Blindness & Victory

12 There is a way which seemeth right unto a man, but the end thereof are the ways of death.            
Proverbs 14:12

We're taught by psychologists we can evaluate our condition (introspection and self-evaluation, or evaluation by others) and find our problems, decide to improve and we're on our way to recovery. Herein lies the error. Man's solution isn't found within himself, his own judgement isn't to be relied on. Our own judgment isn't to be relied on. God's way is not even to offer a supplementation to ourselves, a crutch. If Christianity is a crutch, it's a failure. Christianity is a replacement. Anything that's part man, part God is only as strong as its weakest link. If I stop here, this leaves us in a dilemma. Before looking to God's answer, let's view the problem more deeply.

As Christians, I expect most of us feel we're right with God, but I propose taking another look. I'm not standing here telling you you're wicked. I don't know, but God's shown me an astounding fact about human nature. Deception to an incredible degree permeates every human on earth, even amongst Christians. A deception that often seems impossible to dispel.


40 If they shall confess their iniqui-ty, and the iniquity of their fathers, with their trespass which they trespassed against me, and that also they have walked contrary unto me;   43 The land also shall be left of thee, and shall enjoy her sabbaths, while she lieth desolate without them: and they shall accept of the punishment of their iniquity: because, even because they despised my judgments, and because their soul abhorred my statutes.
    Leviticus 26:40,43

The context of this passage falls in a list of God's judgements and curses upon Israel, if they forsook His covenant. After the list, look at what God says concerning the covenant breakers in verse 40.

Can you picture those rebels? They've just been through the most horrendous judgements (listed before these verses), yet stand with chins in the air saying, 'We're right with God! These things we're suffering aren't God's judgements!' and with a slightly bewildered look, that momentarily crosses their faces, they stumble 'a.. a.. It's Satan's attacks. We need to resist in faith, we'll overcome.'

You'll notice, in these verses, they won't admit they're living in sin, not just to others, but they can't accept the punishments as chastisement for iniquity.

In the middle of verse 43, we see the acceptance of their real state doesn't happen until the change of heart occurs. Mind you, there are those who say, 'I'm living like the devil and am on my way to Hell.' Those are rather rare incidences amongst those who call themselves God's people. Most can't live with themselves knowing they're under condemnation. If we can't release our sin, our wicked nature overcomes by lying to itself and justifying itself. This enables us to continue to live in sin without fear of condemnation by God or sin's conclusion.

6 My people are destroyed for lack of knowledge: because thou hast rejected knowledge, I will also reject thee, that thou shalt be no priest to me: seeing thou hast forgotten the law of thy God, I will also forget thy children.   
Hosea 4:6

I've heard the first part quoted with the point that Christians fall because they don't study His Word. Read the entire verse. The issue here is not laziness or lack of opportunity to study His Word, but rejection of what was heard. It says, 'hast forgotten'. The human mind can successfully erase rebukes from its memory if it fails to heed. Jesus warned us in the parable of the sower. The seed that fell by the wayside were those that heard the Word of God, and Satan snatched it from their memories.

29 Wherefore will ye plead with me? ye all have trans-gressed against me, saith the Lord. 30 In vain have I smitten your children; they received no correction: your own sword hath devoured your prophets, like a destroying lion. 31 O generation, see ye the word of the Lord. Have I been a wilderness unto Israel? and a land of darkness? wherefore say my people, We are lords; we will come no more unto thee? 32 Can a maid forget her ornaments, or a bride her attire? yet my people have forgotten me days without number. 33 Why trimmest thou thy way to seek love? therefore has thou also taught the wicked ones thy ways. 34 Also in thy skirts is found the blood of the souls of the poor innocents: I have not found it by secret search, but upon all these. 35 yet thou sayest, Because I am innocent, surely his anger shall turn from me. Behold, I will plead with thee, because thou sayest, I have not sinned.
Jeremiah 2:29-35

13 Only acknowledge thine iniquity, that thou hast transgressed against the Lord thy God, and hast scattered thy ways to the strangers under every green tree, and ye have not obeyed my voice, saith the Lord.      
 Jeremiah 3:13

Here we find Israel being rebuked by God. Look at the sins listed. We have:
1. Murdering prophets, v. 30.
2. Rejected God's Lordship, v. 31.
3. Teaching others to be wicked, v. 33.
4. Murdering innocent people, v. 34.
5. Idolatry and worship of Asherah, 'under every green tree', v. 13 indicates this crime.
6. Fornication, which Asherah's worship practiced.

Their evils were not mild-mannered, easy to overlook, slips in behavior. They were about as blatant as you get, but look at their sincere cry in 2:35, 'I am innocent', 'I have not sinned'. If they weren't sincere, God wouldn't have bothered to plead because of this cry.

There's another observance:

'surely his anger will turn from me' - v. 35
'have I smitten' - v. 30.

God didn't wait until He got their attention and acknowledgment of their sin. He didn't wait for the confession, 'I won't stop it', then proceed to 'spank' them. Their acknowledgment is the beginning of the end of the spanking.

If we confront a brother in sin, and he says, 'Well, I just don't see it that way', that doesn't leave us in the quandary of 'He can't see he's sinning, I'm not bringing this relationship to a close until he sees.' As long as his heart is hardened, he won't see. We tend to think we can talk to someone in sin, show them clear-cut Bible passages, and they must decide - 'Well I see, I guess I choose to sin.' It doesn't work that way. It's a no-win situation, but nonetheless necessary to fulfil God's righteousness and His love, even if they refuse to see it.

14 And the Pharisees also, who were covetous, heard all these things: and they derided him. 15 And he said unto them, Ye are they which justify yourselves before men; but God knoweth your hearts: for that which is highly esteemed among men is abomination in the sight of God.   
Luke 16:14,15

Here Jesus is speaking to Pharisees. We see again the pattern of self-justification of the wicked.

Jesus told of the human pattern:

40 And some of the Pharisees which were with him heard these words, and said unto him, Are we blind also? 41 Jesus said unto them, If ye were blind, ye should have no sin: but now ye say, We see; therefore your sin remaineth.         
  John 9:40,41

The Pharisees felt they could see perfectly well, without needing Jesus to open their eyes. Jesus equates this to sin in verse 41. He says if they were able to say, 'we're blind' their sin likewise would be removed, but they saw no need for healing, so the sin remained.

To tie up this scriptural search on how we cannot see our sin when we're walking in it unrepent-ant, please look up Psalm 44. This is a Psalm of Israel as a nation. It's not a private Psalm of David. This Psalm is broken into two parts, the first half extols God's greatness as deliverer of Israel. The second accuses God of unrighteous judgement. This is a Psalm of Israel in its state of rebellion. The judgement they describe is what God promised would befall them if they forsook Him. As you read it, observe how they attempt to boost their faith, then accuse God of being the covenant breaker. Does that sound like our cry? Do we cry as verse 18 - 'I've never done any wrong,' but God's own testimony says otherwise?

There was a brother in the Lord who had to be rebuked for sin. He was shown scriptural passages. He couldn't refute them, just excused them. He continued in sin. He called the porno lines to talk obscenely with verbal prostitutes. He knows the scripture well enough to know that adultery can be committed without ever touching, yet his own wife declared he sincerely believes he's right with God.

A woman of an organization had been entrusted with a good sum of money. Christmas came and she spent it on her personal Christmas shopping list. Someone later asked her, 'Where's the money?' Her response was 'Well, it was Christmas' 'Yea, what's that got to do with it?' 'Well, I spent it on my Christmas shopping.' with a 'well of course, what's wrong with you?' air. That's called embezzlement and is an imprisonable crime, but the lady could perceive no wrong or shame in such behavior.

It astounds me how great an evil people can commit and not perceive the wrong of it. If it can so easily be done in the great evil, can it not even more easily be done in the little?

There are two lessons here. One for those on the sinner's side and one for the righteous.

For the sinner, Jesus gave a promise:

6 Blessed are they which do hunger and thirst after righteousness: for they shall be filled.  
Matthew 5:6
That honest desire is where God can turn things around. The need of the blind, as it were. If you want a more academic test, note this: Have you been confronted with sin, accused either by others or a twinge of conscience once? Have you seen something in the scriptures and dismissed it as, 'well, I'll have to study that out sometime', yet it brings in question some behavior now? Has someone said, 'this is wrong' and you say, 'Well, I'll let God show me'? The obvious response of the hungry and thirsty heart is, 'If that's possibly wrong, I'm going to diligently search it out NOW'. If months go by and you're still, 'Well, God will show me some day,' on some behavior that's unholy before God, you can KNOW your heart isn't hungry and thirsty. In the flesh, if you're hungry and thirsty and don't quench that hunger and thirst, you'll shortly enough come to a stop. There will be nothing more encompassing your mind than drink or food. You'll dream of it. Are matters of righteousness that all consuming to you?

The lesson for the righteous is this:
When you do rebuke properly for sin, don't expect any feeling of satisfaction other than obedience to God. Is spanking your child a pleasure? Of course not. Also, expect to be viewed by the unrighteous as self-righteous. If they saw you as righteous, truly they would have to admit their own sin, which you have now seen they won't.
Finally, to remark on the dilemma of the statement 'Anything that's part man, part God is only as strong as its weakest link.' Paul told us God's strength is made perfect in our weakness:

9And he said unto me, My grace is sufficient for thee: for my strength is made perfect in weakness. Most gladly therefore will I rather glory in my infirmities, that the power of Christ may rest upon me. 10 Therefore I take pleasure in infirmities, in reproaches, in necessities, in persecutions, in distresses for Christ's sake: for when I am weak, then am I strong.
    2 Corinthians 12:9,10

For a crutch to work, the crutch supplies an additional aid for what strength we already have. Our strength must totally be replaced by His, only then are we truly strong. Our total weakness lets Him take over, our partial weakness handicaps for 'our righteousness is as filthy rags.' (Isaiah 64:6) In other words, the best we have is disdainful. Jesus is our life, but also our example. He's fully God and fully man. He showed us how to overcome by God's strength, through the Holy Spirit. We can conclude this with Romans 8:10-13:

10 And if Christ be in you, the body is dead because of sin; but the Spirit is life because of righteousness. 11 But if the Spirit of him that raised up Jesus from the dead dwell in you, he that raised up Christ from the dead shall also quicken your mortal bodies by his Spirit that dwelleth in you. 12 Therefore, brethren, we are debtors, not to the flesh, to live after the flesh. 13 For if ye live after the flesh, ye shall die: but if ye through the Spirit do mortify the deeds of the body, ye shall live.  
 Romans 8:10-13

Verse 10 - the body is dead. Crutches don't do dead men much good. In verse 11 we see God's strength. Verse 13 - shows the weakness of a partial man addition.
What comes of the flesh, our own efforts, our own judgments, our evaluations are deadly. That hunger and thirst, that walk in the Spirit - therein lies our hope.

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Free to Copy under Creative Commons BY-NC-ND3.0 License by Darrell Farkas
All quotations are from the King James Version of the Bible

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