Universal Addiction: Sin

It has been said that there are three aspects to addiction: spiritual, mental, and physical. The core of addiction is selfishness, which is the spiritual aspect of the dilemma. The other two  aspects can be defined as “obsession” at the mental level, and “compulsion” at the physical level. When obsession and compulsion are combined with selfishness it becomes clear as to why sin, or any other addiction, is so hard to overcome (Romans 7:15-24). Thankfully, we can rely upon God to help us overcome sin (Romans 7:24-25).

Some believe that addiction is a disease. I tend to agree, and I think the Bible does as well. In Jeremiah 17:9 we read, “The heart is deceitful above all things, and desperately wicked; who can know it?” However, when we look more closely at the original text we find that the term “desperately wicked” is actually better rendered “incurably sick”. And many Bibles will have this in the margin. Thus, God tells us that He will give us a new heart (Ezekiel 36:26).

As with any problem, we have to face it squarely in order to conquer sin. The following is an outline for understanding and conquering sin. This outline was put together by Mr. John Ogwyn.

Anciently Israel went to Egypt, not seeking slavery, but seeking relief. Instead of the solution, Egypt proved the problem, ensnaring, enslaving and destructive. It was not only all of those things–it was also addictive–they kept seeking to go back to it. There are many addictions and compulsions that enslave people–alcoholism, gambling — but there is one universal addiction–SIN!

Let’s understand more clearly the enslaving addiction of sin and the solution that God holds out to free us from that addiction.

 

I. Characteristics of Sin

  • A. Sin entices
  • 1. James 1:12–15 (Gk. “deleazo” — to lure, entrap, entice)
  • 2. 2 Peter 2:14, 18
  • B. Sin intoxicates
  • 1. Revelation 17:2, 6 (intoxicate: Latin “poison” — dulls and excites)
  • C. Sin is addictive
  • 1. Romans 7:15, 19 (addict: devoted, given over to, attached)
  • D. Sin enslaves
  • 1. John 8:34; Romans 7:14; 2 Peter 2:19
  • E. Sin is painful and destructive
  • 1. Romans 8:6; 6:23
  • F. Sin’s hold is beyond human power to break
  • 1. Romans 7:23–24

II. Solution to Sin

  • A. Admit personal powerlessness – God let Israel hit bottom in Egypt
  • 1. Romans 7:18–21
  • B. Believe in God’s power to deliver
  • 1. Romans 7:24–25; 8:31–32; 2 Corinthians 12:9–10
  • C. Come to turn the direction of our life (will) over to God – God didn’t lead Israel the way they expected
  • 1. Romans 6:13, 16, 18
  • D. Take inventory of our lives
  • 1. 1 Corinthians 11:31–32; 2 Corinthians 13:5
  • E. Admit our faults and trespasses
  • 1. 1 John 1:8–10; James 5:16 (faults = “side-slips” cf Matt. 6:14)
  • F. Become ready for God to change us
  • 1. Romans 7:22; Psalms 51:1
  • G. Humbly ask God to transform and change us
  • 1. Psalms 51:2, 7, 9–13
  • H. Become willing to make amends
  • 1. Luke 19:2–9
  • I.  Make amends wherever possible
  • 1. Matthew 5:23–24
  • J. Continue to take inventory lifelong
  • 1. Psalms 19:12
  • K. Go to God to grow in knowledge of His will (prayer, etc)
  • 1. Psalms 63:1
  • L. Having had a spiritual awakening, share it with others
  • 1. Romans 8:1–15; Psalms 51:12–13

Assurance of hope, help and deliverance is the message of the Days of Unleavened Bread. That hope, help and deliverance is through Jesus Christ. Only to the extent that we truly recognize our utter, total inability to save ourselves (to fix ourselves) that we recognize and accept God’s ability to do so, and proceed to unconditionally surrender to Him — to accept the literal LORDSHIP of Jesus Christ in our lives can we truly begin to be delivered from the bondage of corruption into the glorious liberty of the sons of God.

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Links relevant to this topic:

Can You Really Change Your Life?

The Sin of Ingratitude

Pornography: Pleasurable Pastime or Toxic Threat?

Why We Get High

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Unrestrained Moral Decline

The Biblical Perspective

The Bible has much to say about such a state of society. Sodom and Gomorrah and the world in Noah’s day both fit the bill. And the Bible also reveals, in both of these examples, how God feels about such a state of affairs (Gen 6:5-7, 11-13, 17; Gen 13:13; Gen 19).

There is one particular verse in the Bible that is very poignant about such a state. In the Book of Proverbs we find that, “Where there is no revelation, the people cast off restraint; But happy is he who keeps the law.” (Pr 29:18) A clearer rendering might be, “Where there is no prophetic vision the people cut loose, run wild, let it all hang out; but blessed and happy is he who keeps the law.”

I find interesting that in reality you cannot have real prophetic vision without obedience to God (Psalm 111:10; John 7:17; 8:31-32; Daniel 2:19-23), and yet prophetic vision helps us stay focused on God with fear, that we may be obedient. Prophetic vision and obedience walk hand in hand and also bolster each other.

A couple of related verses to Pr 29:18 are Exodus 32:25 and 2 Chronicles 28:19. In Exodus 32:25 we find the situation where Moses went up to receive the Ten Commandments from God and the people became impatient and forced Aaron to craft an idol (Ex 32:1). As the Apostle Paul describes it, “The people sat down to eat and rose up to play.” (1 Cor 10:7). They weren’t playing dodge ball or tiddlywinks, they were involved with revelry and illicit sexual behavior, or misbehavior. They were “unrestrained”, “naked”, and “running wild”.

In 2 Chronicles 28:19 we find a situation where the leadership of the house of Israel had “encouraged moral decline” in not only his own nation, but also in the nation of Judah. This is what we are seeing ever more increasingly in our once-great nation, today. The leadership of society: political, religious, and also the media as well as the educational system, are all contributing to the horrific state of affairs we now see. Abortion? Same-sex marriage? Forced insurance and other corrupt methods of fleecing its citizens? Where to stand up for what is right makes one ever more increasingly a target (Is 59:15). Even many of the inhabitants are so brainwashed by the propaganda machine that they will turn against you if you speak the Truth! Think I’m joking? Go to Youtube to an active video about evolution and just post something like, “Well, I think it might be possible that there is some kind of Creator who started all of this.” or an active video on same-sex marriage and say something like, “If it is okay to be gay, why can’t homosexuals reproduce and procreate?” or an active video on abortion and say something like, “Statistics show that most abortions are proven to be merely a form of birth control, and rarely are the pregnancies caused by rape or incest.” You will likely be called, stupid and uneducated, a homophobic bigot, and a male chauvinist pig, or if you’re a woman, one who has been brainwashed by a patriarchal society.

It is completely insane! Yet, the Bible reveals that before Christ returns mankind will become ever more and increasingly, rebellious against God (Check out, The Great Rebellion Against God). The fact is that there is an unseen realm to reality, and there is an evil god who rules this present age and society, although he can go no further than the Great God allows. Yet, because man chose, and continues daily to choose, this evil god, Satan the Devil, the Eternal God does allow man to reap the consequences of his own choices and actions! (See Satan’s Counterfeit Christianity.)

God speed the Day when Jesus Christ returns to set up the Kingdom of God upon this planet!

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Related blogs: The Great Apostasy & More on the Apostasy

More on the Apostasy…

More to consider concerning the great rebellion are Christ’s own words about the state of the world just before His second coming. Notice in Luke 17:26-30 we find that the world will be like it was in the days of Noah before the world was destroyed by the Great Flood, and like the cities of Sodom and Gomorrah before they were destroyed by fire and brimstone from the sky. All we need to do is to go back to the Book of Genesis and look at what God says about the state of those peoples, and what they were doing so we can understand that they were in rebellion against God; were extremely wicked.

 
Notice what God says about society before the Great Flood: “Then the Lord saw that the wickedness of man was great in the earth, and that every intent of the thoughts of his heart was only evil continually…. The earth also was corrupt before God, and the earth was filled with violence. So God looked upon the earth, and indeed it was corrupt; for all flesh had corrupted their way on the earth. And God said to Noah, ‘The end of all flesh has come before Me, for the earth is filled with violence through them; and behold, I will destroy them with the earth.'” (Gen 6:5, 11-13). They were so violent, and perverted, and evil that God had to completely destroy all of them.

 
What about Sodom and Gomorrah? It is interesting to note that Abraham’s nephew, Lot, departed from Abraham with a multitude of servants. Remember Lot and his household and his servants separated from Abraham and moved eastward toward Sodom, whose inhabitants “were exceedingly wicked and sinful against the Eternal” (Gen 13:5-13). All Lot’s household and servants, and herdsmen went to live near Sodom, yet only Lot and his two daughters made it out. Even his wife was corrupted by the wickedness of that society. How many of God’s people will escape the corruption of this world, in Truth? This should sober us and give us pause.

Again, “the Eternal said, ‘Because the outcry against Sodom and Gomorrah is great, and because their sin is very grave, I will go down now and see whether they have done altogether according to the outcry against it that has come to Me; and if not, I will know.'” (Gen 18:20-21). As it turned out the men of Sodom were so vile and filled with corruption and violence they actually, literally wanted to rape the angels they thought were men (Gen 19:4-5)! Lot even offered them his two virgin daughters instead, but they were so wicked they didn’t want them; they still wanted to molest the angels. As a result of their wickedness God commissioned His angels to destroy the area. (See: Sodom Rises Again!)

 
These people, as it says in Gen 13:13, “were exceedingly wicked and sinful against God.” The word “wicked” in this verse has to do with being completely lawless; lawless with the intention of being lawless; malicious; contemptible; reprobate. Which is another way of saying they were in complete rebellion against God, and again the verse states that they “were exceedingly wicked and sinful against God.” In other words, they were in direct and purposeful rebellion against God, right in God’s face.

Jesus said this is the way it will be just before He returns to this earth. And we see the beginning of this now here in the US, where God’s laws are beginning to be despised, and the agendas of the immoral are ever increasingly taking a greater hold on society, and the people pridefully “declare their sin as Sodom” (Is 3:9). (See: My Eyes a Fountain.)

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Related posts: The Great Apostasy

The Great Apostasy

“Let no one deceive you by any means; for that Day will not come unless the falling away comes first, and the man of sin is revealed, the son of perdition” (2 Thessalonians 2:3).

‎While there have been types of apostasies mentioned in the Bible, and experienced here in the Church in recent years, the apostasy mentioned in the above verse is speaking of something huge – on a worldwide level. It is speaking of the climactic state of affairs just prior to Christ’s second coming. This is important to understand because it clues us in to where we are historically and also because we have traditionally thought, at least some of us that the great apostasy was referring to what happened with WCG here in the last 20 years.

‎It is significant that the word “apostasia” in the Greek has the meaning of “rebellion” or a “defection”. We in the Church of God, or at least I have read into the verse… “falling away from the Truth” feeling that it was implied by the fact of the falling away. Yet, as Dr. Winnail has pointed out in a recent sermon, the verse does not say “from the Truth”, and in various translations it is rendered as something other than the falling away.

‎Moffatt: “It will not come till the Rebellion takes place first of all…”

‎NLT: “For that day will not come until there is a great rebellion against God…”

‎Cassirer: “For there is no possibility that that day should come until the final rebellion against God has taken place…”

‎RSV: “for that day will not come, unless the rebellion comes first…”

‎ESV: “For that day will not come, unless the rebellion comes first…”

See the sermon: The Great Rebellion

See the article: The Great Rebellion Against God

‎The next question is whether this rightly aligns with the rest of Scripture. One thing that is important to understand is that the man of sin is, or actually appears to be, contemporaneous with the great rebellion, rather than coming afterward. According to the Glossary of Morhpo-Syntactic Database Terminology the word translated “and” between the two subjects in the verse in question (unless the falling away comes first “AND” the man of sin is revealed) [Strong’s G2532 kai] the word can be used as a conjunction or a logical connective which “may serve to logically continue a narrative … or to associate two items that, in context, are together the mutual focus of the clause” (Example: “Aquila and Priscilla taught Apollos”).

Again, does the Bible show plainly that there will be a worldwide rebellion against God, above and beyond man’s normal carnal state, which signifies the end of the age? In Revelation chapter thirteen verses two through eight we find that Satan gives the beast his power; the whole world follows the beast and worships Satan; the beast blasphemes God and makes war against God’s elect; the beast is given authority over all nations and people; and all nations and people worship the beast. If that isn’t a worldwide rebellion, I don’t know what is. And to stress the point even further, when Christ returns, the rest of mankind who would not repent of their demon worship, murders, sorceries, sexual immorality and thefts, which also includes the Eastern hordes who come to make war against the beast (Revelation 9:16-21), will ally themselves with the beast at the very end to fight Christ (Revelation 19:19-21).

In the following verses in Revelation chapter thirteen we find a religious figure involved in this worldwide rebellion (Revelation 13:11-18), the previous “beast” being a political figure. This beast, which looks like a lamb, like Christ, has the mouth of the dragon, i.e. Satan; he speaks lies, slander, malicious words, etc…. He deceives the people by lying signs and wonders, causing them to worship the first beast and to receive a mark. (See: The Beast of Revelation: Myth, Metaphor or Soon-Coming Reality?)

These verses show clearly that the end-time rebellion against God is tied directly to religion.

Another point: in Revelation 13:14 I have several resources that indicate that God is talking about His people; the NU Greek Texts omit this information, as does the Received Text. The Majority Text brings this information out about this verse. I personally have a greater confidence that the Received Text is most accurate one, which then brings up the problem of figuring out whether the Majority Text is right on this point. (If you don’t have a clear understanding as to what the differences are between the Greek Texts used to formulate the various English translations of the New Testament, this book is a good place to start.) Christ indicates that only the very elect, i.e. those chosen to become firstfruits, will not be deceived (Matthew 24:24). This indicates that much of the Laodicean era of the Church will be deceived. For we find that many of those of the Laodicean era are “blind” to their own spiritual state, due to self-satisfaction (Revelation 3:17-18). If we are blind, we are incapable of comprehending reality, and if we cannot see reality we are deceived because by default we are looking at and believing something that is not real. As Christ says, we need His product so we are not poor, naked and blind (Revelation 3:18). Yet, does this mean that God’s people will be deceived by this main end-time false prophet? It is truly hard to believe that anyone knowing God’s Truth would be deceived by this individual, although we can certainly easily be self-deceived about our own spiritual state and relationship to God (1 Corinthians 10:12). Yet, if Christ demonstrates that out of all those who know His Truth only the very elect will not be deceived, then many of those who know the Truth WILL be deceived. Perhaps the self-deception of “having it made” can lead to the deception brought on by the end-time main false prophet? Perhaps it will be because of spiritual intoxication (Revelation 17:2) brought about by compromise and self-will? Perhaps due to failing at watching end-time events as Christ commanded us? Perhaps because we’re not keeping oil in our lamps and vessels, and we’re also not cleaving to God as our very life?

Whatever the reasons, I pray that none of us fall into this category. And it behooves all of us to draw closer to God than we ever have before!

Other suggested reading: Fourteen Signs Announcing Christ’s Return & Who or What Is the Antichrist?

Sodom, Gomorrah and… Boston?

As the climax of the end of this age approaches it is becoming clear as to how things may play out. Anciently the inhabitants of Sodom and Gomorrah sought to do bodily harm, by means of vile perversion, to the messengers of God (Gen 19:4-9). It seems that this attitude is taking hold in our once-great nation. Bent on foisting their perverted lifestyle upon the rest of society, the homosexual community (and those who would like their vote) intolerantly,  hypocritically seek to destroy all who would dare to have a different view on life than they.

The Mayor of Boston, MA and an alderman of Chicago have stated that they will fight to prevent Chick-fil-A from opening stores in their cities because of Don Cathy’s stated traditional beliefs about marriage. In a time of economic downturn the idea of turning away business seems asinine at the least, and we won’t even talk about “freedom of religion” and “freedom of speech”. See Chick-fil-A and the Ironic Allegation of Bigotry and Chick-fil-A’s Anti-Homosexual Marriage Stance and Government Speech Pressures.

With the Homosexual Agenda well under way, it appears that soon the law of the land will be against anyone who holds real Christian values. A mere declaration of one’s beliefs or the reading of the Bible will be considered “hate speech” by the real haters, who would deny the very rights they demand for themselves to those whom they deem enemies! The Psalmist asks God, “Shall the throne of iniquity, which devises evil by law, have fellowship with You? They gather together against the life of the righteous, and condemn innocent blood.” Or as the Moffatt Translation puts it, “Can evil rulers have You for an ally, who work us injury by law, who make an onset upon honest men, and doom the innocent to death?” (Psalm 94:20-21). No, a nation that creates laws (and means) to support evil and perversion cannot have God as an ally. He will bring punishment on any nation practicing such abomination (Isaiah 24:1-6). Check out The United States and Great Britain in Prophecy to learn more.

Sad to see it come down like this, but it is what it is….

The Seeds of Abortion

In today’s world abortion seems to be as common as going to the store for milk and bread. Even those of us who oppose and stand against it often take for granted how rotten and vile the practice really is. Conversely, we also make great protestations against those who get pregnant carelessly and end up aborting children, as well as those “doctors” who do the actual killing. But, is there more to the story? Can accountability also be laid elsewhere? Where does the process which brings about the end result of abortion actually begin?

Throw Away Babies

Throw Away Babies

In the United States alone approximately 1.37 million unborn children are destroyed annually. To put things in perspective, depending on how fast you read, by the time you finish reading this commentary, anywhere from three to nine babies will have been murdered in the US alone. To make the point clearer, anywhere from 80 to 240 babies will be killed by abortion, globally, by the time you finish reading this particular article or blog. That is anywhere from four to eleven classrooms full of children murdered – every minute, an average classroom ranging from between twenty-one and twenty-five students!

Again, where does this end result have its beginnings? Did it begin with Roe vs. Wade in 1973? Did it begin in ancient times, as documented, around 1550 BC, in ancient Egypt?

Notice this astonishing statement made by Jesus Christ: “For out of the heart proceed evil thoughts, murders, adulteries, fornications, thefts, false witness, and blasphemies. These are the things which defile a man” (Matthew 15:19-20). This is the true origin of abortion – the heart of man! When we are compelled to do evil by our own desires it brings forth sin which brings forth death (James 1:14-15).

How does this apply to, not the “doctors”, not the girls and women who end up suffering for the rest of their lives because they murdered their babies through abortion, although these “doctors” and women are also completely responsible for their part in this systematic murder of unborn children, but how does it apply to those who are supposed to be the leaders of society, the so-called men? Do we realize that if we lust after women we are entertaining thoughts and motives that potentially have a part in contributing to not only infidelity, adultery and divorce – which leads to destroyed families, damaged children and another whole plethora of problems, but also the death of unborn children? Is it any wonder Christ said that to look at a woman to lust for her is in itself adultery, and that we should pluck out the eye, i.e. turn away from lusting after her, so we do not sin (Matthew 5:28-29)?

Another example we can take a look at is Job. Although we find that Job was human, and therefore had lessons yet to learn, he was also a very good man with practical ways of overcoming and avoiding sin. Notice that he was following Christ’s suggested method of dealing with the problem of lusting after women. He states, “I have made a covenant with my eyes; Why then should I look upon [look intently or gaze upon] a young woman?” Yes, we can do as ancient Job and make a covenant with our eyes to not allow thoughts to form in our minds that can lead to major problems later on (Job 31:1-4).

Another stellar example is given by the prophet Isaiah. The principle of “shutting one’s eyes from seeing evil” can be used in many ways; violent video games; pornography; raunchy movies of any sort, and most certainly looking on a woman to lust for her should clearly all be avoided (Isaiah 33:15).

And we can also look at the example of the great warrior king and poet, King David of Israel: “I will set nothing wicked before my eyes; I hate the work of those who fall away; It shall not cling to me” (Ps 101:3).

Scripture reveals that the heart of man is deceitful above all things and desperately wicked, or incurably sick, and unknowable (Jeremiah 17:9). Yet we find that we can combat our own self-deception and sickness by seeking the things of God rather than the things of this world and the flesh (2 Corinthians 10:4-5; Romans 8:5, 12-13; Colossians 3:2). And if we have a genuine love for children, whether born or unborn, as well as women, we will avoid the seeds of abortion, and in so doing we will be practicing pure religion and undefiled, preventively, before God (James 1:27).

 

You may also want to check out an earlier blog on this vitally important topic:

Abortion: Offerings to the god of convenience?

 

Other Suggested Reading:

The United States and Great Britain in Prophecy

Abortion: The Deadly Game of Terminology

Abortion: A Modern Holocaust?

Death Penalty for Children

Atheism and License

The funny thing about human nature is it always thinks it is right (Jeremiah 17:9). Consequently, society is prone to do whatever it deems best (Judges 21:25). The problem is that mankind doesn’t really understand reality and is in a constant state of denial and it is usually wrong. Such is the case with the proponents of atheism; many atheists believe they can actually decide right from wrong without the help of God’s Truth, which is of course absurd. This fact is made plain by a statement given by a proponent of atheism named Aldous Huxley:

For myself, as no doubt for most of my contemporaries, the philosophy of meaninglessness was essentially an instrument of liberation. The liberation we desired was from a certain system of morality. We objected to the morality because it interfered with our sexual freedom. – Aldous Huxley

Clearly, Huxley believed his ideas were better than this “certain system of morality” which interfered with his hedonistic, perverse lifestyle. Yet today we see the fruit that has been born of this way of thinking: divorce, increasing crime, drug abuse, STD’s, more and more perverted lifestyles, abortion and a general breakdown of society as a whole are all the result of kicking God out of our collective lives in preference to our own ideas. Jesus said that “wisdom is justified by her children” (Matthew 11:19; Luke 7:35). It also becomes clear then that folly is condemned by her children.

Check out the following articles from Tomorrow’s World:

The rise of atheism

In the United States, atheism is growing faster than any religious group. Nearly 20% of Americans now avoid “organized religion in favor of a non-defined skepticism about faith.” Many are leaving organized religion as American society becomes more secular. These church dropouts are turned off by the increasingly political nature of organized religion and by “Old Testament condemnations of homosexuals, premarital sex, contraception and abortion. The Catholic Church’s sex scandals also prompted millions to equate religion with moralistic hypocrisy.” The once “Christian nation” of America is not just turning away from mainstream Christianity, but from organized religion as a whole (YahooNews, April 13, 2012).

As society moves further away from the “laws of God,” the love of many–for God’s moral way of life–is growing cold (Matthew 24:12). However, religion is thetool for positively influencing the morality of society. Noted historians Will and Ariel Durant have observed, “There is no significant example in history of a society successfully maintaining moral life without the aid of religion” (Lessons of History, p. 51).

While many believe that this moving away from outdated moral instructions in the Bible is a sign of progress, ancient Bible prophecies reveal that prior to the return of Jesus Christ there will be a great “falling away” from the standards of biblical Christianity (2 Thessalonians 2:3). As we approach the end of this age, this trend will continue to increase.

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Perils of “living together” before marriage

Today, it is popular to believe that living together before marriage increases the likelihood of success in a future marriageIn the USA, “the majority of young adults in their 20’s will live with a romantic partner at least once, and more than half of all marriages will be preceded by cohabitation.” However scientific research points to just the opposite!Studies show, “Couples who cohabit before marriage (and especially before an engagement or an otherwise clear commitment) tend to be less satisfied with their marriage–and more likely to divorce–than couples who do not. These negative outcomes are called the cohabitation effect.”

One reason for the failure of cohabitation is that the “standards” that individuals place on their cohabiting partner are usually far lower than for a future mate (New York Times, April 14, 2012).

In the light of modern research, the biblical commandment forbidding adultery (sex outside of marriage–Exodus 20:14) and the New Testament condemnation of fornication (sex before marriage–1 Corinthians 6:18) become much more significant. While popular opinion tends to view these biblical instructions as antiquated and confining, the God of the Bible said that following these instructions would bring blessings (see Deuteronomy 28:1-14). God knew that cohabitation before marriage would bring heartaches and problems, and that is why He inspired instructions against it.

For more information on this vital topic see our free booklet, God’s Plan for a Happy Marriage.