Out of the Darkness

“And although you were formerly alienated and hostile in mind, engaged in evil deeds, yet He has now reconciled you in His fleshly body through death, in order to present you before Him holy and blameless and beyond reproach– if indeed you continue in the faith firmly established and steadfast, and not moved away from the hope of the gospel that you have heard, which was proclaimed in all creation under heaven, and of which I, Paul, was made a minister.” (Colossians 1:21-23)

We all were, and some may be to this day, enemies of God the Creator of all. We come into this world as innocent children ready to believe in the elders which teach the way that we should go. Some of are blessed that we have parents and role models that know the truth of God’s Word and pass that teaching down that they too may have a life that will carry them to the throne of God’s Temple. Others are not so fortunate and walk the paths of the world lost in their love for the desires of the flesh and material possession. Even those who have been taught still stray from the truth taught and go their own way and the prayer is that God’s grace will draw them back into a saving knowledge of God’s Son Jesus Christ. Paul is not reminding us as a temptation to return to the old way but that we should not forget from where we have come least we return to error by the tempters schemes. The world once was a paradise but now is filled with the curse brought by our fall to the prince of the air and his rebellion to God’s sovereign rule. Many as he are enemies of God, but the followers of Christ are bound by His glory. “And you were dead in your trespasses and sins, in which you formerly walked according to the course of this world, according to the prince of the power of the air, of the spirit that is now working in the sons of disobedience. Among them we too all formerly lived in the lusts of our flesh, indulging the desires of the flesh and of the mind, and were by nature children of wrath, even as the rest.” (Ephesians 2:1-3)

It is a terrible state for a man who is alienated from God. Man was formed from the dust of the earth by the hand of God and He breathed live into Him. (Genesis 2:7) Man unlike other creatures of the world were created in the image of God. Man then is the crown of His glory and yet most men chose to reject God and live apart from Him. Unlike the creatures of the world man was created for fellowship with God but because of their rejection of His love and justice have become His enemy.

The resident evil of man’s mind by his sin nature from the fall in the Garden of Eden has poisoned the hearts and minds of men. They serve their lust and desires for the things of this world rather than the love and peace of His Kingdom here and to come. Some claim to want to know God but they do not want to worship Him in the Spirit of Truth. They want to foolishly control God for the things that they want for themselves to satisfy their selfish desires for the world. But to bow down and submit to His rule in their life today is not their desire, yet the day will come when they will, not by choice but in fear of His Word. They have created their own god’s to serve because they cannot see the true God because they lack faith to see the unseen. Paul writes to the Romans. “For even though they knew God, they did not honor Him as God or give thanks, but they became futile in their speculations, and their foolish heart was darkened. Professing to be wise, they became fools, and exchanged the glory of the incorruptible God for an image in the form of corruptible man and of birds and four-footed animals and crawling creatures.” (Romans 1:21-23)

Satan laughs at the foolishness of man because we have become desensitized to the evil of the world’s god of evil. How then could men send millions of Jews to the gas chambers of Germany? Why are so many innocent people being killed just for sport? It is nothing for a family man to have an affair with a strange women destroying the loving relationship of his home. Attacking others with hateful words that can never be retracted and rationalizing our tricks of deception. They no longer know what is right from what is wrong. “All of us like sheep have gone astray, Each of us has turned to his own way; But the LORD has caused the iniquity of us all To fall on Him.” (Isaiah 53:6)

I have, maybe incorrectly, believed that even the worst rationalize their behavior to satisfy their own mind. But in truth they are only fooling themselves. They use denial, and diversion saying that everyone is doing it too. They repress the value of judgment against them and if they do not see the wrong and believe they are justified by popular opinion. They rename their sin from stealing to saying others can afford the loss. Lying as mercy by sparing the painful truth. They rationalize away all guilt in the disguise of greater good. They rename the sin that they do. Adultery becomes a fling. Gluttony become well fed and greed become seeking the abundance of God’s gifts.

They are enemies of God whose standard is too high for then to achieve and therefore remain hopeless. The world has lowered the standard for goodness. We have changed the law to fit the popular opinion. If popular opinion continues to discern the law then the standard is in a free fall to the bottom of the pit of justice. This is the logic of politics in American. Take away the right of a person to protect themselves to save the toddlers. Yet allow the government to enter into the womb of a woman and destroy a child’s life before it is born. Take the institution of marriage away from God and His Church and regulate it by the government so a man can marry a man or a woman to a woman. Where does that end, where is the line between right and wrong. The line is God’s Word, His law of how we were created to live. It was written in His love and justice that man could live in His righteousness. God’s Word was before the world and will rule throughout eternity. “But the word of the Lord endures forever.” And this is the word which was preached to you.” (1 Peter 1:25)

God came into the Garden of Eden in full knowledge that man had fallen to the temptation of the serpent, Satan. Love requires justice and because sin had now entered into the world God’s justice followed. Satan, man, and the world now suffers under the curse of sin, which is death. (Genesis 3) God knew that this would happen and therefore God had a plan that man could be redeemed and find salvation from the wrath that he so deserved. “And I will put enmity Between you and the woman, And between your seed and her seed; He shall bruise you on the head, And you shall bruise him on the heel.” (Genesis 3:15)

In our text God’s plan is revealed that the relationship of man to God can be restored in spite of the sins of our life which are punishable by death. “He has now reconciled you in His fleshly body through death, in order to present you before Him holy and blameless and beyond reproach.” God loves His crown of creation, you, so much that He robed Himself as a man and came to pay the debt of our sin on the cross. “For God so loved the world, that He gave His only begotten Son, that whoever believes in Him shall not perish, but have eternal life.” (John 3:16)

He chose His disciples to be witness to the world of the work that Jesus accomplished on the cross that we could be redeemed by His blood and be blameless before God the Father by His righteousness. The New Testament in the Bible is their testimony of God’s free gift of salvation through His grace. “But these have been written so that you may believe that Jesus is the Christ, the Son of God; and that believing you may have life in His name.” (John 20:31)

By our confession and repentance of sin, and our belief of Jesus as our Lord and Savior we can enter into our eternal home with God our Creator. This offer is open to anyone who will forsake their desire for this world and, “seek first His kingdom and His righteousness, and all these things will be added to you.” (Matthew 6:33)

This is a life in freedom from the temptations of the evil one who brings death and destruction. This is the abundant life lived in love, peace, and the joy of the Lord. This is the purpose for which we were created by God almighty. “That if you confess with your mouth Jesus as Lord, and believe in your heart that God raised Him from the dead, you will be saved; for with the heart a person believes, resulting in righteousness, and with the mouth he confesses, resulting in salvation.” (Romans 10:9-10)

Thomas N Kirkpatrick

First Baptist Church of Durant, October 27, 2016

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