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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)

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Church Website: Straight Paths Bible Church