Friday, June 22, 2012

The Root of Rebellion

This picture of Adam and Eve being driven out of the Garden of Eden, with the way being guarded by a cherubim with a sword, has always gripped me. It's a picture of mankind suffering the consequences of rebellion against God.

If you've ever had conversations with anyone hostile at God, it's amazing what comes out of their mouths. Sometimes it borders on childish petulance. "I didn't ask to be born into this world. So God shouldn't find fault etc."

Whenever I hear something like that, I am torn between the gentle approach of reasoning with someone like that (praying that the Lord will open their hearts to hear the truth), and tough bluntness. Something along the lines of, "Tough, buddy. The fact of the matter is that you HAVE been born, and because you have been born into this world, you are accountable before God. Deal with it. You have a Creator, and the Creator has the absolute right to do what He wills with His creation. But I have to restrain myself most of the time and try to be more sympathetic to someone whose eyes are blinded and whose hearts are dead spiritually. But for the grace and mercy of God go I.

But the fact is—life itself is a tremendous gift. It's a good thing. God is not to blame when you sin. But in His grace and mercy, He provided a way to deal with your sin by taking His own wrath upon Himself. Salvation is a free gift open to anyone who will believe, repent and trust. But that's a side discussion to the point I wanted to make here today.

Rebellion. All of us are rebels. It all began with Adam and Eve, and has continued throughout human history. Man rebels against God, and pays the consequences. Why do we do it? We hear the usual sermons on how Adam's fall caused sin to enter the human race etc. But the rebellion? What caused the rebellion. Even before man was created, Lucifer rebelled against God and was cast out along with the other fallen angels who followed Lucifer. Scripture tells us that Lucifer (now Satan) was captivated by his beauty, which in and of itself was a gift from his Creator. He wanted to take God's place and usurp the authority and worship rightfully belonging only to God. Why?

I have begun to understand something. Why it's taken 40 years or so is beyond me. Remember how Scripture reveals the greatest commandment? To love God with all your heart, soul, mind, strength etc. The second greatest commandment is like it. To love our neighbors as we love ourselves. Love, per the Bible, is at the center of everything. God is love. He wants His children—those who have heard the Gospel and received it, repenting of their sins and trusting entirely on the Lord Jesus' finished work on the cross as atonement for their sins—to walk in love. We are to love one another and to love our neighbors.

Love does no wrong, according to the Bible. And I don't mean the fleshly, fallen emotionally driven rush or affection we often call love. I am talking about true, selfless love—that which seeks the welfare of others more than we seek our own. This is key.

Rebellion is antithetical to love. Rebellion is not an act of love. Rebellion is an act of selfish defiance and pride. Lucifer rebelled because he didn't love God. We sin against God because we are not loving Him as we ought. We sin and hurt one another because we aren't loving one another as we ought.

All of our problems on this earth are centered in the absence of love, as God defines it. And He has the absolute right to define it, since He is love personified. You love, you don't rebel.

There's much more to say about this, but I think this is sufficient for the time being. Think about it.

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