to put to death all the men who had joined in the sexual immorality.  Finally, Phinehas followed an Israelite man, who took a Midianite woman into his tent.  As the two of them lay together, he plunged his spear through both of their bodies and the plague ceased.

Is sin any less serious, today?  To what lengths should you and I go to be free of it?  May the Lord grant us strength as we strive to be a truly holy people!

— Monty Huffman