Saturday, May 30, 2009

Is Chocolate a Sin? Part Three

The Flesh
The next hindrance is the flesh. This rich young man asked Jesus what he must do to be saved. Jesus told him to keep the commandments. The young man answered, “This I have done, from my youth.” Jesus’ answer here has also perplexed scholars for we all know that man is not saved by keeping the commandments. But what Jesus is doing here is not so hard to understand.

Do you remember in the book of Genesis, after man had sinned he went and hid, thinking that he could hide from God. When God came to them he asked a strange question. “Adam, where are you?” Why would God ask such a question. God knew where Adam was, there is no place we can go and be away from the presence of God. God knew exactly where Adam was, not just his location but the workings of his mind and the thinking process that drove Adam to think he could hide. God was really asking Adam “What do you think you are doing? Who do you think I am? What has happened to your love for me and your dependence on me?”

Jesus knows where this rich young man is at. He knows exactly what is going on in this man’s life and in his mind and he will bring this man right to the core of his problem in a very few words. Jesus even lists some of the commandments, all commandments from what’s called the ‘second table’, those that have to do with how we treat others.

This is a very decent young man, he really has been trying hard. Everyone knows him to be morally good and if you don’t believe it, just ask HIM. He’ll tell you. But Jesus can clearly see in this man’s heart that he has avoided the first table, the commandments regarding how we treat God. “You shall the love the Lord your God with all your heart, your soul, your mind, your strength.”

“One thing you still lack, go and sell all that you have, distribute your money to the poor and come and follow me.” Ouch, nobody knew that he loved possessions more than God - but Jesus knew it. I don’t even think the young man knew that he didn’t love the Father more than his goods but Jesus just demonstrated it to him. Don’t think you can hide from God.

This man’s heart deceived him. The heart is deceitfully wicked above all things. If this young man hadn’t struggled with the flesh before, he was about to start. The flesh is our fallen sinful nature. The believer has two natures, a sinful nature and a new nature empowered by the Spirit of God. It is part of our transforming process to struggle against that old nature and subdue it. We will not escape the struggle until we stand before our Lord’s throne. This is God’s plan, but as believers we need not be ruled by sin. It need not control us.

Examine yourselves and see if you are being controlled by sin. The truth is we want to be free from the consequences of sin but we don’t want to stop loving our sin. Repent of your sins and turn to Christ.

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