Sin and Perfection - RR142A1
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|This transcript is unedited. It was:|
|Archived by the Mt. Olive Tape Library|
|Digitized, transcribed, and published by Christ Rules|
|Posted by with permission.|
...Through 15. I am laboring under some difficulty with a bad throat and chest congestion, and I trust I can be heard in the back rows. Genesis 2:8-15:
“8 And the Lord God planted a garden eastward in Eden; and there he put the man whom he had formed.
9 And out of the ground made the Lord God to grow every tree that is pleasant to the sight, and good for food; the tree of life also in the midst of the garden, and the tree of knowledge of good and evil.
10 And a river went out of Eden to water the garden; and from thence it was parted, and became into four heads.
11 The name of the first is Pison: that is it which compasseth the whole land of Havilah, where there is gold;
12 And the gold of that land is good: there is bdellium and the onyx stone.
13 And the name of the second river is Gihon: the same is it that compasseth the whole land of Ethiopia.
14 And the name of the third river is Hiddekel: that is it which goeth toward the east of Assyria. And the fourth river is Euphrates.
15 And the Lord God took the man, and put him into the garden of Eden to dress it and to keep it.”
Our subject this morning is sin and perfection. We have a problem with the word perfection because our current English meaning is not the biblical meaning. When I was in school I was once told by a teacher in the course of her teaching that obviously someone in the, or the framers of the constitution as a whole did not know their English or their grammar too well, because they spoke of creating a more perfect union. And how could something be more than perfect? Well of course the trouble was hers. She did not understand that as they used the word in the preamble they had in mind the Biblical meaning. In the Bible perfect means mature, fully grown. As a result, when we are commanded to walk before the Lord and be perfect, we are told to walk before Him and grow up.
When our Lord says: “Be Ye perfect as your Father in heaven is perfect” He says, grow up, be mature, God is eternally mature and fully grown, and He has created you in His image that you might mature in that image. Thus when the framers of the constitution spoke of a more perfect Union, they meant a more mature one than the Union of the articles of Confederation.
Now, it is important for us to understand the meaning of the biblical word, perfection, in order to grasp the meaning of the fall of man. Because when we look at the garden of Eden, what we have to say about this first, that it was sin-less, and second, it was not perfect. It was not fully grown. It was not mature. Neither were Adam and Eve, they were just beginners. [00:05:04]
Let’s imagine the Garden of Eden as it actually was...
Let’s imagine the Garden of Eden as it actually was. Day 1. Adam is created. And he finds himself in the Garden of Eden. He doesn’t have a stitch on, he doesn’t have a tool to his name, and he is given an order: to dress and keep the garden. To till and to cultivate. To prune it. That’s a big job. He was also asked too to name the animals. That did not mean in Scripture to call the first dog he saw Rover and the second one Fido and so on. Name in the Bible means to classify. So he had a scientific task. To understand the whole order of the animal creation, to see the relationship between one kind and another, to classify them.
It was definitely not a perfect place, he didn’t have a book or an Encyclopedia or a pen and a pencil, or a shovel or a pruning shear to his name. Very imperfect, very immature. And he had been commanded to exercise dominion and to subdue the earth. And the Garden of Eden was to be a pilot project because outside of it was the wilderness, and there he was to learn how to establish dominion. There he was to learn how to be mature, fully grown, how to meet responsibility. Then outside, the whole of the world to bring under the dominion that God required.
Well, I’m sure that first day Adam looked around with some bewilderment. What a job. A sinless place, but not perfect, not mature, not fully grown.
Day 2. Adam wakes up, and what happens? Why, Genesis 2 tells us that there went up a mist from the earth and watered the whole face of the ground. There was no rainfall in those days, and every night there was a heavy dew, comparable to what we would call rain, that watered, irrigated the whole face of the earth. Well now, imagine going to sleep without a stitch on under a tree, and waking up sopping wet. So on Day 2 Adam knew he had to provide some kind of shelter for himself. Sleeping under the trees without a stitch on and getting sopping wet during the night was definitely not pleasant.
Well, he had a duty. He had a job, to provide himself with some kind of shelter. Now he had that whole garden to take care of, fruit trees we are told, vegetables and what not, and also all the animals. And of course, since it was Eden, the Lion and the Lamb were lying down together; but they were probably lying down some of the time on Adams vegetables. [00:09:42]
Well that meant Adam had to have some kind of fencing...
Well that meant Adam had to have some kind of fencing if he was going to take care of the garden. To fence off the vegetables and to keep the animals out. And he had to have that without any tools. And so as he no doubt cut down or broke off branches or shrubs and tried to rig up a fence, he told himself: “I’ve got to have some kind of tools.”
Neither Adam or the Garden had perfection, full grown maturity. It was primitive. It required a lot of hard work to develop tools. You see when we read a little later that Cain and his sons had all kinds of tools and had learned to work with iron, we can understand why because in the Garden of Eden already Adam had begun to develop a know how, tool making abilities.
Day by day, as Adam faced one problem after another, he knew he had a big job on his hands. Now what did he do when he wanted fruit? Did he just wait until one dropped? Well, he had to make a pole to knock some down, but that didn’t work too well, when they dropped they very often squashed and got dirty, no doubt Adam had to develop a ladder also, very, very early. [00:11:48]
You get the point do you not, that Adam in the garden...
You get the point do you not, that Adam in the garden of Eden had a sinless world, but not a perfect one. But then, God said it is not good that man should be alone, and he created a help meet for Adam, Eve. So here we have Eve also in the picture, Day 1 for Eve, and I am sure at the end of Day 1 for Eve, as she looked at the lean-to shelter where Adam slept, she said: “This will never do Adam. We’ve got to have better housing than this. Now get to work and figure out some better protection from the elements.”
Now, I hope you get the picture. The Garden of Eden was work without the curse, but it was work, hard work, because it was not a fully mature place. Do you realize that you and I have the energy equivalent in our homes of 125-150 slaves? The energy equivalent of a 125-150 slaves. Because of electricity, because of motors, because of 101 modern tools. So that we can do today in our own home, and with our vehicles, what in by-gone generations would take 125 people to accomplish in one day. But then think back on how much harder it was for Adam and for Eve.
Now, this tells us a great deal, does it not, about the fall. Why? Along came the tempter to say: “Look. If you haven’t realized it yet, you aren’t being treated right. For God doth know, that in the day that you eat thereof of the forbidden fruit, ye shall be as God. You will be your own God. There is an easier way. God says; “Let there be” and there is. You can do it too. And you shall determine for yourself what shall be good and evil. You want perfection? Take it the easy way. God hath imposed upon you, a penalty that is needless, senseless. Why work so hard when you can be your own gods?” This was the appeal, the tempters appeal, to Adam and Eve. [00:15:58]
We cannot understand the fall, unless we see this couple...
We cannot understand the fall, unless we see this couple working in paradise, an immature, an imperfect place, and weary of well-doing. And we are warned in scripture, to be not weary of well doing. Of obeying God. And so came the fall.
And so come problems in our world today. Men want perfection overnight. Recently I met with a young pastor who had a congregation in an urban setting near a couple of, between two campus areas, and he had one elderly couple in the congregation, 40 years old. They were all youngsters in their twenties, and I told him when he went there and it seemed like an ideal situation, so much enthusiasm, so much get up and go. And I told him: “You are in for trouble.” And he didn’t understand me. And I said: “You are in for trouble.” I said if you had a congregation full of oldsters they might be sitting back and doing nothing, but this congregation of youngsters will demand perfection overnight.” And about a week ago he told me that that had come to pass. Fine young couples every last one of them, but they wanted everything that comes with years of hard work, and maturing overnight. That’s how Adam and Eve went astray, and that’s how people go astray today. They demand perfection, maturity, without maturing.
Whenever I have a marriage service, I’ve always told the young couple: “Remember this. If you are a remarkable couple,, you may go for a week without stepping on each other’s toes, or having your feelings hurt, or being angry with each other. You are going to have problems with each other, because neither of you are perfect, or sinless. So the question is not: “Are we going to have problems?” Don’t be surprised about that. The only question is: “How are you going to deal with them?” With patience and with a readiness to grow rather than to demand?
You know the marriage service is one of the most interesting contracts in the world; it’s a contract by the way. A covenant. “I do promise and covenant before God and these witnesses. I John take Thee Mary to be my lawful and wedded wife.” And you go on to make promise after promise, and you never ask for anything. The most dangerous contract you can ever make is to sign away your life, and you don’t ask for a thing. All you do is to make promises. And then, they sit back, and make demands, and get into trouble, because they want perfection overnight. [00:20:31]
Maturity, the fullness of growth overnight, and it...
Maturity, the fullness of growth overnight, and it only comes with years and years of patience and love, and more patience. It takes a lot of patience to live with another human being, and a great deal of love and grace. And the love grows, with maturity. With maturity.
And our problems in our society today, they reflect the fall, because what do men say: “Do we have poverty? Alright, lets pass a law and end poverty.” “We have this or that social problem? Well, why don’t we have a law to abolish it or take care of it?” And as a result our problems increase. Because we demand perfection without growth. Maturity, without maturing. And that is sin.
It’s well and good to want our children to be able to write, legibly and well, but to demand that of them the first time they take a pen in their hand is ridiculous. There has to be growth, there has to be maturity.
One of the pressing problems of our time is the fact that whether you look in the church, or in political matters, or anywhere else, people demand maturity, without maturing. And our world today is going from bad to worse because of this demand for an ungodly kind of perfection, a demand that says: “Let there be because I want it.” Our world today needs patience, a readiness to work, to believe in the word of god and to obey it. Why is it that the scriptures so often speak of being at peace one with another, of exercising forbearance? Because the scripture recognizes that we who are believers all need growth, and therefore Paul says: “Ye who are strong, be forbearing of the weak. And ye who are weak do not demand that the strong be pulled down to your level.” A mutual forbearance, a readiness to seek growth, a patience one with another. [00:24:45]
I’ve often told young couples when they have problems...
I’ve often told young couples when they have problems, and they complain one with another, I say: “Stop right there. The Bible says: “You are to walk before the Lord, and be perfect, to be mature.” And there is only one person you can change, and that is yourself, not your husband or your wife. If you try to change the other person you are in for trouble, but if you change yourself you can make progress. And the word of God always speaks to us, it does not speak to the person next to us, but to us. “Walk thou before me. Be thou perfect, fully grown.” And we are never fully grown without working at it.
We’ve come a long ways from Adam working in the garden, trying to develop a tool, to the point where we each have 125 energy equivalent slaves. But we can destroy all that achievement, and today we are destroying it, because we want perfection overnight. And we are beginning to damage our very progress and our technological achievements, because we are taking a false on growth. Instant growth, instant perfection, instant maturity, and the result is, all over the world, social decay is setting in. Man’s sin is to try to be as God. God can say: “Let there be” And by his command the heavens and the earth were created. [00:27:21]
That man by Gods ordination must work, must grow, in...
That man by Gods ordination must work, must grow, in order to realize the maturity of the image of God in him. Thus when the Lord speaks to us and says: “Walk thou before me and be thou perfect” He is summoning us away from the sin of making demands, and saying: “Grow. By my grace, mature in my image. Will we do it? Let us pray.
Almighty God our heavenly Father who of Thy grace and mercy hast called us and made us Thy people. give us patience, grace, and strength; that we may grow in grace, that we may mature in terms of Thy image, that we may work patiently and with mutual forbearance to accomplish Thy purpose. We give Thee thanks our Father for these Thy people, for their faithful pastor, and for their years of service to Thy kingdom. Guide, bless, prosper, and in all things use them mightily oh Lord, that Thy kingdom might be glorified through these Thy saints. In Jesus name, Amen. [00:29:44]