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COVETOUSNESS AND THE LAST SIN

The sin of covetousness is widely described and prohibited in the Bible because it is a deadly sin that can be practiced by anyone at any time and be almost undetectable. According to Internet definitions, covetousness means to yearn to possess or have something (usually something you don't have, but it could be something you do have but want more of); to want something very much; to desire wrongfully. According to Strong, it means delight, desire, or lust. But keep in mind that the word delight can indicate something all-consuming (Psa. 1:2).

An encounter recorded in the gospels reveals the deadly evil of covetousness and the divisive effect it can have on our relationship with Jesus. Let's study this encounter and "read between the lines" to see more of what God is trying to tell us. In Matthew 19:16, one comes to Jesus and asks what good thing he could do to have eternal life. This encounter is recorded in slightly different versions in Matthew 19:16-22, Mark 10:17-22, and Luke 18:18-23. Details in these passages tell us this person was rich, young, and a ruler, so he is often referred to as the rich young ruler. Let's just call him Richie, for short.

So Richie came to Jesus searching for a "good thing" to do. This lets us know there was something missing in his spiritual life. Matthew later tells us that he was rich, but even his riches were not completely comforting. He wanted eternal life, but felt it was just out of reach. If he could only find the one "good thing" that he still needed to do?

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Bill Prince, Jr.
(Oxford, AL)


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