By Irvin Himmel
Fools mike a mock at sin: but among the righteous there is favor” (Prov. 14:9).
Four important lessons are now pointed out, all of them suggested in this text.
Sin A Reality
The Bible depicts sin as a reality, not a myth; it exists in actuality and is not a mere figment of the imagination.
Sin separates people from God (Isa. 59:1,2). Sin is found among Jews and Gentiles alike (Rom. 3:23). Sin is deceitful (Heb. 3:13). Sin leads to death – eternal separation from God (Rom. 6:23). To deny that sin is a reality and that one’s own life has been touched by it is to make God a liar (1 Jn. 1:8-10). Christ is the Lamb provided by God to take away sin (Jn. 1:29).
Some Mock Sin
To “mock” is to scoff, scorn, or deride. Many people scoff at sin.
(1) Sin is the subject of much testing. A lot of folks, some young and some old, laugh about sin. Instead of mourning, they make jokes about vile and vulgar acts; instead of sorrowing for wickedness, they laughingly indulge in evil; instead of showing remorse and regret for sin, they amuse themselves in violations of divine law; instead of repenting and being ashamed of iniquity, they see sin as something funny. “Against whom do ye sport yourselves? Against whom make ye a wide mouth, and draw out the tongue?” (Isa. 57:4) Those who jest about sin and wallow in wickedness are in effect ridiculing God who views sin as offensive.
Sin is tolerated rather than opposed., Some have become so lenient toward evil that it no longer bothers them. Nothing makes them blush. Some in Jeremiah’s day were like that. “Were they ashamed when they had committed abomination? Nay, they were not at all ashamed, neither could they blush: therefore they shall fall among them that fall: at the time that I visit them they shall be cast down, saith the Lord” (Jer. 6:15). In the words of Alexander Pope there is a warning:
Vice is a monster of such deadly mein,
That to be hated, needs but to be seen;
But seen too oft, familiar with her face,
We first endure, then pity, then embrace.
(3) Sin hardens hearts beyond repentance. There are people who first mocked at sin to conceal their guilt. Outwardly, they were laughing and jesting while inwardly miserable. But their seared consciences are now pretty much deadened. The words of Isaiah the prophet accurately described them: “Woe unto them that call evil good, and good evil; that put darkness for light, and light for darkness; that put bitter for sweet, and sweet for bitter! ” (Isa. 5:20)
The mockery of sin does not change its reality. Jesting about sin makes it no less damaging and deadly. Laughter over wickedness does not cover transgressions as they are viewed by the Lord. The hardening of the heart through continued making sport of sin only makes the sinner incorrigible.
Perhaps some. think it is smart to jest and mock at sin, “But he that makes a sport of sinning, will find it no sport to suffer the vengeance of an eternal fire” (A. Clarke). “. . Weep and howl for your miseries that shall come upon you” (Jas. 5:1).
Scoffers Are Fools
“Fools make a mock at sin.” How great a fool is the person who belittles the reality of sin, plunges deeper and deeper into iniquity, and rejects all efforts to turn him to a pure and noble life.
To mock at sin is to cast aside both reason and revelation, making oneself void of understanding.
Just as one who denies God is a fool (Psa. 14:1), and one who despises wisdom and instruction is a fool (Prov. 1:7), and one who trusts in riches is a fool (Lk. 12:15-20), so one who scoffs at sin is a fool!
The Righteous Find Favors
While fools make mockery of sin, “among the righteous there is favor.” “The contrast here is between fools who carelessly engage in sin while good people find acceptance with God by responsible living” (Robert L. Alden).
To find favor with God one must turn from sin and do right. “A good man obtaineth favor of the Lord: but a man of wicked devices will he condemn” (Prov. 12:2). “For thou, Lord, wilt bless the righteous; with favor wilt thou compass him as with a shield” (Psa. 5:12).
Finding favor with God demands that we fear him and work righteousness (Acts 10:35). The purpose of the gospel is to inform of God’s plan of righteousness. When one learns what he is required to do, to be saved from his sins, he must believe and obey. In humble submission to God’s will we are brought into divine favor.
Guardian of Truth XXXIII: 13, p. 403
July 6, 1989