My kids love balloons. Love them. And since becoming a parent, I have learned to despise them.
Lucky for them and unlucky for me, the grocery store nearest our house rewards each child who rolls past the checkout lane with a balloon for their excellent (or terrible) behavior.
I have two children, and inevitably, one balloon always makes a break for it in the parking lot.
Somewhere between the cart corral and the car seats, one balloon—only one—will see its opportunity and slip free. All I can do is watch, helpless, as it floats up, up, up—tail waving goodbye and good luck as it disappears into the sky.
Good luck indeed. One child is devastated and one is delighted. And then? They turn on each other. Greed overcomes them and all they can think about is the one thing they cannot have. By the time we pull into the driveway (four minutes later), fists have been wielded, cruel words have been exchanged, tears have been shed (I’m not saying whose), consequences have been made clear, and whatever affection they once shared for each other is long forgotten—discarded for the affection of self.
One such scene occurred in our home last week, and the very next day I came upon the coveted balloon hovering hesitantly just above the dining room floor— forgotten, deflated, and worthless.
This is what sin does—it lies. It promises to be shiny and colorful and inflated with excitement forever. It promises to be worth it. Sin tells us that God wants to keep the good stuff from us—that what we want matters more than what He has for us (Genesis 3:4-5).
In Eden, God told Adam, “You may surely eat of the every tree of the garden, but of the tree of the knowledge of good and evil, you shall not eat, for in the day that you eat of it you shall surely die” (Genesis 2:16-17). Man had supremacy over all of the earth, but this exclusion—this one law—caused Adam to doubt God’s motives.
Man and woman sinned the first sin (Genesis 3:6-7), and for the first time in the history of the world, we felt shame. The lie of sin—that we know what’s best for us and must attain it on our own, apart from God—failed to deliver, and the original glory of man and Eden was lost (Genesis 3:8-21). God’s tender warning that “you shall surely die” was true for them then, and is true for us today.
Sin wasn’t worth it. It never is.
“The wages of sin is death” (Romans 6:23). “All have sinned and fall short of the glory of God” (Romans 3:23). Adam was guilty. Eve was guilty. You and I and your sister and your neighbor and your grandmother and your kids and your friend and your enemy—we are all guilty. When held to the loving and just standard of our holy God, we all deserve death.
The human race is guilty because of Adam’s sin. And each one of us is guilty too because of our own sins. Daily, hourly, even moment to moment, we believe the lie that God’s law is holding us back and that we know better. And just as we scramble to act (or think, or fail to act), the shimmer tarnishes and the balloon deflates. What we thought we needed—what caused us to act outside of God’s law—is in the discard pile by sunrise the next morning.
Through Adam’s sin we are all cursed, all born with a nature of sin and a sentence of death.
But friends, keep reading! There is more! Here is a glorious hint:
“For if by the transgression of the one, death reigned through the one, much more those who receive the abundance of grace and of the gift of righteousness will reign in life through the One, Jesus Christ.”
- Romans 5:17 NASB