Thursday, July 4, 2013

More on the matter of sin…

We were talking about  original sin…that which we inherit from our first parents, Adam and Eve. The everyday sins we commit are because of original sin, it is our very nature. That is until we come to Christ, and He gives us a new nature…HIs. However, we still continue to commit sins. Why you ask???  Good question and the answer is not simple. Think first of all just how many generations there possibly are from Adam and Eve to our generation. Too many to even think about, but there are plenty. And down through those generations, the “sin gene” has multiplied and multiplied and warped and warped…you get the picture, right?  For most of us the question becomes what do these warped genes do? In reality, they “are us.” All of the character qualities, good and bad, proceed from those genes and are made better or worse by our family life, all of the influences around us, particularly mom and dad, sometimes grands if they were an integral part of our upbringing, school teachers, Sunday school teachers, scout leaders, etc., etc. All of these people, their places and things influence who we become. And…most of this “becoming” happens during the first four years of our lives. Now if that influence is negative you can just imagine how warped our character and the outworkings of our lives can become on into adulthood. The biggest and best influence in our young lives of course is Christ, and godly parents and grands. God ordained marriage and instituted the home, primarily to be the place of nurturing, the place of comfort and peace, the place where God is the head of the household and Dad and Mom administer His rule for your best good. Most, unfortunately not all, children that grow up in this kind of environment grow into well-rounded, God trusting individuals. When parents “train up a child in the way it should go” as the Scripture says, there is far less chance of them going of into sin. But…some do and I have seen more than my share in my years as a chaplain, interacting with inmates. One of the most interesting statements I heard way too many times was this one: “my father was a preacher (or deacon, ss teacher, elder, etc) and on Sunday he preached one thing but at home, the rest of the week, he was someone else, and I hated him! Why does this happen??? Well one reason is that we tend to hide those qualities we know are not right…hide them at times from ourselves but mostly from those around us. Or at least we think we hide them. Not always true. When this hideous distortion happens, generation after generation, the young “loose” themselves and their very attitude becomes a distortion, they “act as if…” one of the key statements of those in prison I talk with. Acting as if is pretending to be someone you are not…and unfortunately the actor sometimes gets lost in the pretend person. Yes, it is complicated but when thought through, it is very realistic. Let me give you one you will recognize and you will get a better understanding of what I mean: the person who comes to Sunday School and Church, Bible under their arm, ready to give a testimony, act as usher, take up the offering…that person is acting as he/she thinks a Christian should act…but then goes home with the family, and acts and talks like anything BUT a Christian, mistreats their partner, is unkind to the children, and on and on. If you take a good look at Galatians chapter five, you will find two lists…one is the fruit of the flesh…the list of ungodly character qualities that mark a person not controlled by the Spirit of God but allowing his/her flesh to do the controlling. The other list is the fruit of the Spirit…the result of yielding to the Holy Spirit of God, as we are suppose to do, and letting Him lead us into a godly lifestyle. This list is sometimes referred to as the very character of Christ and of course, we are told over and over in the Scripture that we are to be “like Christ.” And so we are…next time we will talk about the fruit of the Spirit, and I will give you some personal experiences to show how God the Spirit dealt with me in my younger Christian life to “grow me up.”

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