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Monday, December 20, 2010

looking back at sin

Twenty–five ‘til seven and my ‘kids’ are both off to work. It’s back to the regular work week for them. This is Rachael’s half day so she should be home by noon. Michael went in early to get a head start on some project or other.
I’m here in peace with my dogs snoozing on the bed and my cats scattered here and there—also snoozing. What a group!

I talked with a friend a couple days ago. We were discussing Lot’s wife and how she had turned back to look at the burning city. Remember, God had instructed them to flee and not to look back; Lot’s wife was turned to a pillar of salt for her disobedience. My friend couldn’t decide whether or not she felt this was “fair,” after all the only thing she did was look back.
I had responded that in looking back, Lot’s wife showed that she was not really ready to leave the sin that Sodom represented behind. She still had affection for the sinfulness there. God was determined to end the sin and evil of that city by destroying it completely. When Lot's wife looked back she demonstrated her affinity for sin. She wasn't willing to leave it completely.
Jesus used the same symbolism when he said that no man putting his hand to the plow and looking back was worthy of the kingdom of heaven. He only wants those who are entirely committed to Him and to His work. When we keep yearning back to sin we can’t serve Him wholeheartedly. And He does require whole hearted service.
I think that is much of the problem with Christians who can't really live a triumphant life in Christ today. They want to be saved, but they are still looking back yearning for the things of sin. Only those who will give him Wholehearted Service are chosen to be His People. If we keep looking back and wanting the things of sin we are not wholehearted servants, so we aren’t chosen.
We are taught a lot of things that cause us to question our 'wholeheartedness. For instance, we are taught that we can sin without knowing it. Not only is that not biblical, but it also cause us to be constantly second guessing ourselves. We can never feel that we are pleasing to God. But that guilty worry also allows us to sin in little ways that we KNOW better than do, because 'after all we can't be perfect' so it's like we are discouraged from even trying.
After this discussion my friend had responded that she found things in her life that indicated she was not being ‘wholehearted.’ She gave the example of fleeting thoughts possibly of anger, or lust or dishonesty and how she didn’t spend as much time studying her bible or bring people into the church.
But we should look at the picture from God’s standpoint, not man’s. The idea of ‘fleeting thoughts’ being sin or sinning ‘without knowing it’ is very strongly taught by one major denomination. (Perhaps others too, I don’t know) But if we believe that God deals honestly with his Children, and I know we do, and if, as Paul taught us in Hebrews 10: For by one offering he hath perfected for ever them that are sanctified. Whereof the Holy Ghost also is a witness to us: for after that he had said before, This is the covenant that I will make with them after those days, saith the Lord, I will put my laws into their hearts, and in their minds will I write them;Then we must know that there is no such thing as ‘an unknown sin.’ How could His law be in our hearts, written in our minds and He not make us aware of those 'little things to which we don't give a second thought ' but are displeasing (sin) to Him? If you have the multiplications tables 'written in your mind' do you accidently forget them? No. But if you are like me and don't KNOW the division tables you accidently forget them? No, if they are not there, then you don’t know them.See what I mean. If there are things that are displeasing to God but He hasn't written them in our minds yet, then they are not sin to us. When he DOES write them there (bring them to our attention and make us aware of His displeasure in them) THEN if we don't obey we will be displeasing to Him and that disobedience would be sin.
If we look at the example of 'a fleeting thought like anger' we can find that this too is an erroneous teaching. IF it is fleeting then it is not voluntary. It is only when we ACT on those fleeting thoughts that we sin. James gave the explanation in James 1. He said, But every person is tempted when he is drawn away, enticed and baited by his own evil desire (lust, passions). Then the evil desire, when it has conceived, gives birth to sin, and sin, when it is fully matured, brings forth death. Do not be misled, my beloved brethren. (Amplified text) This was to help us understand the difference between those fleeting thoughts and sin. The temptation is that 'fleeting thought.' It has no power over you except what you allow it to have. That thought of anger comes and you shake it off, or ignore it or rebuke it, maybe, depending on how strong it is. And it is gone. There is no sin involved... BUT if that fleeting thought comes and you think on it and consider how great it would be to do something to the one that thought was directed toward THEN it begin to 'conceive' or grow into a real shape. Then as we act on it becomes real SIN. If we allow that sin to continue and we keep acting on it we will eventually be dead in sin.
And look at those beautiful words; Do not be misled, my beloved brethren. Nearly 2000 years ago, the Lord knew that sincere Christians would be distressed by these fleeting thoughts and He took time to have James explain the process of sin.. Wow! It never ceases to amaze me how the Lord has planned for our growth in His truth.

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