Monday, February 26, 2007

The Devil Made Me Do It!

How often have we heard this well worn and often flippant remark? How often has it been used as a humorous retort when the question “Why did you eat the last cookie?!?” was leveled against a guilty chocolate chip purloiner, and how often has it been used in deadly seriousness by sociopathic mass murderers under the scrutiny of our justice system?

Interestingly the same defense (i.e. someone else is responsible) was employed by both Adam and Eve in the garden when they stood guilty of disobedience before God in Genesis 3:11-13; And he said, Who told thee that thou wast naked? Hast thou eaten of the tree, whereof I commanded thee that thou shouldest not eat? And the man said, The woman whom thou gavest to be with me, she gave me of the tree, and I did eat. And the LORD God said unto the woman, What is this that thou hast done? And the woman said, The serpent beguiled me, and I did eat.

As we see clearly revealed in the Holy Writ, mankind is quick to blame someone else for his shortcomings. Adam stood before God and, not unlike a typical child, declared that ”the woman” (it was HER Lord, not ME!) “whom thou gavest to be with me” (YOU put her here Lord, it isn’t MY fault that YOU put her here!) was to blame. No doubt Eve’s mind was racing at the speed of light for a scapegoat as she stood before God with her “loving husband” wagging his accusing finger in her face (as well as God’s) and so Eve does what comes naturally, she blames someone else! “The serpent beguiled me” - i.e. the devil made me do it!

In the eons of time since that fateful day mankind has selfishly and predictably clung to his perverse notion that someone else is responsible for his own acts of irresponsibility. Man flees from responsibility for if he were to face up to his error, his sin, his responsibility before his Creator and Judge then he would no longer have the spiritual fig leaf of his own making behind which he perpetually hides.

Certainly today’s fig leaf is different than the literal aprons of fig leaves fashioned by Adam and Eve to hide their nakedness before God, yet the spiritual significance of this act remains the same. The modern fig leaf apron is fashioned of science, intellectualism, secular humanism, new age mysticism, Gnosticism, atheism, agnosticism, Neo-Darwinian evolution, and any number of other “reasons” – so called – for sinful man to suppress the knowledge of God in unrighteousness.

But as we see in the Biblical account of God’s rejection of man’s fig leaf apron, God still rejects sinful man’s feeble attempts to hide his spiritual nakedness; Unto Adam also and to his wife did the LORD God make coats of skins, and clothed them. (Genesis 3:21). The fig leaf aprons represented man’s attempt to cover himself with his own works, which God – as always – utterly rejected. Instead God gave Adam and Eve animal skins with which to cover their nakedness. This is important because the animal skins represent the shedding of blood for sin which is a foreshadowing of the shed blood of Jesus Christ upon the cross of Calvary. Yet we know that as in the garden, the enemy will appeal to man's sinful pride in an effort to convince him that he can save himself, that he doesn't need God, that his "good works" - so called - are sufficient.

Man’s works are and always have been unacceptable to God and are as filthy rags before Him (Isaiah 64:6). The shedding of blood is what cleanses sins and the works of man are not an acceptable substitute.

If you’re trusting in your good works, your church membership, your charitable donations, your volunteerism, in short if you’re trusting in anything other than the all sufficient work of the cross for your salvation then you’ve believed a lie and are alienated from the Kingdom of Heaven. There is only One True Living God, the Creator and Judge of the universe, the Triune God of Christianity known as The Father, The Son and The Holy Spirit. He is absolutely holy and just and may only be approached by faith believing in the risen Savior, Jesus Christ the King of Kings and Lord of Lords. That in the ages to come he might shew the exceeding riches of his grace in his kindness toward us through Christ Jesus. For by grace are ye saved through faith; and that not of yourselves: it is the gift of God: Not of works, lest any man should boast.(Ephesians 2:7-9)

In all the enemy's efforts to entice man to blame someone else for his shortcomings it's interesting to note that the natural man will never look to someone else to save him. He's quick to blame another for any problem or sin, but he will not and cannot look to the Risen Savior to save his soul. This is a great paradox but is indicative of the utterly depraved and wicked condition of the human heart. Only by the drawing of the Holy Spirit might man approach unto the salvation of the cross of Christ. Only by the power of God is sinful man able to lift up his eyes and cry out "Lord, help me!"

Nonetheless God is faithful is not willing that any should perish, but that all should come to repentance. (2 Peter 3:9) Have you built your hope upon your own works (man is saved by himself) or have you built your hope upon the sure foundation and solid Rock that is Christ Jesus (man is saved by God)? In the final analysis salvation is either of man or it is of God; and we know that man CANNOT be saved by himself. To which will you entrust the fate of your eternal soul, the filthy rags of your good works or the grace of the Almighty?