Tuesday, March 14, 2017

A Conversation With Sin

A Conversation With Sin:
An Interview With Sin (A History/ Biography of Sin)
     For just a moment, let us think of sin as if it were a person (personification).  We understand that sin is simply a word used to describe mankind's rebellious behavior against the will of God.  But, for just a little while, imagine having a conversation with Sin as if it were a person. What insights could we gain from such a conversation?
RJ: Hello Sin, we cannot say we have not seen you for a while, but thanks for having this conversation.  It seems you are pretty popular in the world right now. Is there anything you would like to say to begin our discussion?
Sin:  Well, I would like to begin by saying that there is a lot of bad press out there about me.  I get a lot of blame for the problems of the world and for the problems people have with God. I readily admit that I ruin everything I touch.  But keep in mind that I only exist because God's creation has chosen to ignore and disobey Him. So please do not think of me apart from the people who give me  power and ability to do so much harm.  Man is the creation of God. I am the creation of man.  I mention this because throughout history my creators have consistently tried to deny me or blame my existence on others.  I am always an invited guest in the lives of my creators.   It would be far less confusing if people would just take responsibility for their own decisions to bring me into their lives.  God will hold all people accountable for their own actions.  God said through Ezekiel, "The soul that sinneth, it shall die. The son shall not bear the iniquity of the father, neither shall the father bear the iniquity of the son: the righteousness of the righteous shall be upon him, and the wickedness of the wicked shall be upon him." (Ezek 18:20).  I know I bring death and destruction to this world, but I am never the one who pulls the trigger.  I have no say in man's decisions, I just appear when he creates me.
RJ:   I can see how this kind of behavior  makes things confusing.  People can never overcome a problem if they deny its existence or refuse to take responsibility for it. I agreed that those who create you must accept  their role in your existence.  But rest assured that many of us recognize that you are real and want to understand you better.
Sin:  I appreciate your understanding. Now what would you like to ask me?
RJ:  Okay, let us go back to the day you first appeared in the human world.  I believe you remember Adam and Eve.  Can you explain to us what really happened that day?
Sin:  I will try, but keep in mind that I was not there until Eve actually ate the fruit of the forbidden  tree. It is only when she broke God's command that I came into existence.  What I know is that God had created them and set them up in a paradise  called Eden.  He gave them everything they needed and asked them to tend to the garden.  They could eat of the tree of life which would have allowed them to  live forever. But, God desired that they  love and obey him because they wanted to, not because they had to.  To give them this freedom of choice, He created the tree of knowledge of good and evil.  He told them that if they ate of that tree, they would surely die.  I guess I would not exist if it had not been for that tree. 
Anyway, as I have learned since that time, humanity has a tendency to be self centered and dissatisfied with their lot in life no matter how blessed they might be.  I suppose that  Adam and Eve (especially Eve?) were curious about something they might be missing out on.  In their imaginations, rebellion must have promised them something good.  I think that is what Paul was thinking of when he warned the church about the "deceitfulness of sin." (Heb 3:13).  People universally invite  me into their lives thinking  I will bring them something good, but boy are they always wrong about that.  While I might bring some pleasure or fun with me, it is always temporary and has terrible consequences.  One fellow described this false expectation  very well when he said, "Sin always promises more than it can deliver, costs you more than you planned to pay, takes you farther than you planned to go and keeps you longer than you plan to stay." 
RJ: Excuse me, I hate to interupt, but  I am surprised that you have quoted the Word of God several times.  I never thought of you as a student of the Bible.
God's Word Identifies and Verifies Sin: 
Sin:  You should not be surprised, but your reaction is understandable.  I (sin) am synonymous with rebellion, wickedness, evil and corruption.  But, I have a very close connection with the truth.    In fact, if it were not for the truth of God, I would not even exist.  Don't forget that "sin is a transgression of the law." (1 John 3:4).  If there was no law (knowledge of right and wrong from God's perspective), there could be no sin. Paul said that without the law he would not have known sin (Rom 7:7).  One of the most beneficial purposes of the Bible is that it reveals my existence and my identity to the world so they can avoid me.  Some think of God's law as a bad thing because it condemns their behavior.  But, one of its main purposes is to reveal the reality of my existence.  As Paul said,  "Was then that (law of God) which is good made death unto me? God forbid. But sin, that it might appear sin, working death in me by that which is good; that sin by the commandment might become exceeding sinful."  (Rom 7:13).  The Bible clearly reveals and proves my  existence and the problem I bring to each human life.
Most would agree that It is always good to obey God.  We also know that God has revealed His will through the scriptures (2 Tim 3:16,17).  As you know, when people choose not to do that which is good (obey the will of God),  I appear. "Therefore to him that knoweth to do good, and doeth it not, to him it is sin." (Jas 4:17).  I do not have a problem with the truth.  It is truth that verifies my existence.  In fact the number one way my creators deny my existence is to deny the truth of what God says in the scriptures.  When this happens, it does not mean I am not present, it just leads to my not being recognized. I can always do more damage when I am denied and not recognized.
RJ: Very interesting. Thanks for that explanation, can you now continue telling us about that day in the garden?
Desires, Rebellion and Lies Create Sin:
Sin: Okay.  While Eve was obviously struggling with her human tendencies, Satan showed up in the form of a talking Serpent.  Sounds unusual to us now, but who knows how long Eve had existed?  How was she to know that all serpents did not speak?  As you know, Satan is known for his hatred of God and everything that God loves.  Kind of like a rebellious and hateful child with his father.  That is why he is constantly seeking to do harm to the human race.  Some say  Satan is proud and obsessed with his own importance.  Some say he is jealous of the love God has for the human race.  I cannot explain all his motivations for sure.  But,  he is always trying to prove that God is unworthy of love, respect and obedience.  There are always plenty of humans willing to help him with his obsession.  Satan can never defeat God, but he takes great delight in bringing Him dishonor.  The problem with his obsession is that there is nothing true he can say against God for God is good and pure.  So Satan has transformed himself into  the "father of liars." (John 8:44).  You might think that people would want to avoid lies and liars at all costs.  But, it has been my experience that they are so often ready and willing to believe a lie when they are trying to justify their disobedience to God.  The stage was set for my entrance into the human world. There were two people tempted to disobey God and a liar there to tell them everything they wanted to hear.
Now Satan approached Eve and pretended not to know what God had said.  He asks if God had prohibited them from eating of all the trees of the garden.  Eve corrected him, saying they could eat of all the trees of the garden except one in the middle of the garden.  Eve also shared  her knowledge of God's will by telling Satan of the promised consequences of eating of that tree.  She said if we eat of that tree, "we shall surely die." (Gen 3:4).  Satan then boldly lied to Eve and said "you shall not surely die."   Satan was the first to suggest that God did not mean what He said and that He would not do what He said He would do.  Already Satan was twisting God's Words (he just added one word: "not"). Satan probably  knew there was more than one way to "die".  There is physical death (when the human soul is separated from the body, James 2:26) and there is spiritual death (when our soul is separated from a close relationship with God by me,  Isa 59:2).  Did Eve understand the seriousness of being separated from God's presence and favor?  Did she know she might be separated from the tree of life which would put her on the path to physical death?  Surely  she understood at least some of the consequences.  But she wanted to eat the fruit of that tree so much she was ready to believe Satan's lies. 
Satan then tells Eve that God was keeping  this fruit from her, because He did not want her to know as much as Him.  Satan said that if she ate, she would become like a god herself, knowing good and evil (Gen 3:5).  Then the three big desires of mankind tempted Eve ("Lust of the flesh, lust of the eyes and the pride of life" 1 Jn 2:16).  "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." (Gen 3:6).  In an instant, I now existed.  A product of lust (human desire)  and lies. 
At first, I did not understand how a couple of people snacking on some fruit could have brought me into existence.  But, as I began to understand the bigger picture, I realized that what had happened was horrifying.  The first two people on earth had just put their trust in a lying God hater. They  had made their choice to rebel against their Holy and Loving  Creator,  all for the temporary pleasure of a piece of fruit and the false hope of benefits it would bring them.  When I fully got it, I actually felt sad that the Good Lord had been so dishonored and rejected.
RJ:  Thank you so much for explaining  your arrival on Earth. Sin, now that you are in the world, tells us your thoughts about your place and purpose here.
I Separate People From God Eternally:
Sin: Well, the first thing I  realized was that I was really bad for mankind.  I learned immediately that my presence in a human life brought them serious consequences. It turns out (I learned this later from Habakkuk 1:13), that God is too pure to be in my presence.  Because of me, Adam and Eve could no longer live in the presence of God and were cast out to live in a world separated from God's closest presence.  They destroyed their close relationship with God and lost their access to the tree of life.  The Bible would later describe their soul's  spiritual condition as death.  Because they chose to invite me in, life for them and all their descendants would now be difficult and painful.   God also cursed the serpent to crawl on his belly in the dust.  God promised Satan that one day a descendant of Eve would crush his head.  I remember Satan was so proud that he had helped bring me into the world.  He did not seem at all worried about God's promise concerning  his future  defeat.  All he could say as he crawled away laughing was, "I knew I could prove to the humans that God is not worthy to be obeyed." 
But to answer your question, I actually felt pretty bad. From that day till now, my presence in human life guarantees that they will be condemned and separated from God forever.  Satan has done everything he can to downplay this awful consequence.  He likes to deceive people into thinking that a little "sin" is not such a big deal. One church even decides if I am "mortal" or "venial" depending on what was done to create me.  Others think in terms of big sins, little sins, many sins or few sins.  But, Adam and Eve are proof that any sin at all separates souls from God. I hate to be the bad guy, but do not be deceived.  If I am in your life at all, you are lost and separated from God. And If you are old enough to make moral choices, I am certainly in your life.  "For all have sinned, and come short of the glory of God" (Rom 3:23).  I am like a fatal worldwide epidemic which everyone eventually chooses to invite into their life.  As you said in the beginning, I am universally popular.  But please understand this.    You should not think of me as big or little, but maybe more like a virus or an infection.  Once you are infected with me, even once,  you cannot enter into God's holy presence. 
To answer your question, my presence separates people from God.  I guess you could say that my purpose and place is to be a visible symptom,  or sign here to identify this terrible separation. 
RJ:  We understand that your presence in a human life is spiritually fatal. But some say that after you came into existence, you are automatically inherited at birth by every human descendant of Adam and Eve.  They call this original sin or total hereditary  depravity.  Can you explain this to us?
Sin Is Not Inherited:
Sin:  Yes, I have heard of that belief.  It does not make any sense when you look at my  original arrival which I just explained.  I am a permanent stain on the human soul which separates them from God.  But, like the original sin, I only become a part of a person's life when they choose to rebel against God.  It is true that every person since Adam has been born into a world infected and dominated by my existence in the lives of so many.   Some have decided that since this infection is so widespread that it must be something that all humans have received at birth.  That is bad logic. If the whole world was infected by some fatal disease, would that prove that all people had been born with it?  No.  It would prove that the disease was very contagious.
My presence in this world and the awful consequences of my presence are quite  overwhelming and universal in people old enough to know better.  King David, while overwhelmed with his own horrible sin, once said, "Behold, I was shapen in iniquity; and in sin did my mother conceive me. (Psa 51:5).  David could have been thinking about a lot of different things.  He could have been referring to a curse imposed on his family for several generations because of an ancestor's sin.  He could have been referring to the fact that both his mother and father were themselves sinners.  But in the context, He was probably just  overwhelmed at my universal and awful presence everywhere and all the time. I assure you that I was all around David at his birth, but I did not affect his relationship with God until he was old enough to invite me in himself.  David in this verse is grieving over his bad decision and my overwhelming presence in this world.
Here are the facts.  Adam, Eve and all their descendants were created in the image of God (Gen 1:26; James 3:9; 1 Cor 11:17).  No person was ever born separated spiritually from God because of something Adam did  (Physically separated from Eden? Yes).  I only stain the souls who have by their choice somehow invited me into their lives.  If every human since  Adam was born a sinner, then Jesus was also born a sinner for He "became flesh (human) and dwelt among us" (John 1:14).  Jesus was the only human that ever lived who did not invite  me into his life when He was tempted. (Heb 4:15).  Babies are not sinners, stained and separated from God spiritually.   But when they grow up they all invite me into their lives for the same reasons Adam and Eve did.  They share the human tendency (some say nature) to be selfish and self centered.  Everyone is affected by the consequences of my presence in this world, but I have never permanently stained one soul in God's eyes until they  have exercised their freedom of choice and dishonored their Creator.  Man was and is created in the image of God.  I am not present or a part of any man's creation.  It may be the human tendency to be selfish and easily tempted which people mistake for my presence.  But, being tempted is not the same as actually acting on the temptation which brings me into a person's life.  James explains my arrival very well.   "But every man is tempted, when he is drawn away of his own lust, and enticed.   Then when lust hath conceived, it bringeth forth sin: and sin, when it is finished, bringeth forth death.  Do not err, my beloved brethren. (Jas 1:14-16).  Now does that sound like  I am present with every baby, or am I born out of human choice and actions?
RJ:  Wow, how you explain that makes it seem so simple.   Thanks for talking with us.  Next time can we talk about how to get you out of our lives? Is there any way we can be restored to a close relationship with God?  We look forward to the answers to these questions.
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