Friday, October 20, 2017

Original Sin Is The Sin of Autonomy

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’?”

And the woman said to the serpent, “We may eat the fruit of the trees of the garden; 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.’”

Then the serpent said to the woman, “You will not surely die. 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.” – Genesis 3:1-5

This conversation was what led Adam and Eve to committing what is termed as original sin. The actual act is recorded in verse 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.

 The act of partaking of the forbidden fruit was a willful choice of disobedience. Because of that willful act, God cursed their offspring with original sin, or sin that is present in all persons born of the flesh or the will of the flesh from that time forward. This is an important distinction to keep in mind for later on, but let’s take a look at what was really behind the act of disobedience.

Eve partook of the forbidden fruit because she:

·         saw that the tree was good for food
·         that it was pleasant to the eyes
·         desirable to make one wise.

How many of your sins can you insert in place of “the tree” in the above list?
How many justifications can you insert in place of “good for food”?
How many desires can you insert in place of the word “wise”?

I would wager that, unless you are extremely different from me, every sin you have ever committed started off with:

·         a forbidden object
·         a justification for why it is okay
·         a desired result from having the forbidden object

This is the anatomical format of sin, but it does not explain the origin of sin or what causes one to see a forbidden thing, justify that it is okay to have it and hope in a certain desired result. To understand where the process of sin comes from, we have return to the conversation which opened this blog. More specifically to verses 4 and 5:

Then the serpent said to the woman, “You will not surely die. 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.”

What did the serpent promise would happen if they partook of the forbidden fruit?

·         your eyes will be opened
·         you will be like God
·         you will know good from evil

Let’s use some different words:

·         you will be enlightened
·         you will be in control
·         you will be wise

Consider both sets of words for a moment while I introduce a definition from Webster’s Dictionary to you.

Definition of autonomy
plural autonomies
1: the quality or state of being self-governing; especially: the right of self-government 
2: self-directing freedom and especially moral independence; personal autonomy

Synonyms include:
accord, free will, choice, self-determination, volition, will

Greek auto=self, nomy=name; thus, self naming or self declaring

Is this not the exact definition which can be applied to the decision which Eve made? Is this not the exact meaning behind the words which the serpent used to tempt her?

Take a look at the tempter. He was the most beautiful creation among the angels in heaven, but he rebelled against God here are his words recorded in Isaiah 14:13 and 14:

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;
I will ascend above the heights of the clouds,
I will be like the Most High.”

Lucifer’s desire was to be autonomous. His desire was to exalt himself above God and be like God. Isn’t this the exact same lie which he used to convince Eve to partake of the forbidden fruit? Isn’t this the exact same desire Eve had in her heart when she partook of the fruit and Adam with her? Isn’t this the exact same motivation which causes you and I to sin?

In a nutshell, original sin is the DESIRE TO CONTROL OUR OWN DESTINY. To name our own destiny, to make our own decisions apart from being governed by God, to have the free will to make our own choices, to have self-determination in every decision we make. The act of exalting ourselves above God’s will is the curse of original sin. Romans 1:22-25 tells us that God gave us over to our sins:

Professing to be wise, they became fools, and changed the glory of the incorruptible God into an image made like corruptible man—and birds and four-footed animals and creeping things.

Therefore God also gave them up to uncleanness, in the lusts of their hearts, to dishonor their bodies among themselves, who exchanged the truth of God for the lie, and worshiped and served the creature rather than the Creator, who is blessed forever. Amen.

When God cursed Adam and Eve and all of their offspring, He gave mankind over to our desire to be autonomous. That desire to be autonomous leads to being cast out of his presence and to death. 

These health and wealth false prophets and those who buy into their deception teach and believe that you can take control of your own destiny. In fact, according to these wolves in sheep’s clothing, you can command God to perform for you whatever you desire: money, power, health, even command the weather. Many have bought into this deception because it tickles their ears. It fits the ultimate, original sin, desire of their flesh. It gives them control over their destiny. It gives them free will to author their destiny, and at the same time, they punch their ticket into eternal life because they prayed a prayer and made a decision.

Apart from these false prophets are others which appeal to the desire of men to control their own destiny. This deception involves being baptized (whether as an infant or adult makes no difference), but after baptism, one must attend mass, go to confession, pray to the Virgin and the Saints, perform good works, tithe, keep the Sabbath, keep the feasts, partake in all of the sacraments, and do good things that will make you more impressive to God so that He will save you. When you die, you will spend some time in Purgatory, while your dear family and friends spend every last dime they have to help get your eternal soul into heaven.

Our autonomy leads us to strive with all of our might to line up all of our ducks in a row so that we will be acceptable to God and He will count us worthy to enter into His Kingdom. In our flesh we believe that if we can just be good enough, if we can just believe more, have more faith, give more money, etc.

And then there is Jesus:

He was in the world, and the world was made through Him, and the world did not know Him. He came to His own, and His own did not receive Him. But as many as received Him, to them He gave the right to become children of God, to those who believe in His name: who were born, not of blood, nor of the will of the flesh, nor of the will of man, but of God.

And the Word became flesh and dwelt among us, and we beheld His glory, the glory as of the only begotten of the Father, full of grace and truth. – John 1:10-14

I made a distinction toward the beginning of this blog. Here is the exact sentence repeated:

Because of that willful act, God cursed their offspring with original sin, or sin that is present in all persons born of the flesh or the will of the flesh from that time forward.

Pay attention, because this is important:

1.      Jesus was not born of the will of the flesh. Jesus was born through the will of God by the visitation of His Holy Spirit who placed Jesus in the Virgin’s womb. This doctrinal position is critical. Jesus could not have been born of the will of the flesh because if He had been, He too would have been under the curse.
2.      Those who receive Jesus are not born of the will of the flesh, but of the will of God. Those who receive Jesus are given a new life in the spirit which is recreating them and fitting them for the Kingdom of God. They do not strive for or obtain the grace of God, their regeneration or their sanctification through their own autonomy: free will, choice, self-determination, etc.

Consider these words:

“He who began a good work in you will be faithful to complete it.” – Philippians 1:16

Brothers and sisters asserting your autonomy in your belief and in your faith is a continuation of the curse of original sin. If you are trusting in your own will, belief or faith, you are focused on your flesh rather than on your savior. Determining your own destiny by trying to earn your way to heaven by good works is your sinful desire continuing to control your flesh. You are to put your flesh to death and receive Jesus daily! That is what is meant by ths:

“I am the true vine, and My Father is the vinedresser. Every branch in Me that does not bear fruit He takes away; and every branch that bears fruit He prunes, that it may bear more fruit. You are already clean because of the word which I have spoken to you. Abide in Me, and I in you. As the branch cannot bear fruit of itself, unless it abides in the vine, neither can you, unless you abide in Me.

“I am the vine, you are the branches. He who abides in Me, and I in him, bears much fruit; for without Me you can do nothing. If anyone does not abide in Me, he is cast out as a branch and is withered; and they gather them and throw them into the fire, and they are burned. If you abide in Me, and My words abide in you, you will ask what you desire, and it shall be done for you. By this My Father is glorified, that you bear much fruit; so you will be My disciples.” – John 15:1-8

Abiding in Jesus is a minute by minute, hour by hour, day by day commitment. In this commitment you battle the desire of your flesh to be autonomous and maintain control over your destiny. You must put that desire of autonomy to death and…:

…lay aside every weight, and the sin which so easily ensnares us, and let us run with endurance the race that is set before us, looking unto Jesus, the author and finisher of our faith, who for the joy that was set before Him endured the cross, despising the shame, and has sat down at the right hand of the throne of God. – Hebrews 12:1-2

Brothers and sisters, for more than a year now, God has placed only one burden and one message on my heart and I have repeated it in a number of different forms.

Humble yourself and exalt Jesus.

That is a simple statement, but it is the power of both regeneration and sanctification. When you are given the eyes to see and ears to hear and receive the message of the gospel, it is given to you not by the will of your own flesh. You were not autonomous in that moment, but the Father revealed His message of salvation to you.

To insist and cling to controlling your own destiny is a continuation of the sin of autonomy in your life and is against the spirit of the new creation you have become.

Humble yourself, in essence, GIVE UP YOUR AUTONOMY. Put that part of you which is exerting itself to maintain control over your destiny to death.

Replace that desire after autonomy with a desire to abide in Jesus. Replace the desire to maintain control over your destiny with allowing Jesus to take His rightful place as the author and finisher of your faith and as your exalted Lord.

To Jesus be ALL glory, honor, power and strength on earth as in heaven as well as in our lives daily. Amen

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