Wednesday, July 4, 2012

1st John Chapter 3 Part 6


3:8-9 He that committeth sin is of the devil; for the devil sinneth from the beginning. For this purpose the Son of God was manifested, that he might destroy the works of the devil. Whosoever is born of God doth not commit sin; for his seed remaineth in him: and he cannot sin, because he is born of God.
This passage continues the line of thinking John established in the previous two verses: the contrast between habitual sinning and habitual abstinence from sin. Those who confess Christ but have no issue with continuing in a lifestyle of flagrant, habitual sin are of the devil, John writes. Jude agrees: “These (false confessors) are grumblers, complainers, walking according to their own lusts; and they mouth great swelling words, flattering people to gain advantage,” Jude 1:16.

 John attests that the devil has sinned from the beginning; that is, the beginning of his own creation and the universe’s creation. The angels were created sometime within the creation week, perhaps quite early since we see them singing for joy as God created the earth, Job 38:4-7. Lucifer (Satan) had an esteemed position as the covering cherub before God’s very throne, Ezekiel 28:14-15. To accurately understand this image one must read about the craftsmanship of the Ark of the Covenant, Exodus 25:18-20. Satan’s position cast this angel’s shadow on God’s very throne in the heavens, yet his thoughts were one of rebellion as he sought to overthrow God and rule, Isaiah 14:13-14.

His first acts on this earth were to lie to Eve and challenge God’s word, Genesis 3:1-5. Jesus told us that Satan is a liar and the father of the lie; in layman’s terms, the Devil invented the lie. His second act was to entice Cain to murder his brother out of jealousy, rather than listen to God’s counsel and mend both his heart and ways, Genesis 4:8; 1st John 3:12. Jesus also warns us that the Devil was a murderer from the beginning, John 8:44.

John states that Jesus came forth to destroy (Greek luo, meaning to loose, unbind or release) Satan’s works. What works are these? God’s warning against disobedience producing sin became a judgment upon mankind resulting in death, Genesis 2:17; 3:19; Romans 5:15. It was Satan who led our first parents into disobedience. They were still culpable since both Adam and Eve possessed free will and the ability to choose good or evil, but death reigned in our race from that moment on, Romans 5:12, 14.

The writer of Hebrews states: “Forasmuch then as the children are partakers of flesh and blood, [Jesus] also himself likewise took part of the same; that through death he might destroy him that had the power of death, that is, the devil; And deliver them who through fear of death were all their lifetime subject to bondage,” Hebrews 2:14-15. Religion (symbolized primitively with Adam and Eve's efforts to cover their nakedness) was the invention of a race that suddenly knew its own mortality but was unwilling to submit to its Creator’s will and be loosed from the subjection of Satan. Christ had come to free our beleaguered race from the sentence of death that was passed on us by dying in our stead. The writer of Hebrews testifies: Jesus, through His own death, destroyed the Devil’s works.

Each man has an impossible debt to pay, and Satan delights in filling the minds of our fallen race with images of an unapproachable, angry God who desires our destruction and hates sinners. This is the inspired counsel he gave Eliphaz in the book of Job; counsel which sparked the lengthy theological debate regarding suffering and God’s presence in the midst of it, Job 4:12-21. Christ removed the believer's fear of death by removing death’s sting: namely sin, 1st Corinthians 15:56-57. Sin’s entrance brought first shame, then guilt and fear as evidenced by our first parents and then known experientially by every one of us afterward. Jesus’ sacrifice removed the burden of paying this impossible debt by being freely reconciled to the very God we offended by our many sins, Romans 5:18-19.

2 comments:

  1. Great post, Ian.

    Far too many want to credit all who make a profession with having been saved, ignoring the concept of repentance, and of the Holy Spirit's action.

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  2. Thank you for the comment, dfish. While I believe and teach we are saved by grace alone and there are, sadly, barren Christians, I am also suspect and concerned for Christians who confess Christ without EVER living the life that accompanies salvation. Not only are such confessors barren, they are too content to keep the sins that Christ died to save them from and find no harm in it. We have become a generation of weak Christians with no spiritual power at all, like the Laodiceans of Revelation.

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