A Thousand Times … NO!

Ever notice that you can say “no” a thousand times, but all those “no’s” are canceled by one “yes”? Parents especially know the truth of the previous statement. “No, you cannot have a cookie, cannot have a cookie, cannot have a cookie! Okay, yes!” The cookie will be eaten! To concede and fail you do not have to say “yes” as many times as you must say “no” to remain steadfast and succeed.

A thousand “no’s” to fornication are deleted by one “yes” that robs one of his virtue and virginity. A thousand “no’s” to adultery are swept away by a “yes” that destroys family, home, and soul. A thousand “no’s” to drugs, alcohol, and tobacco are erased by a “yes” that opens the door to all kinds of destruction and excess. A thousand “no’s” to stealing are forgotten by a “yes” on our record when we stand before the judge in a court of law. A thousand “no’s” to pornography are overwhelmed by a “yes” that writes indelible images in the mind. It applies across the board to all sin.

While it is certainly true that forgiveness in Christ is available for any sinful yes decision we make, this must not be seen as license to make that errant decision even once. We are called to completely die to sin. Romans 6:1-2 says, “What shall we say then?  Shall we continue in sin, that grace may abound? God forbid. How shall we, that are dead to sin, live any longer therein?” Furthermore, Romans 6:7-8 says, “Knowing this, that our old man is crucified with him, that the body of sin might be destroyed, that henceforth we should not serve sin.  For he that is dead is freed from sin.” Sin is to have no part in us, or us in it!

Parents often tire of the “May I have a cookie?” question and finally concede with a “yes.” Kids know this. Satan knows this. We tire of saying “no” and looking different from others. We tire of our “no” answer causing abstinence from activities that appear pleasurable and fun. We tire of always being the one to say “no.” In time, sin nags us to the point where we finally want to say, “Okay, yes just this time.” How much more can God expect us to resist — how many more times must we say “no”?

The Hebrew writer reminds us, “You have not yet resisted to bloodshed, striving against sin” (Hebrews 12:4). We are not just talking about saying “no” to the point of alienation and missing out on some of life’s pleasures. Resisting “to bloodshed, striving against sin” means saying “no” to sin until it kills us! That means a thousand times “no” to the sin that tempts us from within and from without. God does indeed furnish us with a way of escape (1 Corinthians 10:13), but we must be strong against sin. We have to resist it more than we have ever resisted anything. And when we have said “no” a thousand times, it is then time to say it a thousand and one times, and more! So you draw yourself up against sin, stand in the light, and have the strength to say “no”!

David Diestelkamp

Bible Lectureship

(March 17-20, 2024)

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