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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)

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