Tuesday, November 12, 2013

God's law...restricting or freeing?

Romans 7: 8 – 12 (MSG) Don't you remember how it was? I do, perfectly well. The law code started out as an excellent piece of work. What happened, though, was that sin found a way to pervert the command into a temptation, making a piece of "forbidden fruit" out of it. The law code, instead of being used to guide me, was used to seduce me. Without all the paraphernalia of the law code, sin looked pretty dull and lifeless, and I went along without paying much attention to it. But once sin got its hands on the law code and decked itself out in all that finery, I was fooled, and fell for it. The very command that was supposed to guide me into life was cleverly used to trip me up, throwing me headlong. So sin was plenty alive, and I was stone dead. But the law code itself is God's good and common sense, each command sane and holy counsel.

Romans 7:17 – 23 (MSG) But I need something more! For if I know the law but still can't keep it, and if the power of sin within me keeps sabotaging my best intentions, I obviously need help! I realize that I don't have what it takes. I can will it, but I can't do it. I decide to do good, but I don't really do it; I decide not to do bad, but then I do it anyway. My decisions, such as they are, don't result in actions. Something has gone wrong deep within me and gets the better of me every time.  21-23It happens so regularly that it's predictable. The moment I decide to do good, sin is there to trip me up. I truly delight in God's commands, but it's pretty obvious that not all of me joins in that delight. Parts of me covertly rebel, and just when I least expect it, they take charge.

Since the Garden of Eden Satan has continued to deceive us to look at the restrictions of God’s laws by taking our focus off the very freedom we have in them. When Adam and Eve walked in the Garden of Eden, God provided everything for them. His one command was not to eat from the tree of knowledge of good and evil. God was giving Adam and Eve a choice to obey him and his command. The garden was full of trees overflowing with fruit the first couple could eat from. They were even able to eat from the tree of life.

Satan, the crafty serpent, enticed Eve with the law God set. He took her focus off the freedom she had to eat of any tree and tempted her look at the one restriction God had set. Satan has an incredible knack for making sin look good...wouldn’t you agree? God gave laws, first to Adam and Eve in the garden and then to Moses on Mt. Sinai, not to restrict us but to give us the freedom to choose. If God didn’t give us this freedom of choice, we couldn’t choose to obey him. Without choice we’d simply be a population of robots not having the free will to choose Him.

Sin is fun, isn’t it? But God gave us His perfect law not to restrict us, but to free us. Take a look at it this way. God gave the law to Moses “Thou shall not have any gods (idols) before me.” (Exodus 20:1) You might think “Ok that’s easy I don’t have a golden calf or a little idol laying around anywhere so I’m good on that one.” Think again. A “god” is anything in your life in which you place as higher value above God. For example: Instead of going to church on Sundays you stay home and watch the football game. You have just made the TV and the game your idol because you chose to make that more valuable than going to church to hear the word of God. Don’t watch football? What about your career, your friends, a hobby? I’m not saying these things are bad; the point I’m trying to convey is this; if we let these things take our focus off God we have just made them an idol.

God wants us to obey him; but he doesn’t force us to. We are free to choose. Just like in the Garden of Eden, they could eat from ANY tree including the tree of life that brought them eternal life. As soon as they ate the fruit from the tree of knowledge of good and evil they were not only cut off from walking with God in the garden, they were cut off from the tree that brought eternal life. Thank God he gave us Jesus so that we could have freedom and eternal life with him. Yes sin looks good… all wrapped up in a “pretty” fun-looking package. But if you look closely you will see that all it brings is death. 

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