Adam and Eve in the Garden of Eden had free will but chose to abuse it, to rebel against their Creator. God had created them perfect; they lacked nothing. They need not fear any illnesses, hunger, death, any form of difficulty that plagues man today. The only requirement that they had was to live out their freedom under the sovereignty of God, i.e., the righteous rule of God, and the laws that the Creator would introduce, including the laws of nature.

One such natural law was that they would grow hungry if they did not eat, thus the need to obey the law to eat. The same would hold true for water as well, and the need to drink. Then, there was a need for sleep. Outside of these natural laws, God gave them work to accomplish within Eden, yet we will note in the texts below, there were not innumerable details, rules, and regulations. They had the freedom to fulfill the work that was assigned, as long as it was fulfilled.

Garden of Eden

Genesis 1:28 Updated American Standard Version (UASV)

28 And God blessed them. And God said to them, “Be fruitful and multiply and fill the earth and subdue it, and have dominion over the fish of the sea and over the birds of the heavens and over every living thing that moves on the earth.”

Genesis 2:15 Updated American Standard Version (UASV)

15 And Jehovah God took the man and set him in the garden of Eden to cultivate it and to keep it.

However, one must recognize that the freedom given to a child to make decisions on their own means they are given responsibilities and are trusted to carry out those responsibilities. Moreover, it does not mean that the act of decision making alone, for the sake of making them, were going to end with good results. A child must learn and grow from being taught by their father and mother, and as they demonstrate that, they are ready for more freedom and responsibility; then, they will receive it. God did not create Adam and Eve so that there was no need for growth, no need to learn. He gave both man and woman intelligence so that they could grow in knowledge and understanding, wisely making application to what they were learning. Of both Adam and Eve God said, “Let us make man in our image, after our likeness.” This means that the inner person within the first human pair would have possessed the same qualities in their decision-making skills as their Creator. If their love and respect for God and all he had done grew, it would have only been natural that they would have wanted to please him.

There was one law that the first couples was given, which would allow them to evidence their love and appreciation, as well as grow from their experience of obeying this law. “And Jehovah God commanded the man, saying, ‘From every tree of the garden you may freely eat, but from the tree of the knowledge of good and evil you shall not eat, for in the day that you eat from it you shall surely die.’” (Gen. 2:16, 17) They had an entire Garden of trees to eat from, as “God caused to grow every tree that was pleasing to the sight and good for food.” (Gen. 2:9) What did this mean? It meant that they lacked nothing regardless of this one restricted tree. It also meant that to obey or not obey was within their free will, and they were no lacking of anything that would have contributed to their disobeying. Nevertheless, Adam, who was to be the father of humankind, had to learn that while he was given the earth as his domain, it still belonged to God as the rightful Ruler. Psalm 24:1, 10.

As you can see, humankind’s continued existence in paradise, with perfection, was dependent upon obedience, his continued acceptance of God as his sovereign.

Genesis 3:1-6 Updated American Standard Version (UASV)

1 Now the serpent was more crafty than any beast of the field which Jehovah God had made. And he said to the woman, “Did God actually say, ‘You shall not eat of any tree in the garden’?” 2 And the woman said to the serpent, “From the fruit of the trees of the garden we may eat,  3 but from the tree that is in the midst of the garden, God said, ‘You shall not eat from it, nor shall you touch it, lest you die’.”  4 And the serpent said to the woman, “You shall not surely die.  5 For God knows that when you eat of it your eyes will be opened, and you will be like God, knowing good and evil.” knowing good and evil.

6 So when the woman saw that the tree was good for food, and that it was a delight to the eyes, and that the tree was to be desirable to make one wise, and she took of its fruit and ate, then she also gave some to her husband when with her, and he ate.

We are all mentally bent toward evil (Gen. 6:5; 8:21), with a treacherous heart that is desperately sick. (Jer. 17:9)[1]

Job 14:1 Updated American Standard Version (UASV)

14 “Man who is born of a woman
is few of days and full of trouble.

Romans 5:12 Updated American Standard Version (UASV)

12 Therefore, [Gen. 3:1-6] just as through one man sin entered into the world, and death through sin, and so death spread to all men, because all sinned,

John 8:44 Updated American Standard Version (UASV)

44 You are of your father the devil, and your will is to do your father’s desires. That one was a manslayer from the beginning, and does not stand in the truth, because there is no truth in him. When he lies, he speaks out of his own character, for he is a liar and the father of lies.

Revelation 12:9 Updated American Standard Version (UASV)

9 And the great dragon was thrown down, the serpent of old who is called the devil and Satan, who deceives the whole inhabited earth; he was thrown down to the earth, and his angels were thrown down with him.

The Importance of Human Freedom

There is those today who live under human tyranny (governmental oppression), and then there are those in the Western world that have many freedoms. We were created with the desire for freedom within us, and we have learned that in the above that this freedom was abused. The greatest irony is those who believe in absolute human freedom, and that the Bible and God inhibit such freedom.

Born Into Slavery

Did you know that we are all born slaves? The facts are quite staggering to the first-time hearer; all humans were/are slaves and born of slaves. Each of us must face the facts, by looking honestly at the truthful evidence before us, which will help us to appreciate many things about man that have only been a mystery before now. More importantly, it will help each of us to understand that while we may be born into slavery, a provision has paid that will release us from this bondage.

When the first man Adam willfully chose to disobey God’s law, he gave up possession of perfect control of himself, gave into his selfish desire to continue with his wife, and placed her above his Creator, Jehovah God. His giving into this sinful desire made it and the result thereof, sin, his taskmaster, leading him as a slave. (Rom 6:16; James 1:14-15) In essence, he chose to place himself under sin. Sadly, all of humankind was yet to be born; therefore, Adam sold his future descendants under sin. It is for this reason that the Apostle Paul could write: “For we know that the law is spiritual, but I am of the flesh, sold under sin.” (Rom 7:14) It is for this alone that humans were without a means of returning to perfection, unable to keep God’s righteous Law given through Moses. The Apostle Paul put it this way: “The very commandment that promised life proved to be death to me.” (Rom 7:10) What the Mosaic Law had accomplished was to highlight their inability to keep this law perfectly, labeling them as slaves to sin (missing the mark of perfection), and deserving death. Exactly, what is sin though? Sin is “anything not in harmony with, hence contrary to, God’s personality, standards, ways, and will; anything marring one’s relationship with God. It may be in word (Job 2:10; Ps 39:1), in deed (doing wrong acts [Le 20:20; 2Co 12:21] or failing to do what should be done [Nu 9:13; Jas 4:17]), or in mind or heart attitude (Pr 21:4; compare also Ro 3:9-18; 2Pe 2:12-15).”[2]

Romans 5:12-17 Updated American Standard Version (UASV)

12 Therefore, just as through one man sin entered into the world, and death through sin, and so death spread to all men,  because all sinned, 13 or until the law sin was in the world, but sin is not imputed when there is no law. 14 Nevertheless death reigned from Adam until Moses, even over them that had not sinned after the likeness of Adam’s transgression, who is a type of the one who is to come.

15 But the free gift is not like the trespass.[3] For if by the trespass of the one the many died, much more did the grace of God and the gift by the grace of the one man, Jesus Christ, abound to the many. 16 And it is not the same with the free gift as with the way things worked through the one man who sinned. For the judgment after one trespass was condemnation, but the gift after many trespasses was justification.[4] 17 For if by the trespass of the one, death reigned through the one, much more those who receive the abundance of grace and of the gift of righteousness will reign in life through the one, Jesus Christ.

The lost opportunity for eternal life on a paradise earth, humankind walking with God in peace, took place when the first man, Adam, in an act of disobedience and rebellion, sinned against God. However, all was not lost, because there was one perfect man, who could recover this walking with God in peace, and the hope of eternal life, Christ Jesus, the second Adam, regaining through obedience, what Adam had lost through disobedience.

  • Death by One Man (5:12)
  • From Adam to Moses (5:13-14)
  • Adam’s Sin Contrasted with the Gift of Christ (5:15)
  • Adam’s Condemnation Contrasted with the Righteousness of Christ (5:16)
  • The Reign of Death Contrasted With the Reign of Life (5:17)

As with the ripple effect of a rock thrown into a pond, it took one man to create the ripple effect of all of humankind being placed into slavery, sold, sinful, ending with death. Fortunately, two of God’s cardinal attributes is wisdom and power, using these; he was able to make the needed arrangements of offering another Adam, Jesus Christ, as a means of repurchasing humankind. It is here in verses 12–18 that we see His third main attribute of justice being used in bringing into balance one man against another man in this repurchasing process, maintaining just all along the way. The Apostle Paul writes:

Romans 5:13-14 Updated American Standard Version (UASV)

13 or until the law sin was in the world, but sin is not imputed when there is no law. 14 Nevertheless death reigned from Adam until Moses, even over them that had not sinned after the likeness of Adam’s transgression, who is a type of the one who is to come.

In other words, Adam was given a law in the Garden of Eden, that is:

Genesis 2:16-17 Update American Standard Version (UASV)

16 And Jehovah God commanded the man, saying, “From every tree of the garden you may freely eat, 17 but from the tree of the knowledge of good and evil you shall not eat, for in the day that you eat from it you shall surely die.”

This one act of disobedience to his God was a transgression, a sinning by “overstepping,” ‘sidestepping,’ “bypassing,” or ‘passing beyond’ (Heb., avar) God’s covenant or specific orders.[5] (See Num. 14:41; Deut. 17:2, 3; Josh 7:11, 15; 1 Sam 15:24; Isa 24:5; Jer. 34:18) Therefore, Adam was guilty of sin. It is by means of inheritance that the descendants of Adam came into sin. From the time of the birth of Adam’s firstborn son up unto the giving of the Mosaic Law, there was no law code; therefore, man was unable to transgress in the way of Adam.

From Genesis up unto the baptism of Christ Jesus, there was a mystery of who the prophesied seed would be. (Gen 3:15) It was not until the Apostle Paul that Jesus was truly disclosed as this 1,500-year-old mystery. We find that Jesus is the second Adam, who bore some resemblance to the first, in that both were perfect humans. The first Adam committed a trespass when he very well could have chosen not to, which lead to sickness, old age, and death. On the other hand, the second Adam [Jesus] was perfectly obedient under much more serious trials, which would lead to any who trust in him receiving an unearned righteous standing for an imperfect person, and the hope of eternal life, two completely different courses. Thus, the Apostle Paul continues:

Romans 5:15 Updated American Standard Version (UASV)

15 But the free gift is not like the trespass.[6] For if by the trespass of the one the many died, much more did the grace of God and the gift by the grace of the one man, Jesus Christ, abound to the many.

As was already stated, the first Adam committed his one “trespass” in the Garden of Eden, causing the death sentence of all his descendants up unto the first century C.E. It is here that man receives the unearned, the undeserved gift of “that one man Jesus Christ.” By means of this “one man,” God’s righteous requirement of justice is met, giving many an opportunity once again to walk with Him in an approved condition. This undeserved gift was so effective that even Enoch and Noah could be spoken of as though they were walking with God based on their faith in this coming one. Here is the similarity, for both have an impact on the many. Continuing, the Apostle Paul writes:

Romans 5:16 Updated American Standard Version (UASV)

16 And it is not the same with the free gift as with the way things worked through the one man who sinned. For the judgment after one trespass was condemnation, but the gift after many trespasses was justification.[7]

In other words, the judgment of condemnation by God came from Adam’s one trespass. This one trespass brought Adam and all who were yet to be born under the condemnation of death. In Galatians 3:19, the Apostle Paul informs us that the law “was added because of transgressions until the offspring should come to whom the promise had been made.” In other words, the Mosaic Law was added to highlight the sinful nature of man, and the need for a greater sacrifice. When God gave the Law to Moses, there were “many trespasses” on the part of the Israelites, establishing that humankind is sinful and in need of something more than animal sacrifices. The “free gift” allowed God’s justice to be met, offering all who has an active faith[8] [i.e., complete trust] in that gift, to be declared righted, although imperfect. Paul next helps his readers to see the balance of the one man over against the other man:

Romans 5:17 Updated American Standard Version (UASV)

17 For if by the trespass of the one, death reigned through the one, much more those who receive the abundance of grace and of the gift of righteousness will reign in life through the one, Jesus Christ.

The “trespass of the one man” is a sin of encroaching on his Creator’s righteous standards of right and wrong, to decide for him what is right and wrong, rejecting the sovereignty of the one who created him. The penalty of death was made clear to this “one man.” The trespass of Adam in the Garden of Eden brought on the reign of death to not only himself, but also all who would come out of his loins. On the opposite end of the scale is the unearned underserved gift by God, the free gift of righteousness, pulling any who accepted this free gift out of the quagmire of sin and death! This “free gift of righteousness” enables all who accept it to “reign in life.” This hope that is set before all is a result of the sacrifice of the “one man Jesus Christ.”

The Truth Will Set You Free

Jesus Christ said:

John 8:31-32 Updated American Standard Version (UASV)

31 So Jesus said to the Jews who had believed him, “If you remain in my word, you are truly my disciples,[9] 32 and you will know the truth, and the truth will set you free.”

What will the truth set us free from?

John 8:24, 34-36 Updated American Standard Version (UASV)

24 I told you that you would die in your sins, for unless you trust that I am he, you will die in your sins.” 34 Jesus answered them, “Truly, truly, I say to you, everyone who practices sin is a slave to sin. 35 The slave does not remain in the house forever; the son remains forever. 36 So if the Son sets you free, you will be free indeed.

Here Jesus is discussing the freedom from sin; they are a slave to sin. Therefore, if one becomes a disciple of Christ, there will be a change in his life, and he will be set free from Adamic, inherited sin, and death.

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The Mental Bent of Imperfect Humankind’s Mind

Initially, Adam and Eve’s mental disposition or inclination was not toward evil or bad, sin. Hence, while imperfect humans are inclined, lean toward wrongdoing, it was just the opposite for our first human parents; their natural inclination was toward doing good. This is just the opposite of their descendants, for we have inherited the disease of sin, missing the mark, or standard of perfection. (Gen. 6:5, AT) “When the Lord saw that the wickedness of man on the earth was great and that the whole bent of his thinking was never anything but evil …” (Gen. 8:21, AT) “ … the bent of man’s mind may be evil from his very youth …” (Jer. 17:9) “The heart is deceitful above all things, and it is exceedingly corrupt: who can know it?”

The Man We Are Inside

(John 13:35) 35 By this all people will know that you are my disciples, if you have love for one another.” “Disciple,” “pupil,” “student” and “learner: (One who loves discipline) mathetes

(1 John 1:8) 8 If we say we have no sin, we deceive ourselves, and the truth is not in us.  “Sin,” “miss” hamartia (Missing the mark of perfection)

(Rom 7:22) 22 For I delight in the law of God, in my inner being. “The inside man,” “the man I am within,” “inward being,” “inward man” ton eso anthropos

(Eph. 4:23)  23 and to be renewed in the spirit of your minds. Lit. “The spirit of the mind” “made new in the force actuating your mind,” “renewed in the spirit of your mind,”

(Eph. 2:15) 15 by abolishing the law of commandments expressed in ordinances, that he might create in himself one new man in place of the two, so making peace. Lit. “New man,” “new self,” “new personality”

(1 Co 2:14) 14 The natural person does not accept the things of the Spirit of God, for they are folly to him, and he is not able to understand them because they are spiritually discerned. (The natural person seeks only the desire of his fallen flesh, ignoring his spiritual needs.)

 (Rom 8:6-7) 6 For to set the mind on the flesh is death, but to set the mind on the Spirit is life and peace. 7 For the mind that is set on the flesh is hostile to God, for it does not submit to God’s law; indeed, it cannot. Lit, “minding,” ‘way of thinking, mindset, aim, aspiration, striving.’ phronema

When we couple our leaning toward wrongdoing with the fact that Satan the devil, who is “the god of this world,” (2 Co 4:4) has worked to entice these leanings, the desires of the fallen flesh; we are even further removed from our relationship with our loving heavenly Father. During these ‘last days, grievous times’ has fallen on us as Satan is working all the more to prevent God’s once perfect creation to achieve a righteous standing with God and entertaining the hope of eternal life. 2 Timothy 3:1-5.

Our conscious thinking (aware) and subconscious thinking (present in our mind without our being aware of it) originates in the mind. For good, or for bad, our mind follows certain rules of action, which if entertained one will move even further in that direction until they are eventually consumed for good or for bad. In our imperfect state, our bent thinking will lean toward wrong, especially with Satan using his system of things, with so many forms of entertainment that simply feeds the flesh.

Genesis 3:6 Updated American Standard Version (UASV)

6 So when the woman saw that the tree was good for food, and that it was a delight to the eyes, and that the tree was to be desirable to make one wise, and she took of its fruit and ate, then she also gave some to her husband when with her, and he ate.

Proverbs 23:7 Updated American Standard Version (UASV)

For as he thinks within himself, so is he …

 James 1:14-15 Updated American Standard Version (UASV)

14 But each one is tempted when he is carried away and enticed by his own desire.[10] 15 Then the desire when it has conceived gives birth to sin, and sin when it is fully grown brings forth death.

1 John 2:15-17 Updated American Standard Version (UASV)

15 Do not love the world or the things in the world. If anyone loves the world, the love of the Father is not in him. 16 For all that is in the world, the lust of the flesh and the lust of the eyes and the boastful pride of life, is not from the Father, but is from the world. 17 The world is passing away, and its lusts; but the one who does the will of God remains forever.

Matthew 5:28 Updated American Standard Version (UASV)

28 but I say to you that everyone who looks at a woman with lust[11] for her has already committed adultery with her in his heart.

1 Peter 1:14 Updated American Standard Version (UASV)

14 As children of obedience,[12] do not be conformed according to the desires you formerly had in your ignorance,

If we do not want to be affected by the world of humankind around us, which is alienated from God, we must again consider the words of the Apostle Paul’s. He writes (Rom 12:2) “Do not be conformed to this world, but be transformed by the renewal of your mind that by testing you may discern what is the will of God, what is good and acceptable and perfect.” Just how do we do that? This is done by taking in an accurate knowledge of Biblical truth, which enables us to meet God’s current standards of righteousness. (Titus 1:1) This Bible knowledge, if applied, will enable us to move our mind in a different direction, by filling the void with the principles of God’s Word, principles that guide our actions, especially ones that guide moral behavior.

Psalm 119:105 Updated American Standard Version (UASV)

105 Your word is a lamp to my feet
and a light to my path.[13]

The Biblical truths that lay in between Genesis 1:1 and Revelation 22:21 will transform our way of thinking, which will in return affect our mood and actions and our inner person. It will be as the apostle Paul set it out to the Ephesians. We need to “to put off your old self, which belongs to your former manner of life and is corrupt through deceitful desires, and to be renewed in the spirit of your minds, and to put on the new self, created after the likeness of God in true righteousness and holiness. . . .” (Ephesians 4:22-24) This force that contributes to our acting or behaving in a certain way, for our best interest is internal.

Bringing This Transformation About

As stated earlier, the mind is the mental ability that we use in a conscious way to garner information and to consider ideas and come to conclusions. Therefore, if we perceive our realities based on the information, which surrounds us, generally speaking, most are inundated in a world that reeks of Satan’s influence. This means that our perception, our attitude, thought; speech and conduct are in opposition to God and his Word. Most are in true ignorance to the changing power of God’s Word. The apostle Paul helps us to appreciate the depths of those who reflect this world’s disposition. He writes,

Ephesians 4:17-19 Updated American Standard Version (UASV)

17 This, therefore, I say and bear witness to in the Lord, that you no longer walk as the Gentiles [unbelievers] also walk, in the futility of their mind [emptiness, idleness, vanity, foolishness, purposelessness]18 being darkened in their understanding [mind being the center of human perception], alienated from the life of God [not Godless, but less God], because of the ignorance that is in them [due not to a lack of opportunity but deliberate rejection], because of the hardness of their heart [hardening as if by calluses, unfeeling]; 19 who being past feeling gave themselves up to shameless conduct,[14] for the practice of every uncleanness with greediness.

Hebrews 4:12 Updated American Standard Version (UASV)

12 For the word of God is living and active and sharper than any two-edged sword, and piercing as far as the division of soul and spirit, of both joints and marrow, and able to judge the thoughts and intentions of the heart.

By taking in this accurate knowledge of God’s Word, we will be altering our way of thinking, which will affect our emotions and behavior, as well as our lives now and for eternity. This Word will influence our minds, making corrections in the way we think.

Colossians 3:9-11 Updated American Standard Version (UASV)

9 Do not lie to one another, seeing that you have put off the old man[15] with its practices 10 and have put on the new man[16] who is being renewed through accurate knowledge[17] according to the image of the one who created him, 11 where there is not Greek and Jew, circumcised and uncircumcised, barbarian, Scythian, slave, free; but Christ is all, and in all.

Science has certainly taken us a long way in our understanding of how the mind works, but it is only a grain of sand on the beach of sand in comparison to what we do not know. We have enough in these basics to understand some fundamental processes. When we open our eyes to the light of a new morning, it is altered into and electrical charge by the time it arrives at the gray matter of our brain’s cerebral cortex. As the sound of the morning birds reaches our gray matter, it arrives as electrical impulses. The rest of our senses (smell, taste, and touch) arrive as electrical currents in the brain’s cortex as well. The white matter of our brain lies within the cortex of gray matter, used as a tool to send electrical messages to other cells within other parts of the gray matter. Thus, when anyone of our five senses detects danger, at the speed of light, a message is sent to the motor section, to prepare us for the needed action of either fight or flight.

Here lies the key to altering our way of thinking. Every single thought, whether it is conscious or subconscious makes an electrical path through the white matter of our brain, with a record of the thought and event. This holds true with our actions as well. If it is a repeated way of thinking or acting, it has no need to form a new path; it only digs a deeper, ingrained, established path. This would explain how a factory worker who has been on the job for some time, gives little thought as they perform their repetitive functions each day, it becomes unthinking, automatic, mechanical. These repeated actions become habitual. There is yet another facet to considered; the habits, repeated thoughts, and actions become simple and effortless to repeat. Any new thoughts and actions are harder to perform, as there need to be new pathways opened up.

The human baby starts with a blank slate, with a minimal amount of stable paths built in to survive those first few crucial years. At the boy grows into childhood, there is a flood of pathways established, more than all of the internet connections worldwide. Our five senses are continuously adding to the maze. Ps. 139:14: “I will give thanks to you, for I am fearfully and wonderfully made. . . .” (NASB) So, it could never be overstated as to the importance of the foundational thinking and behavior that should be established in our children from infancy forward.

Life: Common everyday events, both positive and negative Thoughts: Each of these events are interpreted by your thinking throughout the day Mood: It is developed not by the day’s events; no, it is developed by your perception of those events, your thinking.

Maintain the Renewed Mind

Romans 7:19-25 Updated American Standard Version (UASV)

19 For the good that I want, I do not do, but I practice the very evil that I do not want. 20 But if what I do not want to do, this I am doing, I am no longer the one doing it, but sin which dwells in me.

21 I find then the law in me that when I want to do right, that evil is present in me. 22 For I delight in the law of God according to the inner man, 23 but I see a different law in my members, warring against the law of my mind and taking me captive in the law of sin which is in my members. 24 Wretched man that I am! Who will deliver me from this body of death? 25 Thanks be to God through Jesus Christ our Lord! So then, I myself serve the law of God with my mind, but with my flesh, I serve the law of sin.

I have highlighted the Apostle Paul’s expressions, “law of my mind” and “the law of sin that dwells in my members.” We have inherited “sin,” missing the mark of perfection, the ability to live up to God’s perfect standards for man. Under sin, our natural inclination is toward wrong. Therefore, the question needs to be asked, ‘how do we get this inherited sin under control?’ The apostle goes on to give us that very answer, with the mind, one can maintain a righteous standing before God, but with the flesh, we serve sin. Just as sin, acts like a dictator, moving us in the way of evil, so to a renewed mind of Christ will move us in the image of God, taking on this new personality.

However, we now see the conflict that Paul was expressing. We will have a new mind in the body that desires the opposite of your new mental disposition. Therefore, our new mind will desire to follow a course that cannot be perfected as long as this wicked age lasts, and Satan is the God of the world. Therefore, we will slip off into sin’s law at times, which will arouse feelings of disgust in us with our new sensitive conscience. The Apostle John addresses this:

1 John 2:1-3 Updated American Standard Version (UASV)

1 My little children, I am writing these things to you so that you may not commit a sin.[18] But if anyone does sin, we have an advocate with the Father, Jesus Christ the righteous one; and he is the propitiation[19] for our sins, and not for ours only but also for the sins of the whole world.

Observing God’s Commandments

And by this we know that we have come to know him, if we keep his commandments.

It is sad but true; our minds will easily and quickly gravitate toward sin, as it is an inclination. Once we have a renewed mind, we must continue to take in this life-saving knowledge. Thus, we are taking these new Bible principles and making them our own, sounding them down in our heart. We must not let mental sluggishness cut us off from establishing good mental, rational thinking. If we become this new ‘law of the mind,’ it will control and dominate, overrule the flesh that wishes to serve the law of sin.

Once we have achieved this “mind of Christ,” which was at all times put in motion by the proper force, his mental inclination always being spiritual; we will not want our minds to revert toward wrong thinking, being “men corrupted in mind.” (2 Tim 3:8) Thus, we must maintain our new ‘law of the mind.’

Romans 8:5-7 Updated American Standard Version (UASV)

5 For those who are according to the flesh set their minds on the things of the flesh, but those who are according to the Spirit, the things of the Spirit. For setting the mind on the flesh is death, but setting the mind on the spirit is life and peace because setting the mind on the flesh means enmity toward God, for it is not subjected to the law of God, for it is not even able to do so,

Philippians 3:18-19 Updated American Standard Version (UASV)

18 For many walk, of whom I often told you, and now tell you even weeping, that they are enemies of the cross of Christ, 19 whose end is destruction, whose god is their belly, and whose glory is in their shame, and they have their minds on earthly things.

It is perfectly fine to be overly concerned with the corrupting influence of self, as well as the world that surrounds us: “But I am afraid that as the serpent deceived Eve by his cunning, your thoughts will be led astray from a sincere and pure devotion to Christ. (2 Cor. 11:3) If you recall from Genesis chapter 3, Eve’s natural desire was to do good, her thinking was not bent in the least. Yet, with Satan by way of the serpent planting improper thoughts in her mind, she entertained those until she chose the wrong course:

James 1:14-15 Updated American Standard Version (UASV)

14 But each one is tempted when he is carried away and enticed by his own desire.[20] 15 Then the desire when it has conceived gives birth to sin, and sin when it is fully grown brings forth death.

Once we have this new ‘law of the mind’ and doggedly, decisively, stubbornly, definitely, purposefully stick to the rational thinking of the new mind, it will bar us from entertaining wrong thinking, which we will dismiss it:

Colossians 1:21 Updated American Standard Version (UASV)

21 And you, who once were alienated and enemies in your minds, doing evil works,

Ephesians 2:2-3 Updated American Standard Version (UASV)

2 in which you formerly walked according to the age of this world, according to the ruler of the authority of the air, the spirit now working in the sons of disobedience. Among whom also we all formerly lived in the desires of our flesh, doing the desires of the flesh and of the thoughts, and were by nature children of wrath, even as the rest.

Of course, while we are a part of the world by way of its attitude, thought, speech and behavior, we did not “love God with our whole mind.” (Matt. 22:37) Again, what we entertain, negative thinking, worldly thinking, fleshly things, or conversely, spiritual things will move us to feel a certain way and react in a certain way.

Renewed Thinking

One must be realistic, for it is nothing short of a battle to have a rational mind today when the world is inundated in bent thinking and are only asking for more. It is a form of selfishness, as they are largely focused on themselves. Before we achieve our new ‘law of the mind,’ we were so susceptible to entertaining our bent thinking repeatedly. The more this is done, the deeper those pathways are formed and the longer it takes to fill them and form a new way of thinking. Of course, this is not a healthy frame of mind and this chapter has directly touched on some of the issues and has laid out how this can be overcome.

Even Still the Battle Wages On

We have to appreciate and realize that even after we take on the new person that Paul spoke of, as well as the mind of Christ, we will still be affected by our inborn leanings of a sinful nature. There is a battle because waging between the two.

Romans 7:19-25 Updated American Standard Version (UASV)

21 I find then the law in me that when I want to do right, that evil is present in me. 22 For I delight in the law of God according to the inner man, 23 but I see a different law in my members, warring against the law of my mind and taking me captive in the law of sin which is in my members. 24 Wretched man that I am! Who will deliver me from this body of death? 25 Thanks be to God through Jesus Christ our Lord! So then, I myself serve the law of God with my mind, but with my flesh, I serve the law of sin.

The good news is that if a person is walking with Christ and according to Scripture, he will no longer be a slave to sin. The sinful leaning will be there, but as long as it is not fed, it will not dominate his life. He will no longer have a life that feeds the beast, such as inappropriate music, television, internet viewing, associations, thinking, and so on. This will give him a clean conscience before God, knowing that he now has a righteous standing, and all his past has been forgiven, cast behind the back of God. There may come times in his life when his sinful nature will attempt to reassert itself, and he will have to take steps of dismissing any wrongful thinking, replacing it with rational Scriptural thinking, as well as intensive prayer, even speaking with a spiritually mature one within the Christian congregation.

Romans 6:12-18 Updated American Standard Version (UASV)

12 Therefore do not let sin reign in your mortal body so that you obey its lusts, 13 and do not go on presenting the members of your body to sin as instruments of unrighteousness; but present yourselves to God as those alive from the dead, and your members as instruments of righteousness to God. 14 For sin will have no dominion over you, since you are not under law but under grace.

15 What then? Shall we sin because we are not under law but under grace? May it never be! 16 Do you not know that when you present yourselves to someone as slaves for obedience, you are slaves of the one whom you obey, either of sin resulting in death, or of obedience resulting in righteousness? 17 But thanks be to God that you were slaves of sin, but you became obedient from the heart to that form of teaching to which you were committed, 18 and having been freed from sin, you became slaves of righteousness.

The Relativity of Our Christian Freedom

The world that surrounds our younger ones and even our middle class is infected by the attitude, aspirations, speech, conduct, thinking and fleshly desires of those who are alienated from God. Satan’s world caters to the imperfect human desire to do wrong and runs counter to God’s Word. If we take in this satanic air [mental disposition], we will begin to adopt, its attitude, aspirations, speech, conduct, thinking and fleshly desires.

1 Corinthians 2:10-16 Updated American Standard Version (UASV)

10 For to us God revealed them through the Spirit; for the Spirit searches all things, even the depths of God. 11 For who among men knows the thoughts of a man except the spirit of the man which is in him? Even so the thoughts of God no one knows except the Spirit of God. 12 Now we have received, not the spirit of the world, but the Spirit who is from God, so that we may know the things freely given to us by God, 13 which things we also speak, not in words taught by human wisdom, but in those taught by the Spirit, combining spiritual thoughts with spiritual words.

14 But the natural man[21] does not accept the things of the Spirit of God, for they are foolishness to him, and he is not able to understand them, because they are examined spiritually. 15 But he who is spiritual appraises all things, yet he himself is appraised by no one. 16 For who has known the mind of the Lord, that he will instruct Him? But we have the mind of Christ.

1 Corinthians 3:18-20 Updated American Standard Version (UASV)

18 Let no man deceive himself. If any man among you thinks that he is wise in this age, he must become foolish, so that he may become wise. 19 For the wisdom of this world is foolishness before God. For it is written, “He is the one who catches the wise in their craftiness;”[22] 20 and again, “The Lord knows the reasonings of the wise, that they are useless.”[23]

Some young ones in the Christian congregation flirt with Satan’s world by walking on the line between the Christian world and the satanic world that surrounds them. They feel that if they are walking right along the line, but are on the Christian side, no harm will come to them. In other words, this is the idea that there is no need for punishment, apology or retribution if no actual damage occurred because they are on the right side of the equation. However, when trying to play both sides, and they stumble; they could fall on the opposite side. Is the loss of eternal life really worth the risk of a few moments of pleasure? To these, the world is an exciting and glamorous place, and instead of replacing irrational thoughts with rational Scriptural thoughts, they entertain wrong thinking. These do not have the right mindset about getting high on drugs or drunk with alcohol, and end up in the act of fornication all because they dared walk along the line. Even small leanings toward Satan’s world is a slippery slope, because when away from the Christian home and church, they start hanging around those who can have a great influence on their way of thinking. Because of the great desire to fit in, they start imitating their speech, listening to their music, watching their movies.

3 John 1:11 Updated American Standard Version (UASV)

11 Beloved one, do not imitate what is evil, but what is good. The one who does good is of God; the one who does evil has not seen God.[24]

In the last paragraph, we spoke of those who walked on the right side of the line, but attempted to walk right along the edge. This section covers those that are straddling the line, with one foot in the Christian congregation, and the other in the world. This danger of slipping into the worldly ways is not always found outside of the church. There are those who live a double life within the church. They come to church dressed like they are going to some rock concert. They have long hair, are dressed in shorts, a T-shirt that has an inappropriate band on it, and flip-flops. They try to present themselves as being Christian, and even the pastor tries to reach them by having them play guitar in the church band. However, any responsibility in the church is a privilege and should be earned. Some of the younger females come to church dressed like they are going out to a nightclub. They have on dresses that accentuate their body parts by being too high above the knee and expose their cleavage. These crave attention and excitement in their lives, and they just want to have fun. They influence the other young Christians into the belief that they are missing out on things, that they have no freedom while at the same time these are slaves to their flesh.

2 Peter 2:18-19 Updated American Standard Version (UASV)

18 For speaking out arrogant words of vanity they entice by fleshly desires, by sensuality, those who barely escape from the ones who live in error, 19 promising them freedom while they themselves are slaves of corruption; for by what a man is overcome, by this he is enslaved.

Sadly, there are dire consequences for those walking on the right side of the line, but right up to the edge and those straddling the line, with one foot in the Christian congregation, and the other in the world. It can end with a sexual encounter, which alone will cause some emotional torment. Even worse, it could lead to sexually transmitted disease, an unexpected pregnancy, and if one of the partners is married to someone else, the ruination of a marriage.  (Pro. 6:32-35; 1 Cor. 6:18; 1 Thess. 4:3-8) If it ends up being drugs, it can lead to addiction that could destroy multiple families. It could lead to a car wreck and the death of the impaired driver or the victim they may run into. (See Proverbs 23:29-35) Even if it does not result in a vehicle accident, the addiction can lead to stealing to support the habit.

It all begins with trying to be like the world in word, in deed, or failing to do what should be done, or in mind or heart attitude. These and the Christian congregation that surrounds them know what the outcome can be for slipping off into drugs, alcohol, fornication, and other wrong activities. The problem lies in the fact that Satan’s world is designed to cater to the fallen fleshly senses. This can be extremely influential, contributing to the young one closing their eyes to the end results. Moreover, those who surround them are watching them wade into deeper and deeper waters, failing to pull them back from the fire. Initially, they justify things as this is not so bad, or they have the freedom to do certain things because they are older, or they are an adult now; however, they merely become a slave to their flesh and sinful tendencies. These will quickly will become their master! When these cast aside Bible standards, do they gain freedom? Paul wrote, “Do you not know that if you present yourselves to anyone as obedient slaves, you are slaves of the one whom you obey, either of sin, which leads to death, or of obedience, which leads to righteousness? . . . The wages of sin is death, but the free gift of God is eternal life in Christ Jesus our Lord.” (Rom. 6:16, 23) What is the process, and can we head it off before it consumes us?

Galatians 6:7-8 Updated American Standard Version (UASV)

7 Do not be deceived: God is not to be mocked, for whatever a person sows, this he will also reap. For the one who sows to his own flesh will from the flesh reap corruption, but the one who sows to the Spirit will from the Spirit reap eternal life.

Preventive Measures

We need to consider just how one begins his or her descent into the worldly elements of Satan’s world.

James 1:14-15 Updated American Standard Version (UASV)

14 But each one is tempted when he is carried away and enticed by his own desire.[25] 15 Then the desire when it has conceived gives birth to sin, and sin when it is fully grown brings forth death.

While God does not personally put us into a trial, he will allow us to face the difficult times of our imperfection and this imperfect world in which we live. Thus, God does not test us but will allow us to be tested. These tests or trying times can tempt us, in our imperfection to sin. We as Christians must guard our figurative heart at all costs.

Jeremiah 17:9 Updated American Standard Version (UASV)

The heart is more deceitful than all else,
and desperately sick;
who can understand it?

The trial, the stress to sin, hits the imperfect human makeup, and the danger of reacting to the situation in a wrong way exists. A particular situation, even an innocent appearing situation, can give rise to wrong desires. This desire then assists as an enticement to sin. Therefore, the Christian is placing himself before temptation.

Satan is the God of this world (2 Cor. 4:4), and the influence of his world (John 14:30; Rev 12:9), tempt the Christian mind and heart with things that are contrary to God’s moral standard or with mental leanings that are evil in the eyes of God. Satan and his world use (1) the desire of the imperfect, fallen flesh; (2) the desire of our eyes, the window to our heart; (3) the craving of material possessions, and the like. (1 John 2:16)

How is the Christian tried in this evil way? He is tried when he allows his imperfection, the bad that dwells in him, to become animated. Once this animation takes place, sin will have gotten the mastery over him, controlling his actions like a puppet master controls a puppet. (See Romans 6:14, 19) This comes about because he failed to dismiss the wicked thoughts that enter his mind. That is why he should have prayed “do not bring [me] into temptation, but deliver [me] from the evil one.” (Matt 6:13) What we need to do is talk to God immediately, begging him to guard our mind and heart, helping us to identify the wrongful thinking with our Christian conscience, rejecting it for what it is, evil. What is it that will sharpen our Christian conscience, helping us to move on from being a spiritual babe, to a mature Christian? It is an active personal study of God’s Word, his guiding information to us, which warns us, safeguards our thinking. God’s Word keeps us inundated in “whatever things are true, whatever things are honorable, whatever things are right, whatever things are pure, whatever things are pleasing, whatever things are commendable if there is any excellence of character and if anything praiseworthy, think about these things.” (Phil 4:8)

We need to develop such a close bond with Christ in mind and thought that we do not entertain a single principle of evil that gets past our Christian conscience, to cater to our fallen flesh, our sinful desires. If we sure up our weaknesses by our faith in Christ, drawing closer to God, Satan will not have any room within us. There will be no trial, which could induce us into doing evil, as we will not want to compromise our Christian conscience. We would never dream of violating our uprightness by doing anything that even has a shadow of wrong to it. We will not want to give into anything that our heavenly Father allows to come upon us.

If we entertain the thought that enters our mind (i.e., desire) contrary to his moral laws, as opposed to dismissing it, we will allow it to become fruitful. When a seed is planted in the ground, the possibility for growth is there. If we entertain the inappropriate thoughts; we are cultivating the thinking, bringing it to fruition. As we nurture that wrongful thinking in our heart, we will eventually give way to sin. Therefore, an act of sin is the offspring of wrongful thinking that is nurtured until it is delivered.

How is it that we get those wrongful thoughts in the first place? Whatever we take into our mind through our senses, will inevitably enter the heart, the inner person. Our associating with persons who do not value our Bible principles will usually contribute to this. How are we to identify which associations are wrong, even dangerous to our spirituality?

Worthy of Our Association

Genesis 34:1-2, 18-19 Updated American Standard Version (UASV)

1 Now Dinah the daughter of Leah, whom she had borne to Jacob, went out to see the daughters of the land. When Shechem the son of Hamor the Hivite, the prince of the land, saw her, he took her and lay with her and violated her.[26] 18 Now their words seemed good to Hamor and Shechem, Hamor’s son. 19 The young man did not delay to do the thing, because he was delighted with Jacob’s daughter. Now he was more respected than all the household of his father.

Whom is Dinah going to visit? The account says she is visiting “the daughters of the land.” What land? The land of Canaan, which as you may know was corrupt, immoral, depraved people (Many sacrificed their children to their false gods). We think back to Abraham and Isaac, and ask, did they want their offspring marrying people from the land of Canaan? No, because of their sinful nature and they worshiped false gods. They were wrong associations, let alone form some friendship with, or to take as one’s spouse. The above got started because a young girl thought she knew better, that she could befriend those who lived in opposition to God’s Word. Do we want to have intimate friends, who not only live in sin, but look down on those who live by God’s Word, as being foolish?

Inappropriate Conversations

Ephesians 5:3-4 Updated American Standard Version (UASV)

But sexual immorality, and all uncleanness, or greediness, must not even be named among you, as is proper among holy ones; And there must be no filthiness nor foolish talk nor crude joking, which are not fitting, but rather giving of thanks.

5:3–4. The opposite of imitating God and giving oneself up for him is living in sexual immorality, impurity, and greed (note the same Greek words for impurity and greed in 4:19). Paul says that it is not proper for these things even to be named among the children of God. These are sins of “deed.” In addition to sinful deeds, there ought not to be sinful “words.” Obscenity, foolish talk, coarse joking ought not be part of the speech patterns of Christians. Rather, we ought to speak from a heart of thankfulness to God. (Anders 1999, 171)

Viewing Habits

Proverbs 3:31 Updated American Standard Version (UASV)

31 Do not envy a man of violence
and do not choose any of his ways,

Isaiah 8:19 Updated American Standard Version (UASV)

19 When they say to you, “Consult the mediums and the spiritists who whisper and mutter,” should not a people consult their God? Should they consult the dead on behalf of the living?

The Old and the New Person

Ephesians 4:17-19 Updated American Standard Version (UASV)

17 This, therefore, I say and bear witness to in the Lord, that you no longer walk as the Gentiles also walk, in the futility of their mind, 18 being darkened in their understanding, alienated from the life of God, because of the ignorance that is in them, because of the hardness of their heart; 19 who being past feeling gave themselves up to shameless conduct,[27] for the practice of every uncleanness with greediness.

4:17. The Gentiles in Ephesus were particularly sinful. Ephesus was a leading city of commerce and culture in the Roman Empire, the home of the pagan temple of Diana, one of the seven wonders of the ancient world. Worship of Diana involved the worst immorality of degraded pagan religion. That influence made Ephesus a wretched hive of scum and villainy, a wicked place indeed. Temple prostitution, graft, crime, immorality, idolatry, and every conceivable form of sin abounded. Many of the Christians in Ephesus came out of that kind of background. In contrast with that evil background, Paul made his appeal, “Don’t live like that any longer!”

First, he says, it is futile to live like that. It leads to nothing.

4:18. Second, he says, it reflects darkened understanding, a result of having turned their backs on God. Their hearts are hard, and as a result, their mind is dark. Lives separated from God’s holiness are ignorant lives. This is hard for the sophisticated, educated people of Ephesus to accept. How dare someone call them ignorant. Paul did not contend they had no knowledge. He contended the knowledge did no good in leading them to a lifestyle that pleased God. Without such a lifestyle, their minds did not function properly.

4:19. Their hard heart, which yielded a darkened mind, led to an unholy life. Paul says they have given themselves over to sensuality, a life without concern for the consequences of their actions. Their desire for sensual pleasure overrode every other regard. No matter what they did, such desire was never satisfied. They always wanted more. Lust not love dominated their lives. Such Gentiles certainly did not serve as models for the church. They were not mature. They did not bring unity.

4:20–21. In contrast to this former way of life, the Ephesian Christians were to live righteous lives. Paul says, “This is not how you learned from Jesus to live!” “Your hearts are no longer darkened. You have learned the truth, which is to be found in Jesus.”

4:22. Living a proper Christian life involved two concepts. They must put off their old self. This old self was the self that was corrupted by the deceits of lust. When we were born, we were born with a sinful bent. We were separated from God. David wrote in Psalm 51:5, “Surely I was sinful at birth, sinful from the time my mother conceived me” (see Eph. 2:1–3 and commentary there).

This old self is separated from God. While it is capable of doing good in the eyes of other people, it is incapable of doing anything but evil in the eyes of God. We are born that way, and we remain that way if we do not allow God to intervene. It is who we are by nature. We are children of Adam. We possess a fallen nature as Adam did, and we are separated from God as a result. That is the old self.

To put off the old self can mean merely to accept Christ as in Colossians 3:9, where it is treated as an accomplished fact. It can mean that, once you have become a Christian, you are to leave behind the attitudes, habits, values, and actions that you had before being born again—similar to taking off an old work coat and putting on a new coat to go out for the evening. This is more in keeping with the context, since Paul goes on in verses 25–32 to describe the specifics of a changing lifestyle.

The earthly desires, or lusts, which we have are deceitful. They promise one thing but deliver another. Therefore, we are to be smarter than our earthly desires, recognize their deceitfulness, and as a result, turn from them.

4:23. In contrast, we are to be made new in the attitude of our minds. How? You are what you think. You move in the direction of what you put into your mind and what you allow your mind to dwell on. So if you are not what you want to be, then you must begin to think differently. If you are to think differently, you must put into your mind that which you want to become. If you do, the Holy Spirit will use it to change you to become what you want to be. If you don’t, you will never be what you want to be. It all depends on what you put into your mind. This is what it means to be made new in the attitude of your mind.

4:24. Finally, we are to put on the new self. This means, we are to allow the new self to govern our activities. We are to begin living the lifestyle that corresponds to who we have become in Christ. This new holy self shows we are maturing, growing in unity with the body, and doing our part of the body’s work. (Anders 1999, 154-155)

We all need to evaluate ourselves regularly, to see if our desires are leaning toward the world or God’s Word, to see how close we are living to the line of Satan’s world. We need to be honest with ourselves, because justifying, rationalizing, and minimizing, will only get us words from Jesus that we do not want to hear, “I never knew you; depart from me, you workers of lawlessness.” (Matt 7:21-23) This continual evaluation of self, means the difference between eternal life and eternal death. What are we doing to develop those right desires? Are we regularly attending Christian meeting, and have we prepared for them? Are we staying up with the congregation studies? Do we have a personal Bible study program in our lives? Is it a deep study or just superficial? Are we consistent? Are we pondering what we are learning? Are we applying what we are learning? Do we see what we learn as applying to us, or just others? Are we sharing these biblical truths evangelistically within our community? Are we developing right desires while dismissing wrong desires? Remember,

Proverbs 4:23 Updated American Standard Version (UASV)

23 Keep your heart with all vigilance,
for from it flow the springs of life.

Godly Qualities versus Inherited Sin

It should be noted that the godly qualities that we have been by our Creator are in every one of us, even in our imperfection. However, we do have another inner desire that wars against our desires to follow the qualities that God has instilled in us. Because of our imperfection, we are mentally bent toward evil. (Gen. 6:5; 8:21; Ps. 51:5, AT) Moreover, our heart (inner person, seat of motivation) ‘is deceitful above all things, and desperately sick; which we cannot understand.’ (Jer. 17:9) Therefore, if we are going to maintain and develop the quality of putting other people’s needs, interests, or wishes before our own, we must cultivate our selfless side. This is especially true within the family because if one person is a selfish person, it will be a life of pain and suffering for everyone else. The reality is, it was the selfishness of Satan, Adam, and Eve that has humankind living in imperfection, pain, suffering, old age and death. Sadly, every argument between family and friends, every conflict between leaders, every war between nations, every dispute between employer and employee, and every crime is the result of selfishness. Our concern with our own interests, needs, and wishes while ignoring those of others will ruin our life and any relationship we might ever hope to have.

What motivates us to be selfless? It is another human quality, empathy, the ability to identify with and understand somebody else’s feelings or difficulties. When we do something for another, like pay for a military person’s meal at a restaurant, we are empathizing with what he gave up, so we have the freedom we have. This brings us to another quality, gratitude, i.e., being thankful for what others have done. Imagine, the traffic is moving slowly, and we are laying on our horn because we are in a hurry. Soon, we see several ambulances ahead. As we drive by a car wreck, we see a teenage girl being zipped up in a black body bag. Suddenly, our heart is beating heavily, we feel the pain of that child, the pain of the mother, and our being late for a meeting is the furthest thing from our mind. If we have never pondered whether we carry out selfless acts, we might start with something small. We might focus on getting the door for people, offering better tips for service, helping someone in a small way, considering how others might feel, and seeing how we react to inconveniences. When we see how others react to our small acts of kindness, will help us to develop our selfless side further.

The apostle Paul wrote, “Let no one seek his own good, but the good of his neighbor.” (1 Cor. 10:24, ESV) On this verse, Bible scholar David E. Garland writes, “Paul’s command that one “not seek that which is one’s own” leaves indefinite what they are not to seek.3 We can fill in the blank with words such as “advantage,” “interest,” “good,” “ends,” “enjoyment,” “needs.” Instead of selfish things, they are to seek the interests of the other … This “other” is not restricted to the fellow believer who might have a weak conscience, as in 8:11, but also includes the unbeliever who might offer an invitation to dinner (10:27). His concern in this section is not the effect of their behavior on other believers but its effect on nonbelievers. The overarching hermeneutical principles that govern his practical advice are these: What course of action will bring glory to God, and what course of action will be “the most effective witness to Christ?” (Ruef 1977: 103). Paul expects the Corinthians to do all things to bring glory to God (10:31) and to seek the best interests of others so that they might be saved (10:33).” (Garland 2003, p. 489)

Jesus’ half-brother James wrote, “Religion that is pure and undefiled before God, the Father, is this: to visit orphans and widows in their affliction, and to keep oneself unstained from the world.” (Jam. 1:27, ESV) On this, the CPH New Testament Commentary says, “James specifically mentions that these people were to be visited in their times of distress. The word in Greek used here for distress is thlipsis, and it means ‘pressure or a pressing together.’ (Vine, 1996, pg. 17) James is not saying they were to be helped when they had no more troubles, but rather it was in the midst of their troubles. They were to be helped as they were going through the pressures of life that were coming against them. This could include clothing, feeding, and giving them shelter, and show the love of Christ to them.  James echoes what John wrote in I John 3:16-18,We know love by this, that He laid down His life for us; and we ought to lay down our lives for the brethren.  But whoever has the world’s goods, and sees his brother in need and closes his heart against him, how does the love of God abide in him?  Little children, let us not love with word or with tongue, but in deed and truth.’ Several Scriptures point to the fact that God has a great concern for the orphans and widows.[28]” (Calloway 2015, p. 44)

There is little doubt that world of humankind alienated from God has entered its most selfish era in its history. While every human would say, they want joy and happiness in their life, yet most are seeking to receive as opposed to giving. The reality is that we can never have true happiness and joy without developing the mentality of being selfless from the heart. This means that we are selfless; we do good to others naturally, as each and every opportunity presents itself. We do these things to family, friends, coworkers, neighbors, strangers, and even our enemies. Our greatest joy comes from sharing the good news with others, helping someone to cross over from death to life. Jesus said, “Truly, truly, I say to you, whoever hears my word and believes him who sent me has eternal life. He does not come into judgment, but has passed from death to life.” (John 5:24, ESV; See 1 John 3:14) In our sharing of God’s Word, we need to apply Jesus words, “Freely you have received; freely give.” – Matthew 10:8, LEB.

We would be remiss if we did not offer a word of caution at the end. Our desire to be selfless does not mean that we must also be foolish or naive. Many of those who are selfish will take advantage of those who are selfless. Therefore, let us be wary of helping such ones. Moreover, women need to be cautious about helping men. For example, they should never give a male hitchhiker a ride. The world is full of evil and our having to end such a positive chapter on a negative note is a reminder of that.

[1] “The prophet intended to communicate one point to his audience: a person cannot trust his heart completely in major decisions, either morally or spiritually, if it is in a desperately unhealthy state.” – Anders, Max; Wood, Fred M.; McLaren, Ross H. (2006-07-01). Holman Old Testament Commentary – Jeremiah, Lamentations (p. 172). B&H Publishing. Kindle Edition.

[2] it-2 p. 962 Sin, I

[3] Lit not as the trespass, so also the free gift

[4] Lit a declaring of righteous

[5] Harris, R. Laird; Harris, Robert Laird; Archer, Gleason Leonard; Waltke, Bruce K.: Theological Wordbook of the Old Testament. electronic ed. Chicago: Moody Press, 1999, c1980, S. 640

[6] Lit not as the trespass, so also the free gift

[7] Lit a declaring of righteous

[8] While it is true, there is nothing we can think, say, do that can earn us salvation, as it is an undeserved gift from God. However, our works are proof of our active faith in God’s promises. – Romans 3:23, 24; James 2:17, 18, 24.

[9] If you abide in My word, you are My disciples indeed. This reveals the second step in the progress toward true discipleship. Perseverance in obedience to Scripture (cf. Matt. 28:19, 20) is the fruit or evidence of genuine faith (see Eph. 2:10). The word abide means to abide habitually in Jesus’ words. A genuine believer holds fast, obeys, and practices Jesus’ teaching. The one who continues in His teaching has both the Father and the Son (2 John 9; cf. Heb. 3:14; Rev. 2:26). Real disciples are both learners (the basic meaning of the word) and faithful followers. MacArthur, John (2005-05-09). The MacArthur Bible Commentary (Kindle Location 47395). Thomas Nelson. Kindle Edition.

[10] Or “own lust

[11] πιθυμία [Epithumia] to strongly desire to have what belongs to someone else and/or to engage in an activity which is morally wrong–‘to covet, to lust, evil desires, lust, desire.’– GELNTBSD

[12] I.e., obedient children

[13] 119:105–106. Seeking his direction in life from God’s word, the psalmist declares it is a lamp to his feet, giving light for his path in life. Seeing the divinely illumined way, he has taken an oath to follow God’s righteous laws. – Anders, Max; Lawson, Steven (2006-04-01). Holman Old Testament Commentary – Psalms 76-150 (Kindle Locations 6370-6372). B&H Publishing. Kindle Edition.

[14] Or “loose conduct,” “sensuality,” “licentiousness” “promiscuity” Greek, aselgeia. This phrase refers to acts of conduct that are serious sins. It reveals a shameless condescending arrogance; i.e., disregard or even disdain for authority, laws, and standards.

[15] Or old person

[16] Or new person

[17] Epignosis is a strengthened or intensified form of gnosis (epi, meaning “additional”), meaning, “true,” “real,” “full,” “complete” or “accurate,” depending upon the context. Paul and Peter alone use epignosis.

[18] Gr hamartete, a verb in the aorist subjunctive. According to A Grammar of New Testament Greek, by James H. Moulton, Vol. I, 1908, p. 109, “the Aorist has a ‘punctiliar’ action, that is, it regards action as a point: it represents the point of entrance . . . or that of completion . . . or it looks at a whole action simply as having occurred, without distinguishing any steps in its progress.”

[19] Or an atoning sacrifice; a means of appeasement

[20] Or “own lust

[21] I.e., an unbeliever

[22] Quotation from Job 5:13

[23] Quotation from Psalm 94:11

[24] This attitude and conduct certainly does not come from God.

[25] Or “own lust

[26] Lit and humbled her; LXX humiliated

[27] Or “loose conduct,” “sensuality,” “licentiousness” “promiscuity” Greek, aselgeia. This phrase refers to acts of conduct that are serious sins. It reveals a shameless condescending arrogance; i.e., disregard or even disdain for authority, laws, and standards.

[28] See Deuteronomy 10:18; 14:28–29; 16:11; 24:17; 26:12; Jeremiah 22:3; Zechariah 7:8–10; Malachi 3:5; cf. Acts 6:1; 1 Timothy 5:16