Aloha Friday Message – April 1, 2016 – A Time for Goodness’ Sake

1614AFC040116 – A Time for Goodness’ Sake

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2 Peter 1:3-8 His divine power has bestowed on us everything that makes for life and devotion, through the knowledge of him who called us by his own glory and power. Through these, he has bestowed on us the precious and very great promises, so that through them you may come to share in the divine nature, after escaping from the corruption that is in the world because of evil desire. 5For this very reason, make every effort to supplement your faith with virtue, virtue with knowledge,knowledge with self-control, self-control with endurance, endurance with devotion, devotion with mutual affection, mutual affection with love.If these are yours and increase in abundance, they will keep you from being idle or unfruitful in the knowledge of our Lord Jesus Christ. New American Bible (Revised Edition) (NABRE)

Luke 6:19 19 And the whole multitude sought to touch him: for there went virtue out of him, and healed them all. Authorized (King James) Version (AKJV)

Genesis 4:6-7So the LORD said to Cain: 6 “Why are you so resentful and crestfallen? 7 If you do well, you can hold up your head; but if not, sin is a demon lurking at the door: his urge is toward you, yet you can be his master.” (New American Bible Copyright © 1991, 1986, 1970 Confraternity of Christian Doctrine, Inc., Washington, DC)

Genesis 18:20-21 20 Then the Lord said, “How great is the outcry against Sodom and Gomorrah and how very grave their sin! 21 I must go down and see whether they have done altogether according to the outcry that has come to me; and if not, I will know.”

Belovéd – Grace and Peace be unto you from God our Father and from our Lord, Jesus – The Christ of God.

LentenSeries_MDuring the Season of Lent, we studied the seven Christian Virtues and Seven Deadly Sins. These Deadly sins are also sometimes called Cardinal Sins. Cardinal in this usage means fundamental, principal, serious, grave, severe, or dangerous. Let’s look at the list one last time.

In our last study, I stated, ” We had these Virtues first. Yes, before The Fall, Adam and Eve lived in a state of Grace in the Presence of God (all those capital letter emphasizing what an important and perfect relationship that was). Then Sin happened – starting with Pride which led to disobedience and failure to fully Love God. Sin was Satan’s tool to mess up the perfect world God had created.” Adam and Eve had a choice. Cain had a choice. I, you, we have a choice. We can let sin master us, or we can master sin. If we do that, if we do master sin, then the virtue God put into us at Creation has a chance to flourish much the same way as the seed the sower sowed fell on good soil. That sounds logical; master sin and we can keep it from entering in and bringing us death.

The verse up there that describes God talking to Cain is a terrific translation of that passage; it portrays sin as a demon lurking outside the door and waiting for a chance to pounce and lead us into sin. That says a lot more that might occur to us at a quick reading, so let’s dissect it a little.

Sin is lurking at the door. Why is it kept outside? Why doesn’t sin just walk right in and throw us to the ground? What in the world is keeping it “lurking at the door” and what door are we talking about? How does sin “enter in?” We certainly remember that; it was through Satan’s lie that Eve and Adam could be more like God if they “ate the forbidden fruit”: Genesis 3:22 – 22 Then the Lord God said, “See, the man has become like one of us, knowing good and evil; and now, he might reach out his hand and take also from the tree of life, and eat, and live forever”— Through the Sin of Adam, we inherited the ability to distinguish between good and evil, between Virtue and Sin. Why did God see it necessary to kick our First Parents out of The Garden of Eden? So that they could not exercise their freedom-to-choose again and eat of the Tree of Life – that would have meant they would live eternally in a state of sin. Adam and Eve were removed from that temptation, and so, also, are we. We cannot gain eternal life in Heaven on our own. We have to obtain it the way God resolved we should obtain it: By restoring us to the virtuous beings he created before sin entered in. How did it first enter? It was invited in. It came through the door of the heart. At heart, Adam and Eve loved God and wanted to be like him. Satan’s lie was that they could become like Him by; they already were like him in purity of Spirit, but did not know there was a contrary spirit of evil they could also know.

His urge is toward you. Satan is a rebel, a liar, a thief, and a coward. He did not want to be obedient to God because he thought he could be equal to or better than God. He lied to other angels and they lost their place in Heaven when Satan was cast out. He was given dominion over the Earth, and used that power to steal Paradise from our First Parents. He is too much of a coward to seek forgiveness because his irrepressible pride prevents it. He wants you and me. He wants to steal us from God and deny us Eternity in Paradise so we can spend Eternity in Hell with him.

Yet, you can be his master. How? Shut him out. Don’t listen. Choose Life. Choose Love. Choose Virtue. Choose God. Choose Right over and over and over again. And when you mess up and choose Wrong, when you slip and choose Evil, REPENT AND CHOOSE GOD AGAIN! Keep that demon outside the door!

Sin – a demon known as Satan – is stuck outside the door until it is invited in. He is lurking at the threshold waiting for us to open the door and say, “Come on in! Let’s celebrate!” Does that remind you of anyone in particular? Try looking at Revelation 3:20 20 Listen! I am standing at the door, knocking; if you hear my voice and open the door, I will come in to you and eat with you, and you with me. We have to choose to let Satan in. We have to choose to let Jesus in. Who is knocking at your door right this minute? Is it Jesus; or is it a clever liar who can sound like Jesus? How do you know which to choose? The answer is right there in that first word, “Listen!” Is the voice of the person knocking at that door of our heart a voice of virtue or a voice of sin, a voice of understanding or a voice of confusion? How do we, how can we, know the difference? We have to know what sin is and we have to know what virtue is. In our PC-culture, we work diligently at obscuring sin instead of working diligently at avoiding sin. We are very successful at obscuring the truth about sin. Why are we so successful? Because we choose to lie to ourselves about what sin is and how we let it into our lives. If you don’t know what sin is, how do you learn?

Throughout history and across the whole world, we can recognize an inherent awareness of what’s good and what’s bad, what is right and what is wrong, what is holy and what is evil. How can that be? Hello! It’s from the Fruit of the Knowledge of Good and Evil!! It is the ability to distinguish right things from wrong things. Where can we get better tools for doing this? Really? Start with the B.I.B.L.E. Really. Our Basic Instructions Before Leaving Earth give us lists of good things and lists of bad things, list of rules, and lists of consequences for keeping or breaking the rules; it is the Ultimate Reference Book for Good and Evil. (See Proverbs 6:16-191 Corinthians 6:9-10, Galatians 5:19-21, Philippians 4:8 and today’s reference 2 Peter 1:3-8 for example.) Another good way to figure it out – in addition to how it “feels” when we contemplate it (or do it if we skipped the contemplation step) – is to ponder whether or not we can ask God to bless what we are allowing to enter into our hearts. Remember, Jesus said that what originates in our hearts is what contaminates us; the demon in inside the door and our imagination is allowing it to make our choices. Can we, in good conscience, ask God to bless us when we are on the verge of doing something that condemns us? Is what we are considering going to bring glory to God or sin to us? (See 1 Corinthians 10:31) If we are looking for an authoritative answer about sin, go to the Ultimate Reference – inspired by the Ultimate Authority.

We can also use catechesis to learn about what sin is – and also what virtue is, for that matter. In many ways, we’ve failed at providing good catechesis (katəˈsəs). What in the world is that? It is learning about the Bible, the Word of God, and it is a life-long learning process. Catechesis is a process that is shunned by many – including many Christians. People who claim to be Christian Adherents amount to about 31% of the total world populations (and Islam about 23%). There are many Christians who know very little about their faith, their scriptures, their dogmas, and theologies – because they choose not to know. They don’t want to hear about sin – hell-fire and brimstone – because (in The World’s eyes) sin is relative and therefore irrelevant. That’s another invention of the Father of Lies. Sin is not relative, virtue is not relative and sin and virtue are never irrelevant because they are always absolute. Good is always good. Evil is always evil. Truth is always truth. Lies are always lies. God is always God, Love is always Love, Life is always life. The thing about Life, though, is that it is Eternal whether you live in Sin or whether you live in Virtue. Whichever you choose in this life will be the way you spend Eternity.

In that passage from Luke, it says, “for there went virtue out of him, and healed them all.” In the King James Version the word virtue comes from the Greek word δύναμις (dunamis) {doo’-nam-is} which connotes inherent power such that inherent power, power residing in a thing by virtue of its nature, or which a person or thing exerts and puts forth, is what causes the miracles of healing Jesus performed. The power – the virtue – was in him and it was not inhibited by sin. When we are not inhibited by sin, the virtue is in us, too. Our English word “virtue” comes from a Latin word, virtus, which means “manly strength” or “excellence,” from vir, “man.” Virtue, then is the practice of moral living and conduct, especially moral excellence or the power of good morality. We have the power in us, and we can use that power to control who or what we let inside the door. We have the power to know the difference if only we will use that power.

That is why we spent seven weeks looking at Sin and Virtue – so we could more easily recognize the differences. The difference between sin and virtue is the same in pretty much every religion in the world – I said and meant religion as some “belief systems” are not religions but governmental and/or political constructs not based on any form of divinity. If you say or someone you know tells you, “I don’t need some religion telling me what to do or think or say. I’m a very spiritual person, but not a religious person,” they are deceived. Their religion is “spirituality,” an internal, subjective, rationalizing form of relativism which affirms that there is no absolute truth or validity in anything other than one’s own point of view. And from whence does this deception arise? Yes, someone chose to open the door and let it in. That demon is no longer lurking at the door. Letting it in is like letting in all the demons of all the fundamental, principal, serious, grave, severe, and dangerous deceptions called Sin. How do you keep the door closed and how will you know when to open it? Remember that ” His divine power has bestowed on us everything that makes for life and devotion, through the knowledge of him who called us by his own glory and power.” It is time to choose virtue instead of sin, to choose goodness instead of evil.

Whatever, whenever, wherever, whoever, however, if ever, forever — at your service, Belovéd!

Pray for Peace! Pray for our country in this time of decision. VOTE! And as you make your choice, can you in good conscience ask God to bless your decision?

Unless otherwise indicated, all scripture passages are from the New Revised Standard Version Catholic Edition (NRSVCE) New Revised Standard Version Bible: Catholic Edition, copyright © 1989, 1993 the Division of Christian Education of the National Council of the Churches of Christ in the United States of America. Used by permission. All rights reserved.


Aloha Friday Messages by
Charles O. Todd, III is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-ShareAlike 3.0 Unported License

Biblical languages inserts from Bible Hub (Bible Hub: Search, Read, Study the Bible in Many Languages) Visit at http://biblehub.com

 

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About Chick Todd

American Roman Catholic reared as a "Baptiterian" in Denver Colorado.

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