Part 4 – How Does Man Try To Compensate?
Last time we discovered that God created mankind and put him in the Garden of Eden so that he could enjoy creation, and be a partaker of God’s Life, which was in the Tree of Life. Instead, man ate from the tree of knowledge of good and evil, which damaged his body, soul and spirit. So how does man try to compensate for his damaged state?
MAN’S ATTEMPT TO FIX HIMSELF
Man started to take great notice of evil, because he was so desperately captivated with wanting to do good. But notice, his inward drive to do good, and his inward drive to do evil, both came from the same tree!
Man thought “doing good” was what would please God, but his value system was distorted. He was mistaking “good” for “life”.
Jesus didn’t come to give us good, He came to give us life. Instead, man entered into an intense pursuit of good, and a feverish desire to abandon evil. And as a result, his human life became enslaved to the fallen angelic life within him.
That fallen life works in his body, causing him to sin, and makes him feel terrible. So he becomes ashamed, and loathes his miserable conduct and evil deeds, so he falls into despair. After a while, he gets up, and vows to never again sin. To pacify his accusing conscience, he goes out and does something good. This good deed tells his mind that he is basically a decent person. So he gives money to charity, tries to atone for his wrong, beats his chest in remorse, builds altars, donates things, or …. (What is your way of appeasing your accusing conscience?)
A few days later, since he is still a victim to this fallen higher life in him, he goes out and sins again, and falls into this desperate cycle. And this need to do “good” hounds him all the days of his life.
Both of these tendencies … to sin … and to be obsessed with “being good” … come from the same source, but he can’t understand it, because he has never experienced the antidote to both good or evil. What is the antidote? — LIFE!
“So I tell you this, and insist on it in the Lord, that you must no longer live as the Gentiles do, in the futility of their thinking. They are darkened in their understanding and separated from the life of God, because of the ignorance that is in them due to the hardening of their hearts.” (Ephesians 4:17-18).
In “evil” he sees the torment of everlasting enslavement. In “good” he sees his only hope of freedom and peace. But both good and evil together are driving him, and building his cage and forging his chains. And this state of existence is called “religion”, which is basically attempting to do good to appease God and his conscience.
Fallen man is religious, not spiritual. The duel of good and evil in man is the author of both religion and legalism. But man is so fallen, he cannot even understand his deepest motives.
“The heart is deceitful above all things and beyond cure. Who can understand it?” (Jeremiah 17:9).
Only God can know the true motives of man’s heart!
“… Man looks at the outward appearance, but the LORD looks at the heart.” (1 Samuel 16:7).
WHAT IS MAN’S ONLY SOLUTION?
Can this man once again come into fellowship with God? … No!
Is there anything man can do to get out of this mess? Yes! Man must respond to God’s mercy, and let God bring this species, as we presently know it, to extinction.
The only cure, is that God must end this species, completely re-create it, and introduce a new species, totally, completely different. It will still look like the old species, but inside, this new life form is going to be very different.
MAKE A CHOICE TO RESPOND TO GOD’S MERCY
Before we leave this article, I want to challenge you to do something … something that will prepare you to leave your old life form, and embrace the completely new, re-created life that God wants you to experience.
What do I want you to do? I want you to pray. Pray two things …
First, pray to reject the tree of knowledge of good and evil, and its thinking.
Second, pray to break any life styles or habits that are based on the tree of knowledge of good and evil, such as religion, trying to appease God, performance, self-abasement, whatever you have used to balance good and evil in your life. There is an answer, a solution, but it is not found anywhere in the fruit of the tree of knowledge.
(Note: I am indebted to Gene Edwards for many of the concepts in this series.)
… Next time …. Part 5 – Why Do We Need A Paradigm Shift?