Last time we talked of God’s eternal purpose in delivering His creation from the bondage of corruption—the primal fault.
For the creation was subjected to futility, not willingly, but by reason of Him who subjected it in hope:
Because the creation itself shall be delivered from the bondage of corruption into the glory of the liberty of the children of God (Rom. 8.20,21, New KJV).
What is this—the bondage of corruption? A meaning springs to mind when we read the word corruption. We think of the mafia getting into government or something like that. But our present definitions of words will often mislead us when we take them into the Bible. We must let the Bible itself define its words for us. And the way the Bible uses the word corruption is very comprehensive. This is the primal fault at work, both in the physical universe, and in the world of man.
Peter writes of the exceeding great and precious promises whereby we become “partakers of the divine nature, having escaped the corruption that is in the world through lust” (2 Pt. 1.4). What is the divine nature? Love.
And what is lust? That’s another word whose meaning has changed over the centuries. Peter is not talking specifically of sexual lust, which is the meaning of the word today, but of the whole range of self-centred desire. (We will not take space here to talk of the difference between sexual lust and sexual desire between a man and a woman in the marriage relationship, which is honourable and undefiled, Heb. 13.4.)
Paul used the same word when he wrote in Romans 7:
I had not known lust except the law had said, Thou shalt not covet (same word: lust). But sin taking occasion by the commandment wrought in me all manner of concupiscence (again same word: lust) (Rom. 7.7,8).
And so… “all manner of lust,” Paul says. Not just sexual lust—but the whole range of sinful, selfish desire. Where did this evil desire come from? I believe it began in a heavenly realm when Lucifer began to covet the glory of God for himself. But as far as the human family goes, it had its beginnings in the “lust” that the Serpent in his subtlety succeeded in awakening in Eve—a desire to be “as God, knowing good and evil” (Gen. 3.5). The Serpent suggested to Eve that this was greatly to be desired, maliciously implying that God was keeping something good to Himself. It was an attractive idea to Eve—being her own god, becoming the master of her own destiny, being independent of God, deciding for herself what is good and what is evil instead of having to depend on God for this. It was—and still is—a fatal error. For when Adam saw what Eve his bride had done he deliberately ate of the fruit of that tree himself, and, as federal head of the race, brought in death upon the whole family of man.
It all began with a “lust,” a desire that was not of God—the God of love. Here, in one word is the remedy for the primal fault—love.
It was the love of God in Christ Jesus our Lord at Calvary that dealt with the primal fault. It does not surprise us, then, to find Peter urging us (in order to escape the corruption that is in the world through lust) to become partakers of this divine nature—to add to our faith virtue, and to virtue knowledge, and to knowledge temperance, and to temperance patience, and to patience godliness, and to godliness brotherly kindness, and to brotherly kindness… love. For herein we discover ourselves in an everlasting kingdom, not a corruptible one—“the everlasting kingdom of our Lord and Saviour Jesus Christ.” I won’t quote the passage fully here, but I encourage you to go to your Bible and read it—prayerfully (2 Pt. 1.4-11).
Lust is self-centred desire. It’s a very insidious thing. It can be our motivation even in the pursuit of spiritual things—what I get out of it. Its direction is ever inward and self-serving. It’s about me and my advantage, my own interests—the opposite of love, the love of God, the Father’s love.
Love is motivation in an entirely different direction—Godward, outward, away from one’s self, to the benefit of others. And this whatever the cost– even at the willing cost of our own lives, as our forerunner the Lord Jesus Christ showed us at Calvary. It was love of God—and of His fellow man—that brought Jesus to His cross. That same love working in our lives and motivating all we say and do will ultimately deliver the whole creation from its bondage to corruption—the corruption that is in the world through lust.
And so the apostle John exhorts us:
Love not the world, neither the things that are in the world. If any man love the world, the love of the Father is not in him.
For all that is in the world: the lust of the flesh, and the lust of the eyes, and the pride of life is not of the Father, but is of the world.
And the world passeth away, and the lust thereof, but he that doeth the will of God abideth forever (1 Jn. 2.15-17).
Keep this passage in mind while we look again at that verse from Galatians we talked about in an earlier post.
He that soweth to the flesh shall of the flesh reap corruption, but he that soweth to the Spirit shall of the Spirit reap life everlasting.
Paul is contrasting two things—corruption, and life everlasting. And it’s very interesting to note the context in which Paul says this. He is speaking of doing good, of giving—God-centred, other-centred actions, not self-centred actions. You sow to the flesh and it’s inevitable—you reap corruption, decay. You sow your whole life to the flesh, to yourself—the fallen Adam nature ruled by the primal fault—and what do you have for your whole life’s labour? Great or small it all comes to nothing. For, “the world passeth away, and the lust thereof…”
…But he that doeth the will of God abideth forever.
Why is this? Why is it that doing the will of God involves you in an eternal realm? It’s because the word of the Lord by which we do the will of God, and by which we are born again, abideth forever.
And what is the evidence of this in our lives? (Hint: it’s a one-word answer.)
…More next time. https://amendingfeast.org/2012/01/08/the-primal-motive-love/