The Power of God through the Blood of the Cross
In James 1:13-15 we learn that we will be tempted by evil, not by God. What is the Bible’s definition of “evil” and what are it’s effects in us? I was curious so I took the word “evil” from Genesis 2, remember the tree of good and evil? I looked up the meaning in the original Hebrew: “Raah," which means bad or evil naturally or morally. KJV usage of evil: adversity, affliction, calamity, displease, distress, exceedingly, great, grief (-vous), harm, heavy, hurt (-ful), ill (favored), + mark, mischief, (-vous), misery, naught (-ty), noisome, not please, sad (-ly), sore, sorrow, trouble, vex, wicked (-ly, -ness, one), worse (-st) wretchedness, wrong. That is some pretty strong language! When James speaks of being tempted by evil, he uses the particular Greek word “Kakous” which means: wicked, wrong, bad, a perversion of what pertains to goodness, corrupt, depraved. This is what we are tempted by! After Study 3, it was no surprise to me to see that in Matthew 5:37; 3:19; 6:13; and John 17:15 Jesus Himself, calls Satan the “evil one”.
At every possible opportunity, Satan will place temptations before us in an attempt to cause us to sin. He can’t force sin upon us, he can only tempt us to yield to it. The Bible says that we are tempted in three areas: the lust of the flesh, the lust of the eye, and the pride of life.(1 John 2:16) This covers every sin in the book! The problem comes, when we choose to yield to the temptation of sin, no one else is responsible for our choice to sin, we have to own it! The only man who has walked this earth and never gave in to evil desires and the temptations of Satan was Jesus. Thank goodness! On the other hand, we must always be watchful of Satan’s schemes because our flesh struggles continuously with evil desires. James goes on to say, that we can be drawn away by them, enticed and baited by them. Then the evil desire, when it has conceived gives birth to sin, and sin when it is fully matured brings forth death”.(James 1:14) We can see that there is a progression to the temptation of evil and if it is left un-checked it leads straight to sin and then ultimately to death.
For years, I personally had a very shallow view of sin. I thought of it as only something I knew to be wrong and that is true, but sin is far worse than that. In 1 John 3:4, John tells us that sin is transgression or lawlessness. Please take a moment to read 1 John 3:4-10. The dictionary meaning of lawlessness is: a state of disorder, anarchy, complete denial of all established authority, the violation of a law or a duty or moral principle. Because sin is lawlessness against God and a violation of His authority, it is also totally opposed to Christ as the Lord and Savior of our lives. In our discussions, we have established that Satan’s strategy has always been to get rebellious man to worship self and de-throne God from his heart. This “worship of self” can come in many different forms called “sins”. Billy Graham says, “We need to remember that there is a difference between sin and sins. When we use the word “sin” we usually think of the actions or bad habits that we know are wrong. But those are specific sins, and they are the result of sin, the deeper spiritual disease that infects our soul. Sin is the cause; sins are the effect. Sin is the tree, sins are its fruit. Sin is the disease, sins are the symptoms.”
I had someone say to me once, “I may not be perfect, but I’m not a wretched sinner! In someone saying this, Satan has convinced them into pulling God down from His throne and His absolute holiness in the judging of their sin. They are actually saying, “Surely, a loving God understands that I’m only human and He wouldn’t demand perfect righteousness and holiness from me! If Satan can convince us that God is not so holy and were not so sinful, then we won’t need the precious Blood of a sinless Savior to atone for our sin! Sin is so totally opposed to Jesus Christ and what was accomplished on the Cross. This deception of how we view God’s holiness is a big problem in the modern church today and is exactly how Satan works through sin to undermine the Cross. We all struggle with sin, the Bible makes this clear in scriptures such as Romans 3:23 and 1 John 1:10. But the truth is, if we do not have a biblical view of the seriousness of sin, believer or non-believer, we will not feel the need for anything nearly as radical as a Savior who “appeared that he might take away our sin”. (1 John 3:5)
Unfortunately, a lot of Christians continue to live in sin and most non-believers see themselves as good people. These two views seem to be opposite but they are just the same. It is also unfortunate, but true, that non-believers do not see a big difference between themselves as sinners and Christians as non- sinners. They see Christians divorcing, drinking, swearing, gossiping, lying, having affairs, stealing money, addicted to pornography, addicted to prescription drugs, depressed, angry, suicidal and the list goes on and on. Is there a big difference in the lives of believers and non-believers? Are we Christ’s spotless Bride walking in victory and wholeness? Is His church full of miracles and healing? Are our non- believing friends pushing their way into our churches with standing room only?
The Bible is very clear in stating that God hates sin. (Psalm 11:5-6) We can see how much God hates sin by looking at what he has done to redeem us from it. He sent his Son to earth to die on a cross to condemn sin and to save his creation from their sin (Matt. 1:21). He made his Son, who knew no sin, to be sin that we might be made righteous (2 Cor. 5:21). He sent his son to bear our sin in His body that we might be dead to sin. (1 Peter 2:24). He admonishes us as Christians to stop sinning. (1 John 3:9). The modern church has fallen into serious deception on this crucial matter of sin. We as a church need to understand that holy living is recognizing the sinfulness of sin, both in its essence as lawlessness and in its satanic origin. We also need to recognize sin as absolute incompatibility with God and His holy character. The more clearly we grasp these two facts, the more detestable sin will appear to us. The Bible clearly teaches that when a man is saved his life is drastically changed, yet there are so many who profess to be children of God and yet their lives remain full of sin. One of the most heartbreaking things to me is a brother or sister who professes to be a Christian and yet they lack any conviction of the sin in their life. We as Christians must understand the nature of sin and it’s effects. We must live sinless lives to make a difference. We need to be set apart in His righteousness which will enable us to offer un- believers more than what this world offers. Satan has succeeded in the destruction and debilitation of too many believers through sin and sins. He has also created a perception of the body of Christ that we are no different than anyone else who walks on the face of the earth.
In 1 John 3: 7-8, John divides all people into two groups: those who practice righteousness and those who practice sin. Most people, even Christians have a real hard time with this concept when it comes to someone we know and love. The Bible teaches that if anyone rejects the message of the Cross, he is practicing sin. For me this is what I call a “hard but truthful teaching." It’s hard because I personally know lots of good hearted people who have rejected God’s gift of salvation and yet continue to attend church. I have very fond memories of my grandmother Mary. (I was 9 when she died) As an adult, I asked my mother one day about her. She told me grandma Mary did not believe in Jesus. I was shocked! I knew she had attended church once in a while. My reaction, “My grandmother was honest and good to everyone! I know she believed in the basic goodness of human nature and practiced it. How could she be considered sinful and separated from God”? It’s hard to believe that God gives no other option but death for those who have chosen not to believe in His Son. The truth is, my grandmother may have died in her sin. I don’t know her last moments of thought or the last minute confessions of her heart, only God knows. But what I do know is that she never confessed Christ as her Savior before men and “her goodness” is not good enough to stand before the King of Kings and the Lord of Lords. She most likely perished without the covering Blood of Jesus. (Matthew 10:32-33) This is a hard but truthful teaching! This is the sin of lawlessness! (1 John 3:4) The wages of sin is death.(Rom. 6:23) Even the disciples struggled with Jesus’ message of “His Blood and His Flesh” being the “only way” of salvation. (John 6:60)
This deception of “believing in the goodness of human nature” is deadly. It is opposite to the Biblical teaching of “sin” and our need of a Savior. This thinking is infiltrating our churches, schools and colleges at an alarming rate. It’s called “Humanism”. Humanism teaches that man is inherently good, not sinful as the Bible teaches. If our need is just a few pointers on how to have a happier life or to improve our self worth, then why talk about Christ shedding His precious Blood to purify us from our sin? (1 John 1:7; 2:1-2) None of it is necessary! Continue in your sin! As a church we need to comprehend and understand sin. We can never believe we are good and honest on our own account. As believers, we must recognize the sinfulness of sin! Let’s be willing to take inventory of our own hearts daily so that we can offer a lost and perishing world real answers to real life problems. Let’s offer them the real Jesus!
Our Journey through
What does the Bible say about evil? Matthew 15:18-19; Mark 7:20-23; Luke 11:13
What is our struggle with in Romans 7:14-25? How many times does Paul say “I” in verses 14-25?
What is the root of evil and what can happen? 1 Timothy 6:10
What else can the love of money do? Mark 4:19
How does the Lord feel about evil? Psalm 34:16; 1 Peter 3:12
What are we to do in Isaiah 33:15; Romans 12:17, 21; Colossians 3:1-9; 1 Thess. 5:22?
Read 2 Thessalonians 2:3-12 with Romans 1:25. What is the lie for which these un-believers exchanged the truth of God? Are Christians sometimes guilty of believing this lie?
Who has sinned? Ecclesiastes 7:20; Romans 3:23
In Romans 1:20-21, 32 are people unaware of their sin?
In Romans 1:31 what does Paul list as some of the fruit of sin? How many human vices are listed in this portion of scripture?
What were Joseph’s and David’s attitude toward sin? Genesis 39:9; Psalm 19:13-14
What should be our attitude toward sin? Psalms 119:104; Proverbs 8:7; Jude 23
What are some of the consequences of sin in the following scriptures? Exodus 32:33; 2 Kings 14:6; Psalm 5:4-5; Proverbs 13:21; Isaiah 59:2; Ezekiel 18:4, 20, 24; Hebrews 9:27; 1 John 3: 6-10; Revelation 20:11-15
Evil is Satan's system by which he administers the rulership of this world. He uses his world rulership to try to bring about the downfall of Jesus Christ. Failing that, Satan tries to turn as many people away from Christ as possible. Through Evil, Satan brings about two major consequences on earth: sin and human good (the motivation of Evil), both of which are based on errors in thinking. The sin of self-righteousness combined with human good or sincerity produces a saturation of Evil in a nation. One of the main reasons for learning about Evil from the Bible is to learn that man cannot solve his problems by human solutions. Any effective solution to a human problem is a divine solution. And there is an answer in the Bible for every human need or problem. Anything that is outside of the plan of God is part of Satan's strategy of Evil. Therefore, any person who is consistently involved in the worldly (Satanic) system is directly involved with Evil. Evil results in the destruction of society, the malfunction of society. Evil causes the removal of legitimate authority and its function under the laws of divine establishment. Just as grace and doctrine represent the genius of God in relationship to the human race, so Evil represents the genius of Satan in relationship to the human race. Therefore, how you think is very important. There are two ways of thinking: Divine viewpoint is thinking doctrine, which glorifies Christ. Human viewpoint is thinking Evil, which dishonors Christ. Therefore, the issue is thought vs thought. Evil attempts to produce a human good which is expected to solve the problems of life apart from the Bible and divine establishment. So, Evil is often a distortion of doctrine or a distortion of the laws of divine establishment. Satan's original sin was a distortion of doctrine. Pastor R. B. Thieme
What this pastor is talking about is a form of “Humanism” which is being taught in our schools and colleges today with a passion. My personal opinion is that it has also infiltrated our modern day church. Below is a excerpt from the American Humanist Association:
“Humanists reject the claim that the Bible is the word of God. They are convinced the book was written solely by humans in an ignorant, superstitious, and cruel age. They believe that because the writers of the Bible lived in an unenlightened era, the book contains many errors and harmful teachings. Humanists receive much criticism due to their position on the Bible. Some critics even accuse them of being evil. This article attempts to clarify the reasons why Humanists hold negative views about the Bible. In the United States, the Bible is often hailed as a divinely inspired book. Television and radio carry religious programs praising the Bible as the holy and infallible word of God. Religious groups also distribute vast amounts of books, magazines, tapes, pamphlets, and other items. The materials promote the idea that, as televangelist Pat Robertson has said, "The Bible . .. is a workable guidebook for politics, business, families and all the affairs of mankind." The Bible is also extolled by many politicians. For instance, President Ronald Reagan signed into law an Act of Congress proclaiming 1983 to be the "Year of the Bible." The law described the Bible as the "Word of God" and said there is "a national need to study and apply its teachings." The massive and incessant promotion of the Bible significantly influences the beliefs of millions. A Gallup poll showed that over 30% of Americans believe that the Bible is the word of God and its teachings should be taken literally. Gallup identified an additional 25% of Americans who consider the Bible as inspired by God, but think some verses should be interpreted symbolically rather than literally. Gallup says many other people, while having doubts about whether the entire Bible is the word of God, still consider the book to be a source of moral truths and regard its teachings as deserving great respect. Such views about the Bible are surely responsible, at least in part, for Gallup’s finding that over two-thirds of Americans belong to churches or synagogues, and 40% attend services on a weekly basis. If the Humanist view of the Bible is correct, millions of Bible-believers and churchgoers are wasting much time, money, and energy. Humanity’s condition could be greatly improved if those resources were used for solving the world's problems instead of worshiping a nonexistent God. Moreover, because so many people have been told the Bible is the "Good Book," biblical teachings shape the attitudes of millions on numerous subjects. When the subjects involve governmental issues, all of society can be affected when Bible-believers express their views in the political arena. Anyone who becomes politically active can soon discover that Bible teachings influence the opinions of many Americans on issues involving nuclear war, overpopulation, conservation, women’s rights, gay rights, racial equality, corporal punishment of children, church-state separation, sex education, science, abortion, contraception, censorship, capital punishment, and other subjects. When people view the Bible as the word of a just and omniscient God, and attempt to have society's laws and social practices reflect biblical teachings, serious error and harm will occur if the Bible was actually written by fallible humans who lived in an unenlightened era. In that case, the Bible would not be a guidebook for attaining human happiness and well-being. It would instead perpetuate the ideas of an ignorant and superstitious past - and prevent humanity from rising to a higher level.”