December 28, 2019

Man By Nature Does Not Want To Obey God

INTERESTING FACTS : James Madison, SIGNER OF THE CONSTITUTION; AUTHOR OF THE FEDERALIST PAPERS; FRAMER OF THE BILL OF RIGHTS; SECRETARY OF STATE; FOURTH PRESIDENT OF THE UNITED STATES
 
"A watchful eye must be kept on ourselves lest, while we are building ideal monuments of renown and bliss here, we neglect to have our names enrolled in the Annals of Heaven. I have sometimes thought there could not be a stronger testimony in favor of religion or against temporal enjoyments, even the most rational and manly, than for men who occupy the most honorable and gainful departments and [who] are rising in reputation and wealth, publicly to declare their unsatisfactoriness by becoming fervent advocates in the cause of Christ; and I wish you may give in your evidence in this way"[1]
 
Daily Reading : REVELATION 9 - 12
 
TEXT : Revelation  9:1 And the fifth angel sounded, and I saw a star fall from heaven unto the earth: and to him was given the key of the bottomless pit.  9:2 And he opened the bottomless pit; and there arose a smoke out of the pit, as the smoke of a great furnace; and the sun and the air were darkened by reason of the smoke of the pit.  9:3 And there came out of the smoke locusts upon the earth: and unto them was given power, as the scorpions of the earth have power.  9:20 And the rest of the men which were not killed by these plagues yet repented not of the works of their hands, that they should not worship devils, and idols of gold, and silver, and brass, and stone, and of wood: which neither can see, nor hear, nor walk:  9:21 Neither repented they of their murders, nor of their sorceries, nor of their fornication, nor of their thefts.
 
THEME : REPENTANCE
 
Revelation 9:1-21
 
The fifth angel sounds; and one who should have been by position the instrument of light and governmental order over the earth was seen as having lost his place; and the power to let loose the full darkening influence of Satan was given him. He opened the bottomless pit — the place where evil is shut up and chained; not where it is punished, that is, the lake of fire. Supreme authority, and all heavenly light over the earth, and healthful influence of order, were darkened and made to cease by the evil Satanic influence which was let loose. Nor was this all: direct instruments of Satanic power came out of this evil influence in numbers; crowds of moral locusts with the sting of false doctrine in their tail. But it was not to destroy temporal prosperity on the earth, but to torment the unGodly Jews; not to kill, but to harass and vex them. This was to continue five months; for it is not the final judgment. The torment was worse than death — pain and anguish of heart. But they had the semblance of military imperial power, crowned, and with masculine energy, to those that met them; but they were, if seen behind and the secret disclosed, subject and weak: their faces were as the faces of men, their hair as the hair of women. But they were armed in a steeled conscience. They were the direct instruments of the power of Satan, and under his orders. The angel of the bottomless pit — he who rules the depths of Satan's wiles, as the ruler of the power of darkness — led them. We are too unbelieving as to the direct influence of Satan in darkening men's minds when permitted, when men are given up to his darkening influence. Cruel harassing torments, worse than death, with darkening of their minds, become the portion of the once beloved people. One woe was past.
 
The sixth angel sounds. The woe which follows is much more human and providential. It is directed against the inhabitants of the Latin Empire. The instruments of it are let loose from beyond Euphrates — a countless crowd of horsemen. But they were not simply such. Their consciences and their words, both were in the power of Satan, but in judgment from God. But it now killed men. Their mouths belched forth the power of Satan, and their influence in doctrine was Satanic: with both they did hurt. I do not believe this death here is mere temporal death (there may be such), but, I suspect, making apostates. The rest, who did not thus fall, did not repent of their idolatry and misdeeds.  (John Darby)[2]
 
TRUTH FOR TODAY : "MAN BY NATURE DOES NOT WANT TO OBEY GOD"
 
As you can read in the text, even during the most severe judgments of God men and women (still) do not change.  You may imagine those to whom Jesus Christ is presented -with his love, healing, and forgiveness of sins, would naturally want to receive him and serve him.  However, the nature of man (that is, his lawlessness, rebelliousness, and therefore sinfulness) is against God.  Men and women do not naturally want to do the will of God even though God's will, obviously, is what is best for Man.
 
Thus, even as judgment after judgment falls on the earth (remember, the book of the Revelation is yet future) men and women still resist God to their own detriment.  It must be stated that during such horrendous times as you read in the book of the Revelation it is an amazing fact that men and women continue to resist God's ways and hate his holy nature.
 
However, this is what sin is.  Sin is a natural aversion to the principles, laws, and even the promises given by God to those who obey him.  Sin, someone has once described, is - "selfishness invested in nothing" (S.  I. N.).  For this reason, since man is inherently self-centered and people are naturally repelled by what God says to do.  Yet, once again, it is hard to believe that during such atrocious times as you see in the book of the Revelation that men and women would not (at that point) want to turn to Christ as they see the obvious and fearful judgments of God.
 
Yet, it must be made known that sin has such a grip on the human heart that to let go of it is one of the most difficult things to do in life.  In addition, the Holy Scriptures are clear on the fact that men and women who are believers in the LORD Jesus Christ do not wrestle with flesh and blood only, but with principalities, powers, and wickedness in high places.  Namely, all of us have to contend with the greatest deceiver of all time - Satan.
 
With this in mind, you will read in the book of Revelation that God is not only judging the sinfulness of man, but also  Satan and his angels.  This, by the way, is the final judgement of Satan.  After the Great Tribulation when Jesus returns to judge the living and the dead, Satan will be cast into the lake of fire and forever put away from the sight of all the followers of Jesus Christ as well as God himself.  This in itself is a great hope.  It means that Satan, who is first seen in the book of Genesis has a liar and a deceiver is destroyed (in a manner of speaking) for good.  Throughout the Bible, Satan is seen to be the one central figure behind all of the evil performed by men and women that he has deceived.
 
Therefore, the book of Revelation, even with its terrible prophecies, has its glorious purpose in putting an end to sin and Satan both.  As you read the Bible in its entirety, you will continue with to see that sin is the cause of humanity's miseries.  Hence, in the book of the Revelation once sin is abolished forever along with Satan, saved mankind (the Church of Jesus Christ) will live forever in an unimaginable harmony, happiness, and bliss.
 
This is what Jesus came to do.  The Scriptures declare that Jesus would -"save his people from their sins." Jesus came to put away sin, which is the cause of all the sorrow in the world.  Once this is accomplished, that is -the abolition of sin in all its forms, and the new heavens and the new earth are created, nothing except righteousness will prevail.  This is a quality of life you have never known.  The effects of righteousness -"quietness and assurance forever," will be the climate or the spiritual atmosphere so to speak, of eternity.  Once again, this is a type of life and living you have never seen or known.  This quality of life is literally beyond the human imagination.
 
Yet, you see glimpses of it at the end of the book of Revelation.  Christ reigns as king, and in his entire kingdom, there is nothing except true righteousness, which is the opposite of lawlessness or sin.  Even in the animal kingdom, there is a serenity and tranquility never seen in human history.  Certainly, the book of the Revelation offers you great hope for the world to come.
 
With this in mind, fix your thoughts on the Glory of God that is yet to come.  As mentioned, the book of Revelation has many horrendous and horrible sights and scenes.  Yet, the purpose of the book is contained in its name - "The Revelation of Jesus Christ." The last book of the Bible is a book of hope for the believer in Jesus Christ.  Naturally, it could not be so for those who reject Jesus Christ.  However, it is a book a hope for you.

  • [1] James Madison, Letters and Other Writings of James Madison (New York: R. Worthington, 1884), Vol. I, pp. 5-6, to William Bradford on November 9, 1772.;  James Madison, The Papers of James Madison, William T. Hutchinson, editor (Illinois: University of Chicago Press, 1962), Vol. I, p. 96, to William Bradford on September 25, 1773.
  • [2] Darby, John. Synopsis of the Old and New Testaments. Public Domain, [1800 - 1882].
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