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Wednesday, October 5, 2011

The Insidious Deception of Sin

My wife had surgery this past week and I have been taking care of her at home. It has given me a break from my routine. The break seems to have opened my eyes.

This morning, on my bike ride to work, I noticed all the trash that has been strewn along the road. There were broken beer bottles, half eaten fast food complete with bags, water bottles and an array of things which must have been tossed out as people made their private trash into public trash. That stretch of road was cleaned not so long ago. It didn't take long before it reverted to its deplorable condition.

Littering is a crime and carries a stiff penalty in Virginia Beach. It takes public tax dollars to clean up this trash. So, why would people blatantly throw out their trash? The answer is closer to home than you would think.

I have noticed that people disobey the rules as if it is something that must be done. They travel ten miles an hour over the speed limit when it wouldn't save them more than a minute to their destination. They leave their shpping carts in the middle of the parking lot when they need the excercise of taking that cart to the collection spot. They park in no parking zones just to avoid a couple of steps to the entrance of a store. It seems that mankind is wired to break the rules.

It is as if our DNA was changed after Adam broke the first rule. He ate the fruit and we have been slipping on the banana peels ever since. Sin is so deceptive that it makes us believe that we are actually free when we commit sin. The truth is that we are under its power when we commit it. It not only controls our future, "The wages of sin is death," but ensures that we have no power to overcome its effects. It dooms us while we are proclaiming our freedom to commit it.

Sin is like a drug that makes us feel more alive but is in reality killing us. We think of it as freedom but it is slavery. The only real freedom is the freedom of being released from its affects.

Those who are throwing out their trash, speeding or leaving their shopping carts think that they will not be caught and they are, in small ways, exerting their "freedom" to break these rules. They do not realize that these infractions will not satisfy them soon. They will increasingly want to break greater rules. The path is one of unfaithfulness and unfaithfulness to their fellow human beings in a general way will lead to an unfaithfulness in a specific way. It brings lies, thievery and adultery at its apex.

In the end the person wonders how he ever allowed himself to become this person who would do such things. Of course, sin will give him an excuse. It was because he never had anything nice or his parents didn't treat him right or his wife never really met his needs. Sin can be continued once the guilt is absolved. Guilt which has been covered makes the sinner less likely to feel future guilt.

So, it is necessary to realize sins hold on you and pray that the Lord Jesus will be your strength to defeat it. You must flee from temptation, own up to those things you have done wrong and repent of them by placing them in the hands of Jesus.

The only real freedom is walking with Jesus. Sin is just a deception that makes you believe you are free.

Romans 6:17-18 (ESV) 17 But thanks be to God, that you who were once slaves of sin have become obedient from the heart to the standard of teaching to which you were committed, 18 and, having been set free from sin, have become slaves of righteousness.


Anthony Chia said...

Hi Ps Prentis,

Hope your wife is much better and fast recovering.

“Dislike of laws and breaking them”, I agree with you on the root, and I cannot think any other, for the root of it all, was in the planting of Iniquity/Sin into us all by Satan, the Father of Deception and Lie, through the Fall in the Garden of Eden. Two things that have increasingly being ignored are: one, the Iniquity/Sin or sinful/carnal nature in us are NOT removed on our entry into salvation; and two, Jesus did NOT come to do away with laws, commands, precepts and instructions.

Many Christians used to just take it (the above 2 things) as they were told, but in recent years, great proliferation of “overly grace” teachings have set people up to hold contrary views to the above.

Christians are now made to believe that on entry into salvation, the carnal nature in us is destroyed, purportedly a born again is no longer with a carnal nature. In fact, such false teachers hold Christians out to be perfect in every way. You see, mega-church pastors are telling believers who sinned to this effect:

when a finger is pointed at you when you have sinned, just tell yourself you are righteous; just tell yourself you are not condemned; just tell yourself that God has already forgiven you all your sins, including the ones you just committed and all you will ever commit in the future AT your MOMENT of entry into salvation.

These false teachers tell Christians that they should NOT confess their sins (purportedly that would profane the blood and name of Jesus, belittling the blood of Jesus!); saying 1 John 1:9 are NOT for believers to do! On top of that they tell Christians that they should ignore the conscience; and said that the Holy Spirit does NOT convict Christians of sins or unrighteousness; He only convicts Christians of righteousness!

Instead of teaching that the real authority over our life has been wrestled back from the Evil One, by Jesus, and given back to us, believers, and so, we do NOT need to listen or obey to the “voice” of the carnal nature (you can say “No” to it, and to resist temptations), such teachers preach easy-believism – no more carnal nature in us, we have the FULL mind of Christ, we do NOT need anyone to tell us what to do, just insist we are righteous and perfect, what we do has NO negative consequence! The problem is that this kind of teaching tells people to numb their conscience, and when this is done, we have the situation Ps Prentis noted of the stretch of road.

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Anthony Chia said...

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These same “overly grace” teachers/believers keep on hammering laws, when the truth of the matter was Jesus did away with the Old Covenant (“contract”). The Old Covenant was replaced with the New Covenant. It was NOT Jesus was doing away ALL individual laws or concept of individual law or command or precept or instruction or for that matter, word of God, for the words of the King is law! When the “laws” is being hammered all the time, people will develop repulsion against anything this is a rule or law, and the devils make use of that to ensnare.

The combination of the two is lethal. Godliness is out of the window, so to speak. And people, well, including Christians, will play with fire, thinking that someone else would get burned but NOT them, thinking that so long as they can beat system, it is their prerogative to do what they like, and thinking that, even if they are caught, consequence is temporal, no sweat, so to speak. The “overly grace” pastors are painting to their followers, this picture: You are saved; wages of sin is NOT death for you!

I believe the truth is: We are BEING saved. We sin we die, unless by His grace, He forgives us of the sin we have just committed. Yes, God looks at our heart (so, do NOT be paranoid with the “Oops, I have failed to mention one sin specifically”), for He is the knower of hearts. The correct posture is that we do NOT take Him for granted.

I believe the truth is: Rules, laws, commands or in whatever terms we want to call it, they were and are part of the Creation God intended and created. Law was there, at the beginning; God gave the 1st direct prohibitive law in Gen 2:16-17, and Man failed God. Is there no “laws” now? No, apart from those written in the Word, there are those written on the tablet of our heart; and there will be laws into eternality, for God is Law. Where there is no law, there is only chaos.

The deceptiveness of Sin and doctrines of false prophets, recognized by Ps Prentis in his entry, was said of, by the Apostle Peter in this way:

“…are springs without water and mists driven by a storm” (2 Peter 2:17).

Borrowing Ps Prentis’ ending words, “makes you believe you are free” when actually it gives you no freedom at all; “well without water” – false hope which leads only to disappointment (it is a hope, so, you wait and you will see…… if NOT in earthly future, in eternality).