UNLESS HE STRIVES LAWFULLY 3
by Chi Onwuchekwa
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“Has God indeed said…”
Welcome to the third in this series.
We continue our series on the ways of God against the backdrop of the fall of man as recorded in Genesis 3. In Genesis 2:16-17, God commands Adam and Eve not to eat of the tree of the knowledge of good and evil and in Genesis 3, they rebel against God.
There are 3 major lessons to learn from this account about the ways of God:
God intends for us to live dependent on the leading and guidance of the Holy Spirit and not of our flesh or five senses. We can infer from Romans 8:14 that the sons of God ought to led by the Spirit of God.
Eve had God’s Word to guide her; but she chose to follow the leading of her senses. Genesis 3:6 states:
“So when the woman saw that the tree was good for food, that it was pleasant to the eyes, and a tree desirable to make one wise, she took of its fruit and ate”.
There are times when the commandments of God would seem illogical or impracticable and we face the temptation to do things our own way. While we have no perfect control over what we see or think, we do however have a choice on what we do with what we see or perceive, especially when it runs contrary to God’s will. James 1:14 states that the temptation to do otherwise than God’s Word will not blossom into disobedience or rebellion if we refuse to be drawn away by our own desires.
The alternative to God’s will is self-will. Whenever we fail to yield to God’s will, we submit to self-will. Romans 8:5-8 teaches that the carnal mind (self-led as opposed to Spirit-led) is enmity against God and would always lure us away from pleasing God. And since the carnal mind produces death (Romans 8:6), every choice we make not having the Word of God as its basis will ultimately lead us to death – or the absence of the life or Spirit of God.
Another example of a people who chose to follow the leading of their senses and not that of God is Israel. In Numbers 13: 1-2, God commands Moses to send twelve men to spy out Canaan as preparation for their occupation. Please note that the instruction to inspect was to enable strategic possession and not one designed to help them decide if God’s word to occupy was possible.
All twelve were agreed on what they saw, but ten and the multitude who believed their report reject God’s counsel because of what they perceived as insurmountable difficulties. In Numbers 14:26-38 God passes a sentence of death on the disobedient.
God wants us to be led by His Word and His Spirit. Our senses – what we see, hear or perceive - though the gifts of God are not to be exercised to overturn the instructions or purpose of God.
2. The second lesson here is that God is impartial, just and in righteousness will judge sin. He will declare a sentence of death for sin irrespective of who commits it. The only difference for the believer is an access to the only blood that is acceptable to God as atonement for sin.
Ezekiel 18:20 as with all other counsels of God stands sure. In no way did God allow His love for Adam to becloud His sense of justice; Jesus forfeited heaven’s intervention on the way to Calvary because He bore our iniquities.
We must not take God for granted or be neglectful to acknowledge and confess our sins to Him. We must not ignore our sins or make light of their consequences on the assumption that God’s love for us guarantees our forgiveness. Our salvation has procured for us an assurance of God’s forgiveness and mercy. But only if we confess, repent and forsake our sins – 1John 1:9.
Thank God that His mercies overcome His judgement, but His judgement can only be waived if we confess, repent and forsake our sins.
3. The third lesson is that God does not want two or more to strengthen themselves in iniquity. In Genesis 3:17, God is displeased that Adam chose to heed the voice of his wife and not His. He says to Adam:
“Because you have heeded the voice of your wife, and have eaten from the tree of which I commanded you saying ‘You shall not eat of it”.
Psalm 64:5 speaks of those who “encourage themselves in an evil matter”. We must not be such a people but rather one who will always plead for others to walk in God ways. If someone close to us – mother, father, brother, sister, husband or wife (as was Adams) tries to lure us into doing wrong, God expects us to resist.
Our obligations and loyalty to one another should not be greater than that for God. Psalm 1:1 declares God’s blessing on he:
“Who does not walk in the counsel of the ungodly, nor stand in the path of sinners, nor sit in the seat of the scornful”.
Evil works should not be allowed to become an option just because someone we love or respect proffer it as one.
I end this piece by sharing one of the scriptures God gave as a foundation to this series. Jeremiah 6:16 states:
‘Thus says the Lord:
“Stand in the ways and see,
And ask for the old paths, where the good way is,
And walk in it;
Then you will find rest for your souls.
But they said, ‘We will not walk in it.’
I pray that God, who has purposed to remind us of His way, would give us the power, not only to finding His way, but also to walk in it. I pray, from the depths of my heart, that in these days as God calls us back to Himself, that we would not resist His Spirit nor turn back or refrain from following Him till the end.
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