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Friday, December 3, 2010
THE FORMULA FOR SIN
The formula for sin can be found in I John 2:16; For all that is in the world, the lust of the flesh, and the lust of the eyes, and the pride of life, is not of the father, but is of the world.
These three things are “weapons” that the devil uses to tempt us and when we give in to these temptations, we sin; 1) the lust of the flesh, 2) the lust of the eyes, and 3) the pride of life. We are told in 1John 2:16; that “they are not of the father, but are of the world.” Therefore they are enmity with God and an enemy of God. (James 4:4)
Let’s look at the definitions of lust and pride as they are used in 1John 2:16. Strong’s concordance defines the word lust as: a longing or yearning, to set the heart upon. (Especially for what is forbidden) Strong also defines the word pride as boasting. Vine’s expository dictionary adds vain glory to the definition of pride.
Now let’s look at the first temptation that involved all three of these “weapons” being used. It’s the first commandment ever given and the first temptation ever to ignore it. The commandment is found in Genesis 2:16-17; and the Lord God commanded the man, saying, of every tree of the garden thou mayest eat freely: But of the tree of knowledge of good and evil, thou shalt not eat of it: for in the day that thou eatest thereof thou shalt surely die. Of course we all know what follows. Satan tells Eve that she shall not surely die, but will become as a god. And then the temptation, Eve looks at the tree of knowledge of good and evil and in Genesis 2:6 we read; 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. Now let’s break this down:
1) “The woman saw that the tree was good for food” would fall under the “lust of the flesh” weapon. Eve was thinking of nourishment for her fleshly body. It wasn’t like she was starving. God gave her and Adam food from all the other trees in the garden. It was the desire for this forbidden fruit (food) that she had a yearning and longing for.
2) Next she saw that the tree was pleasant to the eyes. Satan’s “lust of the eyes” weapon falls into the equation now. This food was not only forbidden, it was actually very pleasing and enticing to the eyes. Have you ever noticed how a thing always looks so much more pleasing or appealing when you can’t have or posses it?
3) And finally she saw that the tree was to be desired to make one wise. Ah, Satan’s weapon, “the pride of life” shows up to finish off the temptation. To be wise, to gain knowledge, to be smarter than others. What a thing to be desired. What a thing to be able to boast about. What a way to gain vain glory for ones self.
Then the end result of Eve giving in to temptation. SIN. God who cannot lie; (Titus 1:2) being true to Himself, allowed death to enter into His creation. After further study of Genesis 2:16-17, it may not only be thought of as the first commandment ever given to man, but the very first covenant God ever made with man as well. There were no animals cut in half for the parties to walk through to show their agreement because death had not entered into the world at the time God made it, but other parts of “covenant making” were present; the parties involved were there, the stipulations were there, the blessings and cursings were there. The fact that they were naked and didn’t realize it could have been a sign of this covenant, and when the covenant was broken, they knew they were naked and hid themselves.
In Old Testament times, we know that covenants were solidified by walking between the halves of cut and bloodied animals. No animals were slain for our new covenant to come into being, but consider this; Jesus’ body was broken, cut open by the scourgings and the spear, and His blood was shed, and he was (lifted up) suspended between heaven and earth (between God and man if you will) while on that cross reconciling man back to God. Do you see any similarities?
Since Jesus has been mentioned, let’s look thousands of years ahead at the three temptations that Jesus went through at the hands of the devil and we’ll see that the devil hasn’t changed much, as he uses the very same three weapons when tempting Jesus that were used in tempting Eve, and let’s also look to see what weapons were in Jesus’ arsenal.
Matthew 4:1-3; Then was Jesus lead of the Spirit into the wilderness to be tempted of the devil. And when he had fasted forty days and forty nights, he was afterward a hungred. And when the tempter came to him, he said, if thou be the Son of God, command that these stones be made bread.
We need to first take notice that Satan, knowing that Jesus hasn’t eaten for forty days uses the “lust of the flesh” weapon just as he did with Eve. Knowing that Jesus “was a hungred” and would want to take nourishment for his fleshly body, and that he’d be at his weakest if tempted with food, he wants him to turn the stones into bread. Also notice that he tries to put pressure on Jesus by saying “if you are the Son of God,” thinking Jesus might jump at the chance to prove that fact, but Jesus knew exactly who he was and felt the need to prove it to anyone. Verse #4 says; But he answered and said, it is written, Man shall not live by bread alone, but by every word that proceedeth out of the mouth of God. Wow, what an arsenal: the word of God. Jesus comes back at him with scripture. Satan probably thought he’d say something like, “I am the Son of God and I could if I wanted to ….”, but he just ends the whole thing by quoting the word of God. The word of God is a two edged sword and able discern the thoughts and intents of the heart. Heb 4:12. Being double edged, no matter how you swing it, it can cut to the quick.
Since Satan failed in the first attempt, why not try again. Let’s look at the second temptation in Matthew4: 5-6; Then the devil taketh him up into the holy city, and setteth him on a pinnacle of the temple, and saith unto him, if thou be the Son of God, cast thyself down: for it is written, He shall give his angels charge concerning thee: and in their hands shall they bear thee up, lest at any time thou dash thy foot against a stone. Enter “the pride of life.” Pride was the very thing that caused Satan to fall, saying, "I will be like the most High." (Isaiah 14:12-14) Now he wants Jesus to take pride in the fact that if he is the Son of God that nothing could possibly happen to him with all of heavens angels ready to do his bidding. Little does he know the harm that God will and does allow to come to Jesus as he drinks the cup of God’s wrath on the cross. Jesus doesn’t fall from the pinnacle and he doesn’t fall for Satan’s weapon “the “pride of life” either. Instead, Jesus goes to his arsenal and uses another of God’s scriptures successfully against him by saying in verse 7; “It is written again, thou shalt not tempt the Lord thy God.” Do you think Satan quoted scripture at Jesus hoping he wouldn’t come back with scripture in return? Strike two Satan.
Matthew 4: 8-9 records the last temptation; Again, the devil taketh him up to an exceedingly high mountain, and showeth him all the kingdoms of the world and the glory of them; and saith unto him, All these things will I give thee, if thou wilt fall down and worship me. Satan uses his last weapon, “the lust of the eyes.” Silly stupid devil, don’t you know that Jesus created all the beauty and glory of what you just offered him and they already belong to him. (John1:1-3) Jesus knew it so he didn’t even go there, instead he went for the juggler. Satan who still wanted to be exalted above God and be worshipped was told by Jesus in verse 10; “Get thee hence, Satan, for it is written, Thou shalt worship the Lord thy God, and him only shalt thou serve.”
Eve didn’t have the scriptures to resist the devil with, (none had been put to pen yet) but she should have used her faith (belief) that when God says something…he really means it. He doesn’t waste words and he doesn’t talk to hear himself talk. We as Christians cannot live in sin, but when tempted, we do sin when we don’t resist. Here are some things he has spoken that we’d be smart to pay close attention to:
1) Psalm 119:11; Thy word have I hid in my heart, that I might not sin against thee. Jesus had the scriptures memorized and that’s how he was an over comer when tempted. We can do the same.
2) James 4:7; Resist the devil and he will flee from you. We’re told in the book Matthew that the devil “left” Jesus. We’re told here in the book of James that he will “flee” (run away) from us. He won’t flee unless we resist and we can resist the same way Jesus did by quoting scripture when tempted.
3) Romans 6:16; Know ye not that to whom ye yield yourselves servants to obey, his servants ye are to whom ye obey; whether of sin unto death, or of obedience unto righteousness. I may be accused of misusing this scripture but to me it says…I can spend hours watching the filth that’s on television and feeding that garbage into my spirit, or…I can spend that same time in the word of God and stay spiritually healthy. Then when I’m out in the real world, I won’t be a servant to the sin of profanity in my conversations, I won’t take a second and third look at another woman and be a servant of the sin of adultery thru the lust of the eyes.
How’s the saying go? Garbage in…garbage out. Jesus said in Luke 6:45b; “for out of the abundance of the heart a man speaketh.” Your heart spoken of here is not that organ that pumps blood, it’s your inner being, your brain. God gives sound advice in Proverbs 4:23; Keep thy heart with all diligence; for out of it are the issues of life. The word “keep” used here means to guard, to protect, and to maintain. Let’s admit we shouldn’t live in sin, but let’s also admit we do sin, and we do it’s because we’re weak. And then let’s admit we are weak because of what we fill ourselves with. Get in the word of God and memorize it, get it into your heart…and then guard your heart.