PART 6 TESTIMONY

Thu, 08/08/2019 - 6:45pm

PART 6 TESTIMONY

Chapter 8

God Has Made Me Like This

As I was working on this study, I took a break and turned on my favorite morning news station. The panel had a guest on who claimed to be a Christian and apparently disclosed to them that he was married to someone of the same gender. He went on to say something like, if anyone has an issue with this, then go to God, because He made me like this. This resonated with me in the sense that this statement sounded right, and I’m sure those that listened to it agreed, but I have learned over the years that Scripture should give us the answers to any question or comment that has any connection to do with God. So, let’s see if what was said is indeed supported by God’s Word.

Many of us are familiar with the Genesis story of Adam and Eve. Let’s begin by going to the book of Genesis.

Genesis 2:7 And the Lord God formed man of the dust of the ground, and breathed into his nostrils the breath of life; and man became a living soul.

God made Adam’s body from the dust of the ground. I wouldn’t even begin to try to figure that out. And then it says he breathed into his nostrils the breath of life, and he became a living soul. The word “breath” refers to the breath that causes man to live, or in other words, it was the breath from God that caused Adam to live or become a living soul (a living creature).

But there is something else that God did to man when He made him. Do you know what this was?

Genesis 1:26a And God said, Let us make man in our image, after our likeness:…

He made man after His image and likeness. The word image conveys to us the nature of Adam’s soul in that it was not corrupt, and as to its moral disposition, it could be otherwise called original righteousness. After Eve was made from Adam’s rib, we are told that both of them were placed in a geographical location called the Garden of Eden, where Scripture suggests they communicated with God and subsequently shared in His attributes of wisdom, love, truth, etc.

Genesis 3:8a And they heard the voice of the Lord God walking in the garden in the cool of the day:

Along with this, we are also told that they were made in the likeness of God. This word likeness refers back to the word image and describes it as being a resemblance in any quality, internal or external. So, as Adam and Eve responded to God’s communication inwardly, they revealed His attributes outwardly in their bodies.

Are there any other verses that give us more insight into man’s nature at the time when he was first created?

Yes, there is. Further information is found in the book of Ecclesiastes.

Ecclesiastes 7:29 Lo, this only have I found, that God hath made man upright; but they have sought out many inventions.

This verse tells us that God, as the creator of human life, made man upright. The word upright means that he was possessed of ability to choose and follow what was just and right.96 How did Adam know what was just and right? He communicated with the one God who was, is, and always will be just and right in the Garden of Eden.

Did man remain upright, or in other words, did he remain made in God’s image?

To answer this, we must go back to the sad story that took place after Adam and Eve were placed in the Garden of Eden, which tells us that both of them were instructed not to eat from one particular tree in the Garden called the Tree of Knowledge of Good and Evil. What we have come to learn is that an angel, who we now know was the devil, was also on the earth at this time in the same geographical location with the purpose of causing one or both of them to disobey God’s command. Through the devil’s cunning, he deceived Eve into eating of this tree. She convinced her husband also to eat from it.

As a result of their disobedience, there was one major impact that would affect all of their descendants. Do you know what this is?

Romans 5:12 Wherefore, as by one man sin entered into the world, and death by sin; and so death passed upon all men, for that all have sinned:

By one man, Adam, sin (human depravity) entered into the world. In other words, every human being born after that would have a fallen nature passed onto them. Therefore, the uncorrupt moral disposition that characterized Adam and Eve’s original nature became corrupted with a nature that sins.

Genesis 5:3 And Adam lived an hundred and thirty years, and begat a son in his own likeness, after his image; and called his name Seth:

And thus, mankind was no longer made in God’s image, but after the image of Adam, which is a depraved image.

So, to say that God created mankind in body and soul is correct. To say that the nature that I now possess along with its propensities and inclinations is from God is incorrect. God did not make us this way.

Now that we know what sexual practices are condoned by God and which ones are not, along with the fact that all of us have a sin nature that has inclinations and passions in many areas especially in the sexual realm, we have a significant question before us. How do we as Christians learn how to no longer be in subjection to the cravings and desires of our flesh?

Chapter 9

How Do Christians Learn How to No Longer Be in Subjection to the Cravings and Desires of Their Flesh?

The person we had been referencing, who attended the Hillsong church for a time, had some spiritual avenues at his disposal. In my hometown, every so often on a Saturday night on GOD TV, there would be a broadcast of a worship, praise, and teaching service from the Hillsong church in Australia. The staging area would be set up for many musicians to perform. The words from the songs were uplifting and impactful. In some cases, this was followed by a guest speaker, who each had a message that was unique and anointed. And then there was the presentation of the Gospel to which many unbelievers responded.

I am unaware of what else was going on the rest of the week in the church assembly. In this instance, I would assume there were some outreaches and other worship, praise, and teaching services throughout the week. Might there possibly be Bible studies available? So, here is my point. I have to believe that this church also had their own people in leadership to teach on the various doctrines of the faith, i.e., eternal security, redemption, sanctification, giving financially, eternal rewards, etc.

And besides learning about the tenets of the Christian faith, what else is extremely important is learning how to address the weaknesses and strengths of our sin nature. It appears that this might have been attempted to be handled according to some of the declarations from the article entitled, “Sex Abuse & Gay Conversion Therapy: The Past Of Justin Bieber’s Megachurch Hillsong.” Here is some of what was said in relation to addressing gay behavior. Alex, a former member of this church, quit after a traumatic coming out where he says he was referred to his youth pastor to counseling that proposed to make him straight – the kind of conversion we now know is based on pseudoscience.97

I have never heard of pseudoscience, but what I do know is at salvation we are made new creatures. However, the experiential realization of this positional reality (as God seeing us as being a finished product) is a process. I admit that trying to grasp this and see it coming to fruition in our own lives is mysterious and painful at times. After I got saved, I still attended nightclubs, still got drunk, still looked for girls, still said swear words, still smoked cigarettes, still had violent tendencies, still harbored impure thoughts about others, still had fears of speaking in front of people, still had pornographic inclinations, still had a very bad view of myself, but the one thing I knew beyond a shadow of doubt was that God had come into my life! However, in my experience I was an extreme mess.

How could I possibly learn how to be an overcomer in all or any of these areas of weakness?

Like this man at the Hillsong Church, God provided me with spiritual guidance to attend a particular church, which likewise had a music ministry along with worship, praise, and teaching at least three times a week. It was connected to a headquarters facility located not too far away from the branch ministry I was attending. The headquarters provided live radio broadcasts Monday through Friday, varying degrees in Christian ministry, street witnessing outreach, a monthly newsletter, and if a branch church put in a request for a guest speaker, usually this would be granted. I loved this church. The teachings were anointed with God’s saturating presence. I was learning about my new faith. But I still had issues with the inclinations and passions of my sin nature. Old ways of thinking, feeling, speaking, and in some cases, acting remained the same. I needed a heavenly life raft.

One day something dawned on me. As I listened to the pastor of the branch ministry speak, one thing that resonated with me was his expansive knowledge about who he was in Christ as evidenced in his command of bringing forth pertinent scripture after scripture from his tongue without looking in the Bible. And there it was all along. The solution for my many issues was to learn, memorize, meditate, and apply God’s Word concerning each and every area of weakness of my sin nature.

And along with this, there was something else I learned. Whenever I thought about myself, others, or the circumstances of life in a human perspective, I would lose the presence of God permeating my life. There were many times when I would hear anointed music and messages under the power of the Holy Spirit, and I was unable to be impacted by His individual and corporate ministry because I was operating in the wrong mindset. The following verses illustrate this perfectly.

Romans 8:5-6 For they that are after the flesh do mind the things of the flesh; but they that are after the Spirit the things of the Spirit. For to be carnally minded is death; but to be spiritually minded is life and peace.

What this is telling us is, that they who live under the influences of the corrupt and sinful desires98 of the sin nature are characterized as being carnally minded, and as such, they focus their thoughts on what their body wants. On the other hand, those who live after the Holy Spirit think about what the Spirit wants, and as such their mind is controlled or dominated by99 Him.

Romans 8:6 For to be carnally minded is death; but to be spiritually minded is life and peace.

With these thoughts in mind, we can conclude that if we are carnally minded, i.e., think only about what your body wants100, we will experience misery and condemnation. However, if we are spiritually minded, i.e., making His thoughts the object of the mind, the end and aim of the actions, to cultivate the graces of the Spirit, and to submit to His influence; …to seek those feelings and views which the Holy Spirit produces, and to follow His leadings101 we will experience life (eternal resurrection life; the only path of happiness102) and peace [repose (state of being at rest) and true bliss103].

All this sounds great, but how do we cultivate the influences of the Spirit? We cultivate His influences by making them the object of our minds. You might be thinking, “I have some idea of what you mean, but not really.” That’s ok. This idea of cultivating the Spirit’s graces is easy to say, but not necessarily easy to understand.

In respect to the question at hand, how does a Christian learn how to no longer be in subjection to the cravings and desires of their flesh, which grace of the Spirit do you think will help us in this endeavor? There are nine graces of the Spirit per Galatians 5:22-23. Any guess?

But the fruit of the Spirit is love, joy, peace, longsuffering, gentleness, goodness, faith, Meekness, temperance: against such there is no law.

The fruit of the Spirit that will help us is temperance. What is temperance? Temperance means to be able to say no to one’s desires. 104 It also means to have mastery over one’s desires and impulses. 105 Did you hear that? God’s Word says we can have mastery over our desires and impulses, that is if we want to have mastery over them.

If you keep on referring to yourself by saying, “Oh, God can’t change me. I am a lying Christian, I am a fornicating Christian, I am an adulterous Christian, I am a gay Christian, etc. and I will never change,” then you won’t. You will be a new person in Christ living as the old person you used to be. Is this how you want to continue to live as a son or daughter of God?

Do you proclaim that Jesus has changed your life, and yet you exhibit no changes in your behavior?

Do you proclaim that Jesus has changed your life, and yet you express to others, believers and unbelievers, that He condones certain sinful sexual actions? Well, then this question remains to be answered.

Do you really want to exhibit Christ-likeness to others?

What is Christ-likeness?

Christ-likeness is operating in the fruit of the Spirit and exhibiting the characteristics of these nine elements toward others and while in amidst of the circumstances of life.

Where you are right now is where I was years ago in my walk with God, at a crossroad. Do I continue to live to gratify the sinful desires of my sin nature, or do I make the necessary decisions to cultivate the fruit of the Spirit in my life? I hope your answer is the latter. If it is, then what I am going to present to you next is what I believe will help you to cultivate the spiritual grace called temperance.

While it’s true that we should learn how to cultivate each of the nine elements, we need to work on them one at a time. And with respect to this study, temperance will be the one we will focus on. Are you ready to embark on making certain decisions that will help you be an overcomer in the area of eros sexual desires or propensities? If so, the next chapter will reveal to us how to do this.

Endnotes
96The Pulpit Commentary.
97Sex Abuse & Gay Conversion Therapy.
98UBS New Testament.
99Weust’s Word Studies from the Greek New Testament.
100UBS New Testament.
101Barnes’ Notes.
102Barnes’ Notes.
103Jamieson, Faucet, and Brown Commentary.
104UBS New Testament.
105Weust’s Word Studies from the Greek New Testament.

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