Tuesday, August 7, 2012

Sinning in Circles

Jealousy is a God quality. Dt. 4:24 “For the Lord your God is a consuming fire, a jealous God.”
But when I embrace jealousy for myself rather than God's glory, I err & fall into sin.

God allows sin that His glory may be revealed. But sin is not an effective way to gain more of His grace. On the contrary: if I sin to gain more from God, I err precisely because I'm seeking my own fulfillment. Ro. 6:1 “What shall we say, then? Shall we go on sinning so that grace may increase? By no means! We died to sin; how can we live in it any longer?”

All the things that cause me to sin are such because they're directed inward, toward my own interests & my own glory. Passion is a Godly thing, but lust is not. Jealousy is a Godly thing, but envy is not. Humility is a Godly thing, but false humility for the sake of gaining one's own glory is selfish.

Satan wanted to be like God. But aren't we all called to be like God? Aren't we called to be “little Christs?”. Satan didn't just want to be like God, he wanted to be God. He wanted God's glory, power & authority for himself. He wanted to call the shots, he wanted to sit on the throne, he wanted to take for himself what God would never give him. And this got him kicked out of heaven along with 1/3 of the angels. Think about it. Angels who were created by God & dwelt in His presence actually thought Satan was onto something & followed him headlong.

Satan & his cohorts were cast to earth & given dominion outside the confines of heaven. Jesus came into the kingdom of this world- that is, Satan's kingdom- and was obedient unto death, not for His own sake, but for ours. Jesus didn't give His life to re-establish God's authority, nor did He die to satisfy some self-serving prophecy. Jesus died for the jealousy of God concerning us, the anger of God concerning sin & the excellence of God's image that still marks us, sinners though we are. For love of God & for us, Jesus, His own Son, surrendered Himself completely. He “...humbled Himself & became obedient to death- even death on a cross!” Philippians 2: 8. Consider why He became obedient to the one who opposed Him... “If your enemy is hungry, feed him; if he is thirsty, give him something to drink. In doing this, you will heap burning coals on his head. Do not be overcome by evil, but overcome evil with good.” Romans 12:20-21. God gave the devil what He wanted, but there was a catch.

Jesus was never legally bound to Satan's authority, though He submitted to it for a time... God was & is and ever shall be the ultimate reigning authority. All authority that “is” has been given by God the Father (Ro. 13:1), including the authority He gave Satan over this earth. It was God Who established the laws by which Satan could rule. “Cursed is everyone who hangs on a tree” & “The wages of sin is death” (Gal. 3:13, Ro. 6:23) were actually God's idea...

“You will not surely die... you will become like God...” Remember those words from Genesis? I can't help but wonder if Satan tempted Jesus' humanity with these words in the Garden of Gethsemane (just as he spoke these same words to Eve in the Garden of Eden)... Jesus didn't have to go through with any of this. He WAS God... but in the end, we know Jesus did indeed take the fruit of a tree- that is, the cross- and ate of it. But the result was different. Adam & Eve lived out their lives & died. But in Jesus' case, its as if time & consequence collapsed & came full circle in 3 short days. He took the curse of sin upon Himself & paid the penalty for it right then & there. The curse of death was vanquished by the death of the curse when the Beginning & the End signed the final word of the covenant with His own blood. “It is finished.” He said. The terms have been written & satisfied. The devil is doomed & we can be saved because Jesus subjected Himself to the jurisdiction of death but for a moment & reconciled us to life with God for eternity. Consider God's mercy: that even now we may become citizens of heaven & escape the kingdom of this world because of Christ's selflessness.

All the things that cause me to sin are such because they're directed inward, toward my own interests & my own glory. This is what got Satan kicked out of heaven & earned an him eternal wrath to come. But Jesus came to break the cycle of sinning in circles. All I have to do is look up to the cross. When I allow it's image to be reflected not only in my eyes but in my heart, I'll start walking straight (the cross ever before me) & people will start seeing Jesus in me...

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