Search This Blog

Friday, August 2, 2013

The Enmity

And I will put enmity between thee and the woman, and between thy seed and her seed; it shall bruise thy head, and thou shalt bruise his heel. (Genesis 3:15)

God himself served notice on the Serpent that from this point forward there would be enmity between his seed and the seed of the woman. It has been the devil's goal from that time to do away with the natural enmity between good and evil by any means other than God and his plan of redemption. Satan tries to break down the enmity by seducing the people of God into agreeing with the wicked that evil is not so bad. It has worked very well for him through the ages.

We must get our bearings right about who we are talking about here from the beginning. The Serpent is the devil, and his seed are those who follow his example and choose the same path of evil that the devil has - to usurp God's authority over their lives.

Seed - That from which any thing springs; first principle; original; as the seeds of virtue or vice. (Webster's 1828 Dictionary)

The seed of the woman refers to that part of humanity that chooses the way of righteousness, in particular the promised Messiah. The pronouns used mark the difference between her descendants who live for God and the very special descendant who will one day lead his people to bruise the Serpent's head.

"…it (her seed) shall bruise thy head, and thou shalt bruise his (Christ) heel.

The fact that there is enmity between good and evil is one of the basic facts of life. It is so simple and so true that it is overlooked when considering the problems we face in our lives, especially with other people. God ordained it from the beginning that good and evil could never be reconciled together. There always has been, and always will be that enmity between the two. They will never get along – evil will always hate good and that which is truly good will always hate evil. The righteous will always be hated and persecuted by the wicked simply because there IS enmity between good and evil.

"And I will put enmity between thee and the woman." 

Enmity was a new concept for Adam and his wife. Enmity is hatred, hostility, and mistrust. This was something that referred not only to a feeling, but also to a condition, a circumstance, or state of things. They had lived in a world of peace and harmony and had never known enmity, even with the serpent. The enmity between the woman and the serpent is evidence that she has turned from sin back to God. She has recognized her sin and confessed it to God and has forsaken, not only the sin itself, but that which led her into it. She not only hates her sin, but she hates the very things that took her there. God steps up and says, "And I will put enmity between…" - so we see that the entrance of God put enmity between the Serpent and the woman, and between his seed and hers. The presence of God among those who love Him brings peace and harmony, but the introduction of God into the social interactions of those who love God and those who do not causes enmity between those people.

Think not that I am come to send peace on earth: I came not to send peace, but a sword. (Matthew 10:34)

Enmity is a thing that separates and divides people. Those at enmity with one another cannot live in harmony and cooperate together. They must separate from one another or one must abandon his views of good and evil and be converted to the other side. The only other solution is for one or both to be destroyed. This is the fact of reality, and yet sinful man has tried in vain for all these millennia to remove the enmity by somehow reconciling good and evil without God's intervention. The Serpent is the power behind this determined attempt to remove the enmity between good and evil without God. Removing the enmity is, and always has been, one of the devil's main goals. He does not want to remove the enmity by surrendering and submitting to God, but by removing all that speaks of God or makes people aware of his existence. The devil does not want the enmity removed so there will be peace, but because he hates God, loves evil, and wants to do away with all that pertains to God. He does not attempt to remove the hatred for good from those who are evil, but he always tries to remove the hatred for evil from those that are good.

Here, as he always does, he twists the truth of the Word of God to suit his own evil purposes. He abuses and misconstrues the idea of the love of God and how that we should love everyone no matter what. Our modern generation is not the first to swallow this distorted view of God and his Word. But the Bible is very clear about the fact that the enmity is still there and that as long as a holy God exists there will be enmity between good and evil.

Ye that love the LORD, hate evil: he preserveth the souls of his saints; he delivereth them out of the hand of the wicked. (Psalms 97:10)

The fear of the LORD is to hate evil: pride, and arrogancy, and the evil way, and the froward mouth, do I hate. (Proverbs 8:13)

Hate the evil, and love the good, and establish judgment in the gate: it may be that the LORD God of hosts will be gracious unto the remnant of Joseph. (Amos 5:15)

Blessed are ye, when men shall hate you, and when they shall separate you from their company, and shall reproach you, and cast out your name as evil, for the Son of man's sake. (Luke 6:22)

I will set no wicked thing before mine eyes: I hate the work of them that turn aside; it shall not cleave to me. (Psalms 101:3)

Do not I hate them, O LORD, that hate thee? and am not I grieved with those that rise up against thee? I hate them with perfect hatred: I count them mine enemies. (Psalms 139:21-22)

Interesting that these two verses are followed by:

Search me, O God, and know my heart: try me, and know my thoughts: And see if there be any wicked way in me, and lead me in the way everlasting. (Psalms 139:23-24)

The wicked must be made righteous for there to be any peace. The devil deceives people into believing that there can be peace by making the righteous wicked instead. But the Bible says,

"When the righteous are in authority, the people rejoice: but when the wicked beareth rule, the people mourn. (Proverbs 29:2)

Therefore, knowing that one of the main strategies of Satan is to remove the enmity we should guard our hearts in this matter. Anything that takes the edge off of our hatred for evil is from the devil - not from God. Anything that has that effect on us is the result of the presence and influence of Satan and not of God.

Mike Miller
August 2, 2013

Saturday, March 30, 2013

Good and Evil

Man is a moral being and that means that he must continually choose between good and evil. Good and evil are either nothing more than personal ideas and opinions that are continually changing because they are subject to circumstances, cultures, historical periods, and other things, or they are fixed and eternal truths established by the Creator of the Universe. Good and evil are to the morals of man what north and south are on the compass. If they are continually changing we have no idea how to navigate through life and make moral decisions that affect our life and the lives of others forever. Unless north is always north and south is always south we are hopelessly and completely lost and without direction. Likewise, if good and evil are constantly being redefined the human race is bound to crash on the rocks.

There are only two sources from which we can determine good and evil. We either base our beliefs about good and evil upon God or we make them up out of the imagination of our own heart. All the debate about homosexual marriage and abortion is going nowhere because the opposing sides base their views upon two different foundations. The believer in God can argue until doomsday providing Scripture and sound reasoning, but those who have rejected God and his authority to determine right and wrong will never be persuaded to give up their own self-proclaimed right to determine for themselves what is right and wrong. They have decided that evil is good and good is evil. Gay marriage, abortion, fornication, and whatever else they want to approve is good and anyone who does not agree with them is evil. They have turned things completely upside down and backwards and the two sides will never agree. There is NO communion between light and darkness. NONE! They will never agree and the forces of evil (which has reversed roles and calls itself good) have no other goal in mind but to annihilate all who oppose them and erase all knowledge of God from the earth, since they have determined that to be the source of all evil.

We are made in the image and likeness of God and God is good. Therefore, all people choose and follow after what they consider to be good. We identify what is evil and reject it, and we identify what is good and embrace it. The confusion begins when we reject God's authority to define good and evil, and take it upon ourselves to do so. This was the very core message of the Serpent's lie to the woman in the garden. His suggestion to her was that she could decide for herself what was right and wrong and she would be better off if she did. She did not have to submit to God's authority. But before she could transgress against God she had to be convinced that what God had pronounced evil was really good. Every person does the same thing. Before we sin we must convince ourselves that what we have been told is evil is not really evil, but good. That is the only way our conscience will allow us to go ahead with it. By pronouncing evil to be good it is also necessary to pronounce good to be evil. No matter how we try to sort it out there must be good AND evil because those are the points from which we take our bearings. If we pronounce evil to be good then we will necessarily pronounce good to be evil. Then we become despisers of them that are good and we will embrace those who practice evil. Is that not the situation we find ourselves in now?

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! (Isaiah 5:20)

There are many people who claim to believe in God but their view of good and evil is not in agreement with what the Bible says about God. God who created all things is a holy and a righteous God. So it is very simple, those who do not agree with God on what is good and what is evil do not believe in the God who rules the universe, but in a god they have created in their own imaginations. They are idolaters, not worshipers of the true God of Heaven.

God never changes, so if morals are based upon his law and character you can only change them by rejecting God and pretending He does not exist, or by creating your own version of God that agrees with your views. It is impossible to be at peace with God and disagree with Him on what is evil and what is good. It is important to remember that men may change their minds about what is right and wrong and make laws to force other people to go along with them, but God never changes his mind. What men pronounce good and what they pronounce to be evil has no bearing on the reality of what is really good and evil. They are only playing mind games and deceiving themselves. They will only go so far until the Judge of the universe will step in and act to set things in order again.

Then shall the righteous shine forth as the sun in the kingdom of their Father. Who hath ears to hear, let him hear. (Matthew 13:43)

Tuesday, March 19, 2013

What Sin Hath Wrought - Part 4

(Genesis 3:15-21)

Every person who has ever lived has realized that things in this world are not like they should be. The conscience of every person is a consistent witness to the fact that man does not live according to what he was designed for. The world's modern wise men are as blind and as void of the knowledge of God as the rock from which they say they came. They try to convince everyone that we are evolving from our crude and primitive ancestors who were void of morals and lived like animals, and that man is continually getting better and better. But all the evidence is to the contrary. Man is descending into savagery and depravity right before our eyes. Man is not evolving or rising from a state of moral depravity to being a god. He started in the image and likeness of God and has been descending ever since.

The history, as well as the present condition of man, can only be explained by understanding what happened in the Garden of Eden and how it has affected the entire race. Man was formed a perfect model and has fallen from his high estate. No one can understand what the Gospel of Christ is about without understanding and believing this foundational truth. People who believe in evolution do not believe the foundational truths of God, humanity, and sin, and therefore cannot possibly have a grasp on what salvation, redemption, and regeneration are about.

The sentence of God upon sin is and always has been DEATH. Death is not being deprived of existence, but of life. Life is about living. The clearest example I can point to is a small child. To the child everything is wonderful, exciting, new, and there just isn't enough time or energy to experience it all. Children find pleasure in whatever is at hand. They use whatever they can see, touch, and taste to experience life. It doesn’t take much to make a child happy. They do not carry burdens and they do not perplex themselves over problems. Life includes all that we are capable of knowing and experiencing with the senses and consciousness God has created us with. So life is more than mere existence.

Death is being deprived of living, while the craving for life and living retains all its force in the spiritual part of our nature. The sweat and toil of life are difficult, and may cause physical pain and suffering. But the strong emotions that we suffer because of the difficulty of life cause us pain in the spiritual part of our nature. Our heart grieves because of the difficulty of life, for ourselves, and for others. This is the sorrow that was pronounced when the sentence was given in the Garden.

Unto the woman he said, I will greatly multiply thy sorrow and thy conception; in sorrow thou shalt bring forth children; and thy desire shall be to thy husband, and he shall rule over thee. (v. 16)

While there have been seasons of plenty and seasons of dearth concerning the fleshly comforts and indulgences of life throughout man's history, his toil and sorrow has been consistent through all generations. But whether a man is rich or poor in the things of this world, he finds life to be hard, full of sorrow, pain, disappointment, and grief.

Man that is born of a woman is of few days, and full of trouble. (Job 14:1)

Life is different for a woman than it is for a man. There are two separate sentences given here in God's judgment of their sin - one for her and one for him. Both contain the sentence of sorrow, but the sorrow of the woman is distinguished from that of the man in the areas of children, and her role as her husband's helpmeet. The things that were intended to make her life pleasant and rewarding were now blighted with sin and its consequences. She will be able to conceive more often than she would have without sin and its judgment. God greatly multiplied her conception. Childbearing will be full of sorrow for her, where it would have been with joy. In sorrow thou shalt bring forth children. In a sin-cursed world a birth requires travail and pain.

Her husband would rule over her. This is the result of her sin and selfishness. When selfishness is the rule of life the weaker must serve the stronger. In this sinful world women in general have been treated as slaves. This is part of the curse and consequence of sin. This is not pleasant for the woman and she is deprived of life when sin is the rule of life in her or her husband.

And unto Adam he said, Because thou hast hearkened unto the voice of thy wife, and hast eaten of the tree, of which I commanded thee, saying, Thou shalt not eat of it: cursed is the ground for thy sake; in sorrow shalt thou eat of it all the days of thy life; Thorns also and thistles shall it bring forth to thee; and thou shalt eat the herb of the field; In the sweat of thy face shalt thou eat bread, till thou return unto the ground; for out of it wast thou taken: for dust thou art, and unto dust shalt thou return. (v. 17-19)

The woman's sentence was short, (one verse) but Adam's sentence was long (three verses). Because of Adam's sin the ground was cursed. In sorrow shat thou eat of it all the days of thy life. First of all, this gives Adam to understand that his life now only contains a certain number of days. His days were not numbered before this. Secondly, the fruit of the trees was no longer his meat, but he would eat of the herb of the field. His food, his sustenance, which had been his freely without toiling now would require his very sweat and time and life to obtain. The herb of the field is grain that must be cultivated, which is quite different than the fruit which the trees of the garden produced. He would have to battle the thorns and thistles to get from the ground what he needed to survive and sustain his life and the lives of his wife and family. The herb of the field also requires much more work to process it for food. If there is a harvest after the plowing, sowing, droughts, floods, pestilence, and disease, he must reap it. Then he must thrash it and grind it and store it and cook it before he can eat it. The fruit of the trees required none of this. So life became much harder for Adam and his wife, and has been that way for all of his descendents.

Till thou return unto the ground …

He was pronounced to be dust. This sentence included his wife, since she was bone of his bones and flesh of his flesh. Physical death is the culmination of the effects of sin. It is the separation of the soul from the body, but not the end of existence.

In all of this dark tragedy there is hope given and faith is exercised for the first time.

And Adam called his wife's name Eve; because she was the mother of all living. (Genesis 3:20)

Now she has a name. Up until this point, she is the "the woman." She did not become "Eve" after she had children, but after what God had said. This reveals to us Adam's faith in what God had said. He knew that there would be children. There would be a Savior. (v. 15) There would be a way for his descendents to be reconciled to God. Although he had done a terrible thing all was not hopeless.

Unto Adam also and to his wife did the LORD God make coats of skins, and clothed them. (Genesis 3:21)

Up until this point they are standing there naked and ashamed, but now God covers them. All the elements of salvation are present here. Adam and Eve both confessed their sin to God. They both acknowledged that what they had done was wrong and they were ashamed. The woman acknowledged that the Serpent had lied to her, so she was obviously no longer under any delusion about God and his truth, or the Serpent and his evil character. There was enmity between them and the Serpent now. An innocent life has been sacrificed to provide a way to cover their sins. Now God gives evidence of forgiveness and covers their nakedness.

And through all the ages God has continued to do the same thing for men and women who will acknowledge their sin and turn from their own way unto God. As the millennia have passed God has revealed ever more clearly his plan of redemption for sinful man. We are now almost to the end of the church age and if we remain at enmity with God because of our sin we are completely without excuse and will be found exceedingly guilty when our earthly days are ended and we face a holy God as our judge.

For God so loved the world, that he gave his only begotten Son, that whosoever believeth in him should not perish, but have everlasting life. (John 3:16)

I am come that they might have life, and that they might have it more abundantly. (John 10:10)

And ye will not come to me, that ye might have life. (John 5:40)

But these are written, that ye might believe that Jesus is the Christ, the Son of God; and that believing ye might have life through his name. (John 20:31)

Seek ye the LORD while he may be found, call ye upon him while he is near: (Isaiah 55:6)

Email Me
Church Website: Straight Paths Bible Church

Sunday, February 24, 2013

What Sin Hath Wrought - Part 3

And Adam was not deceived, but the woman being deceived was in the transgression. (1 Timothy 2:14)
The devil's strategy for ruining mankind is worth taking note of. Satan thought out his plan very well and chose to approach the woman first. I have found that discussing this matter seems to be offensive to some women, but the fact remains that this is how God says sin entered into the world. This is not about laying the blame for the sin of mankind on the woman, and therefore making all women guilty. She is not to be blamed, any more than Adam, because he sinned also, just as every man and woman has since. So for women now to get up in the air about the account in the Bible of how sin entered the world is a very ungodly way to feel and think. There are some very obvious reasons why the Serpent approached the woman first instead of the man, and we are going to look at some of them.

Satan did not attempt to deceive or attack Adam in person, but entered into the situation by striking up a conversation with the woman and influencing her thinking. Her feminine nature was more susceptible to the subtle and deceitful reasoning presented by the Serpent. He took advantage of her God-given characteristics in order to prevail. Furthermore, the Serpent chose the woman first because she was made after God had given Adam the commandment about the tree of the knowledge of good and evil, so she had received the knowledge of God's command from her husband, while Adam had received it directly from God. Another advantage Satan had by going to the woman was that he knew she had much more power to influence Adam than he did himself, because of her relationship to him and her access to his heart. His goal was to bring to bear on the man such pressure that he would yield and disobey God. We should be aware that Satan never changes his strategy. He will not attempt to enter through the most fortified gates. We can be sure that he will work subtly and deceitfully through whatever person or median that has access to the mind and heart of the person he is out to destroy.

What happened when Adam and Eve sinned has had far greater consequences than just the sorrow and hardship they suffered for the rest of their lives. There is no argument that the entire human race has been affected by their sin. Life has been made hard for all of us. Furthermore, it is obvious from observation, and confirmed by the Scriptures that all men are sinners, and that all men die. But we must look deeper than physical things in order to understand spiritual matters. What really happened when Adam and Eve ate that fruit? Did it change the molecular structure of their physical bodies? Did it cause a mutation in their genes that made all their offspring sinners by nature? Did it introduce some substance into their bloodstream called "sin" that is now passed from person to person like a disease? When put this way these ideas sound absurd, but they are in fact what most modern doctrine is based upon.

What really happened when Adam and Eve sinned was that their eyes were opened and they saw that they were naked. They obtained the knowledge of evil - they already had the knowledge of good. They knew about the concept of evil, but now they knew evil experimentally. They knew evil was possible because God had established that fact by simply setting before Adam a forbidden object. But now they have identified themselves with evil instead of good - they have become sinners. Their souls have been altered from their original state of innocence and now are guilty. The pain and darkness and sense of loss that always accompanies sin is now a permanent part of their very being.

The manner in which one soul begets another is a mystery that is far too deep for our comprehension. Although man has dissected, analyzed, and studied all the physical aspects of how reproduction occurs, he cannot explain how a soul is created and set apart from another soul.

That which is born of the flesh is flesh; and that which is born of the Spirit is spirit. (John 3:6)

Man seems to have trouble grasping spiritual truths without trying to make them conform to physical processes. It is one of the great errors of our time that all moral and behavioral problems are believed to be based on physical things, and therefore treatable with physical means. There are so many problems now that have no identifiable physical cause that a new generic term has been invented to describe them - they call them "disorders." Many things that used to be considered immoral behavior are now considered to be simply a "disorder." It is interesting that they chose that word because it is certainly very appropriate. "Disorder" perfectly describes the behavior of people who do not behave according to the way they were designed. Believing that all behavior is somehow caused by physical composition or processes they assume there are drugs, surgeries, and mind games that will correct any "disorder." This is basically what is called sorcery in the Bible and is condemned by God as a most serious sin.

Just as the soul of Adam descended from God, so the souls of our children are descended from us. Our offspring get more from us than physical traits and characteristics. We always see ourselves in our children - not just in their physical characteristics, but in their personality and disposition. They are not only our flesh and blood, but their soul is begotten of ours. Although God is without sin, Adam, being separate from God, sinned even though he was the offspring of God himself. Likewise, Eve, although she was the very flesh and bone of Adam, and her soul was descended from him, she was separate from him, and sinned. Now Adam and Eve begin to have sons and daughters.

Example is the strongest influence. What they had done was their example, and it could not be undone. When their children got old enough to begin to ask questions how did they explain the reason for covering their nakedness? They had sinned against God and life was difficult because of their sin in every respect. This was the kind of life that their children inherited from them.

We can see in the first child born on earth that he followed the bad example of his parents. He made up his own mind about what was acceptable to God, and got angry with God for not agreeing with him and approving of his attempt to be his own moral authority. But we must also take notice that the second son was a righteous man who obeyed God and obtained the witness of God that he was righteous. He offered an acceptable sacrifice to God and ended up being murdered because of his righteousness. So of the first two children of Adam and Eve one was wicked and one was righteous. If sin were a physical substance transferred from the parents to the children then they both would have been wicked. The truth is that Cain and Abel were both able to choose to obey or to disobey God, just as their parents were. Their circumstances were just far more difficult than their parents were, and ours are even far more difficult still. The way we come into existence in this world now assures that selfishness will be rooted well in our hearts before we have any knowledge of God. That selfishness must be dealt with by parents who are usually selfish and immature themselves. So their walk talks louder than their talk talks and the children follow their example. Since the first parents sinned, sin has been the path of least resistance. As people multiply, so does the power of sin, and the resistance to righteousness increases. This is a truth that applies to all the social order of man - cities, nations, churches, etc.

The fact is that we cannot blame our sin on anyone or anything else but ourselves.

So then every one of us shall give account of himself to God. (Romans 14:12)

For God shall bring every work into judgment, with every secret thing, whether it be good, or whether it be evil. (Ecclesiastes 12:14)

It is true that we live in a sinful world and the pressure is on us to follow their example. It is true that as long as we are in such a world we will be tempted to sin. It is true that lies and deception abound and that we are very vulnerable to being deceived.

But it is also true that God has sent a Savior and has made an Atonement for our sin. It is also true that we can be forgiven of our sins which are past and be delivered from sins power and dominion by being born again and trusting in the Savior. We are not doomed to sin and to live under its power. We can walk with God and shine as lights in this dark and evil world. We can overcome all that is against us by the Spirit of God living in us and the written Word of God He has preserved for us.
These things I have spoken unto you, that in me ye might have peace. In the world ye shall have tribulation: but be of good cheer; I have overcome the world. (John 16:33)

Be not overcome of evil, but overcome evil with good. (Romans 12:21)

For whatsoever is born of God overcometh the world: and this is the victory that overcometh the world, even our faith. Who is he that overcometh the world, but he that believeth that Jesus is the Son of God? (1 John 5:4-5)

He that hath an ear, let him hear what the Spirit saith unto the churches; To him that overcometh will I give to eat of the tree of life, which is in the midst of the paradise of God. (Revelation 2:7)

Email Me
Straight Paths Bible Church Website

Saturday, February 9, 2013

What Sin Hath Wrought - Part 2

And the eyes of them both were opened, and they knew that they were naked; and they sewed fig leaves together, and made themselves aprons. (Genesis 3:7)

Adam and his wife were the first to sin, but we have all experienced the same thing they did. They sinned, "and the eyes of them both were opened." There is a point, a threshold of sin where everything is changed forever. It is the point of no return. They entered a whole new existence and were now experiencing emotions and thoughts that they had never known before. But the first sin, just as every other sin committed since, did not bring what was expected. They expected to gain, but found they had suffered enormous loss in every aspect of life. They expected to experience new feelings that were sweet and pleasant, but they discovered their new feelings to be painful, shameful, and bitter. They expected their way to be easier, but it became much more difficult. They expected to be enlightened and to be able to understand things more clearly, but found their soul in darkness and confusion. They had made their choices based upon lies and now found themselves lost, miserable, and at odds with God and all his Creation. They discovered that the same capacity their soul had for infinite happiness, it also had for infinite misery. They discovered that their sin had wrought permanent changes in their lives, their environment, and in their souls.

If they had any doubts at first about sin's penalty being death, the years that followed taught them differently. As they watched each other age and saw the effects of toil, labor, sorrow, and time on their bodies they knew that they were slowly dying and their sin was the cause. David was not the first one to experience the fact that "my sin is ever before me." As they experienced the first childbirth, with its pain, travail, and blood - they remembered their sin. As they watched the conflict grow between their two sons they remembered their sin. As they buried Abel's bloody dead body in the ground they remembered their sin. As they mourned for Cain after he was banished from them, they remembered. As they lived for over 900 years and watched the earth begin to fill up with their offspring and saw how they forsook God and lived selfishly, trampling over one another's lives - they remembered their sin. Those few little words of God, "…I will greatly increase your sorrow…" rang more true as the years passed on.

The account of man's fall in Genesis 3 is extremely abbreviated. It is simply the basic foundation and outline of what happened. The rest of the Bible gives us much more understanding of what actually happened here. As time has progressed through the millennia God has revealed more and more to give us understanding about what happened in the garden and how it has affected the human race. So, we need to study these verses closely, but not without the light given in the rest of the Bible on this matter.

For example:

Wherefore, as by one man sin entered into the world, and death by sin; and so death passed upon all men, for that all have sinned: (Romans 5:12)

And so it is written, The first man Adam was made a living soul; the last Adam was made a quickening spirit. (1 Corinthians 15:45)

We must look at the facts and at reality and believe what the Word of God says. There is no way that I can explain to the satisfaction of every mind what has been debated and conjectured about for 6000 years, with no real consensus. The questions remain, and will continue to remain in the hearts of men who are looking for answers about the evils and difficulty of life outside of themselves. In other words, those who are looking for somewhere to place the blame for their sin and misery besides their own stubborn and selfish heart will never be satisfied with any doctrine that places the blame squarely on their own head.

The best way to understand what God was doing here is to look around us and consider our own hearts and highest purposes. Why did God not ban the tempter from the earth? Why did God not make it impossible for Adam and Eve to be tempted? Because He created them in his own image and likeness, therefore, they had a free will to choose. To most, this seems to be an insufficient answer. That is because there is more to it than that. God imparted life to the man - his own life; the man was the offspring of God. The Bible calls Adam the "son of God." God did not remain attached to the man, but set the man free, on his own, to live independently of God. God reproduced himself in the man - as a separate being.

Just as our children are with us, so were God's first children. We do our best to teach them the right way. The first word we teach them is "no" and we warn them of evil in all its forms, and our motive is to keep them from pain and suffering and destruction. We love them and desire the best in life for them, but we cannot MAKE them do what is right. We cannot hedge them about forever no matter how hard we might try. Those who attempt to do such a thing destroy the relationship and the lives involved. There comes a time when they must choose for themselves to believe what we have taught them and believe that we want what is best for them, or to listen to the voice of the serpent who is telling them they are missing out and it is we who are keeping them from really living. Even in the most godly families we will always see different degrees of faith and sin in the children.

How is it that the whole human race became sinners because of one man's sin? This is the question that brings forth the strongest feelings I have ever encountered in preaching the gospel. It was the doctrine of original sin that caused the Catholic Church to murder thousands of Christians through the ages. Now sometimes it seems to me that the red hot hatred they had for Bible believing Christians has been passed on to many Baptists. The Catholic Church put people to death for not baptizing their babies. According to the doctrine of original sin, all babies are born guilty of Adam's sin and will go to hell if they die unless they are baptized by the Catholic Church. But that was not the only part of the doctrine of original sin. It was based upon a whole system of theology that has now been adopted by almost all of what is called Christianity. Although most Christians do not accept the idea of babies being damned because of Adam's sin, they have accepted all the ideas upon which that doctrine from hell is based. It has affected every major doctrine of the church and has actually become the foundation of the modern understanding of sin and salvation. Those who dare to stand against this doctrine of the devil are labeled as heretics, and always have been. They are immediately falsely accused of thinking themselves without sin, or promoting some other way of salvation, and many other vicious and unfounded lies.

It is not only stated in the Bible that all men have sinned, but it is an obvious fact. The question is, how does that happen? Men always try to oversimplify matters in order to understand them in their darkened intellect. This is exactly the case in this matter because to come to the conclusion that sin is a physical matter and that it is transferred to others by physical means is the most abominable error ever introduced into the minds of men. It completely derails the working of God in the hearts of sinful men. Just as a pain pill eases the pain of a cancer-ridden body, but does nothing to cure the cancer, this doctrine does the same thing - it numbs the pain of guilt without removing it's cause. It provides a false comfort by suggesting that my sin is not really my fault, but Adam's. It provides an excuse for sin because I simply cannot help it, since it is what I am; it is what I am made of; sin is in my very genes and blood. Such foolish and abominable teachings completely divert the minds of sinners from the issue that has them at enmity with God. It lightens the whole matter of sin and forgiveness and then simplifies salvation into an intellectual exercise of accepting certain facts, or agreeing to an imaginary financial transaction of some sort. You "owe" a "sin debt" and Christ "paid your sin debt" for you. Therefore, all you need to do is believe that fact and you are saved. Such teachings do not even resemble the Gospel of Christ taught in the Bible, and when they are preached they are not accompanied by the power of the Spirit of God, because He does not approve what is not true.

The question is not whether all men have sinned or not. It is clear from the Scripture and from observation that "all have sinned and come short of the glory of God." The issue is how did it happen that all men became sinners because of Adam? As I mentioned earlier, there is no way I can ever answer that question to the satisfaction of every mind. But I can say that sin is a moral issue. It is a spiritual matter of the soul that is acted out in the body, because our body is that means by which we experience life in this world, and we have no other means by which our sin can be manifested. The heart is the source, or origin of all sin. Jesus said so:

And he saith unto them, Are ye so without understanding also? Do ye not perceive, that whatsoever thing from without entereth into the man, it cannot defile him; Because it entereth not into his heart, but into the belly, and goeth out into the draught, purging all meats? And he said, That which cometh out of the man, that defileth the man. For from within, out of the heart of men, proceed evil thoughts, adulteries, fornications, murders, Thefts, covetousness, wickedness, deceit, lasciviousness, an evil eye, blasphemy, pride, foolishness: All these evil things come from within, and defile the man. (Mark 7:18-23)

Since Jesus told us so very plainly where sin comes from we can be sure that it does originate in our "flesh" or our bloodstream, or our DNA. If it does, then we do not need Jesus and his death to fix the problem. Man will one day soon be able to find that "evil" gene, or that sequence in the DNA that causes sin and figure out a way to eradicate it without God and his Atoning Blood. They are looking for it already. It was reported in the news recently that researchers were studying the DNA of the young man who killed the school children in Connecticut recently to find the "evil gene." They are looking in the wrong place for evil. It was in his heart and they cannot see in there. We only see its effects when it is manifested through the body.

God covered Adam and Eve.

Unto Adam also and to his wife did the LORD God make coats of skins, and clothed them. (Genesis 3:21)

Those skins came from an innocent animal; another life was taken to cover their shame. As they felt the warm, bloody skins draped over their naked bodies they understood that God had forgiven them, but at the expense of an innocent life, with whom they were no doubt acquainted. Adam and Eve had acknowledged their sin and confessed it to God. Some might think that they cast the blame but they really only explained how it had happened. They did not defend themselves, but each of them said, as they stood naked before God, "I did eat." They admitted their guilt to God. Eve was aware that she had been beguiled, so that is evidence that she was no longer under any delusion about what God had said and what was true. Sin had introduced death into the world and it was by death that their sin was covered.

The promise of a Redeemer was given in Gen. 3:15 who would one day make it possible for sinful men to be reconciled to the God they have rejected and offended. Adam and Eve understood this as they watched the first blood sacrifice made for their sin. All this was because they disregarded one law of God - they ate the fruit of a tree. How much worse is it when people commit adultery, steal, kill, curse God to his face, and disregard ALL of his laws? If the consequences for what Adam and Eve did were so enormous, what do you suppose it will be like for sinful men and women who have lived a lifetime of one transgression after another and refuse to repent?

But thankfully, God's thoughts are not our thoughts, and his ways are not our ways. God has revealed what a wonderful and merciful God he is by the fact that He would even think of redeeming such a race of people as we are. Just the fact that He would take us back at all is beyond our comprehension, but that He would do so at such great cost to himself is enough to melt the heart of the hardest sinner who ever lived when he is truly brought face to face with this truth.

Come now, and let us reason together, saith the LORD: though your sins be as scarlet, they shall be as white as snow; though they be red like crimson, they shall be as wool. (Isaiah 1:18)

For God so loved the world, that he gave his only begotten Son, that whosoever believeth in him should not perish, but have everlasting life. (John 3:16)

Comments or questions?
Email me
Visit our church website at Straight Paths Bible Church

Saturday, January 26, 2013

What Sin Hath Wrought

The audio from this message is here:

Now the serpent was more subtil than any beast of the field which the LORD God had made. And he said unto the woman, …Ye shall not surely die… And when the woman saw that the tree was good for food, and that it was pleasant to the eyes, and a tree to be desired to make one wise, she took of the fruit thereof, and did eat, and gave also unto her husband with her; and he did eat. And the eyes of them both were opened, and they knew that they were naked; …and Adam and his wife hid themselves from the presence of the LORD God amongst the trees of the garden. (Genesis 3:1-13)

The tragedy of tragedies! What happened in these few verses was the beginning of every tear, every broken heart, every evil thing that has ever been done on the earth, and every death. The reason that life is so hard is found right here. The whole creation is groaning with pain since this event took place. (Rom. 8:22) There is no way to calculate, or even comprehend what immense suffering and misery has been wrought from this first act of sin. How could it have happened? But the greater question is "Why has the same thing happened in every one of our lives?" The way of the transgressor and the tactics of the tempter are always the same. If we can see what happened in the Garden we can surely gain some wisdom about our own lives.

The tempter's approach never changes. He brought the object God had forbidden before Eve's eyes and provoked her mind with questions about it. He got her attention on the forbidden object and she began to gaze upon it and think about it. This is the first step in all temptation.

Then he twisted the truth with subtle words in order to cast it in a negative view. He said,

"Yea, hath God said, Ye shall not eat of every tree of the garden?"

Although it was true that they were not to eat of EVERY tree of the garden this is not what God had said. THIS is precisely what God had said:

And the LORD God commanded the man, saying, Of every tree of the garden thou mayest freely eat: (Genesis 2:16)

That is a very positive statement, but the Serpent framed his words to cause the listener to think about God's command in a negative way. He left out God's liberal benevolence and goodness toward man and spoke as if all God was concerned about was keeping things from them.

There was a negative part to God's command, but even it was designed for their benefit out of his love for them.

But of the tree of the knowledge of good and evil, thou shalt not eat of it: for in the day that thou eatest thereof thou shalt surely die. (Genesis 2:17)

The devil and all those who are deceived and used by him do the same thing - they always look at the commands of God as something negative. They only hear "thou shalt not." They focus there on the forbidden rather than on the benevolence and liberality of God toward man. However, it is curious how they do not have the same way of thinking when it comes to sin,. They look only at the perceived benefits and pleasures that are offered and ignore all the negative aspects. Is it not amazing how people will trust the Serpent's lies so willingly and yet refuse to trust in God's truth so stubbornly? Is it not amazing how people will ignore the blessings and benefits of living for God and dwell on the negative, while at the same time they dwell on the promised benefits of sin, for which there is no evidence whatsoever, while ignoring it's obvious negative results? Only blind and deceived people can reason in such a way.

The next step in the tempter's subtle scheme is to direct her thinking so that she will come to a wrong conclusion. This is where the deceit happens. He simply made a statement that was not true at all and absolutely contrary to what she knew God had said. He did that with the intention of setting the wheels of her mind in motion. Every sin begins with a lie, and from that point the reasoning is flawed and headed in the wrong direction. The mind is working with false data, working from the basis of a truth that is not true at all. The lie starts begetting other lies and deceit in the mind, just like a snowball rolling down a hill. The first lie of the tempter is not to convince you, but to simply set your thoughts in motion to consider the thing and enflame your desire for it.

Next, the natural progression is to question WHY the thing forbidden is wrong. When there is doubt about what God has said, or doubt about God's motives, then the authority of God's Word is laid aside because it is no longer respected. The mind becomes obsessed with the idea that you are missing out, or being denied something. Then you become convinced that God or someone else has lied to you in order to keep you oppressed and under their thumb. Then rebellion rises up in that deceived and blinded heart and you step up into the place of God and determines for yourself what is right and wrong. Because your heart has been blinded and deceived it will approve what God has made clear that He disapproves.

And when the woman saw that the tree was good for food, and that it was pleasant to the eyes, and a tree to be desired to make one wise, …

At this point she still has not sinned, but she is only a heartbeat away from it. This is temptation at its fever point, and all the red lights should be going off for anyone who has any understanding at all. It has become all about her now. God is no longer a consideration. Her husband and their lives together are not a consideration. The idea of facing her husband and God with what she is about to do is not even in her thoughts. The way this is going to affect her relationship with her husband and God is not a part of her thoughts at all. What appears to her to be sound reasoning and justice for herself is foolish and blind thinking that leaves out everyone and everything else in the universe. She has convinced herself that she is going to be able to do this and it will make no difference in anything except that she will "know" what it is like and will surely be better for it.

..she took of the fruit thereof, and did eat, and gave also unto her husband with her; and he did eat.

She crossed the line and stepped in. She stopped considering it and acted upon her flawed and deceived reasoning. This is the precipice from which there is no return - once you take this step you cannot take it back. It changes things forever and your life will never be the same again. Yes, it is possible to obtain forgiveness for sin from God, but most never do. Even if you do find forgiveness things will never be the same again.

And the eyes of them both were opened,

Oh yes, their eyes were opened, but it sure did not look like she expected it to look just a moment ago. The devil had led her mind to believe that things would be better, but he is a liar. Sin never makes things better.

…and they knew that they were naked;

There was immediate shame and a feeling between Adam and Eve that they had never experienced before. It would benefit us all to think deeply about that for a few moments. It was not pleasant, it was not good, it was not something to be desired, … and they sure did not feel wise anymore. They now had a lot of new feelings to deal with. Now they know what regret feels like. Now they know what it feels like for your heart to hurt. Now they know what fear feels like, and what it feels like to be a transgressor against God.

Guilt is not what people anticipate feeling before they "take of the fruit" and cross the line into sin. It is a cruel surprise that mocks them and torments their soul continually.

…and they sewed fig leaves together, and made themselves aprons. And they heard the voice of the LORD God walking in the garden in the cool of the day: and Adam and his wife hid themselves from the presence of the LORD God amongst the trees of the garden.

They ran for the darkness, for any place, or any way to hide themselves. This is what all sinners do. They are really trying to run from the guilt, but cannot escape it. As long as there is a God in heaven there will be guilt in a sinners heart. This is the one and only reason men try to get rid of God and ban him from their life and their thoughts. This is why it is so hard to get people to come to a church where God visits. The consciousness of God makes their guilt unbearable. When even the thought of sin passing through the mind leaves a stench behind it, what does it's real and permanent presence do to a soul? Adam and Eve saw their lives forever downgraded to toil, sweat, blood, tears, pain, and sorrow. This is what they saw when their eyes were opened. Satan is a liar, and he is deceiving people right now with the same tactics he used on the first man and woman. Sin ruins life, and if fact brings death when it is finished.

But thanks be unto God, He sent another Adam to take away the sin that the first Adam introduced into the world. The last Adam came to take away the sin of the world. He can actually take away the guilt of sin and make a man just before God. He can reverse the whole thing and He starts by introducing the truth into our thought process rather than the lies we have all believed.

And ye shall know the truth, and the truth shall make you free. (John 8:32)

Just as you were led into sin by believing a lie that made you frown at righteousness and smile at sin, the process is reversed and the truth makes you look favorably on righteousness and unfavorably on sin. The mind which hears and begins to consider the truth will come to some conclusions about themselves and God and will eventually take that step over the line into redemption and salvation and forgiveness.

Next: What Sin Hath Wrought - Part 2

Email Me
Straight Paths Bible Church

Saturday, January 19, 2013

What Went Wrong?

NOTE: These blog posts are based upon messages preached at Straight Paths Bible Church. To hear the audio version of this message go to

So God created man in his own image, in the image of God created he him; male and female created he them. And God blessed them, and God said unto them, Be fruitful, and multiply, and replenish the earth, and subdue it: and have dominion over the fish of the sea, and over the fowl of the air, and over every living thing that moveth upon the earth. (Genesis 1:27-28)

God prepared Adam to live in harmony with God and others.

In creating the physical world God took what was "without form and void" and arranged it all in perfect order. Not only that, but He made it so that order would be sustained as long as the earth remains. When God made man He also started with the dust of the ground that was without form and void of life. Then he formed man out of the dust and breathed into him the breath of life and man became a living soul - a living, breathing soul apart from God that had the ability to reason, make choices, feel emotions, and love. Then God began the work of preparing the man to live with others.

God never intended for the human race to consist of only one man and one woman. From the beginning God's plan was for them to multiply and fill the earth. Since this is the first man the things that God does to prepare him to begin the human race are very important. First, the Lord God planted a garden and there He put the man. God "planted" a garden - this means He did not just speak it into existence. He did not seek out a really nice place that had grown up wild. The garden was "planted" by God, so therefore it had been thought of, planned, arranged and given order and purpose by a Maker. This showed Adam by example how he was to exercise his role as the one having dominion over the things of the earth. They were there for him to manage and arrange and cultivate, as well as for his pleasure and his sustenance. Adam was to give order to his dominion and life, just as God does with his.

Then God taught Adam how to communicate with language, which is most important if the human race is going to consist of more than one man alone. Man now has the ability to communicate what is in his heart - thoughts and feelings, hopes and dreams. He is also able to comprehend and feel what is in the heart and mind of another beside himself.

God established a moral sense in Adam so he could live in harmony with God and others and not be selfish.

Then God taught Adam the basis of morality and established in him the fact that there were boundaries for his behavior. The law God gave to Adam was very simple - of all the trees of the garden he could freely eat, but of one certain tree he was not allowed to eat. It was the most basic and simple way to instill in Adam that he was free to choose for himself, but that in choosing he must take into account the wishes, rights, and authority of another. It was the most basic and simple way to teach Adam how to choose NOT to satisfy himself, and to yield to the desires of another. Adam must yield to God's authority and rights before he will consider the rights of another person of any importance. This is why a person who is submitted to God's authority and lives with God's law in view will treat others with respect and will defer to them rather than please themselves at the expense of someone else.

For even Christ pleased not himself; … (Romans 15:3)
This simple command established in Adam's mind that there were boundaries for him to live within, and that all his choices were not to be made simply on the basis of satisfying himself. For even two people to live in harmony there must be laws to govern their behavior, and God, not man, establishes these laws. If there is more than one person in the world then an individual cannot do as he pleases without affecting others. Even in a world that starts out perfect, if people choose to disregard the moral law of God and live selfishly, without any regard or concern for others, it will soon degenerate into misery and hatred and violence. Instead of everyone being free to do as they please they will all find themselves being abused by the lusts, hatred, and violence of others. They will find that life has become filled with fear and worry, and about little more than struggling to avoid the abuse and oppression of others. So there must be some rules to govern men or this thing will not work, and will eventually simply self-destruct. This is what God is establishing in the beginning by forbidding Adam from eating of the one tree in garden.

So now all is in order: God is the King, Adam has his domain, a free will, the ability to communicate with God and others, a place where he belongs, a job to do, and well defined boundaries for his behavior and the fulfillment of his God-given desires. Now it is time for God to put the final finishing touch on his creation - a woman for Adam.
And the LORD God caused a deep sleep to fall upon Adam, and he slept: and he took one of his ribs, and closed up the flesh instead thereof; And the rib, which the LORD God had taken from man, made he a woman, and brought her unto the man. (Genesis 2:21-22)

 There is no doubt that Adam communicated to his wife everything that God had done up to this point. She knew their place in God's creation, and she knew the boundaries for their behavior that had been set by God. Eve heard the commands of God from her husband, who heard them from God.

Enter the serpent.

Now the serpent was more subtil than any beast of the field which the LORD God had made. And he said unto the woman, Yea, hath God said, Ye shall not eat of every tree of the garden? And the woman said unto the serpent, We may eat of the fruit of the trees of the garden: But of the fruit of the tree which is in the midst of the garden, God hath said, Ye shall not eat of it, neither shall ye touch it, lest ye die. And the serpent said unto the woman, Ye shall not surely die: For God doth know that in the day ye eat thereof, then your eyes shall be opened, and ye shall be as gods, knowing good and evil. And when the woman saw that the tree was good for food, and that it was pleasant to the eyes, and a tree to be desired to make one wise, she took of the fruit thereof, and did eat, and gave also unto her husband with her; and he did eat. (Genesis 3:1-6)

Satan came in the form of a serpent to the woman. We know it was the devil because the Bible identifies him plainly.

And the great dragon was cast out, that old serpent, called the Devil, and Satan, which deceiveth the whole world: he was cast out into the earth, and his angels were cast out with him. (Revelation 12:9)

And he laid hold on the dragon, that old serpent, which is the Devil, and Satan, and bound him a thousand years, (Revelation 20:2)

Eve's first mistake was in taking counsel from an inferior creature.

Satan appeared to her as a serpent and she is conversing with this creature that is her inferior. We should always look up for counsel, not down. When we begin to listen to the lower elements of this wicked world and allow them to reason with us about what God has said and what is right and wrong we are on the same road to destruction that Eve in here in Genesis 3.

Blessed is the man that walketh not in the counsel of the ungodly, nor standeth in the way of sinners, nor sitteth in the seat of the scornful. (Psalms 1:1)

The devil lied to the woman and boldly contradicted what God had plainly commanded her husband. This was the first lie that was ever spoken on the earth and it was the first lie the woman had ever heard. An innocent mind is very vulnerable to lies because they naturally believe what they are told to be true. Words are supposed to be true, you know.

Eve is not the only one who has listened to the serpent's lie - all of us have. Every sin begins with a lie and ends in misery and death. Eve became convinced that there was really no danger in sin and in fact, there was actually some benefit to be found in it. She thought she would be better off after she had eaten the fruit. All temptation to sin follows the same path. There is not one of us who has not done the same thing as Eve, but she did it only once and we have done it many times.

The devil's lie that won her over was that she would be as a god.

What he was saying was that she would be able to make up her own mind about wat was right and wrong. She could become her own moral authority. He suggested to her that she had no need of any other authority in her life - she could make up her own mind. Thus, the devil's first lie was about "freedom of choice."

So the devil convinced Eve with lies that all men should have the right to decide for themselves what is right and wrong and live accordingly without any regard for what God says. Does that sound familiar? Is not this the philosophy of the generation in which we live? Almost everyone, including most professing Christians, believe they have the right to decide for themselves what is right and wrong, and very few really believe the Bible is true anymore, so they have believed the same lie the Serpent's has used from the beginning. The devil convinced Eve that God was lying to her and oppressing her and was depriving her of what she could have out of life. The devil convinced Eve that her rights superceded everything else and that life could only be lived to the fullest if she indulged herself in everything that was pleasant to look upon, good for satisfying her lusts, and might make her wiser than others.

Her faulty reasoning, based upon lies, led her to cross the line and take that step that changed everything forever.

With this she took of the fruit of the tree and did eat thereof. She flushed her entire life down the drain with one little decision and one little act. At this point her husband did not matter. His feelings, his life, and how the consequences of her actions might affect him were not even considered by her, and if they were she did not care. Their life together was forever changed but in her moment of temptation and deception she threw it all away. It was not only the two of them who were affected by what she did but death was brought upon all God's creation, and the entire human race.

That is what went wrong with this world. That is what is still wrong with this world. The Serpent is still doing what he did in the garden and his original tactic works so well he has never had to change it. We sin because we listen to the lies of Satan and not because we have defective DNA or some physical quality that "makes" us sinners. In a perfect world with perfect, undefiled bodies, Adam and Eve sinned; how much more difficult is it in a world defiled and filled with sin now! We not only have the voice of the serpent wooing us and lying to us, we have the billions of sinners who are just like him saying the same things to us. Until we understand the truth about WHY we sin we will never have any hope of being delivered from its power.

The good news is that God did not abandon us because of what happened in the garden.

The Bible refers to Jesus as the "last Adam" and He is called the "KING of KINGS and the LORD of LORDS." He is able to reverse the process and set things back in the proper order in the lives of those who will hear and believe the truth, instead of lies. By beginning to reason based upon truth instead of lies a person can be brought into the light and to a saving knowledge of the Gospel of Christ. They enter his kingdom and Jesus becomes their King when they are born again. From that point their lives are ordered by God and his Word, instead of their lusts and opinions. Since they are accountable to God they treat their fellow man differently than sinners do. Since they live under the direction and influence of God they love other people and try to be a blessing and a help to them instead of using and abusing them for their own selfish interests. They are made to be overcomers, and do not live under sin's power any longer. This makes it very easy to distinguish them from those who are still in bonds of iniquity.

NEXT: What Sin Hath Wrought - Part 1

Email Me
Straight Paths Bible Church

Saturday, January 12, 2013

Prepared for a Help Meet

And the LORD God caused a deep sleep to fall upon Adam, and he slept: and he took one of his ribs, and closed up the flesh instead thereof; And the rib, which the LORD God had taken from man, made he a woman, and brought her unto the man. And Adam said, This is now bone of my bones, and flesh of my flesh: she shall be called Woman, because she was taken out of Man. Therefore shall a man leave his father and his mother, and shall cleave unto his wife: and they shall be one flesh. And they were both naked, the man and his wife, and were not ashamed. (Genesis 2:21-25)

God did not create the woman immediately after he created Adam

There was a period of time between the creation of the two. During that time God prepared Adam to have a wife, and to live with other people. Adam learned language and acquired the ability to communicate his thoughts and feelings. God gave Adam a job and a purpose, which was to dress and keep the garden. Before God made the woman He made all the animals to pass before Adam so that Adam met and was acquainted with his inferior. God made himself known to Adam, so that Adam met and knew his Superior in his Creator. This gave Adam bearings on his own position so that he was prepared to meet his equal. Before God made the woman He instilled in Adam his moral character, which is the most important quality for a being who is going to live with and have dominion over other creatures. God made Adam to understand that there was right and wrong, good and evil, and to distinguish between the two.

The command to not eat of the tree was given to Adam before Eve was made.

And the LORD God commanded the man, saying, Of every tree of the garden thou mayest freely eat: But of the tree of the knowledge of good and evil, thou shalt not eat of it: for in the day that thou eatest thereof thou shalt surely die. (Genesis 2:16-17)

God commanded the man, and since He is his Creator He has that right. Since God is the One who made him God has every right to grant him rights or forbid him rights, and God is the only One who has the understanding and wisdom to know what to grant and what to forbid. It is the "Lord God" who makes a distinction between "good and evil" and establishes a reward of life or death as the consequence of man's choice.

Before Adam was ready to have a wife he had to learn to submit to God himself.

He had to recognize and submit to his rightful place in God's divine order. He had to recognize God as his Creator and Lord, and therefore as his superior - this is the basis of morality. Anything else is simply an individual setting himself up as a little god and defining his own morals according to his own lusts and imagination.

Adam had to learn that although he was given dominion over all the earth he was not the lawgiver. He did not have the right to make the rules. It was not his to decide what was right or wrong, but to choose whether to obey or not. The whole issue with the forbidden tree is God's authority over the man and the man's faith in God's goodness toward him. With nothing forbidden there is no concept of right or wrong, or good and evil. With no boundaries and nothing forbidden we would trample on the rights and property of others, thus morality requires that there be things forbidden. If there were only one man in the whole world he could do as he pleases in everything and not transgress against anyone, but since there are others in the world there must be boundaries for every man's behavior.

Remember, the whole creation is set up in opposing elements and principles without which we could not even survive. Our reasoning is designed to choose between two things at a time and approve or reject one or the other. In our mixed up world everyone has been brainwashed into being "tolerant." In other words, to agree with both sides of every issue, and reject all moral absolutes. With such foolish philosophy we have completely lost our way, and the world is more polarized and divided than ever. There ARE absolutes and they are established by the Lord God, they are forever, and they are meant to make it possible for all of us to live together in harmony and peace. Rejecting these God-ordained absolutes of morality is what brings chaos and violence and war.

Adam was free to eat of all the trees of the garden …but one.

Most people overlook the overwhelming benevolence of God and accuse Him of injustice because of the one tree that the man was forbidden to eat from. By the command of God NOT to eat of a certain tree Adam was made to understand that there was right and wrong, good and evil. Life was complete and full and wonderful without that one tree - everything else was given to Adam to do with as he pleased. There was only one exception to the complete indulgence of all his desires.

If Adam is going to live with others like himself, then any rights given to him must be given with a reserve to protect the rights of others. Adam must learn that he is not the center of the universe in spite of his exalted status as head of the race and ruler of the world. He must be made to realize concern for the rights and welfare of others, both those superior to him and those inferior to him before he is ready to live with someone his equal. All other creatures are not there simply to serve him and for him to take advantage of and use at his pleasure.

No man is ready for a companion until he is more concerned about pleasing God and others than himself. The tree was merely the thing reserved to mark boundaries and cause Adam to recognize God's rights in preparation for recognizing the rights of another like himself. There was nothing about that tree that was poison or magical and we have no reason to believe that some physical element in the fruit of that tree introduced sin into the world. It was good for food, pleasant to the eyes, and to be desired to make one wise - but God had said not to eat of it. The sin was disobeying God and failing to trust Him. That is where they obtained the knowledge of evil - experimental knowledge of disregarding God's clear command.

The shallow-minded infidel argues that God did evil in placing the tree in the garden to tempt the man. But even if there had been no forbidden tree, Adam would still have had to acknowledge the rights and authority of God at some point and in some way, because Adam was created in the image and likeness of God as a moral being. Adam would still have been capable of transgressing against God or another person by putting his own selfish interests first and disregarding the rights and welfare of others. The tree was the simplest way for God to teach Adam this important lesson and establish the basis of moral responsibility in his heart. Adam was made to have dominion with his wife over all the earth, but before he is qualified to be a just overseer he must have a proper sense of right and wrong, and his place in God's order. Without a moral sense he would be on the same level of existence as the animals.

Morality is about recognizing the rights of others.

Jesus expressed it as doing unto others as you would have them do unto you.

And as ye would that men should do to you, do ye also to them likewise. (Luke 6:31)

These words of Jesus prove that the moral law of God is written in the hearts all men. We know what is right and wrong simply by how our own heart responds to what other people do when we are on the receiving end. Since man is a moral being, not only his own rights, but the rights of all creatures must be defined, and they are defined by God, who wrote his moral law the heart of every man. The command concerning the trees of the garden show that our rights are granted by and derived from God - not inherited simply because we are born, or given to us by our government.

By understanding these things and being submitted to God there arose in Adam's living soul a sense of responsibility, of right and wrong, and of duty. He understood God's order and God's plan for life to have peace and harmony and joy. The man must first have these qualities before he can live in harmony with another like himself. Before he can have a wife to love, fellowship, commune, and live with intimately he must be the kind of being that desires to love and do good to others without putting his own selfish interests before theirs.

Thus, the entire moral law of God is reduced to two simple truths by Jesus Christ:

Jesus said unto him, Thou shalt love the Lord thy God with all thy heart, and with all thy soul, and with all thy mind. This is the first and great commandment. And the second is like unto it, Thou shalt love thy neighbour as thyself. On these two commandments hang all the law and the prophets. (Matthew 22:37-40)

This was what God taught Adam before he made a woman to be his companion. This is still the only preparation that will bring peace and harmony to marriages, homes, churches, and nations.

Saturday, January 5, 2013

Marriage - True Intimacy

God created male and female so man could have fellowship.

The woman was the first person Adam had to know and get along with. The starting place for peace and harmony for the human race is still found in the home between the husband and wife. The Scripture tells us that Adam "knew Eve his wife" in Genesis 4:1. The word "know" means more than physical knowledge, or union. It means there is an open line of communication between two people where they know and understand one another's thoughts, ideas, and opinions. It is a transparent sharing of our spirit with someone else. Fellowship is more than knowing someone else's name - it is when we open up to one another and begin to share thoughts and ideas - to talk and communicate, and to care about the thoughts and feelings of someone else. Fellowship is when we do not just pass someone by, or take them for granted, but stop to talk to them and get to know them, and allow them to see into us, also. We may fellowship with a lot of people as we live day by day whom we never get to know very well. Fellowship is the first step in getting to know someone and it remains pretty shallow with most of the people we are around. Nevertheless, it remains an important part of the marriage relationship. It is the every day, shallow water you wade in together. This is where courtship starts and it is also where the breakdown of a marriage begins. Without exception, the communication shuts down between husband and wife long before the divorce papers are filed. Why does this happen?

Sin in either husband or wife will cause the communication to stop.

But if we walk in the light, as he is in the light, we have fellowship one with another, and the blood of Jesus Christ his Son cleanseth us from all sin. (1 John 1:7)

If both parties are not walking in the light there cannot be any fellowship between them. If either has secret sins they will not be willing to be open with their spouse, but will be continually hiding from and deceiving them. There will be a wall around their heart with the gate shut tight. If a person is hiding their soul it is either because they have darkness in their heart, or it is because their companion hurts them when they try to open up. A person who walks in darkness will keep the curtain drawn on their soul and whatever fellowship anyone has with them, including their spouse, will always be limited to very shallow and insignificant matters.

So the marriage relationship, by God's design, is very conducive to holiness and walking in the light. Being completely open and transparent with your spouse is a great obstacle to walking in darkness - you simply cannot do it and maintain fellowship, communion, and intimacy. Therefore, it is called "Holy Matrimony." A godly marriage makes living a holy life much easier to do.

Continued fellowship can lead to communion.

Commune - To converse; to talk together familiarly; to impart sentiments mutually, in private or familiar discourse.

Communion is a step further than mere fellowship. It is when you begin to share each other's feelings and sentiments. It is when you reach out and touch each other's soul. It is when you begin to be concerned more with the happiness and wellbeing of the other than yourself. It is when you begin to understand each other and get close - you begin to be dependent on one another, and develop a real need for each other that goes beyond the physical. We have all heard it said about a certain couple that he or she could not live without the other, and we have seen examples of it in older couples who die sometimes within hours of each other. True communion is when you do not tire of each other's presence and company. To develop true communion with your spouse requires time and effort, it just does not happen any other way. You must regularly make time for each other where you have each other's undivided attention. Communion is important, but most people try to leap from fellowship to intimacy while skipping this important part of the relationship. Skipping communion of the hearts and then substituting physical intimacy for true intimacy leaves both feeling guilty, frustrated, unsatisfied, and used. This is what has happened in our loose-living world that has tried to make sex an amoral issue. True communion leads to true intimacy.

True intimacy is when love has developed beyond the shallow waters of fellowship and the communion of two hearts.

It is when you have completely believed in one another, and you are no longer being driven by physical attraction alone, but by the character of the soul you have come to love. They have completely convinced you of their undying love for you, and have won your heart. It is when the two become one - one in mind, in heart, and in purpose, one in priorities and in affections. It is when you reach that point where you cannot live without the other. It is when you come to the point of giving yourself completely to your spouse without reserve. There is complete openness because there is nothing to hide and no secrets to keep. Therefore, there is no obstacle to total commitment to one another. For intimacy to be real and blessed of God it must flower behind the veil of commitment. This is what constitutes marriage and distinguishes it from fornication and adultery, also known in our day as just "living together."

Intimate - When the thoughts are entrusted to another without reserve.

The Bible gives us a very good description of intimacy in Psalms 139:

To the chief Musician, A Psalm of David. O LORD, thou hast searched me, and known me. Thou knowest my downsitting and mine uprising, thou understandest my thought afar off. Thou compassest my path and my lying down, and art acquainted with all my ways. For there is not a word in my tongue, but, lo, O LORD, thou knowest it altogether. (Psalms 139:1-4)

Then later in the same Psalm David makes this request of God, even though he has already acknowledged that God knew everything about him:

Search me, O God, and know my heart: try me, and know my thoughts: (Psalms 139:23)

By God's design husband and wife are to experience this same type of knowledge of one another. They are to have this same kind of open access to one another's hearts. This is true intimacy, and it does not exist between a couple who will not publicly commit to one another, or who maintain their own separate secret places where the other is not included or welcome.

And they were both naked, the man and his wife, and were not ashamed. (Gen 2:25)

It requires absolute transparency. No secrets in the things we do and the places we go. In the other people with whom we fellowship. But it must go much, much deeper than that and include transparency in the innermost soul. A man cannot KNOW his wife if she will not open her soul to him, and a woman cannot KNOW her husband unless he will do likewise. So any kind of secrets or sin in either shuts down the intimacy and the relationship is grounded and severely limited. Although they may continue their physical intimacy it is unsatisfying and frustrating. Their relationship is more like that of good friends or roommates. They may know a lot about one another and have a lot of common experiences, but they never find that oneness of soul that God intended when He created a help meet for Adam. They may have feelings for one another and have no desire to break up their marriage, but they have missed what it is all about and robbed themselves of the greatest blessings of life.

Fellowship, communion, intimacy - this is the order in which the husband-wife relationship is supposed to develop.

When they think about it everyone knows this to be true, yet they skip carelessly down the path of courtship to marriage deceiving themselves about one another and their openness. It is considered by most people now to be domineering by the man to want to really know his wife, or his future wife. It is considered controlling and clinging if a woman really wants to know her husband, or her future husband. Everyone seems to be of the opinion that everyone needs their space and there should be parts of our life that are closed off to our spouse. We need to use some common sense here and not be unreasonable and ridiculous. It doesn't mean that we must be together every moment of every day. Obviously, there are some situations where it is not appropriate or not possible to be together. There are situations and activities where the man or the woman would be out of place or even in danger. Neither my wife nor I would be comfortable if she were by my side while I was cutting trees down or thrashing through a briar patch. Neither would I be comfortable at a quilting party or baby shower with her. But there should be no place or activity that either is involved in that the other is barred from knowing about, as well as who is there with you and what you do while you are there. If one has the desire to be apart from their spouse in order to fellowship with people and do things without their knowledge it is a sure sign that they are not intimate, and trouble is about to knock down the door of their marriage.

In spite of the obvious truth of these matters most people reject it and pretend to be fellowshipping, communing, and intimate, when they are really only casual acquaintances. They go ahead and get married under these conditions and soon find themselves in deep trouble. This is also why unfaithfulness is so devastating in marriage. The one to whom you have given your most intimate self and trusted completely has counted your love and trust as nothing and betrayed you. Because marriage is such a deep and intimate relationship the very soul of that person is deeply wounded and scarred, and will struggle with ever opening up again. Then what about the children? They watch as the foundation of all the order in their life is blown apart and annihilated. They see what was thought to be love turn to hatred and bitterness. We see the damage all around us with all the broken marriages and immoral relationships. Our society is like a giant train wreck that is happening in slow motion. When some of the wheels leave the track there is so much force behind them that it is impossible to get them back on the tracks again, and their being off the track causes those coming along behind them to derail, also. 

The relationship between God and man is reflected in this husband-wife relationship.

Most people do not have fellowship with God or his people at all. This is the basic reason that marriages are in such disorder and failing so miserably. Most people who do fellowship with God at all are very careful to stay in the shallowest water they can find. They just go to church once in a while and say religious things on Facebook sometimes, but do not search the Scriptures, meditate on them, and pray. Some people commune with God, but it is limited to set times and places and the rest of their time and life is spent with others. Then there are the few who find real intimacy with God. They are the ones who open up the secret places of their heart to God and allow him full access to their entire being. They are those who abide with him and keep no secrets from him. They fellowship and commune with God always, and have special intimate moments with him where the entire world and every other person is excluded.

So in order to be able to get along with our fellow men and have a happy and successful marriage, we must have a proper understanding of God and a right relationship with Him first. Do not miss your opportunity to know God.
Seek ye the LORD while he may be found, call ye upon him while he is near: (Isaiah 55:6)
All this is why Jesus said the greatest business of life is:

But seek ye first the kingdom of God, and his righteousness; ... (Matthew 6:33)

Better get to it …