Friday, November 23, 2012

In This Way Death

Adam On the High Price of Disobedience

Therefore, just as sin entered the world through one man, and death through sin, and in this way death came to all men, because all sinned... (Romans 5:12 NIV84)
We can learn a lot from this verse if we reflect on the "just as" and the "in this way" and then journey through the scriptures to see what mistakes Adam made, what we can learn from them and how we can make better choices.

Beyond all doubt Romans 5:12-21 centers on Christ: His example of obedience and the great things He accomplished for us in His mighty work of redemption. However that work was necessitated by Adam's act of disobedience and the terrible results of that disobedience in the lives of each of Adam's descendants.

There were four players in the great drama of the first act of disobedience: God, Who gave Adam one specific command (And the LORD God commanded the man, “You are free to eat from any tree in the garden; but you must not eat from the tree of the knowledge of good and evil, for when you eat of it you will surely die (Genesis 2:16–17 NIV84).” ); Satan, the father of lies, who was a murderer from the beginning; Eve, one flesh with Adam, his one and only companion, his partner in establishing God's reign on the earth; and Adam, who needed to make a decision.

Besides God's commandment and the call to love God with all his heart, mind, soul and strength there were three influences on Adam: the world, the flesh and the devil. We've mentioned the devil who desired to steal all that God had given Adam, to separate Adam from God and to destroy God's kingdom on earth. Adam's flesh included all of his human nature without consideration of God. This battle was not about Adam choosing his lower nature instead of his higher nature, it was about him choosing to disregard his relationship with God.
Do not love the world or anything in the world. If anyone loves the world, the love of the Father is not in him. For everything in the world—the cravings of sinful man, the lust of his eyes and the boasting of what he has and does—comes not from the Father but from the world. The world and its desires pass away, but the man who does the will of God lives forever (1 John 2:15–17 NIV84).
Through the eyes of his wife, Adam saw that "the fruit of the tree was good for food and pleasing to the eye, and also desirable for gaining wisdom (Genesis 3:6 NIV84)." Genesis 3:6 spells out the lust of the flesh, the desire of the eye and the pride of life involved in this temptation, but what worldly influence was there?

Adam's world revolved around his wife, Eve. Before the fall he said of her, "This is now bone of my bones and flesh of my flesh; she shall be called ‘woman,’ for she was taken out of man (Genesis 2:23 NIV84)." Notice that he did not name her at this point. Naming her would imply that he had power over her. He just said that she would be called woman. He recognized how everyone would perceive and address her. Also, he declared her essence. Woman is a marvelous word. It sounds like man, but it isn't man. Women are equal to men in every respect but they are different. That's all I'm saying.

It's been pointed out that Adam was with Eve while she was being tempted by the enemy of her soul and did nothing to support her. He remained silent and just waited to see how things would play out. I think that is a true and useful observation, but what did the Apostle Paul say about this?
For Adam was formed first, then Eve. And Adam was not the one deceived; it was the woman who was deceived and became a sinner (1 Timothy 2:13–14 NIV84).
This language may sound harsh to our modern ears, but there are two things here that are critical to the topic at hand:
  • Adam was formed first. That put him in a place of responsibility. He was called by God to be the servant leader.
  • Adam knew what he was doing. He was not fooled by the lies of the devil. He brought destruction on his family with full knowledge of what he was doing.
No temptation has seized you except what is common to man. And God is faithful; he will not let you be tempted beyond what you can bear. But when you are tempted, he will also provide a way out so that you can stand up under it (1 Corinthians 10:13 NIV84).
The enemy of our souls is capable of using much more cunning deceptions than he does, but God does not allow him to and, frankly, he doesn't need to. We fall for lies that we know are utter nonsense. We choose to believe things like:
  • If I just have this one shiny thing, I'll be happy.
  • Some lucky dog's gotta win.
  • I can play with fire and not get burned.
When we believe this nonsense we:
  • Focus on our own selfish needs and childish egos
  • Disregard the God who created us and sent His Son to die for us
  • Bring trouble on those we care the most about
I don't believe we are guilty of Adam's sin, but we did inherit his conditions. As a result of Adam's act of disobedience we have a sinful nature to contend with. Trouble has come on all of us because of Adam, but Christ's obedience has given us a new opportunity. When we give our lives to the One Who gave His life for us we are born-again, made new, free to make better choices. No destructive habit, no character flaw, no personality weakness has power over the child of God. We still have a sinful nature to deal with but by daily surrendering to the authority of Christ in our lives, confessing our failings and seeking to follow the leading of God's Spirit we can live a victorious Christian life.

How can we avoid the way of death?
  • Recognize that the enemy of our souls desires our destruction and will tell us all sorts of lies that appeal to our selfish desires and childish egos
  • Disobeying God will bring trouble on us, our families and those around us
  • We need to listen to others, but we also need to acknowledge God and when we do that He promised to direct our paths
God does love us and He has a wonderful plan for our lives.

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