Saturday, February 17, 2007

Kris Lundgaard 'The Enemy Within' (III)

So I'm summarising Kris Lundgaard's The Enemy Within. Almost all the thoughts are his, not mine - and John Owen's before Kris so delightfully made them accessible to the rest of us...

How Sin Works


Deception is the art of making someone believe things to be different to as they are, so that they do something they otherwise wouldn't. That's how our flesh works to make us serve sin. Think about it - it is a powerful definition. Gen 3 shows such deceit & Heb 3:13 speaks of sin's deceitfulness (see also Tit 3:3 & Eph 4:22).

How do you attack a huge fortress? start by killing the watchman. So also our minds come under attack - the mind, which we have already seen (here) as the sentinel of the soul. From that our will and affections so simply follow.

Deception is a fact of life. Buying a used car, playing football, etc... But it is also a fact of life inside of us, as the flesh looks to deceive us.

James 1:14-15 indicates how it goes about this. The goal is death (15) & it works by temptation (14). James has 'five degrees of temptation' a bit like this:
  • dragging away (the mind)
  • enticing (the affections)
  • conceiving sin (in the will)
  • birth of sin (in actions, words, thoughts, etc.)
  • death by sin (enslavement to sin = spiritual death)
By God's grace, the 5th degree is never reached in Christians. God often aborts sin we've conceived, but he also uses many means, and one of them is the warning of these first three degrees.

Getting Carried Away

'The mind is the watchman of the soul, commanded to judge and determine whether something is good and pleasing to God, so the affections can long for it and the will can choose it. If the mind fails to identify a sin as evil, wicked, vile and bitter, the affections will not be safe from clinging to it, nor the will from giving consent.' (63)

Remember Joseph's words in Gen 39:9 "how then could I do such a wicked thing and sin against God?" 2Cor 5:14 describes the same thing: 'the mind must stay fixed on God, especially his grace and goodness towards us. His love propels, fuels, drives us to obey. It is the fountain of our obedience, and our highest motive to finding out what pleases the Lord and doing it.' (64)

The flesh works to make sin look less horrible. It works to separate the remedy of grace from the design of grace - so we forget our call to be holy, and are tempted to think 'Oh, well, I can just do that quickly & be forgiven later - God will forgive, it is what he does.' Or 'go ahead and indulge - its already paid for.' How horrible it is to see those thoughts in black & white - where they look so dingy & abhorrent.

Solution? 'Your mind can only protect you against the deceit of the flesh if you're cross-eyed. that is, you can only keep the rottenness of sin and the kindness of God in mind if you fix your eyes on the cross. What shows God's hatred of sin more than the cross? What shows God's love to you more than the cross? If you want to know exactly what sin deserves, you have to understand the cross. If you want to know how infinitely deep the root of sin reaches, you have to think through all the implications of the cross. If you want to know how far God was willing to go to rescue you from sin, you have to see his precious Son hanging on the cross for you.' (66)

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