Don’t blame it on me; it was Jesus that said it – the man who came to set us free - “everyone that sins, is a slave to sin.”
John 8:31-36 NIrV Jesus spoke to the Jews who had believed him. "If you obey my teaching," he said, "you are really my disciples. (32) Then you will know the truth. And the truth will set you free." (33) They answered him, "We are Abraham's children. We have never been slaves of anyone. So how can you say that we will be set free?" (34) Jesus replied, "What I'm about to tell you is true. Everyone who sins is a slave of sin. (35) A slave has no lasting place in the family. But a son belongs to the family forever. (36) So if the Son of Man sets you free, you will really be free.
That statement, in and of itself is extraordinarily defeating. Why?
Because we all sin on a daily basis, therefore by default we are all slaves to that sin. And yet my arrogance wants to tell you that I know this not to be entirely true.
Are there some things that do not have mastery over me?
I am certainly better at fending off some aspects of my sinful nature more effectively that others. Let me honest with you, I have a hard time with anger; I exhibited some just the other day. While I allow it to get the best of me at times, and I choose to use my mouth, on occasion to express it, I have not killed anyone (If I found you injuring my loved ones I cannot guarantee you that I would restrain myself.) Spare me your judgment, you foul, lying demon, for you have your horrid issues as well, but you have managed to keep them hidden from view, as you dabble in the darkness.
Allow me to give you give you an example of a secret sin. The mother that cannot and will not allow her children, or anyone around her to grow up, hence she talks baby talk to them, disrespecting them, and ultimately attempting to control them by her words.
What is that called? Witchcraft. If you are trying to control others, though the means may vary, you are operating under the authority of a demonic spirit, and performing witchcraft.
Revelation 22:15 NIrV "Outside the city are the dogs and those who practice witchcraft. Outside are also those who commit sexual sins and murder. Those who worship statues of gods, and everyone who loves and does what is false, are outside too.
Without having a relationship with Jesus Christ, you will be excluded from entering the city of God, the New Jerusalem. But I have accepted him, and know it. Could my relationship be better? Absolutely. Even within my own relationships with loved ones I could definitely work at strengthening them.
We, those who are in Christ because of our acceptance of his death and life for us, are in him. We have a promise of hope; a promise of his return for us; a promise of his gathering us, as a family, back to the Father, therefore I anxiously await his return, and I know that he is coming back to retrieve me and those he loves to spend eternity with him. So I do not have to carry a fear of this exclusion that Revelation 22:15 alludes to. Certainly someone does, but that is for another time.
Does the ability to not give into some aspect of sin have anything to do with human effort?
I suppose the answer to that is couched in the fact that God is the creator and giver of knowledge. Get real – Sin is the result of partaking of the tree of the knowledge of good and evil. Then I can make the statement, everyman knows good. Ah, but can he perform it?
I brought up the subject of Cain and Abel to someone recently.
I pointed out that Cain killed Abel, not the other way around. The listeners response was immediate, and went something like this, “Cain murdered because he was guilt stricken over not bringing his best before God, there in contrast to Abel he was unacceptable.” Psycho babble!
Born with a sin nature Cain and Abel had to fight off their broken spirits nature to sin, just as we do.
Genesis 4:3-7 NIrV After some time, Cain gathered some of the things he had grown. He brought them as an offering to the LORD. (4) But Abel brought the fattest parts of some of the lambs from his flock. They were the male animals that were born first to their mothers. The LORD was pleased with Abel and his offering. (5) But he wasn't pleased with Cain and his offering. So Cain became very angry. His face was sad. (6) Then the LORD said to Cain, "Why are you angry? Why are you looking so sad? (7) Do what is right. Then you will be accepted. If you don't do what is right, sin is waiting at your door to grab you. It longs to have you. But you must rule over it."
Cain, knowing to do right, stood there for several seconds as he weighed his options, just as I do. Foolishly, he thought that God would not figure this out. Assuming there is no one else to pass judgment against Cain, how about the people that birthed him. The lack of response from Adam and Eve is something I never really thought about before. This intrigues me, but again, for another time.
The real question I was asking is: What prevented Abel from killing Cain? Abel could have passed judgment upon Cain, killing him for not doing the sacrifice correctly. Not that Abel had anymore right to pass judgment than we do, but what is clear is that one was more inclined to think this process through to a tragic end, carrying out the act. Lawyers tend to call this malice of forethought, or premeditated murder. We Christians just call it sin. Was Abel capable of murder, or at the least sinning? Certainly.
Was this all just a matter of bringing your best before God? I do not think so. Why, because in the passage I gave (see Genesis 4: 3-7) God says to Cain, prior to the murder, “Do what is right, then you will be accepted.” What was right? Offering a sacrifice of a lamb. Yeah, I know, you are struggling with this too. Was not Abel’s sacrifice accepted? Yes! How did Abel know to make a sacrifice? If you are serious you have to admit, we do not have a specific answer to that question. True, we don’t, but we do have a logical path, and we have brains, so let’s use them.
Man sins, and dies. Does his body change immediately and drastically? No, but physical deterioration does begin. What man had to have noticed immediately was as Obi Wan might have said, he felt a disturbance in the force. Man had to notice a change; something felt different in his spirit. Man suddenly is aware that he is naked and he is ashamed. Something that he had never experienced before. Instead of the close relationship man has had with the Father, he is now hiding from God (something that has followed man ever since the fall.) Oh, everything changed that day.
Man tries to make clothing because suddenly he knows he’s naked and he is ashamed.
Man tries to hide from God, but God has no trouble finding the man. God does do something amazing, and that is to show respect, instead of barging in the room screaming, with the direct intent of humiliation.
How does any of this answer the question about where Abel learned to make a sacrifice?
God made clothes for Adam and Eve. Did he just create animal skins, as my ex-girlfriend conjectures? No, God had to kill an animal. And for Abel to know how this was done, and the why of it, only points to one thing; Adam was taught by God, with clear instructions, and Adam then taught Cain and Abel. God would have had no right to make a statement of that nature to Cain, if Adam had not laid the course of action out. (There is the implication that the entire plan of salvation may have been defined in this process. I know, you don’t buy into that either. Why then does the entire eleventh chapter of Hebrews talk about these people as having a hope, a reward, and a home in a city that was to come.)
Things to consider:
1. Abel, without apparent instruction, is making a sacrifice to God, of a lamb.
2. The sacrifice is not spelled out for many years to come.
3. God’s response to Cain over his anger and frustration. “if you do right.” What was right? Apparently Abel’s method of sacrifice.
4. We make assumptions that this was the first time either of them made sacrifice to God. Now that I have opened that can of worms, consider that Cain may have clearly known what to do, done it before, and merely chose not to this time. Beside all that, Lambs cost.
5. Keep in mind that all sin is based in selfishness, and this may exactly what we see happening with Cain.
6. Adam and Eve were suddenly aware that they were naked and tried to cover themselves. God’s response is to make them clothes of animal skins. Animals have an aversion to giving up their skins and we have that to consider.
7. We do see God making clothing out of animal hides for them. This does just happen overnight, and involves a process called tanning. Tanning makes the leather usable, especially against your skin. Man was going to do this on his own after this, and so Adam had to pay attention.
8. If Abel, and most likely Cain, were not there when these instructions were given, then they had to have learned it from someone else, but we do not see anyone else, therefore the only logical choice is Adam. We can make a logical connection between God’s instructions, laid out for Adam and Abel’s future actions, as he sacrificed the lamb that day.
I opened with, “everyone that sins, is a slave to sin.”
Cain was born into sin, and he did not have Paul to tell him that. Like I said, faced with the potential responses to anger, embarrassment, self-pity, humiliation, and anger with God, because after all, God made these lousy rules making it necessary to cover ourselves with the blood of some animal; Cain was a slave before this day began, and clearly he was now captive to it. His anger owned him. He tells God that he is now a marked man; people will try to kill me. (This is whole other path that we won’t cover here.)
What does it mean to be a slave? You do not have the right to decide the course of your day and actions. Are you serious? Yes. But that is so hopeless. Exactly, and there was not a thing we could do about it. There was only one way out, and that was for a relative to redeem us, buy us back from slavery. This is where Jesus Christ comes in. The price owed was our blood, and our souls. No one could give his own life for himself, and there was certainly no one down here, unselfish enough to pay the price for us.
Thank God, there was someone, his name was Jesus. The son of the living God himself.
He voluntarily came down, and poured out his blood that we might live. That day on the cross he forgave the sins of the world, and all they had to do was to accept the fact that he did it.
Paul wrote to the Romans, that Christ died for our sins, and he did. That act took away the penalty of the sin. I no longer have to pay for the sin, in God’s eyes, and He is the last, and moral authority, regardless of what you think. Do I have to pay for my sins while on this earth? Yes. If you are uncontrolled enough to act out your evil, then you should be taken out-of-the-way.
I read Romans several times over; even prepared bible studies so I could teach from the book, but I struggled with the book because there is that want to be free from this sin nature. It seems unnatural to hear about freedom and not want it. I can remember thinking, “if Christ paid for my sin, and took them away, then I can be separated from the sin; right?” Wrong, and that is one of the aspects that Paul talks about. I know what is right, I press hard toward it, but I keep doing things that I no longer want to do. I can understand this. I feel the same way. I do not want to give into the anger, but I am a slave to it.
Sounds pretty hopeless doesn’t it, but it’s not.
Check this out. You are going to have to read this over several times.
Romans 6:1-7 KJV What shall we say then? Shall we continue in sin, that grace may abound? (2) God forbid. How shall we, that are dead to sin, live any longer therein? (3) Know ye not, that so many of us as were baptized into Jesus Christ were baptized into his death? (4) Therefore we are buried with him by baptism into death: that like as Christ was raised up from the dead by the glory of the Father, even so we also should walk in newness of life. (5) For if we have been planted together in the likeness of his death, we shall be also in the likeness of his resurrection: (6) Knowing this, that our old man is crucified with him, that the body of sin might be destroyed, that henceforth we should not serve sin. (7) For he that is dead is freed from sin.
We are dead to sin; get that through your mind.
You have to change your thinking!
I know, you go to church, and all they can tell you is that you’re a sinner. I know of one radio pastor tha cannot get through a sermon without taking a scriptural ball bat to the listener. Even if he is talking about the general world, he is not right in beating people up. You’re a sinner, because the knowledge of good is in as well, you already know that, you struggle with it on a daily basis. What you need to know is that your life is now wrapped up in the one that brought you life. Focus on that.
We are told to meditate on God. What does that mean?
Find things like this passage above and find out what it means to you. Make it your focus until you change the way you think. Doing this establishes the character and nature of the Father in you.
Will you still sin? Absolutely; the trick is we correct our path when we find ourselves going off the correct way. King David said, “your word is light unto my path.” So know that this word that you are going to focus on, and meditate on, is going to make your way clear. Look, in this world you will have tribulations. Those may come in all forms.
An example: I know that I have trained myself to give in easily to anger. It became my defense weapon when I did not learn to use words, or speak correctly. It became my defense against being bullied around by stupid kids that do not have the sense to act right. And I use it to keep up a safety zone around me.
Why? Fear! Fear based in selfishness. Knowing this about myself, I now know that I have to walk away from some people, they are simply not safe to be around, more so because I will react poorly.
We had fifteen minutes left before the store closed Easter evening, and I am on the last fifteen minutes of door duty. I am supposed to be a greeter and ask incoming people “what project are you working on?” Many times the response is, “a light bulb change.” In the last ten minutes a man and I suppose his mother come my direction with about a thousand dollars worth of stuff. For all I know they are headed out the door with it. Why might that be a problem? Because the exit is at the other end of the store, where the registers are. Could I have asked the question in a different manner? Yes, but I did not. I said, “did you pay for that stuff?” The man, who looked like a redneck, hillbilly, biker, cussed me out, pushes the cart to the returns desk (you can pay for your stuff there) and says, “what does it look like I am doing?” To be honest, I am starting to shake from the adrenalin now pumping through me. I said, “looks like your going through the returns desk!” He cussed at me some more, telling me where I could go. May I be honest with you. At this point, if it was my store, I would not only beat you down, but make sure you never speak to me like that again. Ah, but it is not, and I know my limit. I had to choose to walk away, beside a friend of mine just happened to walk up and say, “you are off this door duty, let’s get out of here.” This diffused my anger, a little bit. I told him quickly what the guy had done, but also told hm that if I had stayed there a few more seconds I would be out of a job. I do not need that kind of help.
Having had some time to ponder what happened yesterday. I have decided it was demonic. Do not be foolish. Satan knows your weakness, that may not be entirely true, but he certainly knows the ones that you blabbed off about. I have told many people that I struggle with anger, every male in my family does, therefore I am a target. And I am convinced that, though I have several days where I have been keenly aware of God’s presence, this was brought in to bring me down. Much like an alcoholic, I had to make a conscience decision to not react in anger. Yes, I gave into just a bit; I am also pretty good with sarcasm as well.
Have I got this imagery of being a dead man, in Christ solidly in my head? NO!, but I am working at it. And that is all we can do. We will continue to struggle with this until the day of his return. On that day we will be changed in the twinkling of an eye, and this pain we deal with on a daily basis will be gone.
But until then choose to be a righteous, God driven person.
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