September 19, 2010

The Illusion of Sin – Ray Anderson

Posted in Uncategorized at 12:00 am by kdkelly

First of all, let me state that the title is not meant to imply that sin is an illusion. Sin is real and has been with us since the days of Adam and Eve in the garden. In fact, I am willing to go out on a limb and predict that sin will be with us until the end of time. I am referring to the illusion many people have that sin is not real and that it is not evil. The devil promotes this illusion and does everything in his power to deceive us with this illusion.

Several weeks ago I went to see a magician in Branson who was able to do things that I knew couldn’t possibly be true, but never the less, my eyes “saw” these things happen. I saw him make people disappear, he walked through a solid wall, and made a helicopter appear on stage where there was nothing there before! The illusions were fantastic and I have no way of explaining them. They appeared real to me and I enjoyed being deceived.

If it were not for my understanding that the things I saw were illusions, I might have thought, “What power this man has that he is able to overcome the laws of nature to do things that no normal man can do. Surely he must be a god or have power endowed by God.” The Bible speaks of just such a one. “But there was a certain man, called Simon, which beforetime in the same city used sorcery, and bewitched the people of Samaria, giving out that himself was some great one: To whom they all gave heed, from the least to the greatest, saying, This man is the great power of God.  And to him they had regard, because that of long time he had bewitched them with sorceries.” (Acts 8:9-11)

Simon deceived the people by the magic he performed. He was apparently a great illusionist. However, Satan is the greatest illusionist of all—the great deceiver. (Revelations 12:9). He began with Eve and deceived her into thinking that if she and Adam ate of the fruit of the tree of life, they would not surely die.

What is sin? Sin is the transgression of God’s law (1 John 3:4) and the wages of sin is death. (Romans 6:23) However, that old deceiver, Satan, would have us to believe that there are no consequences of sin. In fact, as the deceiver of the whole world, he has deceived many into thinking that there is no God and therefore there is no law. If there is no law, there can be no sin. (Romans 4:5)

But for those who believe that there is a God and therefore transgressors of his law do sin, Satan creates the illusion that sin is worth it. Paul Greenberg in one of his recent articles wrote of the “unbuttoned Sixties, when everything that was forbidden, at least ostensibly, became not just permitted but just about mandatory. Mental health demanded it, according to the Freudian canon.” The Sixties and early Seventies became the “if it feels good, do it” generation. Satan surely must have been laughing at the gullibility of mankind during those years.

What was forbidden.? “Now the works of the flesh are manifest, which are these; Adultery, fornication, uncleanness, lasciviousness, idolatry, witchcraft, hatred, variance, emulations, wrath, strife, seditions, heresies, envyings, murders, drunkenness, revellings, and such like: of the which I tell you before, as I have also told you in time past, that they which do such things shall not inherit the kingdom of God.” (Galatians 5:19-21) It makes one shiver to read down through that list of the works of the flesh, and the consequences are such that you wonder why anyone would dare to commit such acts. It must be because they have been deceived or the illusion of the benefit of doing outweighs the risk of losing heaven. The “feel good” part of it now in this lifetime appears to be more desired than the joy to be had in heaven.

The devil is good at deceiving people and creating this illusion. William Lobdell of the Los Angeles Times wrote, “American Christianity is not well, and there’s evidence to indicate that its condition is more critical than most realize—or want to admit.” He also wrote that “pollsters—most notably evangelical George Barna—have reported repeatedly that they can find little measurable difference between the moral behavior of churchgoers and the rest of American society. Barna has found that born-again Christians are more likely to divorce (an act strongly condemned by Jesus) than atheists and agnostics.” He goes on to write that according to Texas researcher Mark Regnerus, “evangelical adolescents overwhelmingly say they believe in abstaining from premarital sex, and they are more likely to be sexually active—and at an earlier age—than peers who are mainline Protestants, Mormons or Jews.” What do we make of this? Some who profess to be Christians are being deceived and are buying off on the illusion about sin that the devil has created so well.

They don’t remember or choose not to remember what the word of God says. “Be not deceived; God is not mocked: for whatsoever a man soweth, that shall he also reap. For he that soweth to his flesh shall of the flesh reap corruption; but he that soweth to the Spirit shall of the Spirit reap life everlasting.” (Galatians 6:7-8). What is a Christian to do? Turn again to the word of God. “There hath no temptation taken you but such as is common to man: but God is faithful, who will not suffer you to be tempted above that ye are able; but will with the temptation also make a way to escape, that ye may be able to bear it.” (1 Corinthians 10:13) “This I say then, Walk in the Spirit, and ye shall not fulfill the lust of the flesh. For the flesh lusteth against the Spirit, and the Spirit against the flesh: and these are contrary the one to the other: so that ye cannot do the things that ye would.” (Galatians 5:16-17) “But the fruit of the Spirit is love, joy, peace, longsuffering, gentleness, goodness, faith, Meekness, temperance: against such there is no law. And they that are Christ’s have crucified the flesh with the affections and lusts. If we live in the Spirit, let us also walk in the Spirit.” (Galatians 5:22-25)

Beloved, let us not be deceived. Let us hold fast the word of God and be not like the world. Heaven shall surely be worth it all. Amen.

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