The Gospel According to the Snake

The Gospel of the Snake

Bill Burkett

Genesis 3:1 Now the serpent was more subtil than any beast of the field which the Lord God had made. And he said unto the woman, yea, hath God said, ye shall not eat of every tree of the garden?

Avoid Dialogue with Snakes

This dialogue with the snake was the beginning of the temptation. The cursed world started here! Our biggest mistakes begin with what seems to be casual conversation and wrong associations! When she first surmised his attitude toward the Word of God she should have broken the association. The spirit of the snake trifles with the authority of the Word of God and considers moral obligation insignificant. Romans 16:17-18; 1 Thessalonians 3:6.

If you want to mess up your own personal world just keep talking with snakes who trifle with the Word of God.

The gospel of the snake is still with us, still speaks to Christ’s bride to defile her before the wedding feast. Nevertheless the foundation of God standeth sure, having this seal, The Lord knoweth them that are his. And, Let every one that nameth the name of Christ depart from iniquity. 2 Timothy 2:19

THE SNAKE IS A FUNDAMENTALIST

The temptation account is especially applicable to the age we live in. We stand to benefit more from the lessons learned from this Satanic encounter than perhaps any other generation of the church. 1 Corinthians 10:11

In these very opening verses of scripture God reveals to us precisely how the snake robbed man of paradise. He planted a desire in Eve’s heart that distracted her from God’s commandment. This is still the gospel of the snake!

Holy Character the Proof of True Discipleship

Modem fundamental Christians are placing increasing importance on praise. The less important they make moral obligation, the more importance they heap on the emotional aspects of Christian experience. But it is very hard for liberals to escape moral obligation when Christ Himself launched His ministry by teaching an intensified form of moral obligation to Moses’ commandments; and seventy-one percent of the Bible’s content is on the subject of government; and one thousand fifty commandments are found in the New Testament! It would be easier to jump over the moon than to teach grace apart from moral obligation.

It is this dishonesty of the carnal mind that creates a phony fundamentalism. The people who cry “Lord, Lord,” according to Jesus, are the very ones who “do not the things I say.” (Luke 6:46) Apostates point to their good works and changed lives as evidence of the Lord being with them but that is not the criterion God’s Word calls for.

The secret prayer life, compassion for the suffering and separation from the world are the marks of the true Christian. What pure religion is, is made very plain in the Word of God; Pure religion and undefiled before God and the Father is this, To visit the fatherless and widows in their affliction, and to keep himself unspotted from the world.

The modern rebellion against obligation to moral law is held by the majority of modern Christians. It’s true identity is revealed by what it opposes. It attacks traditional values, it disregards mortification of the sinful flesh nature and definitive sanctification; it scoffs at the doctrines of worldliness and separation. It has even become so brazen as to attack the moral commandments of Christ. The gospel of the snake wants everything it can get from God except moral obligation to divine government!

It is becoming more popular among apostate ministries to teach that “Christ’s commandments (Matthew 5:17-46) contain a moral standard unattainable therefore proving that the only righteousness we have is the righteousness of Christ.” This is a subtle form of rebellion against moral obligation.

Excuse me for indulging in just a small theological discussion, but for those who may appreciate the comment, this is not a new doctrine. It is known as antinomianism (against moral law). It dates back to the council of Orange in the fifth century when Augustine presented to the church council his doctrinal statement regarding the sovereign election of man. It became known as antelapsarianism. Later, Luther and Calvin picked up on this theme which we call predestination. This teaching simply states that Christ never intended that righteousness or moral perfection would have anything to do with a person going to heaven. (I want to mention for the sake of right impression that not all preachers who believe in “election” agree with Calvin on this point.) It has been taught for centuries in the names of Gnosticism, antelapsarianism, Calvinism and more recently it has appeared in the form of Charismaticism.

These all have antinomianism in common. Antinomianism (against moral law) is the heresy that stresses a conditionless salvation. It places all emphasis upon justification and none upon sanctification.

Whether a doctrine originates from Eastern mysticism and Greek philosophy (gnosticism), or from poor exegesis of scripture (antelapsarianism), or from fundamental materialism (Charismaticism); if the end result of the doctrine opposes moral obligation to the commandments of God it is antinomianism. The gospel of the snake has many names but always the same end result: contempt for the moral law and scorn for those who love it.

We need not wonder what is happening to the world and especially our youth, in and out of the church. All social disorder and corruption of religion is rooted in the matter of rebellion against the divine precept. When we stop making Jesus a fetish, merely the theme of our songs and an object of worship to vent our emotional fantasies upon, and begin to set at His feet in submission hungering for every word that proceedeth out of the mouth of God,” welcoming any changes it may demand in our lifestyle, only then will we rediscover the real Christ.

It is not merely in worshipping Him as a person but rather a commitment to His teaching that saves us. Luke 6:46

THE TEMPTATION:

A REVELATION OF SATANIC METHODOLOGY

Genesis 3:2-5 (2) And the woman said unto the serpent, we may eat of 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 hath said, ye shall not eat of it, neither shall ye touch it, lest ye die. (4) And the serpent said unto the woman, Ye shall not surely die: (5) For God doth know that in the day ye eat thereof, then your eyes shall be opened, and ye shall be as gods, knowing good and evil It was a great favor to us when God revealed the account of the first temptation.

The account of the Edenic temptation is perhaps the greatest revelation of Satanic methodology in all of Scripture!

An exhaustive study of this first encounter of man with Satan will send us away saying to ourselves, “We are not ignorant of his devices.” All Satanic

conversation has a telltale characteristic. He always places a question mark after the commandment. To the Christian heart indwelt by the Holy Ghost all commandments end with an exclamation mark! The snake removes the exclamation mark (the absoluteness of moral intent) and replaces it with his own slimy punctuation—the question mark. It is almost a humorous observation that in the English language the question mark resembles a twisting snake.

He presented a half truth as a whole truth. So much error comes from being misinformed or not having complete information. This is the good thing about faith in God. We can trust His Word because He speaks from the standpoint of omniscience and truth! Snakes have bad theology, or none at all.

Apostate Christianity rationalizes and “interprets”the Word of God on the basis of what is expedient to self advantage…it’s the same snake today and the same sinful scenario.

While all scriptural truth has the element of logic, not all logic is scriptural.

THE INTRODUCTION OF SATANIC POSITIVISM

The Philosophy of the Snake He promised positive results:

“ye shall not die”

“your eyes shall be opened”

“ye shall be as gods”

“knowing good and evil”

He mixed truth with error:

“your eyes shll be opened” KNOWLEDGE

Their eyes would be opened to guilt and shame!

Their eyes were opened to many new experiences such as pain, tears, toil, sweat, death, hatred, jealousy, murder, sickness, depression and war.

“ye shall not die” ETERNAL LIFE

They did not die physically, immediately, but they became decaying mortals subject to the death of sin.

“ye shall be as gods” POWER

They became as gods in being turned from the garden to undertake the futile task of self government. It ended with the flood.

“knowing good and evil WISDOM

They did come to know evil…their own and that of others. The murder of a precious son, of social sin and disorder beyond degree. See latent and manifest intent; deception; sin.

THE STRUGGLE

BETWEEN DESIRE AND TRUTH BEGINS

Genesis 3:6-7,11 (6) And when the woman saw that the tree was good FOR food, and that it was pleasant to the eyes, and a tree to be desired to make one wise, she took of the fruit thereof, and did eat, and gave also unto her husband with her; and he did eat. (7) And the eyes of them both were opened, and they knew that they were naked; and they sewed fig leaves together, and made themselves aprons. (11) And he said, Who told thee that thou wast naked? Hast thou eaten of the tree, whereof I commanded thee that thou shouldest not eat?

The Order of Things Threatened by the Want of Man

Modern Christians should meditate on this text more than they do. Genesis is a revelation of the beginning of all things as the book of Revelation is a disclosure of the end of all things.

The Key to Satanic Methodology: He accomplishes the introduction of sin through a very painless and even pleasant stratagem. It is so agreeable and gratifying, so painless and attractive that the victim becomes sublimated and oblivious to their true moral state. The seed of sin is desire. Satan is a master enticer. The whole world system and its values are based upon man’s immediate desire for pleasure with no concern for ultimate good. James 1:14

Lust Is a Form Blindness

When the carnal mind is driven by illicit desire and self advantage, it is blinded to spiritual values and spiritual truth. Illicit desire makes its victims oblivious to ultimate consequences and sears the conscience. It distorts Biblical values and chooses for friends the rich and famous caring not when it hurts its true friends. The carnal mind is incapable of honest reflection. It thinks in terms of the body, in terms of this life. Paul gives us some excellent preventative advice to avoid this distracted, dreamy state of mind: Casting down imaginations, and every high thing that exatieth itself against the knowledge of God, and bringing into captivity every thought to the obedience of Christ; 2 Corinthians 10:5 This verse of scripture should be printed in gold and put upon the wall of every Christian home. Brethren, we’ve got to keep our minds honed in the Word in the last days!

He manipulates ordinary men by creating illicit (unlawful) desire in the heart. He keeps men from God by inflaming them with desires that conflict with the principles and truth of God’s Word. This is precisely what Satan accomplished in Eve…a desire for what God forbid. Having planted that desire in her heart he could now slither away grinning with devilish delight…desire had been born…the work had been done; desire had taken over. She turned from the snake and started moving slowly toward the forbidden tree.

Satan has introduced lust to the human heart.

Blind to the consequences and deaf to God’s Word, her desire for the tree began to control her.

Spiritual Anarchy

Sin is an act of rebellion against Divine Government! (1 John 3:4) The hostility of the human nature toward moral law is the spirit of anarchy against divine government. There are many of these anarchists active within the fundamentalist church of today and are visible influential authors and teachers. Jude 4, 8-13

The battle of sin rages between human desire and the knowledge of truth. This is true whether you’re a thief, a homosexual or a worldly Christian. Any conduct practiced or committed against the knowledge of truth is rebellion. When I willfully allow my personal desires to drown out what I know to be truth and allow them to remain unchecked, I have entered the long dark corridors of rebellion. 1 John 3:4

Desire must be present to be tempted of evil.

Where there is no desire, there is no temptation.

Secret prayer and glorious sessions of waiting and weeping in brokenness before God suddenly become of supreme importance. Prayer that reaches into the heart checks illicit desire. Illicit desire cannot remain in the heart that knows the secret presence of God and remains there begging for His purity!

Christians who do not practice secret prayer “fall into…many foolish and hurtful lusts,” (Illicit desires).

Satan began the corruption process of the human race by the planting of desire in the heart contrary to the governing commandment of God. “We.. .speak as though temptation [comes].. from without, whereas no temptation would have the slightest effect were it not that it appealed to some desire within us, which normally we ourselves suppress. We are not tempted by the world, the flesh, and the devil, but by ourselves. Adam blamed Eve, and Eve blamed the serpent, but God was not deceived and drove them out of the garden.” HADFIELD, Psychology and Morals.

GOD’S SILENCE IS NOT

GOD’S APPROVAL

Have you ever heard a worldly Christian whine, “But God doesn’t condemn me for it.” A popular philosophy in the church today is that because God doesn’t judge them instantly with sickness or catastrophe that God approves of their way of life. God’s silence is not God’s approval.

AND NOTHING HAPPENED…

After the serpent had disappeared into the lush green foliage of paradise, Eve turned and looked toward the center of the garden. Her heart was pounding with the desire to have the fruit of the forbidden tree. She must have felt some discomfort, but the desire kept getting stronger. But God didn’t strike her down for having the thoughts…nothing happened.

She slowly moved toward the tree in the distance. “I must not do this,” she said to herself. But nothing happened.

“Surely the Lord will strike me dead or warn me some way if I’m doing wrong,” she thought. But nothing happened.

When she realized nothing was happening that she thought would happen to her, for even having the thought of touching the tree, she broke into a confident stride toward the center of the garden…and nothing happened.

But as she approached the tree, she suddenly had the thought that perhaps nothing would happen until I come to the tree and it’s here that something will happen. So, cautiously she moved into the shadow of the tree…but nothing happened.

How beautiful it was; it’s fruit laden branches swaying in the balmy winds. She walked around the tree slowly, and nothing happened.

She decided to just touch one of the branches. Nervously she reached out very slowly and touched the leaves of the tree and then quickly drew her hand back again! Nothing happened.

She began to be more confident as she lingered in the presence of the tree. “All of these things I’ve been told can’t be true. I don’t feel bad; I don’t feel any different than I ever have and I’ve been here all this time and even touched the tree…and nothing happened.”

“Until now I haven’t touched the fruit, surely if I touch it I’ll die.” Cautiously, with her hand extended only inches from the fruit she waited for a sign from God…and nothing happened.

Desire spoke to her again, and this time it said, “Go ahead, touch the fruit, and you’ll see that all those things you’ve been believing are nothing but tradition holding you in bondage,” and nothing happened.

Suddenly she tapped the fruit lightly with her fingers, stiffened, staring into space waiting for death to strike, …but nothing happened.

She waited for the thunder, or for some manifestation of God’s anger…but nothing happened.

Eve was more relaxed now, standing under the forbidden tree. Many things were starting to go through her mind. Why wasn’t she dead? Why did God not want them to eat of this tree when it’s plain to see that it’s a goodly fruit? Why doesn’t God tell me if this is wrong? Why do I not feel that what I’m doing is wrong if this is what God’s Word told me not to do? Did God really mean what He said? Was the snake right? Why do I not feel condemnation?

There is one single answer to all of her questions and to all who have had these thoughts when they trifled with the Word seemingly without consequences. Those Christians who have come to believe we can conform to the impurities of the world and still retain saving faith in Christ have overlooked a very important fact. You see, Eve had the Word of God. She knew the commandment. That is all we need! We have the Word to go by! That is all there is to saving faith. That is the revelation we live and die by! THE WORD ALONE IS SUFFICIENT!

What did Abraham say to the rich man in hell? If hey hear not Moses and the prophets… The Word of God is what you live by, not your feelings, not what everyone else is doing, not the silence (mercy and patience) of God, not by the radio and TV preacher. In the end it’s going to be just me and the Word, honey!

Once we have received God’s Word, that is sufficient. God’s Word is adequate! She and many backslidden Christians are looking for something “more” than the Word. We don’t need anything more than the Word! The Word of God is sufficient!

Because nothing is happening, and because “we are rich and increased with goods,” and because we can still speak in tongues, we think God’s silence means He is being tolerant toward our pride and sin and love for the world. We think because we are healthy and happy that God approves. That is the religion of a sick possum!

We still have warm feelings when we worship Him and so we continue living in the flesh under the deception we would lose our feelings if God was displeased. One of the phenomenons of self deception is the ability of human emotion to imitate holy worship with religious emotionalism. This is a common occurrence in today’s Pentecostal churches.

But as we will see here, a person can go from the anointing of the Holy Spirit to the emotions of the human spirit and not even be aware of it!

Samson did and didn’t know it. Judges 16:20 The Laodiceans did and didn’t know it. Revelation 3:17

God’s Silence Is not God’s Approval

These things hast thou done, and I kept silence; thou thoughtest that I was altogether such an one as thyself: but I will reprove thee, and set them in order before thine eyes. Psalm 50:21

Slowly Eve reached out again and this time grasped the fruit in her hand…and nothing happened.

She just held it for a moment, breathing deeply…and nothing happened.

In a sudden instant she jerked it from the branch!…and nothing happened.

She sighed with relief as she stood holding the fruit in her hands. And nothing happened.

She glanced up at the sky expectantly. She waited but nothing happened.

She drew the luscious fruit close to her face and breathed in its pleasant aroma…and nothing happened.

It had such a pleasant smell. “It must be delicious,” she thought. And still nothing happened.

Eve put the fruit to her mouth and touched it with her tongue…and nothing happened.

She broke the skin with her teeth to just have a hint of its taste and nothing happened.

It was delicious! She decided to take one small bite. It was like nothing she had tasted of all of the fruit in the garden…and nothing happened.

She started taking one bite after another…and nothing happened!

She pulled several of the fruit from the tree one after the other…and nothing happened.

She went to seek Adam with the good news. Excitedly she told him that she had eaten a delicious new fruit she found in the garden. Maybe he asked her where the tree was in the garden. “It was the fruit of the forbidden tree.” Adam’s face lit up with horror! But before Adam could respond she quickly added, “And I didn’t die as God said I would! In fact I feel great! It’s like being liberated! The snake told me what God really meant by the commandment He gave us. Adam, I am convinced we have been living under legalism all this time. Adam, we have been under bondage to nothing but a bunch of do’s and don’ts.” “Adam, It can’t be wrong because it feels so right.”

…And nothing Happened.

Together they walked toward the tree with Eve doing all of the talking… and nothing happened.

When they arrived at the tree of the knowledge of good and evil Adam began to draw back. But Eve arrogantly strode to the tree, jerked off one of the fruit from a branch and started eating from it making it sound as delicious as she could. And nothing happened.

Then she plucked another one and offered it to Adam. He hesitated a moment first looking at her and then the fruit. “It must be all right,” he reasoned, “she seems to be so happy and liberated.” By now Eve was oozing with confidence, smiling broadly at Adam.

And nothing happened. Eve went into a little Hebrew dance for him, spoke in tongues and praised the Lord and sang a scripture verse off of the wall and then gave him a big Pentecostal kiss. At this point it didn’t matter what God said, that was all he needed to be convinced that what she had was “of the Lord!” He reached out and jerked the forbidden fruit from the branch and plunged his teeth into it…and when he did…something happened!

Their eyes were opened…just as the snake said!

Suddenly a dark strange feeling fell over them. Adam froze…the glory of the Lord had departed from them! For the first time since their creation they experienced the shame and guilt of nakedness. The glory that had clothed them was gone…something was happening to them!

Adam spat the fruit from his mouth exclaiming to Eve, “We are naked!” They both started running toward a grove of trees nearby. As they leaped into the thick green foliage they started tearing at the broad leafed branches, feverishly weaving aprons to cover their nakedness. Something terrible was happening!

As they worked feverishly to cover themselves, the sun was going down in the East and the bright orange sky was dimming. Shadows began stretching across the beautiful green carpets of Eden…they didn’t know it would be the last time they would see the sun set in paradise. Something was happening!

It was getting cool when suddenly something happened! The voice of the Lord God walking in the garden in the cool of the day:” Frantically they ran further into the thick of the trees and hid from His sight.

When they heard His voice something has happened!

Breathlessly they crouched in the bushes looking at each other full of fear. “What has happened to us, Adam? I feel terrible!” Adam tried to answer but his mouth was as dry as cotton with fright. “I don’t know what we’re going to do…We can’t go into His presence like this!” he said breathlessly. Something has happened to us!

The strange dark feeling would not leave them. It just kept closing its grip on their souls. Feelings that were foreign to them had left them muddled and confused. The beauty of paradise became dim; their desire to enter the Shekinah cloud and commune with God was gone!

They were dead and didn’t know it! Their communion with God was broken.

Through shiny green leaves they watched the Shekinah cloud moving across the meadow calling for them…”Eve, this was the part the snake did not tell you!”

They had entered the arena of good and evil…just as the snake said.

When they broke the commandment…nothing happened! But when they were called into His presence…something did happen!

It is the presence of God that will not tolerate my sin. It will be a horrible day for those who have compromised their faith, who tasted the heavenly manna of holiness and then caved in to the temptation of Satan’s offer to have the favors of this world. Have them you will, but enjoy yourself all you can…it is a fearful thing to fall into the hands of the Living God! Freedom now will turn to a freezing fear in His presence if there is sin or compromise not repented of in your life.

Compromise is fun and even advantageous for a while; slandering holiness people is a big joke…until we are called into the presence of God. Then something will happen!

You went back on the Word of God and nothing happened. Do not be fooled. God’s silence is not God’s approval. Material gain and success are not God’s approval. Sinners, Muslims, Shintos and Buddhists who despise Christ have more riches than you shall ever have.

But I fear, lest by any means, as the serpent beguiled Eve through his subtilty, so your minds should be corruptedfrom the simplicity that is in Christ. 2 Corinthians 11:3

The voice of the Lord peeled across paradise again, “Where art thou?”

When they finally answered, God asked Adam and Eve one question. It will be the same when I enter His presence.

And he said,…Hast thou eaten of the tree, whereof I commanded thee that thou shouldest not eat? (3:11)

God asked them if they had disobeyed His commandment.

She held a dialogue with the snake and allowed the slimy thing (with a silken voice) to contradict God, and nothing happened.

She allowed illicit desire to coexist with the Word in her heart, and nothing happened.

She disobeyed God with the commandment in her mouth, and ate of the forbidden tree, and nothing happened.

She enticed Adam to eat and nothing happened.

She smugly ate the fruit and wiped her mouth…and nothing happened.

When the presence of God moved in they lost their smugness and all of their wrong thinking instantly! That was when it happened!

How is it Adam and Eve could lose paradise and bring damnation to the human race?

It is a thing most compelling; it is the power of desire…illicit desire. The Bible calls it lust. It comes to man in the form of ambition, greed, passion, hunger, a longing that causes us to lose our moral senses, causing us to confuse pleasure with happiness.

“Illicit” is not a word that refers to scarlet sins only. It means to tolerate anything that is forbidden, lawless or prohibited. Any human desire that knowingly conflicts with any principle of the Word and thus frustrates the work of Grace is illicit and affects my communion with God. Titus 2:11-12

Both natures have desires. When the spiritual man is saturated with God, the body desires diminish and temptation is reduced. Romans 13:14 All sin begins with temptation but temptation can only occur through desire (lust). James 1:14

Desires In Contrast:

The desires of flesh conceived by the enticements of the world—The desire for importance, possessions and security in this life.

The desires of the spiritual man conceived by the knowledge of the Word—The desire to be holy in this life. One of the reasons the book of Psalms is such a sought after book is because it expresses the desires of the spiritual man for God. As the hart panteth after the water brooks, so panteth my soul after thee, O God. Psalm 42:1 That sir, is desire! See Psalm 119; desire, love, delight, song, sweet, gold and honey are just a few of the terms used to describe the moral law of God. Would we dare call it anything less?

Genesis 3:21 Unto Adam also and to his wife did the Lord God make coats of skins, and clothed them. See Exodus 32:25, Leviticus 18:6-20, Ezekiel 22:10, Matthew 26:41.

GOD CAN JUDGE THE WORLD

AS EASILY AS A MAN

Genesis 6:5 And God saw that the wickedness of man was great in the earth, and that every imagination of the thoughts of his heart was only evil continually.

When a man, a nation or the world lose their sense of moral obligation and drift into animal behavior, all of creation is threatened. Closeness to God and the pursuit of purity produces a peaceful and orderly world. Universal corruption will ultimately result when God’s laws are thrown off. So early in history did man corrupt himself in spite of his knowledge of God, his historical proximity to the creation and his access to God. Genesis 6:5; 8:21; Jeremiah 8:19; Proverbs 6:18; Romans 1:21; 2 Corinthians 10:5.

These factors did not save him from sinning against God. It is not the advantages we have available to us but rather the advantages we appropriate that save us.

GOD’S GRACE GREATER

THAN THE WORLD

Genesis 6:6-9 (6) And it repented the Lord that he had made man on the earth, and it grieved him at his heart. (8) But Noah found grace in the eyes of the Lord. (9) These are the generations of Noah: Noah was a just man and perfect in his generations, and Noah walked with God.

In verse 5 above, the world is described as being hopelessly wicked and perverted. But in the darkness of this diabolical time a light was shining. Noah and his family retained the holiness of God in their lives! They were the Bible’s first “over comers.”

ENVIRONMENT DOESN’T AFFECT GRACE.

GRACE AFFECTS ENVIRONMENT

While all of mankind was falling into the pits of wickedness … “Noah was a just man and perfect in his generations…” Apparently, 1) Environment does not determine my personal character, and 2) Wickedness in my environment does not determine my destiny 3) God’s grace was not affected or diminished where sin abounds. Grace provides an inner moral strength that makes us equal to the sinful pressures of a sinful environment. We learn this lesson also from such godly men as Noah and Job. Environment does not affect grace…grace affects environment! Titus 2:11-14

THE HIGHEST CALLING

OF MAN: HOLINESS

Genesis 17:11 am the Almighty God; walk before me, and be thou perfect.

God’s first injunction to man to be perfect. This commandment suggests two things:

1. That man must be capable of this pursuit for it would be inconsistent with the just nature of God to command something of man he would be incapable of. Such a commandment would amount to instant condemnation if God required of man something He knew man was incapable of. Christ took the guilt of our past sins upon Himself to reconcile us to God. He now dwells within me to teach me the sinless life. Justification removes my past guilt; Sanctification provides me with a guiltless future.

2. This is the highest calling of God to man. All God has provided for man in the Biblical record is to bring man to moral perfection by the graces He provides. Calvary was the ultimate provision of grace to provide man with the power to overcome sin, Satan and self!

We therefore conclude that (holiness) moral perfection, being one of the first commandments given, is only achieved by the grace of God and the power of His indwelling love. Only a love for God that comes from God can properly motivate man and give him the desire to be holy. Calvary love is a power, not just a feeling. Leviticus 11:44; (See Perfection in Introduction.)

“Be ye perfect” deeply involves the purpose of the cross. He that commttteth sin is of the devil; for the devil sinneth from the beginning. For this purpose the Son of God was manifested, that he might destroy the works of the devil. 1 John 3:8

All of scripture is written around this perfection commandment. It is given a total of five times through the Bible text from Abraham to Peter spanning both the Old and the New Testament dispensations. It reveals the ultimate will of God for man.

When a redeemed person has great love for God there is always the desire to be holy. Worldliness destroys the desire to be holy. Prayer kindles it and fans it into leaping flames that consume all impurities that may threaten the heart’s pursuit of holiness.

WORLDLINESS DESTROYS THE DESIRE TO BE HOLY AND

HOLINESS DESTROYS THE DESIRE TO BE WORLDLY!

For I am the Lord your God: ye shall therefore sanctify yourselves, and ye shall be holy; for I am holy: neither shall ye defile yourselves… Leviticus 11:44

Speak unto all the congregation of the children of Israel and say unto them. Ye shall be holy: for I the Lord your God am holy. Leviticus 19:2

The Call to Moral Perfection Given Twice in the New Testament

Be ye therefore perfect, even as your Father which is in heaven is perfect. Matthew 5:48

But as he which hath called you is holy, so be ye holy in all manner of conversation (conduct). I Peter 1:15.

ULTIMATE GOOD AND

IMMEDIATE PLEASURE

Genesis 25:34 Then Jacob gave Esau bread and pottage of lentils; and he did eat and drink, and rose up, and went his way: thus Esau despised his birthright. (See Ecclesiastes 7:8)

Holiness seeks the ultimate good…what is ultimately right. Esau chose the immediate pleasure of the lentil soup, physical gratification over the ultimate good of the birthright, a spiritual heritage. Esau thus becomes a type of the flesh nature, while Jacob becomes a type of the Spirit nature.

Why did God give the Patriarchship to Jacob? Because he desired it! Esau wanted the beans—now! He chose the beans over the birthright!

When God finds a man with desires toward Him it attracts God to that man. Note the men of scripture who had special intimacies with God, i.e., Moses, Abraham, Daniel, Elijah, Elisha, etc.. These all manifested a special desire to be with God and be like God. God cannot resist fellowship with the heart that loves Him and seeks Him with desire.

CRISIS MAKES JACOB AWARE

OF HIS UNCLEANNESS

Genesis 35:2 Then Jacob said to all his household, and to all that were with him. Put away the strange gods that are among you, and be clean, and change your garments: Jacob is fleeing again. Another crisis. Men from his household went up and destroyed a city of the Canaanites and spoiled it for defiling their sister, Dinah. Jacob fears the Canaanite and Perizzite nations will now come down to destroy him. God tells him to flee to Bethel. He gathers his family together and gives them the command found in this verse.

What is an idol? It is a person, a deity or an object we adore, admire, imitate and attribute special powers to that are due only God. Ezekiel 36:25; See Colossians 3:5 for Greek study.

It is much more than bowing before a heathen image.

Three Commands: Three Areas Of Consecration

1. Put away all unclean things among your possession. 2. Put away the impurities. Inner purity of the heart. 3. Change your garments. When the inner cleansing comes, you will “change your garments.”

Spiritual hygiene is the concern of God here. This is a commandment to cease from idolatry and become clean before the eyes of the Lord. God loves clean lives, clean hearts, clean saints and clean churches!

It was after Jacob’s time that the law God gave Moses forbade Israel to have idols. In Israel at the time of Christ and the apostles, idols were not found in Jewish society. However, other cultures in the Roman Empire still used and worshiped images. The Roman Catholic church carried on with images but the Protestants refuse this as idolatry.

While fundamentalism has never been threatened by

images, it has been plagued with idolatry.

(See study on idolatry, Colossians 3:5)

It is noteworthy and surely significant that the first two commandments given Moses forbids idols. The last commandment forbids coveting. Three of the ten commandments dealt with idolatry.

The first commandment is a reference to false deities while the last commandment forbids obsession with objects of the world. Colossians 3:5

Covetousness means to be obsessed with, to show affection for, and exert one’s energies in the obtaining of earthly possessions and security. Covetous idolatry can be very subtle and deceptive. When the heart gives attention to things in this life that distract us from and replace God in the affections it reaches a point of worship. We are especially vulnerable to this kind of idolatry in a materialistic age.

One of its most deceptive forms is when it causes us to think it is the blessing of God. This was often the case in Israel. They mingled their worship of idols with their worship of God. When material things bring spiritual apathy, don’t call them a “blessing from the Lord.” Call them by their true name…a curse. When I become obsessed with material possessions and interpret my material state as God’s approval of my lifestyle and think my good fortune is an indication of my spiritual state, I have played the fool!

It is strange what we will tolerate in our lives until we enter a crisis. Suddenly Jacob started “cleaning house;” he became aware of the impurities he had been tolerating. When crisis came he was made willing to give up the unclean things that had accumulated.

God does grant blessings in material form, but they are not to be sought, nor do they have any spiritual significance apart from holiness of life.

Even in the house of Jacob strange gods had crept in. It just doesn’t seem Jacob would tolerate idols. (Genesis 35:35) But the first thing we must do to have God’s fellowship and favor is to search the heart and cleanse the life of all its impurities.

This article is taken from Hagios Letter 4589. Click here to view the entire letter.

 

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