We see in this verse that Eve decides that the fruit of the tree looks good to her. It pleases her. Eve desired the fruit of the tree. Let that sink in as we think about the issue of whether something is a sin or not. I wrote in the last post about how sin is really a heart issue and it is deeper than just behaviors that we do or fail to do. We see in the story of the fall that the devil tempts Eve to shift the inclination of her heart from what God wants and desires to what she wants and desires. The gauge of whether something is a sin or not cannot be what we want and desire. It can't be based on what we say is good. It can't be determined by what pleases us. Because our wants and desires don't always line up with God. If we are honest we know that they rarely do. Jesus knows this about us as well that is why he says, “Whoever wants to be my disciple must deny themselves and take up their cross daily and follow me." (Luke 9:23) It is not about what is good to us, pleases us or what we desire. It is about what pleases God and what God desires.
Here is where I am going with my thoughts on this. If the argument for homosexuality not being a sin, or anything for that matter, is that it is good to me, pleases me and I desire it, then that is a not a very biblical or Christ-centered argument. If the basis for determining our actions is our desires then we are determining our behaviors on our terms not God's. This is the very thing that the devil convinces Adam and Eve to do. This is what leads us to separation from God. This is not a denial of self but self-indulgence. This is self-centeredness, not Christ-centeredness. Following self, not following Jesus.
The same is true of determining what the church is like and who is in and who is out. If we base that on what we desire, what is good to us, and what pleases us then we are building our church, not God's. We build our own little kingdoms. We create communities of people designed to be what we are pleased with and what we think is good. We only let in the people we are comfortable with and the people we find easy to love. We keep out the people who don't look like us, think like us, or act like us. And we keep God out of it. Because we are not thinking about God we are thinking about ourselves.
The same is happening when we base a decision on whether we think it is bad for us, doesn't please us or we don't desire it. This is still about us and not about God.
There must be another basis for determining what is sin and if there are behaviors that seperate us from God. This must be determined by God not us. After all, this is about our relationship with God and what separates us from Him. We have to surrender not just our lives to God but also being the ones who say what is right and what is wrong. We have to live our lives in and through the Holy Spirit. The Spirit of God will reveal what is sin in our lives and will enable us to understand the will of God. God enables us to understand what is good, pleasing and desirable to God. The truth is that we only know about God what God reveals to us.
Jesus tells us this as he reveals to Peter how Peter knows who He is. "And Jesus said to him, “Blessed are you, Simon Barjona, because flesh and blood did not reveal this to you, but My Father who is in heaven." The way that we are able to live in relationship with God and live according to his will is through surrendering to Him and allowing his Spirit to come into our hearts and lives and lead us. He promises that his Spirit is what will keep us from sin and enable us to determine what is a sin.
Ezekiel reveals the promise. "And I will put my Spirit in you and move you to follow my decrees and be careful to keep my laws." The way that we know what God desires is by His Spirit. The Spirit will reveal what is a sin to us. The Spirit will cause us to live in relationship with God that is pleasing to Him. Our calling is to live by the Spirit and allow the Spirit to be our advocate. I believe that the only way that I will know what is in the will of God or not is by living in and by the Spirit. I have to live in relationship with God and others who are living in relationship with God by the power of the Holy Spirit and in this, and only in this, will I be able to understand what is good, pleasing and desirable to God as He reveals it to me. Paul writes about this in his letter to the Galatians.
So, we need to keep in step with the Spirit. We need to live by the Spirit and be led by the Spirit. The Spirit will bear fruit in our lives, not sin. If anyone lives in and by the Spirit, they will bear the fruits of the Spirit and not desire the things of the flesh. Our biggest concern should not be if someone's behaviors or our own behaviors are "good or bad" it should be if we are connecting to the Holy Spirit. This is the only way we will really know what sin is. It is the only way that we can know the desires of God."You, my brothers and sisters, were called to be free. But do not use your freedom to indulge the flesh; rather, serve one another humbly in love. For the entire law is fulfilled in keeping this one command: “Love your neighbor as yourself.” If you bite and devour each other, watch out or you will be destroyed by each other. So I say, walk by the Spirit, and you will not gratify the desires of the flesh. For the flesh desires what is contrary to the Spirit, and the Spirit what is contrary to the flesh. They are in conflict with each other, so that you are not to do whatever you want. But if you are led by the Spirit, you are not under the law. The acts of the flesh are obvious: sexual immorality, impurity and debauchery; idolatry and witchcraft; hatred, discord, jealousy, fits of rage, selfish ambition, dissensions, factions and envy; drunkenness, orgies, and the like. I warn you, as I did before, that those who live like this will not inherit the kingdom of God. But the fruit of the Spirit is love, joy, peace, forbearance, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness and self-control. Against such things there is no law. Those who belong to Christ Jesus have crucified the flesh with its passions and desires. Since we live by the Spirit, let us keep in step with the Spirit. Let us not become conceited, provoking and envying each other." Galatians 5:13-26
Jesus says an interesting thing about sin as he tells us about the promised Spirit that will come to us after he goes to be with the father.
Jesus says that the first thing the Spirit will do is prove the world to be wrong about sin, righteousness, and judgment. He is saying the world gets sin wrong. Maybe we are basing it on the wrong things? Maybe we are making it a list of behaviors? Maybe we are making it about what we want? He says that the problem with our understanding of sin is that we don't believe in Him. When it comes to sin we have to trust Jesus. We have to remember that sin does not get the last word Jesus does. "This righteousness is given through faith in Jesus Christ to all who believe. There is no difference between Jew and Gentile, for all have sinned and fall short of the glory of God, and all are justified freely by his grace through the redemption that came by Christ Jesus." (Romans 3:22-24) All of us are sinners, all of us are justified by grace through faith because of who Jesus is and what Jesus does not because of who we are and what we have done.But very truly I tell you, it is for your good that I am going away. Unless I go away, the Advocate will not come to you; but if I go, I will send him to you. When he comes, he will prove the world to be in the wrong about sin and righteousness and judgment: about sin, because people do not believe in me; about righteousness, because I am going to the Father, where you can see me no longer; and about judgment, because the prince of this world now stands condemned. “I have much more to say to you, more than you can now bear. But when he, the Spirit of truth, comes, he will guide you into all the truth. He will not speak on his own; he will speak only what he hears, and he will tell you what is yet to come. He will glorify me because it is from me that he will receive what he will make known to you. All that belongs to the Father is mine. That is why I said the Spirit will receive from me what he will make known to you.” John 16:7-15
Our focus needs to be on the Spirit and on connecting one another to the Spirit and then we need to be looking for the fruits to be revealed in one another's lives as we love one another. The Spirit and only the Spirit will guide us and make known to us the desires of God. I believe the Spirit will surprise us. I believe that Spirit will open our eyes to new discoveries. I believe that we will grow in our understanding of God. Not just an understanding of what separates us from Him.
In Christ's love and mine,