IT’S A RELATIONSHIP
“…that you may KNOW…..the only true God and Jesus Christ…” John 17:3
|A LITTLE BIT OF SIN IS STILL SOME|
Eve’s distance from God and slight modification of what God said may seem small compared to the devastating results. A little bit of sin is still SOME sin.
Satan will use anything, big or small, to move a person further and further away from God. In our relationships with others one incident, one wrong word, or one misunderstanding can cause the relationship to end in a devastating way.
Eve’s ways were pure and holy, that’s all she’d ever known. Satan had the knowledge of good and evil and knew he could deceive Eve in a guise of so-called goodness.
In addition, Satan knew she would be blinded in regard to what she was actually doing to her relationship with God and her husband. Satan’s intentions were to “…destroy and kill…” both Adam and Eve’s relationship with God, and to remove them from the safeguard of God’s care.
God’s intentions were to protect Adam and Eve from “….the knowledge of good and evil…” through his loving, divine instructions to them. Satan knew Adam and Eve’s consciences were pure and holy since they had no knowledge of good and evil.
Misery loves company right? So Satan made his move. Most people get angry with God, because he could have stopped it.
However, God is a FREE Spirit and is not limited by nothing and no one. God created mankind with a measure of freedom as well. God didn’t want robots.
Mankind’s “freedom to respond” to life was originally a divine gift of liberty to Adam and Eve and ultimately to all of humanity, but has now turned into a human weakness or bondage.
Without God’s Holy Spirit there is no true freedom or liberty for any human being. “Now the Lord is the Spirit, and where the Spirit of the Lord is, there is freedom [liberty]” (2 Corinthians 3:17).
“Liberty” is another trait unique to God, whose Spirit is a true expression and possession of liberty (2 Corinthians 3:17).
I will not pretend to understand all the versions and theories of “free will” so I’m using the term “ability to respond”. For you and others, “free will” may be the term you prefer to use; you decide.
However, I do have a problem with the word FREE in from of WILL. I am not promoting or demoting any doctrine for or against free will, I am just expressing my perception.
I believe we have a will, but I don’t believe it’s necessarily FREE until you have the indwelling Holy Spirit. When God’s Spirit of true liberty dwells in you only then can true freedom be realized.
You are God’s creation. Only God’s liberty is absolute, not yours. In reality, “free will” was originally a gift from God not a human right.
God created you to experience freedom, but because of Adam’s misuse of freedom, you can only experience true freedom “in” Christ.
All human freedom, outside of Christ, is marred and limited. I will be using the term “ability to respond” more than “free will,” but you can use them interchangeably if it helps.
Mankind did not lose his/her ability to respond to natural life, but to supernatural life. I don’t plan to debate the term “free will”.
I just want to explain a point about responding to something or someone or God. Pray about it if it’s bothering you and that God will open the eyes of your understanding (Ephesians 1:8).
In addition, the main reason I am using “ability to respond” over “free will” is because a response is a reaction or answer to something or someone or God.
|NOT TRULY FREE|
Free will is limited by sin and not really free at all. In addition, “free will” often trips people up because they can’t find it specifically in scripture. It wouldn’t be in scripture, because man can’t experience “free will” without the enablement of the Holy Spirit.
Man can’t experience “free will” until the Spirit of Liberty indwells or empowers them. You might as well call “free will” an oxymoron because it’s like saying “free bondage.”
It is safe to say man has a “will” but it is NOT truly free. For instance, Lydia’s “ability to respond” freely was enabled by the Lord,, “A woman named Lydia, from the city of Thyatira, a seller of purple fabrics, a worshiper of God, was listening; and the Lord opened her heart to respond to the things spoken by Paul” (Acts 16:14).
God’s Spirit liberates and true freedom is God’s work and not man’s at all. All through scripture God frees and opens “….the eyes…the ears…the understanding…the scripture…” (Luke 24:31, 32, &45, Mark 7:34-35).
When God opens and frees, like he did Lydia, we are enabled to truly respond to truth like never before. To freely respond to God originates with God, the enabler, the liberator, and not mankind at all.
Freedom or liberty of any kind was meant to be a gift from God from the beginning. But Adam and Eve gave their precious gift up to the crafty enemy of deception.
When they used their “freedom to respond” to answer Satan, their original freedoms became enslaved to sin. Why? The Spirit of Freedom, which is the Holy Spirit, was gone.
One important thing about freedom must be made clear, EVERYONE is born enslaved to sin; therefore, their “freedom(s)” are enslaved too.
If freedom is enslaved then it is no longer true freedom. What this means is, apart from God, Jesus, or the Holy Spirit, man no longer has the ability to freely respond to God or his holy ways.
Nor do they have a “free” will. God opened Lydia’s heart so she could respond to Paul’s preaching of the truth. A woman named Lydia, from the city of Thyatira, a seller of purple fabrics, a worshiper of God, was listening; and the Lord opened her heart to respond to the things spoken by Paul” (Acts 14:16).
Man’s “freedom is corrupted and limited to sin responses only. “ For we know that the Law is spiritual, but I am of flesh, sold into bondage to sin. For what I am doing, I do not understand; for I am not practicing what I would like to do, but I am doing the very thing I hate. But if I do the very thing I do not want to do, I agree with the Law, confessing that the Law is good. So now, no longer am I the one doing it, but sin which dwells in me. For I know that nothing good dwells in me, that is, in my flesh; for the willing is present in me, but the doing of the good is not. For the good that I want, I do not do, but I practice the very evil that I do not want. But if I am doing the very thing I do not want, I am no longer the one doing it, but sin which dwells in me. I find then the principle that evil is present in me, the one who wants to do good…..” (Romans 7:14-21).
In other words, I don’t have the freedom to respond to the right or holy thing, and so I can’t.
I had a brain injury over a year ago which impacted my taste buds. I could no longer eat anything I wanted and had to become a vegan. I wanted to become a vegan, but I was enslaved to my old eating lifestyle.
Presently, I can only eat things on the vegan diet. I can’t eat anything from the old eating lifestyle such as processed sugar, meat, and dairy, because the taste buds I have left makes all those things taste horrible!!!
I never appreciated my so-called freedom to respond to life until it was no longer available to me. What this reality showed me is that the freedom to respond to life, is more often than not, limited by human effort alone.
Once sinful habits dominate, human effort leads you to do what you don’t want to do and freedom is obviously not an option. In most cases, where sin is in control, true freedom to respond to what is best or holy is a liberty given by God alone.
Even if it’s something you want; your freedom to respond or not respond is often limited to your own finite efforts. Freedom was originally a holy gift of true liberty.
Sin destroyed that freedom and it is now in bondage or enslaved. Our ability to respond freely to certain aspects of life is weakened by the sin nature.
Having my so-called “freedom” challenged in this way made me see my own limitation. My so-called freedom was not true freedom at all. I couldn’t stop eating the old diet lifestyle on my own, even though I wanted to.
I didn’t have the true freedom to stop eating the old way on my own. In reality, I didn’t really have freedom at all, except for the wrong thing.
God’s intervention helped me to truly respond freely to a healthier eating lifestyle and I have actually become a vegan.
However, without God’s help I couldn’t freely do the things which were healthy for me. Like with Lydia, God opened a way for me to respond to a healthier eating lifestyle.
A woman named Lydia, from the city of Thyatira, a seller of purple fabrics, a worshiper of God, was listening; and the Lord opened her heart to respond to the things spoken by Paul” (Acts 14:16).
EXCERPT FROM THE CHAPTER "ITS A RELATIONSHIP"
OF TRANSFORMING LOVE
OF TRANSFORMING LOVE
BY DR PENSACOLA HELENE JEFFERSON