- What is Lust? Why do we Lust? What do we Lust for? – Our topic today concerns sin – the original sin of our first parents, Adam and Eve, in the Garden of Eden and our chief problem – by inheritance, as well as by nature. With God’s mercy, this study can perhaps give us a glimpse of why man is “born unto trouble, as the sparks fly upward”, as we read in Job 5:7. Mankind has always been quick to blame others – even God – for his failures, problems, sorrows, and frustrations. However, this blame is altogether misplaced, since the Bible clearly explains that our problems stem from us – from our own pride, greed and lust – as we see in Jam 1:13–15: “Let no man say when he is tempted, I am tempted of God: for God cannot be tempted with evil, neither tempteth he any man: But every man is tempted, when he is drawn away of his own lust, and enticed”. So What is lust? –The Bible clearly reveals in 1 John 2:16, “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”. These were the very same temptations that Satan successfully used against Adam and Eve in the Garden of Eden and unsuccessfully against the Lord Jesus Christ when He was tempted in the wilderness for 40 days and 40 nights. These same enticements are the bases for our sin, which is rooted in our own selfishness. They also form the foundation of how unsaved man thinks, speaks, and acts. We see the vast difference that exists between the world (which really represents the kingdom of Satan) and the Father (Who represents the Kingdom of God). 1 John 2:17 also indicates that this present situation is only temporary: “And the world passeth away, and the lust thereof: but he that doeth the will of God abideth for ever”. Col 3:5 points out the very important principle that lust or covetousness is actually idolatry. Why Do We Lust? – Here in Jam 1:13–15, we learn from God that our sin is a direct result of our lust – in fact we are “drawn away” or “drag away” by our lust. Pro 27:20 states, “the eyes of man are never satisfied”. In reality, we want what we cannot have. Man has the evil tendency to think that he knows more than God. He is deluded into thinking he knows what he really needs – what is best for him. How far this is from the truth! What Do We Lust For? – The Bible declares in Jam 4:2–5: “Ye lust, and have not… Ye ask, and receive not, because ye ask amiss, that ye may consume it upon your lusts”. The problem lies in the fact that all that we lust for will never satisfy our soul. We can only “enjoy the pleasures of sin for a season”, as Heb 11:25 indicates. Our day, like much of the New Testament period is characterized by people who love pleasure more than God as we read in 2 Tim 3:4, “Traitors, heady, highminded, lovers of pleasure more than lovers of God”.
Gen 3:6 “And when the woman saw that the tree was good for food [lust of the flesh], and that it was pleasant to the eyes [lust of the eyes], and a tree to be desired [covet] to make one wise [pride of life], she took of the fruit thereof, and did eat, and gave also unto her husband with her; and he did eat.”
Col 3:5 “Mortify therefore your members which are upon the earth; fornication, uncleanness, inordinate affection, evil concupiscence, and covetousness, which is idolatry”
Jam 4:2–5 “Ye lust, and have not: ye kill, and desire to have, and cannot obtain: ye fight and war, yet ye have not, because ye ask not. Ye ask, and receive not, because ye ask amiss, that ye may consume it upon your lusts. Ye adulterers and adulteresses, know ye not that the friendship of the world is enmity with God? whosoever therefore will be a friend of the world is the enemy of God. Do ye think that the scripture saith in vain, The spirit that dwelleth in us lusteth to envy?”
- Destructive Nature of Sin – We see in Jam 1:13–15, man is enticed by his own lust, and it is lust that “bringeth forth” sin, and sin “bringeth forth” death. The bottom line of all sin results in destruction and ultimately, everlasting death in Hell. In other words, the payment for our sin is to spend an eternity under the white-hot anger of a Holy and Righteous God that demands absolute perfection from each of His rebellious subjects. Num 11:33–34 dramatically records God’s judgment upon the Israelites who complained and lusted after meat, “And while the flesh was yet between their teeth, ere it was chewed, the wrath of the LORD was kindled against the people, and the LORD smote the people with a very great plague”. That is why the Bible has so much to say with regard to our sinfulness. From even a casual reading of the Bible, we are brought face to face with not only our innate weaknesses and inadequacies but, more importantly, with our sins that are sending us pell-mell to eternal damnation. This is the accurately painful description that Eph 2:3 paints: “Among whom also we all had our conversation in times past in the lusts of our flesh, fulfilling the desires of the flesh and of the mind; and were by nature the children of wrath, even as others”. Gal 5:19–21 itemizes the works of the flesh – the “conversation” or “lifestyle” of someone who has not been saved. Even if a person were to refrain from committing these particular sins outwardly, they would still remain guilty for having committed these in their minds. Rom 7:5 explains, “For when we were in the flesh, the motions of sins, which were by the law, did work in our members to bring forth fruit unto death”. To be “in the flesh” signifies that we are not saved. In Rom 8:13 we find these words, “For if ye live after the flesh, ye shall die”. Thus, we are introduced to the principle of sowing and reaping, which is inherently active in the life of any person. They will either be sowing and reaping “to the flesh”, or they will be doing the same “to the spirit”. To be “in the spirit” signifies that we are saved. The outcome is also spelled out in Gal 6:8, “For he that soweth to his flesh shall of the flesh reap corruption; but he that soweth to the Spirit shall of the Spirit reap life everlasting”. Our problem with sin, and its well-deserved consequence – punishment in Hell forevermore – has to do with the fact that we are accountable to God for our sin, since we were created in the image of God. 1 John 3:4 explains, “Whosoever committeth sin transgresseth also the law: for sin is the transgression of the law”. Furthermore we understand from Rom 7:7, “What shall we say then? Is the law sin? God forbid. Nay, I had not known sin, but by the law: for I had not known lust, except the law had said, Thou shalt not covet”. This is why we read in 1 Cor 15:56, “The sting of death is sin; and the strength of sin is the law”. May God deliver us from His wrath in order to grant us His mercy.
Jam 1:13–15 “Let no man say when he is tempted, I am tempted of God: for God cannot be tempted with evil, neither tempteth he any man: But every man is tempted, when he is drawn away of his own lust, and enticed. Then when lust hath conceived, it bringeth forth sin: and sin, when it is finished, bringeth forth death”
Num 11:33–34 “And while the flesh was yet between their teeth, ere it was chewed, the wrath of the LORD was kindled against the people, and the LORD smote the people with a very great plague. And he called the name of that place Kibrothhattaavah [which means graves of lust]: because there they buried the people that lusted.”
Gal 5:19–21 “Now the works of the flesh are manifest, which are these; Adultery, fornication, uncleanness, lasciviousness, Idolatry, witchcraft, hatred, variance, emulations, wrath, strife, seditions, heresies, Envyings, murders, drunkenness, revellings, and such like: of the which I tell you before, as I have also told you in time past, that they which do such things shall not inherit the kingdom of God.”
- Deceptive Nature of Sin – Let us consider the Biblical notion that all sin is based on deceit, or based on a lie. Deceit is the opposite of truth and is, therefore, the opposite of the Word of Truth, the Bible. In our time together we want to look at the following: 1. Deception in the Garden, 2. Deception in Man. Sin first reared its ugly head in the least likely of places – a perfect environment where two individuals who had been created perfectly by God and in His image existed in perfect fellowship with their Maker. Unfortunately, this idyllic situation was short-lived as their Creator presented them with a test, which they tragically failed, as we read in Gen 3:1–14: “Now the serpent was more subtil than any beast of the field… And the woman said, The serpent beguiled me, and I did eat”. At the very onset we see how rapidly and to what extent sin manifested itself in the form of lies, and blaming others. In 2 Cor 11:3 we find this statement, “But I fear, lest by any means, as the serpent beguiled Eve through his subtilty, so your minds should be corrupted from the simplicity that is in Christ”. We also learn from 1 Tim 2:14, “Adam was not deceived, but the woman being deceived was in the transgression”. This verse do not mean to suggest that Adam did not sin – he most certainly did – but he was not deceived: he knew full well what he was doing. We understand this because when Eve “took of the fruit thereof, and did eat, and gave also unto her husband with her; and he did eat. And the eyes of them both were opened, and they knew that they were naked; and they sewed fig leaves together, and made themselves aprons.” The awareness of their physical nakedness merely served to underscore their spiritual nakedness, which meant they had died spiritually, and deserved the just punishment of an eternity in Hell for their disobedience. This in turn compelled them to foolishly think they could DO SOMETHING on their own to avoid Hell – this is the reason they sewed fig leaves together in an attempt to hide their spiritual nakedness. Next let’s look at how the deceptiveness of sin affected every human being born after Adam and Eve. Rom 5:12 explains, “Wherefore, as by one man [Adam] sin entered into the world, and death by sin; and so death passed upon all men, for that all have sinned”. Rom 7:11 states, “For sin, taking occasion by the commandment, deceived me, and by it slew me”. Satan acquired control of this present universe by default, owing to the sin of our first parents, Adam and Eve. That is why the Bible states in John 8:44, “Ye are of your father the devil, and the lusts of your father ye will do …”. The most fundamental deception of sin denies the very existence of sin itself. 1 John 1:8 declares, “If we say that we have no sin, we deceive ourselves, and the truth is not in us”.
Gen 3:1–6 “Now the serpent was more subtil than any beast of the field which the LORD God had made. And he said unto the woman, Yea, hath God said, Ye shall not eat of every tree of the garden? And the woman said unto the serpent, We may eat of the fruit of the trees of the garden: But of the fruit of the tree which is in the midst of the garden, God hath said, Ye shall not eat of it, neither shall ye touch it, lest ye die. And the serpent said unto the woman, Ye shall not surely die: For God doth know that in the day ye eat thereof, then your eyes shall be opened, and ye shall be as gods [God], knowing good and evil. And when the woman saw that the tree was good for food, and that it was pleasant to the eyes, and a tree to be desired to make one wise, she took of the fruit thereof, and did eat, and gave also unto her husband with her; and he did eat.”
Gen 3:11–14: “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 the LORD God said unto the woman, What is this that thou hast done? And the woman said, The serpent beguiled me, and I did eat. And the LORD God said unto the serpent, Because thou hast done this, thou art cursed 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.”
John 8:44 “Ye are of your father the devil, and the lusts of your father ye will do. He was a murderer from the beginning, and abode not in the truth, because there is no truth in him. When he speaketh a lie, he speaketh of his own: for he is a liar, and the father of it”
Rev 12:9, “And the great dragon was cast out, that old serpent, called the Devil, and Satan, which deceiveth the whole world: he was cast out into the earth, and his angels were cast out with him”
- Only God’s Truth Can Overcome Deception – Heb 3:10 describes deception as a matter of the heart: “Wherefore I was grieved with that generation, and said, They do alway err in their heart; and they have not known my ways”. This is actually speaking about the congregation in the wilderness – the nation or people of God – who were considered by God to be the apple of His eye. We also know from the Bible that only those Israelites under the age of 20, actually arrived safely in the Promised Land, a beautiful picture of Heaven. In 1 Pet 2:25 God likens a believer to sheep going astray (the condition of every human being) which is the same meaning as to err in heart, “For ye were as sheep going astray; but are now returned unto the Shepherd and Bishop of your souls”. Sin also caused man to lose his spiritual “life” – so that all of our first parents’ progeny, the whole human race, are born spiritually dead and continue in that state unless God intervenes in their lives to give them eternal life. Cor 4:6 highlights the necessity of salvation, by the Lord Jesus Christ, the only Savior for sinners: “For God, who commanded the light to shine out of darkness, hath shined in our hearts, to give the light of the knowledge of the glory of God in the face of Jesus Christ”. Our only hope lies in the work of the Lord Jesus to pay for our sins in Hell, and bestow His righteousness, or goodness, upon us. This fact is emphasized by 1 Cor 15:22: “For as in Adam all die, even so in Christ shall all be made alive”. The first “all” refers to all mankind, and the second “all” comprises all of God’s elect. The work of salvation was accomplished entirely by the Lord Jesus Christ, the “second man” (or “last Adam”), Who came to redeem and recreate man in the image of God (1 Cor 15:45–47). God uses the words of the Bible, to give people spiritual life in their souls. As one reads the Bible, the Holy Spirit convicts of sin, righteousness, and judgment, as we find in John 16:8. We also understand from Rom 7:7 that the Bible, as the Law of God, is designed to expose and condemn our sin, “… I had not known sin, but by the law: for I had not known lust, except the law had said, Thou shalt not covet”. And we also are aware that faith (which is a synonym for salvation) comes by hearing, and hearing by the Word of God, as Rom 10:17 tells us. On the other hand, 2 Cor 4:3–4 gives us more insight of unsaved, “But if our gospel be hid, it is hid to them that are lost: In whom the god of this world hath blinded the minds of them which believe not, lest the light of the glorious gospel of Christ, who is the image of God, should shine unto them”. May God have mercy of us to see how easily we are deceived by our sin, and may we flee to the Bible and to the Lord Jesus Christ Himself as our only covering for sin, by His righteousness alone.
Tit 3:3 “For we ourselves also were sometimes foolish, disobedient, deceived, serving divers lusts and pleasures, living in malice and envy, hateful, and hating one another”
Eph 2:1–2 “And you hath he quickened [made spiritually alive], who were dead in trespasses and sins; Wherein in time past ye walked according to the course of this world, according to the prince of the power of the air [Satan], the spirit that now worketh in the children of disobedience”
1 Cor 2:14 “But the natural man [or a non-believer] receiveth not the things of the Spirit of God: for they are foolishness unto him: neither can he know them, because they are spiritually discerned”
1 Cor 15:45-47 “And so it is written, The first man Adam was made a living soul; the last Adam was made a quickening spirit. 46Howbeit that was not first which is spiritual, but that which is natural; and afterward that which is spiritual. 47The first man is of the earth, earthy: the second man is the Lord from heaven.”
- Jesus was in All Points Tempted like as We are, Yet Without Sin – We have seen in Jam 1:13–15, man is enticed by his own lust, and it is lust that “bringeth forth” sin, and sin “bringeth forth” death. The Greek word bringeth forth is only used one other time in the New Testament, which is located 3 verses below, in Jam 1:18: “Of his own will begat [bringeth forth] he us with the word of truth, that we should be a kind of firstfruits of his creatures”. And it is indeed interesting that this same word “bringeth forth”, or begat, is the only hope that the human race has of being rescued from an inevitable rendezvous with the Judge of this universe. This of course is speaking about the will of God in causing us to be born from above. The Bible is crystal-clear: “For the wages of sin is death; but the gift of God is eternal life through Jesus Christ our Lord”, as we are reminded of in Rom 6:23. That is why the Bible has so much to say with regard to our sinfulness, and by the same token, much to say about God’s love – the only solution to our sin problem. In John 3:6 the Bible declares, “That which is born of the flesh is flesh; and that which is born of the Spirit is spirit” and verse 7 continues, “Marvel not that I said unto thee, Ye must be born again”. The Bible informs us in Rom 6:16 that we cannot serve two masters: “Know ye not, that to whom ye yield yourselves servants to obey, his servants ye are to whom ye obey; whether of sin unto death, or of obedience unto righteousness?” As God saves His people and they grow in grace, one thing they quickly recognize is that the Christian life is a battle. Even after a person is redeemed he struggles with sin because his body still remains unsaved, even though in his soul he has received eternal life. This is clearly seen in a number of verses like Rom 7:20, “Now if I do that I would not, it is no more I that do it, but sin that dwelleth in me”. Mat 26:41 adds, “Watch and pray, that ye enter not into temptation: the spirit indeed is willing, but the flesh is weak”. Also in Eph 6 and throughout the Bible one learns that the only “real” strength that one can possess is that which God alone gives to each of His redeemed children. “Be strong in the Lord, and in the power of his might” highlight the supremacy of God’s everlasting power in bestowing His salvation upon His elect when He saves them and sustains them by His grace. Eph 6:10–13 explains who the real enemy is in this spiritual warfare, and states that a believer is to “put on the whole armour of God that ye may be able to stand against the wiles of the devil”. 2 Cor 2:11 tells why this is: “Lest Satan should get an advantage of us: for we are not ignorant of his devices”. These verses also outlines the various parts of the Christian’s armor. 2 Cor 10:3–6 further adds that this spiritual battle is to be fought with spiritual weapons. The words “wiles”, “power”, “darkness”, and “wickedness” found in verses 11–12 highlights the Deception of the Devil. Eph 4:14 also highlights the deceptive teaching that is rampant in our day. Eph 6:10–18 highlights the objective for wearing the pieces of armor, which are defensive in nature – except for the Sword of the Spirit (or the Word of God) which is the only offensive weapon in the Christian’s armory. This weapon – the Truth as revealed in the Word of God, the Bible – along with all the rest of the armour of God can overcome Satan‘s Deception. The Bible clearly reveals in 1 John 2:16, “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”. These were the very same temptations that Satan successfully used against Eve in the Garden of Eden and against the Lord Jesus Christ when He was tempted in the wilderness for 40 days and 40 nights. But Jesus did not succumb to Lucifer, as Adam and Eve did, instead he combated Satan with the the Sword of the Spirit – the Word of God.
2 Cor 10:3–6 “For though we walk in the flesh, we do not war after the flesh: (For the weapons of our warfare are not carnal, but mighty through God to the pulling down of strong holds) Casting down imaginations, and every high thing that exalteth itself against the knowledge of God, and bringing into captivity every thought to the obedience of Christ; And having in a readiness to revenge all disobedience, when your obedience is fulfilled.”
Eph 4:14 “That we henceforth be no more children, tossed to and fro, and carried about with every wind of doctrine, by the sleight of men, and cunning craftiness, whereby they lie in wait to deceive;”
2 Cor 2:11 “Lest Satan should get an advantage of us: for we are not ignorant of his devices.”
Eph 6:10–18 “Finally, my brethren, be strong in the Lord, and in the power of his might. Put on the whole armour of God, that ye may be able to stand against the wiles of the devil. For we wrestle not against flesh and blood, but against principalities, against powers, against the rulers of the darkness of this world, against spiritual wickedness in high places. Wherefore take unto you the whole armour of God, that ye may be able to withstand in the evil day [judgement day], and having done all, to stand. Stand therefore, having your loins girt about with truth, and having on the breastplate of righteousness; And your feet shod with the preparation of the gospel of peace; Above all, taking the shield of faith, wherewith ye shall be able to quench all the fiery darts of the wicked. And take the helmet of salvation, and the sword of the Spirit, which is the word of God: Praying always with all prayer and supplication in the Spirit, and watching thereunto with all perseverance and supplication for all saints;”
Matt 4:1–11 “Then was Jesus led up of the Spirit into the wilderness to be tempted of the devil. 2And when he had fasted forty days and forty nights, he was afterward an hungred. 3And when the tempter came to him, he said, If thou be the Son of God, command that these stones be made bread [lust of the flesh]. 4But he answered and said, It is written, Man shall not live by bread alone, but by every word that proceedeth out of the mouth of God. 5Then the devil taketh him up into the holy city, and setteth him on a pinnacle of the temple, 6And saith unto him, If thou be the Son of God, cast thyself down [pride of life]: for it is written, He shall give his angels charge concerning thee: and in their hands they shall bear thee up, lest at any time thou dash thy foot against a stone. 7Jesus said unto him, It is written again, Thou shalt not tempt the Lord thy God. 8Again, the devil taketh him up into an exceeding high mountain, and sheweth him all the kingdoms of the world, and the glory of them [lust of the eyes]; 9And saith unto him, All these things will I give thee, if thou wilt fall down and worship me. 10Then saith Jesus unto him, Get thee hence, Satan: for it is written, Thou shalt worship the Lord thy God, and him only shalt thou serve. 11Then the devil leaveth him, and, behold, angels came and ministered unto him.”
Heb 4:12–16 “For the word of God is quick, and powerful, and sharper than any twoedged sword, piercing even to the dividing asunder of soul and spirit, and of the joints and marrow, and is a discerner of the thoughts and intents of the heart. 13Neither is there any creature that is not manifest in his sight: but all things are naked and opened unto the eyes of him with whom we have to do. 14Seeing then that we have a great high priest, that is passed into the heavens, Jesus the Son of God, let us hold fast our profession. 15For we have not an high priest which cannot be touched with the feeling of our infirmities; but was in all points tempted like as we are, yet without sin. 16 Let us therefore come boldly unto the throne of grace, that we may obtain mercy, and find grace to help in time of need.