Dear saints, I trust that all of you’re doing well and that Lord has been blessing and prospering you🙂. When we refer to sin, we actually think of particular sins like lasciviousness, immorality, theft, adultery and so on (Matthew 15:19, Galatians 5:19-21). To be sure, these are all sins and damnable in hell. But the root of all these sins is much more fundamental, i.e., it lies in our right to ourselves. In democracies we are endowed with certain inalienable rights. But to be a disciple of the Lord Jesus, we have to give up those rights to be truly free. The bottom line is who’s in charge of our spirits, God or ourselves (and the devil).
Please turn with me to Luke 9:23-27. This is the passage of scripture in which the Lord Jesus lays downs the rules for discipleship. It’s also important for us to remember that the Lord Jesus commanded us to make disciples, not just converts of all nations (Matthew 18:19-20). The difference between a convert and disciple is precisely that, self-denial. To be precise, it’s denying our right to ourselves. This is exactly the blasphemy that Satan and the fallen angels had committed. A disciple learns to sympathize with God and see things from God’s perspective (Romans 12:2). Satan and those who followed (and still following) him see God as cruel, vicious and unjust. As the Apostle Paul said, a sinful mind is hostile to God and will not obey God (Romans 8:7). Disciples understand that God had allowed sin and suffering because of Adam’s fall from grace (Genesis 3) but that there’s justice with God as He suffered on behalf of those who were unborn and had nothing to do with Adam’s fall (Romans 9:11, Romans 5:8). Those that oppose God argue that the all-knowing (Romans 8:29-30) should have never allowed Adam to sin. That, of course, raises the issue of free will. That’ll be the subject of another discussion.
Every sin that had been committed and will be committed originates from that right to ourselves. The first sin committed by Adam and Eve in the garden was a thirst for knowledge and immortality, i.e., god-likeness (Genesis 3:1-2). This was probably the first recorded sin dealing with greed and selfish-ambition. Notice how Satan always manages to twist scripture to seduce us, “Did God really say…..”. Satan uses that line even today. At that point Adam and Eve were innocent (Genesis 2:25) and weren’t aware of their rights until Satan stirred that self-awareness in them (Genesis 3:4-5, Genesis 3:7). To be sure, it was God’s will for Adam and Eve to attain full-knowledge, maturity and god-likeness. But it had to be God’s way and in God’s good time (Revelation 2:7). God wanted Adam and Eve to mature through obedience, instead Satan tricked them into choosing the quick and easy way.
Let’s take another familiar example of fall from grace due to not denying one’s self rights. 2 Samuel 11-12 records the adultery, murder and sin committed by King David. Being a King David manipulated the law by deliberately posting his servant and soldier Uriah in a fatal combat zone (2 Samuel 11:15), usurped Bathsheba (2 Samuel 11:4) by exercising his authority, and concealed his sin until the Prophet Nathan confronted him. Here’s another example of how David exercised his executive privilege instead of denying himself those ill-gotten pleasures. Had David renounced these rights and governed as he should have (2 Samuel 11:1-6) then his family wouldn’t have been disgraced later (2 Samuel 12:11-12). The irony is that God would have given David all the natural pleasures that he sought (2 Samuel 12:8), but it had to be God’s way and in God’s time. That’s exactly the difference between lust and love. Desiring good things from the Lord and having the Lord bless our God-given rights is God’s will as well (Matthew 7:11). But whereas lust would want these blessings right away and is willing to disobey God, love is patient and is willing to wait upon the Lord (Isaiah 40:31, Matthew 6:33). Remember saints, no good thing will he withhold from those who walk uprightly (Psalm 84:11). But if like Jeremiah it means having nothing but suffering in store (Jeremiah 45:5), then we have to keep denying ourselves till His kingdom come.
Often times, denying our right to ourselves is a more of a test to purify our faith and discipline us than to deprive us. In Genesis 22 we read the narrative of God demanding the sacrifice of Abraham’s promised child Isaac. It would seem really cruel if God were to demand the promised heir. I mean, why promise an heir, only to snatch him away? But there are a couple of things going on here. First, Abraham, formerly Abram, was from Ur, land of the Chaldeans where apparently child sacrifice to pagan deities was common. Second, Abraham following that fanatical mindset thought that God actually meant for him to kill his son (Abraham reasoned that even if God wanted his son dead, He’d raise from the dead (Hebrews 11:19)). God had to purify Abraham’s faith and instruct Him that the Lord desires obedience and not sacrifice (1 Samuel 15:22).
Giving up our right to ourselves is the supreme test of sanctification (it was for me), but the life of holiness that follows later is easy and natural as breathing. A soul that’s sold out to God is always trained to say “speak Lord, your servant is listening” (1 Samuel 3:10) in all circumstances. A life that follows such spiritual training is a simple life of holiness and mostly (if not always) a blessed life as well (Matthew 19:29). Amen.
Dear friends, I’m quite certain that all of you are sanctified, Holy Ghost baptized saints. Should there be any among you that don’t know the Lord yet, I pray that the Lord of the Universe will set you free from sin and disobedience into His glorious light and freedom. Amen.