I started writing a blog and sending them out to those on my email list about 10 years ago. I select a theme at the beginning of the year and each week I use a separate title for the article. Each article series represents an entire year of writings. Just select a theme and scroll down to see the entire collection of different topics. I would estimate there are close to 500 articles here and you are welcome to copy them and use them however the Lord leads. I hope and pray you will find something that will speak to your heart. Here is a short 2-part series that was written in September 2020. May the Holy Spirit continue to give you His wisdom and understanding.
THE KNOWLEDGE OF GOOD AND EVIL – PART 1
As Christians we often think the world does not know about God which explains why they go about their merry way seemingly undaunted and captivated with sin. This may be partly true as they do not understand all the details about the Bible and what God wants from them, however every human has inherited the ability to know right from wrong. Originally, Adam and Eve were not concerned about sin and were not controlled by their Maker but were given free-will to make their own decisions. After they fell from the Garden of Eden, they did not think they way they used to. Suddenly, they could recognize error and could feel shame. They are responsible for opening the door to sin, and within this opportunity to live however they want, the reality of being aware of good and evil is now also included within the spectrum of human existence. Let us take a glimpse of how this came to be as it gives us a clear but sad picture of the ingrained rebellion of our human nature. In Genesis the second chapter and verses 16 and 17, we find a warning from the Lord which changed the spiritual condition of humans and literally altered the entire world. “And the LordGod commanded the man, you are free to eat from any tree in the garden; but you must not eat from the tree of the knowledge of good and evil, for when you eat from it you will certainly die.” Unfortunately, in the next chapter, Adam and Eve did exactly what God told them not to do. Even though natural death became a curse within the natural realm, we know that God was not referring to their immediate physical death because they were not instantly killed. The “dying” the Lord was talking about was spiritual death and reminds us there are always terrible consequences to disobeying God. Remember the passage in Romans 6:23, “For the wages of sin is death; but the gift of God is eternal life through Jesus Christ our Lord.” These wages can very well include natural death but are usually referred to as eternal separation from God.
Let’s turn to Genesis chapter 3 and take a glimpse at the detailed account of how the fall of humanity happened. It’s true that Satan was tempting and lying to Eve just like he does with everyone today, but we must include that she and her husband also had the choice to resist and reject the deceptions of the enemy of our soul the same as we can now. Verses 6 and 7,“When the woman saw that the fruit of the tree was good for food and pleasing to the eye, and also desirable for gaining wisdom, she took some and ate it. She also gave some to her husband, who was with her, and he ate it. Then the eyes of both of them were opened, and they realized they were naked; so they sewed fig leaves together and made coverings for themselves.” Let us note the very important statement, “Then their eyes were opened.” For the first time, sin awakened the conscience within the human mind and established a guilt that could not be satisfied by human morality and also established a personal accountability to seek spiritual truth. Humans became incarcerated in their sinful condition and can only be released by the infinite, divine, and absolute truth which is God Himself. An interesting consideration is found in John Chapter 8 and verse 32, where Jesus said that truth in itself will not necessarily bring personal spiritual deliverance but “knowing” truth (comprehend, perceive, awaken, realize, discern, understand, apprehend) is the act of faith which activates the power of God to spiritually set someone free. “And you shall ‘know’ the truth, and the truth shall make you free.”
When people do things that are wrong, they have a momentary check in their conscience which tells them this is bad. But, as we have been saying, we also have been given the choice to stop if we so desire. When we are a child, we may be more likely to stop and consider both options, but as we grow older many times, the heart becomes harder and less sensitive to guilt and condemnation. As in every lost person, only the convicting power of God can break through the layers of deception and rebellion that has become the control center of our depraved human nature. Since Adam and Eve severed the beautiful relationship they had with God, every person has been born in a fallen state and having a desperate need to be spiritually redeemed. Jesus came to earth to shed His blood as the only payment which could pay for the sins of those who would believe and accept God as their Lord and Master. This Biblical explanation of our fallen condition gives us a more clear understanding of how the internal decision to embrace wickedness is directly associated with our discipline and judgment. We are truly responsible for our decisions because of this privilege to accept or reject the temptations and persuasions from our own carnality. We can clearly see that without inviting Jesus to be the King of our life, we can certainly become our own worst enemy. Yes, we are still being influenced by Satan, but generally speaking, the devil has never forced anyone to do evil, the same as God has never forced anyone to love and serve His kingdom. Within this opportunity to live however we want, the reality of being aware of good and evil is now included within the spectrum of human existence. This disturbing truth exposes the secret motives and dark rebellious nature of mankind and allows to to know that our words and deeds are done with a cognitive understanding. To realize that mankind knows they are wrong and is basically defiant to change their ways, sheds light on God’s justification to punish those who reject His priceless invitation to be born-again.
THE KNOWLEDGE OF GOOD AND EVIL – Part 2
As we have mentioned in the past, there are many famous and well-known people who have been recognized for their contributions to our world and yet they have not been believers in Jesus as God. They might acknowledge Jesus as a person who taught the Bible and was killed for heresy, but have no intention of accepting Him as an infallible deity, being incarnate, coming back from the dead, or being the Savior of the world. Ruth Ginsberg passed away yesterday and is being lauded as one of the greatest women of law and politics in the history of mankind. My question is how much did she love God and what did she do for God’s kingdom? Was listening and obeying God her highest priority or did she invest an entire lifetime trying to give people the freedom to do whatever they want? I read a comment by someone last night which said that she is responsible for the deaths of many unborn children because she fought so hard to make abortion legal. Is this her legacy? The world rejoices as the Christians weep. This should cause everyone to wake up and take a close examination of their own heart and soul. We realize that only God knows a person’s intentions and whether they are born-again or not, but when we look at the technical aspects of what makes us spiritually “saved” we see that certain things must be a part of the process or there is no miracle of redemption. One step which activates us being transformed into God’s family is accepting and receiving this gospel truth of grace. If we do not believe, it is impossible for us to receive Christ as our Lord and Savior. Only an infinite and perfect God could have the authority to create everything, forgive sin, and give eternal life. If Jesus Christ was not God, this means His sacrifice was nothing more than a fairy tale and He would certainly not have this power. If the cross, The Bible, His blood, and resurrection was not about restoring the fellowship between man and God, then we are hopelessly doomed. In this way of thinking, there is no eternal life and when we die we just dissolve into the ground. Sadly, this is becoming a popular view.
Abiogenesis and evolution are widely accepted as the idea the world started on it’s own without an intelligent designer. When a person believes that all things were created from nothing, in their own mind they are are excused from being responsible to the one who made them. To deny the existence of God, allows people to embrace their human independence and the liberty to live however they want. I’m not sure which is worse; to be an atheist, or to proclaim to believe in God and never pay any attention to Him. It’s fearful to admit that our carnal nature has the ability to deceive our mind with an emotional sense of confidence and well being. This false security is a powerful illusion and has grace consequences. The Bible talks extensively about the depravity of the human heart and the darkest degree of mortal deception and rebellion as a reminder of how desperately he needs to be changed and to be eternally grateful for God’s mercy, love, and grace. We have been given a wonderful life, a beautiful earth, and the opportunity to live forever with God. You would think that humanity would have a constant attitude of praise and worship unto the one who has provided such amazing and miraculous blessings. However, humans have been given the choice to manage their own thoughts or to allow their thoughts to control them. Those who choose the default settings of being led by their feelings, they are driven by arrogance, anger, envy, resentment, hatred, sadness, and misery. In contrast, when a person surrenders their will and allows God to direct their conscience, they are filled with peace and hope which comes from the assurance of trust. When we place our life in God’s hands, we can rest and know that He is in control. In order for this to happen we must allow Him to sit in the kings chair which is the throne of our heart. This is not the same as believing that God is real or that he can do anything. There is a huge difference between knowing about God and knowing Him personally.
Did God make it too difficult for humans to find Him? And for those who did find Him, it seems that very few have a passionate desire to know Him. The world wonders why there are so many disagreements and opinions about spiritual truth, but it’s obvious the answer is because only very few know God. The creator is Omniscient which means He knows everything and is perfect in all knowledge and wisdom. He has no flaws or weaknesses, makes no mistakes, errors, or accidents and is perfect in His character and nature and all His ways. This means He is absolute truth in all things. So, the closer a person comes to Him and the more they intimately know Him, the more truth they will understand. We can safely say that if everyone in the world knew God and walked with him, we would all see the same and agree with everything. Since there is only one truth, if everyone believed in this one divine absolute truth there would be perfect unity without strife, conflicts, opposing ideas, opinions, or dissension. Is this not how it will be in heaven? Our eternal life will be unified because we will all know the perfect truth. In perfect truth there is love, peace, and joy because God is truth. We realize there is 29 percent or 2.4 billion people currently on earth who proclaim to be Christians. However, I am convinced there are not really that many true followers who have taken up their cross and are following God’s voice. The word remnant is used to describe a piece, part, or section within the whole and we see there is definitely a church within a church. As the Pharisees were wolves in sheep’s clothing, so there is an apostate religious movement today. An individual can be religious and not know God and this is gives us an understanding how things are not always the way it seems when it comes to someone being a disciple of Christ. Everyone who is a member of a church is not necessarily a member of God’s family, the same way being Jewish does not mean you are automatically chosen to go to heaven. I also do not believe the kingdom of God is growing larger, but that it is declining smaller. The Bible says many in the last day will fall away from God’s truth, many will be deceived by the dark spirit of religion, many will take the mark of the beast, new converts are rare, some do not believe Jesus is God, some have been baptized but were never born again, and the older saints are passing away every day. Religion may be growing in numbers but the overcomers are few.
There are many choices in this life as to who we can worship and what we can decide that is the right spiritual path for our life. When it comes to the gospel of Jesus Christ, there are basically two different kinds of people. Those who accept and believe and those who reject and refuse. Look around and you will see what I mean. This is the major division between the lost and saved, however within these two camps there are many other sub-divisions. For those who accept the reality of Jesus, we are allowed to choose our level of interest and participation with Him. Many people believe in God and country and enjoy the idea of freedom of religion and the freedom to fly a flag. This is not the same thing as being born again. A person can be saved and believe these ideas, but a non saved person can also believe the same thing and not be a part of God’s family. Because of free will, we can be as committed and dedicated as we desire. If we want to have a Bible on our bookshelf and believe in God, we certainly have the right to do so. If we want to give our heart to God, we can obey Him, be filled with His Spirit and live by every word of His truth. In the other camp, we find the human psyche has the ability to develop a denial in order to avoid thoughts that are uncomfortable and threatening. We have the freedom to be a humanist and an atheist and be as extreme as we want. Rebellion must find a way to build a wall of security which can protect the conscience against spiritual conviction from God. These games of denial can be used in the lives of both the saved and the unsaved because of our freedom to think whatever we want. These levels expose our worldviews, what type of person we are, how much we love God, and or how much we despise Him.
A critical component of salvation is how many are given the choice to be saved and how many may have been elected. We all have family and friends that are not saved and we wonder if there is anything we can do to help bring them into God, besides of course telling them about Him and praying. I’ve often wondered if our faith can cause God’s power to draw someone into His kingdom? Can our fasting and prayer change their mind and their attitude toward Christ? If so, why don’t we spend hours each day on our knees to help in this salvation process? Maybe we really do not believe this is possible or heaven forbid we do not care. On the flip side, is it true that if we neglect to pray for people to be saved, that some may never come to know God? We know the Lord knows all things, but everything is not locked in so to speak. I believe the Bible teaches that the fervent intercession of a righteous individual accomplishes much. I cannot see a lot of different ways this can be interpreted. Another question I have is whether anyone can escape and resist God’s effectual call? It seems that whatever is predestined is carved in stone and many things have been prophesied and recorded in the Bible. Can these things be changed? I remember a story found in Isaiah chapter 38 about a man named Hezekiah who was told through a prophet that his life was soon coming to an end. Hezekiah prayed and listen to what happened. “In those days Hezekiah became sick and was near death. Isaiah the man of God, the son of Amoz, came to him and said, the Lord says, make those of your house ready, for you will die and not live. Then Hezekiah turned his face to the wall, and prayed to the Lord, and said, O Lord, I ask you from my heart to remember now how I have walked with You in truth and with a whole heart. I have done what is good in Your eyes. And Hezekiah cried with a bitter cry. Then the Word of the Lord came to Isaiah, saying, go and tell Hezekiah, the Lord, the God of your father David, says, I have heard your prayer. I have seen your tears. See, I will add fifteen years to your life.”
Since we know the power of prayer is real and that God is flexible in some things but rigid with certain events, we realize that spiritual discernment is critical in order to know the difference. Whether praying for ourselves, someone else, or for some type of event, God is listening and will consider our prayers the same as He respected men like Gideon and Jacob. When we think of the tree of the knowledge of good and evil, the idea is that our mind is now open to many things. In turn, the more knowledge we have, the more responsible we are to dedicate all that we are to the one who made us. Inviting Jesus Christ to be the Lord of our life is about knowing who God is and who we are in Christ. Earthly accomplishments mean nothing without having Jesus sitting on the throne of our heart. Success in the eyes of God is completely different than what the world believes. The more that I study the Bible especially in the light of the original Hebrew text, the more I realize I do not know as much as I thought I did. However, I sense the Holy Spirit telling me that a lot of things which we thought we knew is not really important. The most crucial truth and the meaning of life is to spend every waking moment drawing nearer to God and learning to know Him intimately. When we know wisdom, we can run from it or we can fall on our face at the foot of the cross. We can play games of denial and or we can surrender our will to Him. Let us trust that whatever He has planned for us will be fair and just. Things may not turn out exactly like we have planned or thought the Bible revealed. It’s alright. God tried to explain it, we just could not figure it out. When we sincerely accept and embrace that what we think and how we live is the major part of our spiritual accountability, we understand we have also eaten the fruit and our eyes are now open.