'Christ in You...'
by Dale Krebbs
For many centuries Christians have pondered the "why?" of SIN. Why is there sin anyway? Where did it come from, and why does it continue? The FACT of sin is widely recognized, even in pop-religion today, and the result of sin has been catalogued and dissected and analyzed, observed and defined. And most are familiar with the Apostle John’s statement that sin is the transgression of the law (1 John 3:4), although the idea of using this scripture as a concise definition of sin is questionable at best. A very short definition of sin is that sin is anything that is in any way anti-God. A short discussion of the subject of the greatest sin, appeared in this column a few weeks ago.
But WHY sin? Even more intriguing is, where did sin come from? Then, why did (and does) God ALLOW sin since it is so bad? Questions can continue to be posed in a kind of theological "reverse engineering" of sin all the way back into eternity past. God is eternal, and has always been, and we know, if we believe His witness about Himself, that He is sinless, has never sinned and never will. It is very convenient to just acknowledge that Satan is the originator of sin, when he rebelled against God, which is true (Isaiah 14:12-14) But - why, since God is in control of all the past, present, and future? Perhaps we are reluctant to ask the next logical question: DID GOD ALLOW (wherever it came from) SIN from the beginning? He must have - and we still have it (John 8:44).
Theological discussions and speculations notwithstanding, we all know sin as a reality. If we are surrendered to God and to His righteousness, we struggle constantly against the "sin principle" in our being. Sin is here. And although we are no longer guilty of unbelief, we must resist sin in all its manifestations, outside and inside. Sin entered this world long ago, at a time and into a world that is no more (Romans 5:12-21) because of that sin. Sin is so pervasive that it inhabits our very being (Romans 7:23). Until we come to believe in and surrender to Jesus Christ, we are dead because of this sin. As the Apostle Paul alludes to, we are just living death, because of the sin in "our members"! When Adam and Eve took that first bite, at that very instant they began to die. What was designed to be for life instantly became death! We also, were born into sin (Psalm 51:3-7), and from that moment we began to die. This would never have been true except for the events in the Garden of Eden (Genesis 2:17). Satan now takes the occasion of the flesh, as sin’s representative, manipulator, and enabler. Knowing the state of our nature, he uses it against us, lays traps for us, takes advantage of weaknesses, discourages us when we are down. He often uses our genuine repentance against us! He considers repentance to be a sign of weakness which he can use to drive us into despair and deprecation. He will try to drive us into doubting that our heart is right, and that our repentance is real. And most certainly our repentance must be real!
There is a danger that is sometimes missed in regard to repentance from sin. We as God’s children would do well to remember that our genuine sorrow and contrition to God for our sin must be ONLY FOR A SEASON - otherwise, our peace of mind and our restored right relationship to the Father and Jesus that the sorrow was intended to bring about can be stalled and hindered. Often this can be the work of Satan, to undermine the process and cause negative effects and spiritually destructive consequences (2 Corinthians 2:9-11). The lack of knowing that you ARE FORGIVEN can be as destructive to you personally as NOT FORGIVING (2 Corinthians 2:5-8). The importance of this is echoed by God after the death of Moses (Joshua 1:2). The days of mourning were over. Israel now must go on. And so must we (Hebrews 12:11-13).
When all the evidence considering sin with all of its shapes and manifestitations and effects throughout all history are considered, there emerges a most obvious, although shocking reality. GOD PLANNED FOR SIN, and GOD USES SIN! Sometime in the eons past, many of God's creation of angelic hosts rebelled (sinned), and were cast out of God's presence. They had a choice. Apparently they were free willed - they could choose to rebel or not to rebel. Also, at some time in etenity past, God declared that He would create a new order of beings - an order of beings destined to be of a much higher order than even the angels (1 Corinthians 6:2-3). Think about this. Consider the two events at some time in eternity past. We do not know which came first, or it all was first. It is impossible to comprehend an infinite Creator with our created, finite mind. Now think of the marvelous wisdom of God! He has rebellious angels. And He has a plan - a plan to create beings higher than the angels, that have His character, even attributes of His very own nature. But creating characer takes TIME, and EXPERIENCE with making choices. The angels were created, but they apparently were not moulded into Gods character. This process is unknowable by us, but in some way it occurred. What better way could ever be devised to instill character in these beings (humans), than to allow Satan to test, and influence, and even to attack the heirs of this new order. He is allowed to USE SIN AGAINST US. However, in this process God is working to USE THAT SIN FOR US! Satan plots, and plans against us, sets traps, temptations of sin, uses evil cunning against us. If we have surrendered to God, if we love Him for first loving us by creating us, and planning a future for us so wild and unimaginable that, if we could know it all, we would not be able to take it in! (1 Corinthians 2:9) All the time that we struggle to overcome sin, resisting the Devil, drawing closer to God, becoming more and more dependent upon Him, the more we become like Him. He has given us the Holy Spirit to empower us and to mould us into Jesus' image. This involves repentance when we sin, and fail, and stumble. We get up and go on, and struggle with our own sinful, fallen nature, we struggle with a sin burdened world (it IS Satan's world), and directly with evil spirits in heavenly places (Ephesians 6:12-18).
Sin is being used against us. But sin is being used by God to perfect us! (Romans 11:33-36)
Whatever sins origins, whenever sin began, God was still omnipotent. Almighty God, in some way that we at present are not capable of or have not been given the capacity for understanding, has allowed sin to be. Other questions arise of course - will sin always be possible, regardless of everything else that God has planned? God has said that He will not dwell in the presence of sin - at least unforgiven sin. Satan, the "light bringer" became the original sin bringer sometime in past eternity. God allowed him to rebel. Did God know he would rebel (sin)? Satan will eventually be confined to a place of eternal restraint (Revelation 20:10). Will this finally remove even the POSSIBILITY for sin - forever?
We must at the same time remember that God hates sin! And so should we. But we must learn to love the sinner as God does. Someone has said that God forgives sinners, but He never forgives sin itself. It is His supreme and eternal antithesis!
We can also accept as a fact that God USES SIN. And without Satan comprehending it, God is also using the Arch-Sinner himself. Satan is using sin against us, but God is using this, since He is omnipotent. He has done so ever since the episode in the Garden (Job 1:7-12). God, in a completely unfathomable way, is USING SIN FOR US (Luke 2:31). By allowing us to struggle daily against the wiles of Satan, and against the sin in our flesh, and the sin in the world, we are developing "spiritual muscle" as it were. A spiritual strength and fortitude that will never subside and will never need the process to begin over again, like our physical muscles must be subjected to. At the same time God has condemned sin in our flesh (Romans 8:3), while at the same time USING IT for us to struggle against that we may grow in the process (Galatians 5:16-23).
The grand purpose of God to bring us into His famil y WILL be accomplished It has all been bought and paid for by God Himself - ON A CROSS!
We shall know the whole counsel of God, the whole story of our salvation, on that wonderful day when we will know - even as we have been known.
I pray that you will be there...
"What then shall we say to these things? If God is for us, who can be against us? He who did not spare his own Son but gave him up for us all, how will he not also with him graciously give us all things? Who shall bring any charge against God's elect? It is God who justifies. Who is to condemn? Christ Jesus is the one who died-more than that, who was raised-who is at the right hand of God, who indeed is interceding for us. Who shall separate us from the love of Christ? Shall tribulation, or distress, or persecution, or famine, or nakedness, or danger, or sword? As it is written, "For your sake we are being killed all the day long; we are regarded as sheep to be slaughtered." No, in all these things we are more than conquerors through him who loved us. For I am sure that neither death nor life, nor angels nor rulers, nor things present nor things to come, nor powers, nor height nor depth, nor anything else in all creation, will be able to separate us from the love of God in Christ Jesus our Lord." - Romans 8:31-39
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