October 4, 2018
“In the beginning, God created the heaven and the earth.” Genesis 1:1. God filled the earth with everything we need in order to survive. There was food, water, and a perfect place for Adam and Eve to live. Then sin entered. Satan twisted God’s words and convinced Eve to take a bite of the forbidden fruit. The only rule God had given to Adam and Eve was not to eat of the fruit of the tree of knowledge of good and evil. “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.” Genesis 2:17. Instead of believing the Creator of the universe, Adam and Eve chose to believe Satan’s lies. From the very beginning of all things, God’s love was evident. God has never stopped loving us, but humans moved away from Him. Because God didn’t want people to be robots He gave us free will. That gift was given in love. Forced love does not love, and God doesn’t force us to love Him. Free will gives us choices. If we choose to disobey then we choose to suffer the consequences of our own choice.
What’s so bad about disobedience to God? First of all, understand that God knows everything. He knows that if you swipe a candy bar you hurt other people. You didn’t pay for the candy bar, but the store owner had to buy it. He has lost money because you stole his merchandise. A candy bar may seem like a minor offense to you, but to God, it is a sin to steal. Sin always separates us from God. The first of the Ten Commandments says we aren’t to put any god before the one true God. “Thou shalt have no other gods before me.” Exodus 20:3. This doesn’t mean that as long as we don’t worship Zeus it’s OK. A false god is anything we desire more than God Almighty…a candy bar, a neighbor’s wife, drugs, riches, etc. It could also be the denomination you attend. When I was growing up my family attended a particular denomination. As time went on there was an official stance taken by that denomination that was opposed to God’s word. That denomination wasn’t my god, so I stopped attending services there. God’s truth is always more important than a denomination’s interpretation of Scripture.
Scripture is our guide in all things. It tells us how a Christian should live life. Just as God told Adam not to eat the forbidden fruit, He makes it clear to us what our behavior should be in order to be in obedience to Him. When Adam broke that one rule it shattered into many pieces. There are many sins we commit daily that separate us from God, but it all boils down to lust of the flesh. Jealousy, anger, drugs, alcohol, sexual encounters, and lies are just a few of the things which come between us and God. “Love not the world, neither the things that are in the world. If any man love the world, the love of the Father is not in him. 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. And the world passeth away, and the lust thereof: but he that doeth the will of God abideth forever.” 1 John 2:15-17. Is John telling us that we should deprive ourselves of everything and become cloistered nuns or monks? No. God gave us things in order that we can function. We need sexual relations in order for humanity to continue, but that is only to be within a one man/one woman marriage. Ignoring God’s ways leads to more sin and much unhappiness. Following Satan’s way leads to multiple sexual encounters, homosexuality, AIDS, unwanted children, abortion, and all of this leads to shattered lives and separation from God. Wine is not forbidden in Scripture, but drunkenness is. Drugs are forbidden, but the world says “tune in, turn on, drop out”; doctors prescribe mind-altering drugs to children and adults alike. Yes, Adam’s sin shattered into many pieces and Satan wants it that way. He doesn’t want us to be reconciled to God.
Is there any hope? Has God given up on humanity? God never wanted to be separated from us and He did the only thing possible in order to make the only way for us to be reconciled to Him. “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. For God sent not his Son into the world to condemn the world; but that the world through him might be saved.” John 3:16-17. If people don’t know any other verse in the Bible, they usually know this one. It tells us that God loves us so much that He gave us the only sacrifice possible to take sin away. Go back and read that verse carefully. It says that you have to believe. God wants you to be reconciled to Him, but you have to believe in Jesus Christ in order to find forgiveness. You have to recognize that you’re a sinner. We all sin. I accepted Christ at a very young age, but I still stumble into sin. When that happens I have to repent and ask God to forgive me. “If we confess our sins, he is faithful and just to forgive us our sins, and to cleanse us from all unrighteousness.” 1 John 1:9. Then, the responsibility on my part is to try not to keep on sinning. God doesn’t condemn us, but we condemn ourselves by rejecting the only way that our sins can be forgiven.
If you claim to have accepted Christ as your Savior but continue to embrace sin then you may be fooling yourself. We are saved by grace through faith, but that isn’t a license to continue to sin. “What shall we say then? Shall we continue in sin, that grace may abound? God forbid. How shall we, that are dead to sin, live any longer therein?” Romans 6:1-2.
Accepting Christ should bring about a change in your life. Studying God’s word is the way to know Him better and you will begin to hate your sin as much as God does. When you read His word, don’t pull Scripture out of context. Don’t twist Scripture to make it look as if your particular sin is acceptable. That was the very ruse which Satan used to hoodwink Eve into eating the forbidden fruit. “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.” Genesis 3:4-5.
Satan always calls God a liar, but it’s Satan who lies. Is he whispering to you that God doesn’t really mind if you’re in a homosexual relationship? Is he urging you to go ahead and use those mind-altering drugs even though you might have to steal to pay for them? Rather than believe the lies of Satan, believe the truth of God. “For the wages of sin is death; but the gift of God is eternal life through Jesus Christ our Lord.” Romans 6:23.
One sin leads to another until you’re sure that you’re beyond redemption. That’s just not true. “And you, that were sometime alienated and enemies in your mind by wicked works, yet now hath he reconciled in the body of his flesh through death, to present you holy and unblameable and unreproveable in his sight: if ye continue in the faith grounded and settled and be not moved away from the hope of the gospel, which ye have heard, and which was preached to every creature which is under heaven; whereof I Paul am made a minister;“Colossians 1:21-22. The sins we commit are wicked and separate us from our Lord, but Christ’s blood was shed to take away those sins so we can be reconciled to Him. When you truly accept Christ for redemption then the Holy Spirit is sealed within you. You can never sin more than God will forgive, but you can condemn yourself by not accepting His redeeming sacrifice. “And, having made peace through the blood of his cross, by him to reconcile all things unto himself; by him, I say, whether they be things in earth, or things in heaven.” Colossians 1:20. God wants you to be reconciled to Him. He won’t force you, but if you choose to reject His sacrifice then you choose eternal death.
You can do nothing to earn your way to eternal life. You can’t be good enough because even one little white lie is enough to condemn you. “Then said they unto him, What shall we do, that we might work the works of God? Jesus answered and said unto them, This is the work of God, that ye believe on him whom he hath sent.” John 6:28-29. The only works that you can do is to believe in the death, burial, and resurrection of Jesus Christ. You need to believe, repent of your sin, and let the Holy Spirit work in you to lead you along the path of righteousness. It isn’t easy to turn from sin, but the pleasure of sin is only temporary. It lasts a few minutes then you’re left empty and in need of another drug or another prostitute. Sin never satisfies.
You may be reading this while you’re sitting in a jail cell paying the price for your sin, or you may be sitting in an abortion clinic about to allow your sin to result in the death of your baby. Don’t despair. Jesus loves you. He shed His blood for you. Yes, for you. He will forgive you but you have to ask Him and you have to mean it. Recognize that you are a sinner and cannot save yourself. Ask Him to forgive you. Then do whatever you need to do in order to turn from your sin. Even if you’re sitting in a pew reading this, if you haven’t truly accepted Christ then your sins haven’t been forgiven. Turn to Him right now and be reconciled to God.
God bless you all,
Ron and Nathele Graham’s previous commentaries archived at our Home Page under the tab Newsletter Archives
All original scripture is “theopneustos” God breathed.
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