Jim Wilson is the retired director of Community Christian Ministries in Moscow, Idaho. He will be posting regularly, so check back in soon!

Monday, June 09, 2008

The book, Leadership & Self Deception

I mentioned in a previous Roots that this book describes sin very well. However, this description assumes there is a good person who betrays himself. The description is good but the definition is flawed. My comments will attempt to describe the situation in the book in two different ways.

1. The people are natural men.
2. They are spiritual men.

The natural man has these characteristics.

1. “But thanks be to God that, though you used to be slaves to sin, you wholeheartedly obeyed the form of teaching to which you were entrusted.” Romans 6:17
2. “I put this in human terms because you are weak in your natural selves. Just as you used to offer the parts of your body in slavery to impurity and to ever-increasing wickedness, so now offer them in slavery to righteousness leading to holiness.” Romans 6:19
3. “Do you not know that the wicked will not inherit the kingdom of God? Do not be deceived: Neither the sexually immoral nor idolaters nor adulterers nor male prostitutes nor homosexual offenders nor thieves nor the greedy nor drunkards nor slanderers nor swindlers will inherit the kingdom of God.” 1 Corinthians 6:9, 10
4. “So I tell you this, and insist on it in the Lord, that you must no longer live as the Gentiles do, in the futility of their thinking. They are darkened in their understanding and separated from the life of God because of the ignorance that is in them due to the hardening of their hearts. Having lost all sensitivity, they have given themselves over to sensuality so as to indulge in every kind of impurity, with a continual lust for more.” Ephesians 4:17-19
5. “Furthermore, since they did not think it worthwhile to retain the knowledge of God, he gave them over to a depraved mind, to do what ought not to be done. They have become filled with every kind of wickedness, evil, greed and depravity. They are full of envy, murder, strife, deceit and malice. They are gossips, slanderers, God-haters, insolent, arrogant and boastful; they invent ways of doing evil; they disobey their parents; they are senseless, faithless, heartless, ruthless. Although they know God's righteous decree that those who do such things deserve death, they not only continue to do these very things but also approve of those who practice them.” Romans 1:28-32
6. “We know that the law is spiritual; but I am unspiritual, sold as a slave to sin. I do not understand what I do. For what I want to do I do not do, but what I hate I do. And if I do what I do not want to do, I agree that the law is good. As it is, it is no longer I myself who do it, but it is sin living in me. I know that nothing good lives in me, that is, in my sinful nature. For I have the desire to do what is good, but I cannot carry it out. For what I do is not the good I want to do; no, the evil I do not want to do—this I keep on doing. Now if I do what I do not want to do, it is no longer I who do it, but it is sin living in me that does it. So I find this law at work: When I want to do good, evil is right there with me. For in my inner being I delight in God's law; but I see another law at work in the members of my body, waging war against the law of my mind and making me a prisoner of the law of sin at work within my members.” Romans 7:14-23
7. “The man without the Spirit does not accept the things that come from the Spirit of God, for they are foolishness to him, and he cannot understand them, because they are spiritually discerned.” 1 Corinthians 2:14
8. “But mark this: There will be terrible times in the last days. People will be lovers of themselves, lovers of money, boastful, proud, abusive, disobedient to their parents, ungrateful, unholy, without love, unforgiving, slanderous, without self-control, brutal, not lovers of the good, treacherous, rash, conceited, lovers of pleasure rather than lovers of God— having a form of godliness but denying its power. Have nothing to do with them.” 2 Timothy 3:1-5
9. “The acts of the sinful nature are obvious: sexual immorality, impurity and debauchery; idolatry and witchcraft; hatred, discord, jealousy, fits of rage, selfish ambition, dissensions, factions and envy; drunkenness, orgies, and the like. I warn you, as I did before, that those who live like this will not inherit the kingdom of God.” Galatians 5:19-21

If in fact the man described in the book is a natural man; he has not betrayed himself. He has acted normally. That is his nature. He is selfish by nature. All of the main characters in the book acted naturally selfish and did not think they were selfish. All of the secondary characters in the book acted naturally selfish. They acted this way because they did not have the Spirit. But they did not have all of the evil characteristics described in the nine scriptures quoted. That is true. However, in real life, in real families and job situations many of the descriptive words in the scriptures apply. The people are in “the box.” “The box” is not of their own creation. They are slaves to sin. They were born in “the box.”

They can get out of “the box,” but not the way the book describes.

1. Each involved step of being in “the box” is sin against the Holy God. Recognizing the helplessness of being in “the box” is very good. They have not sinned against themselves but against God. They are really helpless!

Being in the box is called self-deception and it is. However, the self deception is deeper and more profound than the book describes.

2. The Spiritual man has these characteristics.
-“The spiritual man makes judgments about all things, but he himself is not
subject to any man's judgment:” 1 Corinthians 2:15
-“But the fruit of the Spirit is love, joy, peace, patience, kindness,
goodness, faithfulness, gentleness and self-control. Against such things
there is no law. Those who belong to Christ Jesus have crucified the sinful
nature with its passions and desires. Since we live by the Spirit, let us
keep in step with the Spirit. Let us not become conceited, provoking and
envying each other.” Galatians 5:22-26 “Dear friends, since God so loved us,
we also ought to love one another.” 1 John 4:11
3. “And that is what some of you were. But you were washed, you were sanctified, you were justified in the name of the Lord Jesus Christ and by the Spirit of our God.” 1 Corinthians 6:11
4. “I put this in human terms because you are weak in your natural selves. Just as you used to offer the parts of your body in slavery to impurity and to ever-increasing wickedness, so now offer them in slavery to righteousness leading to holiness.” Romans 6:19 “But now that you have been set free from sin and have become slaves to God, the benefit you reap leads to holiness, and the result is eternal life.” Romans 6:22
5. “Since, then, you have been raised with Christ, set your hearts on things above, where Christ is seated at the right hand of God.” Colossians 3:1
6. “Do not lie to each other, since you have taken off your old self with its practices and have put on the new self, which is being renewed in knowledge in the image of its Creator.” Colossians 3:9, 10
7. “Husbands, love your wives, just as Christ loved the church and gave himself up for her to make her holy, cleansing her by the washing with water through the word, and to present her to himself as a radiant church, without stain or wrinkle or any other blemish, but holy and blameless.” Ephesians 5:25-27
8. “Husbands, love your wives and do not be harsh with them.” Colossians 3:19
9. “And the second is like it: 'Love your neighbor as yourself.'” Matthew 22:39
10. “But love your enemies, do good to them, and lend to them without expecting to get anything back. Then your reward will be great, and you will be sons of the Most High, because he is kind to the ungrateful and wicked.” Luke 6:35

If the people in the book are spiritual men then all of the in “the box” descriptions are clearly violations of the commands of God and the provisions of God.

These are sins contrary to the commands of God. The Christian has the fruit of the Spirit and is capable of confessing his sin and loving his wife, neighbor, and boss.

If a person finds himself in “the box” it is not just, unwise or unprofitable for the company, or destroying the family, it is a description of someone in sin who needs to be forgiven by God. He is either a Christian or not one. He is either a Spiritual man or a natural man.

Please send for a free copy of How to be Free from Bitterness or download it from our website, www.ccmbooks.org.

1. You may think the verses describing the natural man are too gross and do not apply to you and the verses describing the Spiritual man are too holy and do not apply to you. There are no other kinds of people. Which list describes you the best?

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