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Faith That Works: Resisiting the attractiveness and impulse of sin by aborting your sin. Part 2

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The Process of Sin Becoming Your Excellency

The puritan Thomas Manton observed the process your heart takes when it moves from temptation to sin to death. He says,
First we practice sin, then defend it, then boast of it. Sin is first our burden, then our custom, then our delight, then our excellency.” Thomas Manton
What Manton observes in the out word work of your flesh, the Bible describes a similar process in your heart. Job a similar process when he describes the godless heart,
Job 15:35 ESV
They conceive trouble and give birth to evil, and their womb prepares deceit.”
The psalmist signals the same process when he say,
Psalm 7:14 ESV
Behold, the wicked man conceives evil and is pregnant with mischief and gives birth to lies.
The prophet Isaiah is in the same vein when he,
Isaiah 59:4 ESV
No one enters suit justly; no one goes to law honestly; they rely on empty pleas, they speak lies, they conceive mischief and give birth to iniquity.
James follows the same process of sin that has been explained since Adam fell in the Garden. He explains that sin comes from within your heart (James 1:15). You are lured, dragged away, and enticed by your own desire. The word for desire denotes the idea of craving, or lusts for sin. Because you have an impulse toward sin, lust seduces the human will. Temptation makes sin look attractive to you. When you allow your heart to be seduced by temptation, temptation conceives and gives birth to sin.
The context of trials, adds more pressure on your heart to allow temptation to seduce your will to see sin as attractive, even excellent, as Manton suggests. Knowing this, last week we started to see how James encourages you to endure trials faithfully, not giving into temptation, especially the temptation to believe that God is enticing you toward evil. Instead, James says to you and I,

Christian, endure your trial faithfully knowing that God does not entice you to sin, but instead gives you good gifts, especially the gift of eternal life.

We have already learned that God designs trials for our maturity in verses James 1:2-4. His main goal is to conform us into the image of His Son (Romans 8:28-29). Furthermore, God promises to give wisdom for those undergoing a the trial generously to anyone who asks by faith(James 1:5-8). By anyone, James means the rich and the poor (James 1:9-11). Moreover, God will give the crown of life to everyone who loves Him and faithfully endures until the end (James 1:12).
In the midst of a trial, however, some will be tempted to think that God is enticing them to sin with trials, and they will blame God for it (James 1:13). But James refutes this by saying God cannot be tempted by sin, and therefore cannot temp anyone to sin (James 1:14). God does not have an impulse toward sin. His impulse is toward holiness, purity, perfect justice, grace, and mercy, and love. We, on the other hand, are sinners who are inclined toward wickedness. We inherited our sinful nature from Adam, who sinned against God when He and Eve disobeyed God in the Garden of Eden (Genesis 3:1-6). God cursed Adam, his offspring, and the earth. Everyone born into creation is born with a nature that is inclined word evil and unbelief, and are subject to God’s wrath.
We pick up in verse James 1:15, where he continues to describe the reproduction process of sin. When desire conceives it gives birth to sin. If not dealt with, sin will mature and give birth to death (James 1:15).

What kind of death is James referring to in v15?

James is referring to a death that is both physical and spiritual. When Adam sinned, God told him he would surely die (Genesis 2:17). As a consequence, all of Adam’s offspring will perish in their sin. Paul says as much,
Romans 5:12 ESV
Therefore, just as sin came into the world through one man, and death through sin, and so death spread to all men because all sinned—
The Bible explains why humanity suffers at the hands of death. If your child ask you, “Why are there funerals in the world?” Your answer is not, “Well, death is just a natural part of life.” No, the better answer is, “There was a time when death was not part of our life. Death is a result of sin, and that makes death our enemy (1 Cor 15:54-56; Rev 20:14).”
Physical death, however, is not the only death we suffer. There is a second death, a spiritual one that is worse than physical death.
The writer of Hebrews says that
Hebrews 9:27 ESV
And just as it is appointed for man to die once, and after that comes judgment,
Judgement after death is God’s condemnation of sinners who have rebelled against his law and rejected his redemption; spiritual death.
James alludes to “spiritual death” in the final words of his letter.
James 5:20 (ESV)
let him know that whoever brings back a sinner from his wandering will save his soul from death and will cover a multitude of sins.
When James says, ‘save his soul from death,” he is referring to the second death, God’s eternal judgement.

What is God’s judgement on sinners?

God’s judgement of sinners is eternity in hell.
John describes those whose sin has matured as,
Revelation 21:8 (ESV)
But as for the cowardly, the faithless, the detestable, as for murderers, the sexually immoral, sorcerers, idolaters, and all liars,
He says, “their portion will be in the lake that burns with fire and sulfur, which is the second death.”
For James, spiritual death is an eternity away from God. Your alive, but you are suffering God’s wrath forever. You are not annihilated or cease to exist as some believe. You are conscious of your sin and your decision to reject God. You have an eternal body that suffers real torment. Moreover, the lake of fire is the place where death itself, and everyone who let their sin mature, will be thrown (Rev 20:14). John says this is a second death. James agrees with John. Theologian Douglas Moo, in his commentary on James says,
Death is the final “spiritual death”: the ultimate condemnation that sin, if not atoned for, inflicts on humans and that leads ultimately to final spiritual death.” Douglas Moo
When I was a senior in High School, my best friends dad sought to convince me to leave my pro-choice position on abortion. I was heavily influenced by the public school system, which most of my teachers were pro-choice. My friend’s parents were believers and one night we had the pro-choice vs pro-life debate. Once he found out I was pro-choice, he sought to convince me that my position was horrifyingly wrong, deadly, and against the Living God’s will. He was persistent. Because of him, and the gospel in my life, I am now staunchly pro-life. I am convinced God is pro-life. Jesus’ life, death, and resurrection convinced me that God is a pro-life God. Which is why I am telling you today if there is ever a justification for an abortion, it is when temptation conceives sin and sin gives birth to death.

You must your abort sin before it matures to kill you!

The Puritans used to speak of the aborting sin when they spoke of the mortification of sin. One commentator defines the word mortify as “to kill or subdue.” In a biblical context, to mortify is to subdue the body (or its needs and desires) through self-denial and discipline (e.g., mortification of sin / the flesh). They got the idea for mortification from two passages in the New Testament.
Romans 8:13 (ESV)
For if you live according to the flesh you will die, but if by the Spirit you put to death the deeds of the body, you will live.
Romans 8:13 (KJV 1900)
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.
The other verse is
Colossians 3:5 (ESV)
Put to death therefore what is earthly in you: sexual immorality, impurity, passion, evil desire, and covetousness, which is idolatry.
Colossians 3:5 (KJV 1900)
Mortify therefore your members which are upon the earth; fornication, uncleanness, inordinate affection, evil concupiscence, and covetousness, which is idolatry:
Unbelievers live according to the pattern of the flesh. They boast in what is worldly or earthly. This looks like sexual immorality, impurity, passion, evil desire, and covetousness, which is idolatry, the things they describe those who will be thrown in the lake of fire when God judges sinners.
Paul says to the Christian, sin should not describe your life. You must mortify your sin. Some will say, “Pastor this sounds like legalism.” No, friend, this sounds like sanctification. You have an active part in your sanctification. The Spirit of God will help you to mortify (abort) the deeds of the body. But you must participate, or better yet cooperate, with Him. You get this cooperation when exhorts the Philippian church
Philippians 2:12–13 (ESV)
Therefore, my beloved, as you have always obeyed, so now, not only as in my presence but much more in my absence, (you) work out your own salvation with fear and trembling, for it is God who works in you, both to will and to work for his good pleasure.
Sin grieves the Holy Spirit and keeps your from Him conforming you into Christ’s likeness. You cooperate with the Holy Spirit by mortifying what is earthly in you, putting to death the deeds of the Spirit. If you don’t there are severe consequences. Puritan John Owen has a word of advice and warning for you.
Do you mortify; do you make it your daily work; be always at it while you live; cease not a day from this work; be killing sin or sin will be killing you.” John Owen
I once watched a program about a story of a group of people who watched a pod of whales beach themselves. The people worked tirelessly to keep them hydrated and turned back into the sea. Eventually, the whales were turned and released into the ocean. Oddly enough, to the bewilderment of the observers, some whales turned around and beached themselves once again.
Christian, you were given new life in Christ, released from the bondage of sin. Why would you turn back around and beach yourself on death’s shores, to your own peril? Be about the mortification of your sin. Cooperate with the Holy Spirit to get off sin’s beach and live in the vastness of life Christ has given you. Eternal life is the greatest gift the Father has given you. James reveals this truth in James 1:16-18
James 1:16–18 ESV
Do not be deceived, my beloved brothers. Every good gift and every perfect gift is from above, coming down from the Father of lights, with whom there is no variation or shadow due to change. Of his own will he brought us forth by the word of truth, that we should be a kind of firstfruits of his creatures.
The deception James is speaking of in v16 is thinking that God is the author to sin. If sin gives birth to death, God, through his word brings forth life. God is your good father who gives you good gifts, especially the gift of eternal life.

God is your good father who gives you good gifts (James 1:17)

Instead of asserting that God tempts you with evil, you should assert that God is a good father who consistently gives you good gifts. Some have thought that the good gifts James is referring to is wisdom (James 1:5). However, I believe James has a broader application to God’s good gifts for you.
James says the the gifts are coming down from the “Father of lights.” The phrase “Father of lights” is a reference to God’s sovereign care over all of creation. You know this because when God is referred to as Father, its often a reference to his creative power. Also, the lights are the heavenly bodies, the sun and stars, and reflection of light off the moon. God created all of these by the power of His Word, and He sovereignly cares for all of his creation. So, in James, the the ‘Father of Lights,” refers to God’s sovereign care of his creation.
The Bible reveals just how involved God is in creating and sustaining all of creation when he first confronts Job and his friends. God says,
Job 38:4–15 ESV
“Where were you when I laid the foundation of the earth? Tell me, if you have understanding. Who determined its measurements—surely you know! Or who stretched the line upon it? On what were its bases sunk, or who laid its cornerstone, when the morning stars sang together and all the sons of God shouted for joy? “Or who shut in the sea with doors when it burst out from the womb, when I made clouds its garment and thick darkness its swaddling band, and prescribed limits for it and set bars and doors, and said, ‘Thus far shall you come, and no farther, and here shall your proud waves be stayed’? “Have you commanded the morning since your days began, and caused the dawn to know its place, that it might take hold of the skirts of the earth, and the wicked be shaken out of it? It is changed like clay under the seal, and its features stand out like a garment. From the wicked their light is withheld, and their uplifted arm is broken.
God deeply knows and governs all of its intricate details of his creation. A little further, God speaks to his power over space and the universe. He says,
Job 38:31–33 ESV
“Can you bind the chains of the Pleiades or loose the cords of Orion? Can you lead forth the Mazzaroth in their season, or can you guide the Bear with its children? Do you know the ordinances of the heavens? Can you establish their rule on the earth?
God’s power and rule have no end. Not even the vast universe escapes his care. In Psalm 8, David meditates on God’s creative power and man’s dominion over creation. He says,
Psalm 8 ESV
To the choirmaster: according to The Gittith. A Psalm of David. O Lord, our Lord, how majestic is your name in all the earth! You have set your glory above the heavens. Out of the mouth of babies and infants, you have established strength because of your foes, to still the enemy and the avenger. When I look at your heavens, the work of your fingers, the moon and the stars, which you have set in place, what is man that you are mindful of him, and the son of man that you care for him? Yet you have made him a little lower than the heavenly beings and crowned him with glory and honor. You have given him dominion over the works of your hands; you have put all things under his feet, all sheep and oxen, and also the beasts of the field, the birds of the heavens, and the fish of the sea, whatever passes along the paths of the seas. O Lord, our Lord, how majestic is your name in all the earth!
David is overwhelmed at how, on the one hand, God created all the universe, and on the other hand, cares to deeply mankind. God is intimately involved in all the affairs of mankind and his creation. Christin, the same God who cares for all creation deeply cares for you.
Jesus makes this abundantly clear in his Sermon on the Mount. Jesus teaches you not to worry about what you will wear or what you will eat. Those are important things. I need them to survive. How can I not worry about them? Jesus says,
Matthew 6:26–30 (ESV)
Look at the birds of the air: they neither sow nor reap nor gather into barns, and yet your heavenly Father feeds them. Are you not of more value than they?
And which of you by being anxious can add a single hour to his span of life?
And why are you anxious about clothing? Consider the lilies of the field, how they grow: they neither toil nor spin,
yet I tell you, even Solomon in all his glory was not arrayed like one of these.
But if God so clothes the grass of the field, which today is alive and tomorrow is thrown into the oven, will he not much more clothe you, O you of little faith?
Also consider what Jesus said to his disciples a few verse later about fathers on earth and your Father in heaven.
Matthew 7:9–11 (ESV)
Or which one of you, if his son asks him for bread, will give him a stone?
Or if he asks for a fish, will give him a serpent?
If you then, who are evil, know how to give good gifts to your children, how much more will your Father who is in heaven give good things to those who ask him!
James is saying the same thing about the Father as Jesus taught about the Father. Your God is a good Father. He controls all of creation, and sustains it with great care. If he takes such great care of His creation, which is here today and gone tomorrow, how much more will he care for you, his image bearers? How much more will he give you good gifts?

God is your good father who does not change (James 1:17).

Keeping with the creation theme, James adds another truth about God that helps you to endure trials. Not only if God your good Father who gives you good gifts, He does not change as the heavens do.
James 1:17 ESV
Every good gift and every perfect gift is from above, coming down from the Father of lights, with whom there is no variation or shadow due to change.
The sun rises and sets creating different shadows of light. Sometimes its brighter and sometimes its darker. God is not his creation, nor is he like his creation. He does not change like the light and shadows of the sun, moon, and stars.
Numbers 23:19 ESV
God is not man, that he should lie, or a son of man, that he should change his mind. Has he said, and will he not do it? Or has he spoken, and will he not fulfill it?
Malachi 3:6 ESV
“For I the Lord do not change; therefore you, O children of Jacob, are not consumed.
Psalm 102:25–27 ESV
Of old you laid the foundation of the earth, and the heavens are the work of your hands. They will perish, but you will remain; they will all wear out like a garment. You will change them like a robe, and they will pass away, but you are the same, and your years have no end.
The writer of Hebrews says of Jesus
Hebrews 13:8 ESV
Jesus Christ is the same yesterday and today and forever.

Why is God not changing important to you?

It gives your heart hope to know that God will never stop loving you as his children. He will never change his mind about that. He will always be faithful to his promises. He can be trusted with your life and your trials because you know that He has promised to work all things for your good, and to faithfully bring to completion the good work he began in you (Phil 1:6). You know this is true because he gave you the greatest gift he could give you, His Son Jesus Christ.

God is your good father who gives you eternal life through his Son, Jesus (James 1:18).

Sin gives birth to death, but God, through His word, gives birth to life.

The Gospel is His greatest Gift to You!

There is nothing you can do to loose his love and there is nothing you can do to gain more of his love, because His love is rooted in himself, and the salvation work of His Son Jesus.
James 1:18 ESV
Of his own will he brought us forth by the word of truth, that we should be a kind of firstfruits of his creatures.
The word of truth is the gospel of Jesus Christ. The gospel is
John 3:16 ESV
“For God so loved the world, that he gave his only Son, that whoever believes in him should not perish but have eternal life.
God has provided a way to satisfy his wrath for your sin, so you don’t have to spend eternity in the lake of fire. He sent His perfect Son to die as an atoning sacrifice in your place. God accepted Christ’s sacrifice by raising him from the dead on the third day. By faith, you can have his gift of salvation if you repent of your sin and believe upon the Lord Jesus Christ. Trust his work on cross to save you from God’s wrath.
For those who believe the gospel message and receive its salvation, you are the “first fruits” James is speaking of in verse 18. You are God’s new covenant people redeemed by the blood of the Lamb. You have new loyalties to a new family as sons and daughters with a promised inheritance. God has lavished his love on you by adopting you and blessing you with every spiritual blessing in Christ in the heavenly places (Eph 1:3).
What a good father we have! Who never entices us to sin, who never changes his mind about us. But gives to everyone who has accepted his Son as their Savior good and perfect gifts, lavishing his love on us through his Son. Think on this truth when you are suffering under the hardship of a trial. Consider your good Father and how he gives you gifts while he tests your faith to strengthen you and to remain in Christ until the end. His greatest gift to you is your eternal life, and he wants you to grow in your love for him as you endure trials until you receive the crown of life (James 1:12).
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