Resident Evil, Part 2 – Genesis 4:3-7

good_evil“Some time later, Cain presented an offering to the Lord from the land’s crops while Abel presented his flock’s oldest offspring with their fat. The Lord looked favorably on Abel and his sacrifice but didn’t look favorably on Cain and his sacrifice. Cain became very angry and looked resentful. The Lord said to Cain, ‘Why are you angry, and why do you look so resentful? If you do the right thing, won’t you be accepted? But if you don’t do the right thing, sin will be waiting at the door ready to strike! It will entice you, but you must rule over it’” (Genesis 4:3-7, CEB).

Evil is a corruption of good and seems to be a necessary condition of God’s love and plan for redemption (see Part 1).  There can’t be a love relationship with God if there’s not a choice to love Him, or not!

God has given people the choice to do good or not do good.

Then, maybe evil isn’t all bad?

In the Old Testament evil is sometimes directly attributed to God. For example, “Then an evil spirit from the Lord came over Saul” (1 Samuel 19:9, CEB).

From the perspective of the Old Testament writers, all actions and events in heaven and on the earth emanate from God. In other words, God’s “will” rules over His creation.

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God’s Will? Go Figure… – Romans 12:1-2

God's Will-Go Figure“So, brothers and sisters, because of God’s mercies, I encourage you to present your bodies as a living sacrifice that is holy and pleasing to God. This is your appropriate priestly service. Don’t be conformed to the patterns of this world, but be transformed by the renewing of your minds so that you can figure out what God’s will is—what is good and pleasing and mature” (Romans 12:1-2, CEB).

In this life the only right you truly possess is your right to your self–that is, your will. Your will is the the unique quality of self or being that God has created to make you distinctively human: The Lord God said, ‘The human being has now become like one of us, knowing good and evil'” (Genesis 3:22, CEB).

In other words, human beings have free will. And, they are free to use their wills to choose good or evil.

You are free to choose how you live your life. You can choose to live according to your own will or you can choose to live according to God’s will.

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Trading Up – Matthew 13:44-46

“The Kingdom of Heaven is like a treasure that a man discovered hidden in a field. In his excitement, he hid it again and sold everything he owned to get enough money to buy the field. Again, the Kingdom of Heaven is like a merchant on the lookout for choice pearls. When he discovered a pearl of great value, he sold everything he owned and bought it!” (Matthew 13:44-46, NLT)

In order to obtain the treasure field and valuable pearl, the field worker and the merchant first had to liquidate everything they had to raise enough capital to purchase their respective treasures.

In following Jesus we must divest our lives of all self-interest with the same totality of purpose as the man finding the treasure in the field and the merchant finding the pearl of great value.

The moral ground on which we form a relationship with God is to give up, surrender, relinquish, or abandon our own self-interests and self-will in favor of God’s will through faith in Jesus.

In other words, eliminate competing priorities.

The reason for this required sacrifice is because self-will and self-interest is the basis for sin and separation from God and hinders us from receiving God’s care and provision.

While giving up the right to self is comprehensive, in the parables of the hidden treasure and expensive pearl the totality of the sacrifice did not leave the main characters without means or substance.

God permits us to trade up!

By the very act of giving up something of less value, a fortune is secured! In His Kingdom, God invests His life in people who abdicate the kingdom of their own self-will and self-interest and make their priority doing God’s will.

Following Jesus costs you all of the only thing you really have—your right to your own self.

When you make the trade, your natural life is replaced with His Kingdom life, your destiny fulfilled, and your life possessed with immeasurable value and eternal significance.

God’s Good Intentions- I Timothy 2:1-6

God wants more than universal salvation–He wants everyone to accept the free gift of salvation. This passage teaches us the free and universal offer of the gospel is to all human beings. This offer is a bona fide expression of God’s good intentions toward all human beings. First, the Apostle Paul urges that prayer and supplication be made for all people so that Christians may lead a peaceful and godly life (vs. 1-2). Then Paul declares that God desires for all people to be saved and come to a knowledge of the truth (vs. 4). Finally, Paul proclaims that Christ gave Himself as a ransom for all people (vs. 6). God has good intentions toward all people, but some people do not receive God’s salvation because they do not accept the free gift of salvation that has been offered by God. While God’s salvation is intended for all people, some people accept the free gift of salvation and some people reject God’s good intentions.