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And He Himself gave some to be....evangelists, and some pastors and teachers, for the equipping of the saints for the work of ministry, for the edifying of the body of Christ...
- Ephesians 4:11-12

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Location: The Hill Country of Texas

Pastor - Providence Reformed Baptist Church
Director - TIME in the Word Ministries

Thursday, July 13, 2006

Overcoming Sin - Understanding Sins Origin

TIME in the Word - Daily Devotional
Together for Inspiration, Motivation, and Encouragement

Verse of the Day - James 1:13-15
Let no one say when he is tempted, “I am tempted by God”; for God cannot be tempted by evil, nor does He Himself tempt anyone. But each one is tempted when he is drawn away by his own desires and enticed. Then, when desire has conceived, it gives birth to sin; and sin, when it is full-grown, brings forth death.

Daily Scripture Reading - Romans 6

Puritan Catechism
Question #33 - What is adoption?

Answer - Adoption is an act of God's free grace (1 Jn. 3:1), whereby we are received into the number, and have a right to all the privileges of the sons of God (Jn. 1:12; Rom. 8:17).

Confessing Our Faith
A daily reading from The Second London Baptist Confession of Faith, 1689, as amended by Charles Spurgeon.

Chapter 18 – Assurance of Salvation

Devotional Thoughts
Continuing on in our study, this week's devotionals are focusing on the two main obstacles to discernment and how we can overcome them. When it comes to understanding the difference between right and wrong, good and evil, sound and unsound doctrine, there really are only two things that stand in the way.

The first, as we have seen, is our own immaturity. Paul said it plainly - by now you should be teachers but instead you are still needing milk. It is time to move on to solid food. Grow up and eat meat! We have learned that to overcome immaturity we must meditate on the Word of God, abide in Christ, and be discipled. All of this of course is rooted in reading and walking in the Word of God. To mature and grow fruit requires our seeking nourishment from the Word and our walk with Christ.

The second obstacle we will look at the next two days is sin. Whether it is willful or done in ignorance, sin blinds us to the truth. Sin is trangressing God's Word. It is a violation of everything we learned about overcoming immaturity. Transgressing God's Word is indeed an obstacle to discernment. So we will also study where sin comes from and how we should deal with it, including a look at what our attitude and our actions should be in response to sin.

Today we ask the question, "Where does our sin come from?"

The answers available from a variety of books, sermons, and studies on the topic run from one extreme to another. Some say there is no such thing as sin. Others that sin is actually just weakness, or a disease. Character flaws replace habitual sins. We even rename besetting sins so that they are not so sinful sounding. Adultery becomes an affair. Drukeness becomes a disease. Lying becomes stretching the truth. Cheating becomes finding an advantage. The list goes on.

But what I hope we do understand is that if we are to know the root of our sin then we must go to the only place on this earth where we can get a clear and concise explanation. Of course I am speaking about the Word of God. It is the Bible that shows us the truth about our sin. So what does the Bible say?

Well many today start off back in the Garden of Eden. They take us back to the beginning, and they blame either other people or even the serpent. It is the influence of others, peer pressure, misuse of authority - whatever we claim - it is another person's fault and not our own. But if we really want to make a point we play the blame game by pointing at that old dragon, Satan, Lucifer - whatever name they call him they blame the devil. In fact, the phrase that has become almost comical is that when people sin they glibbly proclaim, "The devil made me do it."

But let us look at the Garden and see if this accusation will stand the test of Scripture. Can we blame the devil when we sin? After all, when we do that we are only acting in accord with our nature - like the children of Adam and Eve that we truly are. For there in the Garden when confronted with their sin Adam was quick to blame Eve and Eve immediately blamed the serpent. There is nothing new under the sun.

But who did God blame?

He blamed them all! Each one there had sinned against Him. The serpent by tempting Adam and Eve to rebel, Eve by listening and giving in, and Adam for failing to protect Eve and eating the fruit with her knowing all along that it was sinful. God always holds the sinner responsible for his or her own sin. The Bible is clear, He will not hold another person responsible for our sin. Consider Ezekiel 18:20:

The soul who sins shall die. The son shall not bear the guilt of the father, nor the father bear the guilt of the son. The righteousness of the righteous shall be upon himself, and the wickedness of the wicked shall be upon himself.

But wait, you say, surely there is an excepion. Yes there is. There is one gracious exception to this standard of responsibility. By grace God decided that His Son would become a substitute for those who would be saved. So He bore the penalty of our sin upon Himself even though He was sinless! Praise God for the exception to the rule.

However, we are still faced with the question, "Where does our sin come from?"

And another answer that is often given is that God created all and is sovereign and so God must have created evil as part of His overall plan for His glory. So God created evil, He made sin, and He caused Adam and Eve, and you and me, to sin. Some will even quote a verse of Scripture to try and prove their point. They will take their Bible and turn to Amos 3:6 in their King James Only Bible and they will proclaim with assurance and pride:

shall there be evil in a city, and the LORD hath not done it?

What? The Lord causes evil?? Well, actually, NO! To say so would mean that the Bible contradicts itself, but more on that later. First let us look at this verse. A simple study proves that the word translated in the King James as "evil" is better translated "calamity" as it is in the New King James and New American Standard or "disaster" as it is in the English Standard Version and the New International Version. You see, the word does not mean God creates or causes evil. It means He can and does cause disaster and calamity when He so choses.

But back to the idea that to say this would mean that God's Word contradicts itself. For the Bible presents a picture of God who cannot be touched with sin, accused of sin, or guilty of sin. To the point that we are told that He cannot even be charged with tempting us to sin. He does not cause sin, and He does not even tempt us to sin.

And there we come to see the answer to our questions. James 1:13-15 tells us:

Let no one say when he is tempted, “I am tempted by God”; for God cannot be tempted by evil, nor does He Himself tempt anyone. But each one is tempted when he is drawn away by his own desires and enticed. Then, when desire has conceived, it gives birth to sin; and sin, when it is full-grown, brings forth death.

You see, God does not tempt us. Our sin then is not the result of the doings of the devil or the pressure of other people. Neither is it the work of God. No. Our sin simply put is a result of our depravity. Each of us is tempted to sin when we are drawn away from the safety of truth by our own desires. It is the lust of our fallen flesh that dooms us! Our desires. Our lust. Our wants. Our fallen flesh. This sinful body craves satisfaction and sin - and so we are drawn into sin by our own fallenness.

It is not the devil, it is depravity. Sin starts in our fallen flesh as we battle the "lust of the flesh, the lust of the eyes, and the pride of life." This is the bait that lures us into sin and away from God and His Word. And the Bible tells us that when that desire conceives, when it takes root and starts to grow, the result is sin. And sin produces only one fruit - DEATH.

Sometimes we forget that the wages of sin is still death. But that is the only place sin will take us. It offers the heights of pleasure and fulfillment but ends only in death. Our fallen body sure does a good job of painting a pretty picture of those things which lead inevitably to our demise!

We cannot downplay the role that the world (other people) and the devil do play in our being lead into sin - but ultimately each of these things only appeal to some unfulfilled lust already present in our fallen flesh. As it is said, the world the flesh and the devil simply appeal to our lust. We are the ones to blame when we sin. Just as God dealt a consequence to Adam, to Eve, and to the serpent - so to He tells us that there are consequences for our sin.

What are we to do then about our sin? Tune in tomorrow and we will examine a proper attitude to have toward sin. In fact, our view of sin itself is one of the keys to overcoming sin.

Links for Further Study
(links to study each daily topic in more detail if you have the desire and the time)

Adam's Fall and Mine by R.C. Sproul
The Man in Romans 7 by Fred Malone

Bible Reading For Further Study

Recommended Songs for Worship

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