Temptation and Sin – Paris Reidhead

Paris Reidhead, “Temptation and Sin” (Audio Teaching)

Temptation is the proposition presented to the mind or the intellect to gratify a good appetite in a forbidden way. Temptation isn’t sin. It is an idea presented to the intellect. Our Lord Jesus was tempted in all points like as we are, yet without sin. Temptation isn’t sin. Sin is the decision of the will to gratify a good appetite in a bad way. It’s not the gratification of it; it’s the decision to do it. The decision to do it before the act is complete gives to the act the character of transgression. The decision constitutes the essence of sin.

When a child of God sins,
1. Fellowship with God is interrupted. “If we walk in the light as He is in the light, we have fellowship one with one another.” If we walk in darkness, that fellowship is broken. If we never had the witness of the Spirit, and joy and peace in believing through the power of the Holy Spirit, we would not ever know whether the fellowship was interrupted or not, because we never ever had any. We know that fellowship is broken, when the Spirit of God is grieved.
2. Prayers are not answered. “If I regard iniquity in my heart, the Lord does not hear me.” (Psa.66:18). It hasn’t even gotten into my lips yet, it hasn’t even gotten into my hands yet; if I regard it in my heart. If I decided to do and I’m not through yet, God will not hear me.
3. God won’t use him. He may go on using God, and people may never know the difference; but, God will not use him. God never uses a life that gets Him dirty (F.B. Meyer illustration of a leaking fountain pen that the author would never use because it gets him dirty every time he uses it).
4. He gives place to the devil (Eph.4:27). The fear of the Lord is the basis for the angel of the Lord encamping around us. The fear of the Lord is to hate evil. When we tolerate in our lives that which grieves God, then you can just be sure that the devil’s dogs are going to sneak in and tear up everything that’s precious to you.
5. If we permit unconfessed, unforsaken sin in our lives, we fall into the chastening hands of God. It is a fearful thing to fall into the hands of the living God. There’s something marvelous here. God never lays a finger on the devil’s family. But, He chastens every child and scourges every son. Why? Because with His own children, this is all the hell they’re ever gonna know and when they die it’s gonna be heaven forever. But, with the devil’s family, this is all the heaven they’re ever gonna have, and when they die, it’ll be hell forever. And if they traded their soul for a mess of pottage, God doesn’t go around throwing gravel in it to make their teeth grit on.

God’s Prescription for this Problem (John 15:3): You are clean through the word.
Symbol: The Laver in the Tabernacle. It functioned as a mirror that showed where one was dirty and the water was used to clean.

1. Use the Word as Mirror to the Heart. Proverbs 6:16-19. The Spirit of God never wants to depress us; He only wants to cleanse us. He focuses on the thing that is there now in order to deal with it. God hates pride. He hates racial pride, He hates facial pride, He hates financial pride, He hates educational pride, and I think the one He abominates most is religious pride. He hates a proud look. And, He hates a lying tongue; misrepresentation and deception in speech. And, hands that shed innocent blood, an intention to hurt somebody…. Romans 1:29-32. Gal.5:19-21.
2. The Word tells us how to deal with sin. (a) Judge yourself (b) Let the wicked forsake his way (c) If we confess our sins, He is faithful and just to forgive us our sins and to cleanse us from all unrighteousness.

“Victory” Through Identification With Christ on the Cross
At Calvary, we were wired for victory. We need to only put the switch on. And, the switch is to reckon ourselves crucified with Christ.

Sinful Nature and the Crucifixion of the Christian With Christ

The Book of Genesis records the historically vital account of the Fall of man. Now, there are those who are skeptical of this account. It seems to them very unlikely that a race can be condemned to eternal damnation just because its progenitors took a secret bite of the forbidden fruit. Firstly, the fruit-nature correlation itself seems to them incongruous. Then, there is the issue of justness of such damnation. However, there is something about this account that is unignorable; and, that is that it stands out as the most legitimate explanation of the root of human devolution.

Adam JudgedGenesis 3 records the first lie of Scripture, the demonic lie that man would not surely die if he ate the forbidden fruit but would rather become like God knowing good and evil. The first part of it was blatantly false; the effect of the fruit was instantly fatal on both Adam and Eve, for the moment they sinned they died spiritually. The opening of their eyes meant their spiritual death in the same manner that the opening of the rich man’s eyes in hades meant his physical death. However, from the perspective of the devil, it wasn’t so much really death, for to him the opening of eyes really was the life he wished to have, the life of eternal separation from God. The opening of eyes also marked the genesis of shame for human kind. It also marked the genesis of maya or a web of delusion, which is the life that is governed by the temporal separated from the eternal. The matrix of this carnality is so intense that God Himself had to provide for Adam and Eve garments of skins and all visions of the divine, thenceforth, also include the idea of “covering”.

However, the devil was also blatantly false when he asserted that man would become like God knowing good and evil; for, firstly, man could never become like God; and secondly, God doesn’t know good and evil; He knows only good in its moral perfection. He is good. It is the depraved state of man (of knowing good and evil, not as God knows but as the devil knows) that produces all forms of false images of God and religion in the world.

It must be understood that the Bible doesn’t say that God condemns humanity because of its sinful nature. But, it says that man in his sinful state is already dead in his sins.

Genesis 3 is the point of the beginning of sin, carnality, and the works of the flesh that stands eternally opposed to the life of the Spirit. Therefore, God had to affirm that His Spirit would no longer strive with man who is just flesh (Gen.6:3). Flesh and blood could never inherit the kingdom of God because every child that is born in this world is born into a body of death (Rom.7:24). The earnest expectation is for the redemption of this body (Rom.8:19), that could have never been possible apart from the sacrificial death and resurrection of Jesus Christ by the eternal Spirit (Rom.8:11,23). Therefore, in the redeemed there is no answer for deliverance from sinful tendency apart from the work of the Spirit (Rom.8:13). And, there is no eternal deliverance from sin apart from the resurrection of the body (1Jn.3:2; Rom.8:29).

The condemning factor is the rejection of Christ by which one becomes identified with the crucifier rather than the crucified. Those who are crucified with Him are those who accept Him (Gal.5:24). Therefore, also, those who accepted Him and then reject Him through apostasy become guilty of double crucifixion of Christ and become bereft of repentance (Heb.6:4-6; Heb.12:16,17).

Is God the Author of Sin?

Forthcoming in ChristianTrends

The answer, obviously, is “No!” God is not the author of sin. However, it is not an answer as easily agreed upon as stated.

Answering the Calvinist
The extreme Calvinists that are committed to the once-saved-forever-saved doctrine of eternal security, for instance, maintain that it was God Himself who ordained the sin and fall of Adam. In his The Reformed Doctrine of Predestination (1932), Loraine Boettner wrote: “Even the fall of Adam, and through him the fall of the race, was not by chance or accident, but was so ordained in the secret counsels of God.” And again, “we hold that God fore-planned and fore-saw the fall; that it in no sense came as a surprise to Him.” Likewise, Edwin H. Palmer, in his The Five Points of Calvinism, argued: “Even sin – the fall of the devil from heaven, the fall of Adam, and every evil thought, word, and deed in all of history, including the worst sin of all, Judas’ betrayal of Christ – is included in the eternal decree of our holy God.” This conclusion became necessary for these theologians who considered any event that violates the will of God to be a threat to the sovereignty of God. God was sovereign, so according to them, anything that happens in this world could not be against God. Also, it was insisted that if God had not ordained the fall of Adam, redemption through Christ would have not been possible. Thus, Boettner asks, “And unless the fall was in the plan of God, what becomes of our redemption through Christ? Was that only a makeshift arrangement which God resorted to in order to offset the rebellion of man?” Therefore, the reality of sin had to be explained by interpreting it as an act of God. In other words, according to Calvinism, ultimately, God is the author of sin.

Of course, Boettner doesn’t think that his view of God foreordaining Adam’s fall implies that God is the author of sin. Thus, he contends:

Yet God in no way compelled man to fall. He simply withheld that undeserved constraining grace with which Adam would infallibly not have fallen, which grace He was under no obligation to bestow. In respect to himself, Adam might have stood had he so chosen; but in respect to God it was certain that he would fall. He acted as freely as if there had been no decree, and yet as infallibly as if there had been no liberty…. God was pleased to permit our first parents to be tempted and to fall, and then to overrule their sin for His own glory. Yet this permission and overruling of sin does not make Him the author of it.

But, Boettner fails to see that this necessitating of the fall and the method of withdrawing grace only directly condemns God. It is equal to the sin of David who arranged to put Uriah in an inevitably fatal position and commanded his men to withdraw in the heat of the battle, in order to let Uriah get killed. That directly incriminated David and made him guilty of murder. The Genesis 3 episode, however, doesn’t indicate in any way that God had actually withdrawn constraining grace from Adam in order to make it inevitable for him to fall into sin. God cannot be held responsible for sin in the world. He is not the author of sin.

The rational man cannot accept God to be the author of sin. How could God, who is the embodiment of good, be the author of evil? Over 2,500 years ago, the Greek philosopher Plato, in his The Republic, concluded that “the good is to be attributed to God alone; of the evils the causes are to be sought elsewhere, and not in Him.” But, the Calvinist would object that to search for the cause of evils elsewhere is to expect that there was or were forces, other than God, in control of the universe; but, this is impossible, for God is sovereign, they would say. However, the fact that God is sovereign has nothing to do with the fact that sin is possible in a system of free creatures. The sovereignty of a nation doesn’t mean that free citizens of it will not violate its laws; however, its sovereignty does give it its authority to administer justice in the system by means of reward and punishment. Similarly, God’s sovereignty doesn’t mean that free creatures have been restricted from exercising their will in opposition to the will of God. The very exercise of this free will is what creates the possibility of a moral universe.

Answering the Non-theist
Among philosophers, it is usually held that the idea of God’s existence as a perfect being is not compatible with the fact of sin and evil in the world. The Scottish philosopher David Hume argued that it is better to theorize that this world was created by different, finite beings (let’s say, the gods of polytheism) than to believe in an imperfect world full of sin and violence having been created by a perfect God. However, such a view doesn’t answer the question of how these finite beings came into existence; for, anything finite is limited by space and time. But, if there is an infinite being, that infinite being can only be one, not many (in the same way that if there were an infinite ocean, there couldn’t be other infinite oceans). Dualists, on the other hand, think that evil is as essential to the world as is good; the world is composed of two eternally opposite forces. But, again, two eternally opposite forces that are infinite in themselves would not complement but cancel each other. For instance, infinite light, materially speaking, leaves no room for darkness.

But, then, one would ask, “If God is good, how come there is evil?” The answer is because God is not the universe (as in pantheism), but the Creator of it. If God were the universe, then the universe would be perfectly good and there wouldn’t be any room for evil, for there wouldn’t be “wills” of other beings involved. However, that is not the case. But, at the same time, it is important to state that the finitude of the universe is not what necessitates evil; for, if that was the case then God who created the finite world would also be the creator of evil, which is not so.

However, the very idea of contingency (that the finite world is dependent upon the infinite God) implies that a creation that is cut off from the Creator has lost its wholeness (well-being). Therefore, a sin-stricken and evil-stricken world only indicates a God-separated world that has gone chaotic and wild without its Driver; in which every part of the mechanism has become its own god and director, and the universe as a whole (especially, in relation to the moral universe) has both lost harmony and order. To state that God must not have permitted this to happen (since He is the perfect Driver) is to forget the fact that the problem of sin concerns a moral (not a mechanical) universe; as such, it would not have been consistent for God Himself to have created a moral universe and not have given freedom to its moral entities—the freedom to choose between good and evil.

As such, it is not God who is the author of sin, but man himself to whom the world was meant to be subject (Gen.1:28) that is responsible for the entry of sin, chaos, and disorder in the universe.

…sin entered the world through one man, and death through sin, and in this way death came to all men, because all sinned- (Rom 5:12 NIV)

…the creation was subjected to frustration, not by its own choice, but by the will of the one who subjected it, in hope that the creation itself will be liberated from its bondage to decay and brought into the glorious freedom of the children of God. (Rom 8:20-21 NIV)

In addition, one must understand evil, not as a positive reality, but as the negation and violation of truth. One only knows evil because one sees it as the defective aspect of the good; for instance, one only knows darkness because it is seen as the absence of light. Therefore, it is important to reaffirm that it is not God who created sin, but that when man violated the command of God and negated God, this act of negation constituted sin; thus, making man guilty of sin entering the world.

Conclusion

Usually, it is misunderstandings regarding the sovereignty and the perfectness of God that raise doubts whether God is the author of sin or not. However, we have examined the main views to see if really these doubts or conclusions are true, and if their logic is valid. The sovereignty of God doesn’t imply that the universe cannot have rebellious elements; however, it does assert that these elements cannot efface the righteousness of God. Secondly, the contingency of the created world and its givenness to humans for morally right dominion implies that the world falls with the fall of man into sin. Man is not a programmed robot (for if that was so then both sin and self-reflection, as in this essay, would have been impossible). Man is a moral creature; therefore, the primary cause of sin in this world, as also stated in Romans 5:12 is disobedient man himself.

The Meaning and Nature of Sin

 Excerpted from Hamartiology (2006)

Sin can only be sin if it has an eternal dimension. Sin can only have an eternal dimension if there are eternal beings. Sin can be said to have an eternal dimension only if there is an eternal order that it violates so as to have eternal repercussions. In this sense, then, sin is the violation of an eternal order. ‘Where there is no law, there is no transgression.’

Sin exists as a disruptive factor among eternal beings. The eternal order is founded upon the nature of the Source (of all being): God the eternal Spirit. Consequentially, the eternal order is an order of love. Truth is the consistent characteristic of this eternal order; therefore, justice is the necessary antidote to the violation of the order.

Therefore, sin is essentially the distortion of love and truth with eternal repercussions. In other words, it is a violation of the eternal order (definitive) of love and truth. A violation of the eternal order is directed against the Source & Ground of the eternal order – God. In this sense, then, sin is primarily always sin against God and then sin against others. Thus, sin cannot be defined in terms of temporal comfort and consent. In other words, no individual or group of people by reference to present comfort and mutual consent can redefine what sin is and what sin is not. Sin is never merely temporal; it is cosmic.

Greed

Greed is

  1. Sin (Exo.20:17)
  2. The greedy desire to have more (Gk. pleonexia).
  3. Desire for unjust gain (Hb. betsa)
  4. Desire, craving, longing for what is forbidden (Gk. epithumia)
  5. To give one’s self up to the love of money (Gk. oregomai, 1Tim.6:10)
  6. Eagerness for base gain (Gk. aischrokerdes, 1Tim.3:3)

To be without greed means to be without love for money or be content with such things as one has (Gk. aphilarguros)

Love of Money (or Possessions)

  1. Love of money is the root of all kinds of evil (1Tim.6:6)
  2. Love of money leads one astray from faith (1Tim.6:10)
  3. Love of money makes one unfit for the Kingdom of God (Lk.18:22,23)
  4. Love of money makes one unfit for ministry (1Tim.3:3,8; Tit.1:7; 1Pet.5:2)
  5. Love of money ensnares one into piercings of many sorrows (1Tim.6:10)
  6. Love of money causes trouble to one’s house (Prov.15:27)
  7. Love of money leads to violence, wars, and oppression (Mic.2:2; James 4:1-3)

One who is greedy

  1. Will never have enough (Isaiah 56:11)
  2. Can never serve God (Luke 16:13)
  3. Derides Christ (Luke 16:14)
  4. Shall not inherit the kingdom of God (1Cor.6:10; Eph.5:5)
  5. Has a heart exercised with covetous practices and is cursed (2Pet.2:14)

The antidote to greed is divine, sacrificial love (Rom.13:9-10; 1Cor.13).