I may not fully agree with the definitions above, but I do agree with the sentiment above. All too many of us do behave different when we are alone as to when someone is watching us. In fact, I might even say that all of us are actually that way. The reality of sin is that it likes to hide itself in the darkness. And the darkness is very good at convincing us that no one will actually see or know what is it that we have done as long as we keep it in the darkness. Sin hides itself in the darkness in the hope that no one will see it, at least for a while. What do I mean for a while?
Well, let me use an extreme example. Serial killers begin small. More than one study has shown that often a future serial killer begins with simple acts of violence against an animal, like a pet. Slowly they work themselves up until they finally kill a human being. From there they slowly work themselves up with the frequency and daring of the crimes increasing. But, so do we with our sin. I admit that rare is the person who works themselves up to the level of a serial killer. But, on the other hand, if we are honest, there is only one of two ways to go with our sin. We can either grow in our sin or grow in holiness. Mind you, there will be many ups and downs. That old saying about a couple of steps backwards for every three steps forward is true. In fact, it would even be true to say that there are various times when we take three steps backwards for every step forward.
But, over a Christian’s life, one expects a certain growth in maturity and holiness. This is why the Protestant theologian John (Jean) Calvin formulated the doctrine of the Perseverance of the Saints. His contention was that the one who truly belongs to God will persevere in obedience to him over the course of their life. The perseverance of which he spoke was not perfection, but the sure contention that the one who truly belongs to God will stay the course throughout their life. Note that this is a work of grace, as the quotes from Saint Theopan the Recluse pointed out in yesterday’s course. Yet that work of grace requires our participation and our agreement.
The last panel of the comic points out our dilemma. We can fool people, but we cannot fool God. We can cooperate with God, or we can be found to be immoral.