Tuesday, January 4, 2011

God Does Not Share His Throne

Yesterday we talked a little about the nature and character of Satan.  Today I want to talk about his fall and see what lessons and warnings God has for us in sharing that account in His word.  While we may not fall to the same extent that he did, I think we will see the sin nature that developed inside him has many similar characteristics in what we see in ourselves.  I am not saying that to say that we have anything in common with Satan, I am saying that to show that sin in and of itself has many of the same characteristics whether it be in our hearts or Satan's. 
How you are fallen from heaven, 
O Lucifer, son of the morning! 
How you are cut down to the ground, 
You who weakened the nations!   Isaiah14:12 NKJV
Lucifer, the original given name of Satan, was created to be an image of God's beauty.  I will reference Ezekiel from yesterday, showing the beauty and honor of which Lucifer was created. 
11 Moreover the word of the LORD came to me, saying, 12 “Son of man, take up a lamentation for the king of Tyre, and say to him, ‘Thus says the Lord GOD: 
You were the seal of perfection,
Full of wisdom and perfect in beauty.
13 You were in Eden, the garden of God;
Every precious stone was your covering:
The sardius, topaz, and diamond,
Beryl, onyx, and jasper,
Sapphire, turquoise, and emerald with gold.
The workmanship of your timbrels and pipes
Was prepared for you on the day you were created.
14 “ You were the anointed cherub who covers;
I established you;
You were on the holy mountain of God;
You walked back and forth in the midst of fiery stones.
15 You were perfect in your ways from the day you were created,
Till iniquity was found in you.   Ezekiel 28:11;15 NKJV
The name Lucifer means Day Star or Lightbearer and Satan means Enemy.  Lucifer was created to be a picture of God's beauty and became His enemy.  How much like the story of man.  Man was created perfect in the Garden of Eden created in the image of God, created to be perfect, created to be in fellowship with God.  By the time Jesus died for us, we were all enemies of God through our sin.  Satan became profane through the sin in his heart, Adam and Eve became profane through their sin and were cast out of the Garden of Eden.  In fact, if it were not for the sacrifice of Jesus, that sin in our own lives would suffer us the same ultimate fate of Satan.  

Now let us turn the the sin that was the father of all sin.
13 For you have said in your heart:
‘ I will ascend into heaven,
I will exalt my throne above the stars of God;
I will also sit on the mount of the congregation
On the farthest sides of the north;
14 I will ascend above the heights of the clouds,
I will be like the Most High.’   Isaiah 14:13-14 NKJV
In keeping with our comparison, let us look at the fall of man in the Garden of Eden.
1 Now the serpent was more cunning than any beast of the field which the LORD God had made. And he said to the woman, “Has God indeed said, ‘You shall not eat of every tree of the garden’?”
2 And the woman said to the serpent, “We may eat the fruit of the trees of the garden; 3 but of the fruit of the tree which is in the midst of the garden, God has said, ‘You shall not eat it, nor shall you touch it, lest you die.’”
4 Then the serpent said to the woman, “You will not surely die. 5 For God knows that in the day you eat of it your eyes will be opened, and you will be like God, knowing good and evil.”
6 So when the woman saw that the tree was good for food, that it was pleasant to the eyes, and a tree desirable to make one wise, she took of its fruit and ate. She also gave to her husband with her, and he ate. 7 Then the eyes of both of them were opened, and they knew that they were naked; and they sewed fig leaves together and made themselves coverings.  Genesis 3:1-7 NKJV
Satan's beauty and prominence in Heaven resulted in the pride and ambition of wanting to be like God.  In fact, he wanted to replace God.  He used his same sin to deceive mankind into believe that we can also be like God.  How true is that still for us today.  Our sin is always a result of some form of rebellion against God.  I am not talking about the megalomaniacs who determine that they want to be quite literally seen as gods among men, but I am talking about the nature in all of us to be lord of our own lives.  We may not want to be god of the world, but we certainly want to be god of our own lives.  It is that desire that is at the heart of our sin nature.  It is the original deception that we can be like God, that we can ignore His precepts because we desire more or think we know better. 

Think about it, we all find ways to justify the sin in our lives, but all of those excuses are premised on the concept of desiring more or knowing better.  Let is look at some of those excuses and see how they fit into this concept.

The first justification is that God made us this way.  This is used for sins like homosexuality or in terms of negative personality traits, etc.  We feel as though we can not change (and on our own we can not), but instead of surrendering ourselves to God to take those desires from us, we stand defiant and claim that God made us this way.  This falls under the idea of feeling we know better than God, because God's Word says differently.
For we are His workmanship, created in Christ Jesus for good works, which God prepared beforehand that we should walk in them.  Ephesians 2:10 NKJV
God has said that He created us for good works, not for sin.  God did not create anyone to live a life of sin to Him and to say differently is to not only ignore what God said is sin, but it denies His word in that He told us we were created for good works. 

Another justification we give is saying we are "addicted" to whatever sin it is we cling to.  We say we are addicted to pornography, video games, television, sports, the internet, and more.  We have studies showing real evidence of addiction that we use to comfort us in our sin, to claim that we are not responsible for our own actions.  Really, though, is it a matter of addiction or a matter of desire?  Sometimes we do get sin so entrenched into our lives that they become difficult to get rid of, but who got them stuck there in the first place?  I mean even a drug addict was not addicted before they put the first needle into their arm.  Addictions and compulsions are monsters of our own making by our own actions and instead of making excuses for ourselves, we need to rid those things from our lives.  There is no such thing as "can't" when it comes to getting rid of sin in our lives, that falls under the are of desiring to be god over that area of our lives. 
What then? Shall we sin because we are not under law but under grace? Certainly not! Do you not know that to whom you present yourselves slaves to obey, you are that one's slaves whom you obey, whether of sin leading to death, or of obedience leading to righteousness? But God be thanked that though you were slaves of sin, yet you obeyed from the heart that form of doctrine to which you were delivered. And having been set free from sin, you became slaves of righteousness.  Romans 6:15-18 NKJV
There lies a truth that can not be ignored unless we choose to.  Some sin is very entrenched in our lives and sometimes we need to take dramatic steps to get it out of our lives.  I know Christians who have gotten rid of televisions, computers, friendships, and many other things to clean out their lives.  There are other steps one can take ranging from software blocks, to giving friends and family permission to delete software from computers, being accountable to brothers and sisters in the Lord who will ask you constantly how you are doing with a sin and pray for you when you are struggling.  The fact is that we often would rather exist in our sin then take the steps to rise above it.  We claim we are addicted, but the real excuse is that we want to be god over that area of our lives instead of submitting it to the true and living God. 

We also like to justify our sins by denying that it is sin to begin with.  We make excuses like saying that Jesus made wine so it is fine to get drunk or they did not understand sexuality in biblical times.  We sometimes go so far as to just say the Bible was mistranslated or that the Bible did not specifically mention that one particular thing you do so it must be OK.  We repeat to ourselves the same lie Satan told Eve when we say "Has God indeed said..."  All this self justification, though, is just saying that we want to be god over that part of our lives.  We know what His authority says and instead of submitting to it, we make ourselves our own god and declare it not to be sin.
Woe to those who call evil good, and good evil; Who put darkness for light, and light for darkness; Who put bitter for sweet, and sweet for bitter!
Woe to those who are wise in their own eyes, And prudent in their own sight!  Isaiah 5:20-21 NKJV
This is a pretty strong word.  Woe to those who call evil good (disagree with God on what things are sinful), woe to those who call good evil (who claim that calling people out on their sin is sinful itself), woe to those who are wise in their own eyes and prudent in their own sight (they measure their righteousness by their own false standards and not the righteous standards of God).  Woe to those who justify their sin by refusing to admit that it is sin.  For the Christian that woe is chastisement in this life, for the unbeliever it means eternal judgment in the next.

And finally, we have the case where there is no excuse given at all.  We take parts of our lives that for whatever reason we refuse to submit it to God.  This is outright rebellion and is exactly the sin of Satan.  We comfort ourselves in the verses about how we live under grace and how there is no condemnation in Christ, but if we do not desire to be like Christ we really must check our hearts and make sure we are under grace.  Just because you go to church, were raised in a church, related to leaders in a church, or even are a leader in a church does not mean you are saved.  One must make their own decision to receive that free gift of grace.  Grace is a free gift, but it is only given to those who ask for it.  And while one may love to hear what grace is or what grace has done for us, we must also realize that there are many things that grace does to us.  One of those things is to make us detest the sin in our lives, not to embrace it and brag about it. 
For if we sin willfully after we have received the knowledge of the truth, there no longer remains a sacrifice for sins, but a certain fearful expectation of judgment, and fiery indignation which will devour the adversaries.Anyone who has rejected Moses' law dies without mercy on the testimony of two or three witnesses. Of how much worse punishment, do you suppose, will he be thought worthy who has trampled the Son of God underfoot, counted the blood of the covenant by which he was sanctified a common thing, and insulted the Spirit of grace? For we know Him who said, "Vengeance is Mine, I will repay," says the Lord. And again, "The LORD will judge His people." It is a fearful thing to fall into the hands of the living God.  Hebrews 10:26-31 NKJV
Willfully living in sin just because you desire to sin should scare you.  It should scare you terribly.  If you feel no effects on your heart from Jesus in you, you had really better check and make sure He is in you.  You are living in open rebellion to God and in that you are putting your authority over that of God's.  If you live willfully in sin despite the knowledge of God, you are making yourself like the Most High as you are rejecting His authority and replacing it with your own desires.  Even though it may just be of your own life, you are putting yourself on the throne of God, usurping and rebelling against His authority. 

I will close with something I heard on the radio just yesterday.  I was listening to our NJ radio station for a traffic report for my long ride home and while waiting for the report, the subject that radio hosts were talking about was guilty pleasure television shows.  There was a woman who called and told the hosts first that she goes to church all the time and does good things.  Interesting she did not say she was a "Christian", but just said she goes to church.  She then went on to explain that her show was Sons of Anarchy because the guys on the show were "hot."  She was married, but yet took pleasure in reveling in other men.  She was adulterous and did not seem to care. The hosts joked with her about her facade and she admitted that everyone thought she was a goody goody (as though being righteous were a bad thing), but being that she was a "Gemini" (her Astrological sign), she naturally had two natures - the good church girl and the wanton adulteress lusting after criminals.  She was proud of her actions, laughed about her actions, and saw no issue with it at all.  This is a woman who committed the sin of Satan.  She rebelled against God and in so many ways.  First she went to church so I assume any half way decent pastor would share that lusting after other men is wrong and lusting after sinful men makes it all the worse, but then again it was never her fault because she was born a Gemini and really had no say in the matter.  Of course, I would like to see how she justifies that with her so-called faith in God. 

She may be an extreme example, but please do not start down her path.  Make sure that you are not trying to share the throne with the only One who deserves to be there.  We have the privileged of knowing the true and living God and that God wants and deserves to sit on the throne of our hearts.  Humble yourself to His authority and He will exalt you.  Step out in pride and try to take His throne and He will cut you down. Jesus is Lord!  Those three words should always be in your heart, not just for comfort in a world in rebellion but for your own heart when that same rebellion wells up inside you.
And you He made alive, who were dead in trespasses and sins, in which you once walked according to the course of this world, according to the prince of the power of the air, the spirit who now works in the sons of disobedience, among whom also we all once conducted ourselves in the lusts of our flesh, fulfilling the desires of the flesh and of the mind, and were by nature children of wrath, just as the others. But God, who is rich in mercy, because of His great love with which He loved us, even when we were dead in trespasses, made us alive together with Christ (by grace you have been saved), and raised us up together, and made us sit together in the heavenly places in Christ Jesus,  that in the ages to come He might show the exceeding riches of His grace in His kindness toward us in Christ Jesus.  Ephesians 2:1-7 NKJV

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