"The Devil Made Me Do It"
For those who might not remember, in the 60s there was a television show called Laugh-in. It was uproarious comedy although at times a bit irreverent and off-color. One of the comedians was Flip Wilson, whose excuse for doing something wrong was "The Devil made me do it." It was good for laughs but off the mark for theology. The Devil isn't making anyone do anything. Consider 1Corinthians 10:13 "There hath no temptation taken you but such as man can bear: but God is faithful, who will not suffer you to be tempted above that ye are able; but will with the temptation make also the way of escape, that ye may be able to endure it."
What used to pass for humor forty years ago is passing for morals today. We hear "It's genetic. I was born with a gene that predetermined that I was (fill in the blank) ___________ alcoholic, homosexual, meth user, thief, murderer." This is nothing but a ploy to avoid personal responsibility for one's actions. The fact that some even consider this "genetic" argument is amazing.
It seems that man will do anything to keep from facing up to individual responsibility. There are so many writs and codicils and permission slips and disclaimers being signed today to accommodate people who do not want to be responsible for anything. Yet God's Word sets forth man's responsibility, in the Old Testament and in the New:
Ezekiel 18:20 "The soul that sinneth, it shall die: the son shall not bear the iniquity of the father, neither shall the father bear the iniquity of the son; the righteousness of the righteous shall be upon him, and the wickedness of the wicked shall be upon him."
Gal 6:5 "For each man shall bear his own burden . . ". Gal 6:7 "Be not deceived; God is not mocked: for whatsoever a man soweth, that shall he also reap."
and Rev 20:11-15 "And I saw a great white throne, and him that sat upon it, from whose face the earth and the heaven fled away; and there was found no place for them. And I saw the dead, the great and the small, standing before the throne; and books were opened: and another book was opened, which is the book of life: and the dead were judged out of the things which were written in the books, according to their works. And the sea gave up the dead that were in it; and death and Hades gave up the dead that were in them: and they were judged every man according to their works. And death and Hades were cast into the lake of fire. This is the second death, even the lake of fire. And if any was not found written in the book of life, he was cast into the lake of fire."
Are we getting the drift of these scriptures? Are we trying to understand what God is saying in these and in a host of other passages about individual responsibility? (1) We are individually responsible to God for everything we do, say or think; see also the parable of the talents in Matthew 25: 14-30. (2) We will be answering to an all-knowing, omnipresent God for those thoughts, words, and deeds. (3) Thirdly, and to be developed in the next paragraph, it will do us no good to play word games or "reality shows" with God. He will cut through all the verbage just like he did with Adam and Eve (Genesis 3).
Gen 3:8-19--"And they heard the voice of Jehovah God walking in the garden in the cool of the day: and the man and his wife hid themselves from the presence of Jehovah God amongst the trees of the garden. And Jehovah God called unto the man, and said unto him, Where art thou? And he said, I heard thy voice in the garden, and I was afraid, because I was naked; and I hid myself. And he said, Who told thee that thou wast naked? Hast thou eaten of the tree, whereof I commanded thee that thou shouldest not eat? And the man said, The woman whom thou gavest to be with me, she gave me of the tree, and I did eat. And Jehovah God said unto the woman, What is this thou hast done? And the woman said, The serpent beguiled me, and I did eat. And Jehovah God said unto the serpent, Because thou hast done this, cursed art thou above all cattle, and above every beast of the field; upon thy belly shalt thou go, and dust shalt thou eat all the days of thy life: and I will put enmity between thee and the woman, and between thy seed and her seed: he shall bruise thy head, and thou shalt bruise his heel. Unto the woman he said, I will greatly multiply thy pain and thy conception; in pain thou shalt bring forth children; and thy desire shall be to thy husband, and he shall rule over thee. And unto Adam he said, Because thou hast hearkened unto the voice of thy wife, and hast eaten of the tree, of which I commanded thee, saying, Thou shalt not eat of it: cursed is the ground for thy sake; in toil shalt thou eat of it all the days of thy life; thorns also and thistles shall it bring forth to thee; and thou shalt eat the herb of the field; in the sweat of thy face shalt thou eat bread, till thou return unto the ground; for out of it wast thou taken: for dust thou art, and unto dust shalt thou return."
Do you think that Adam and Eve did poorly at their attempt to blame God for their own shortcomings? Do you think we will do better than they at trying to get God to repent instead of us repenting? Heb 4:12,13--"For the word of God is living, and active, and sharper than any two-edged sword, and piercing even to the dividing of soul and spirit, of both joints and marrow, and quick to discern the thoughts and intents of the heart. And there is no creature that is not manifest in his sight: but all things are naked and laid open before the eyes of him with whom we have to do." Friend, let us come to the realistic understanding that it is we who need to repent of our evil and not God who placed some kind of insurmountable temptation before us. As it is written:
James 1:13-16 "Let no man say when he is tempted, I am tempted of God; for God cannot be tempted with evil, and he himself tempteth no man: but each man is empted, when he is drawn away by his own lust, and enticed. Then the lust, when it hath conceived, beareth sin: and the sin, when it is fullgrown, bringeth forth death. Be not deceived, my beloved brethren."
Friends, let us be careful not to let our comedy become our theology. I Corinthians 10: 13 is as alive today as it was when it was given by inspiration to the Apostle Paul in the first century. Perhaps some temptations are more difficult to say no to than others, but none are impossible.
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