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AUGUSTINE AND THE FOUR STATES OF MAN
In the 5th century AD, St. Augustine wrote about the "4 States of Man":
* The first state of man (the haec sunt prima) is "living according to the flesh -- with reason making no resistance." This can be seen in so many ancient cultures and religions (and unfortunately more than a few in our own time) with their human sacrifices, their idols, their pagan ceremonies, and even cannibalism. Human life -- without power -- was lightly regarded. Animals, especially domesticated animals, were often valued more highly than human life. Reason often vanishes when weighed against lust and self-gratification. Even today, this seems to be coming full circle.
* The second state of man is "recognition of sin through the Law . . . but sinning knowingly." It was so important for Satan to remove the Ten Commandments from our classrooms and courtrooms. It was critical for him to "separate church and state." So long as people knew the Law, it would not be so easy to ignore the Law. Without the reminders of the Law, we easily return to the first state of man. Does any of this sound familiar?
* The third state of man is "faith in the help of God -- but he perseveres in seeking to please God." Man has begun to be moved by the Spirit of God. We are already standing with one foot in the hell which we have created, but in the "third state", man knows it. So he still struggles against his own sinful nature because he has not yet been fully healed.
* The fourth state of man is "the full and perfect peace in God." This we find in harmony with Jesus Christ by the power of the Holy Spirit. In the person of Jesus Christ, we see how far we have departed from God.
Augustine adds, "The will of man is always free, even and particularly when it can no longer will to do evil." But Adam and Eve were not gods, "and their 'free will' would not have sufficed, even in paradise, to merit immortality. Divine assistance was needed. Their immortality could only continue by their continued relationship with the Divine. So how much more do we need God's help since our fall?"
Augustine continues, "Even the good merits and qualities which people may display toward one another are gifts from God. Every good quality comes from His grace. God's mercy is the ground of salvation. Therefore, let no man boast. Out of faith spring hope and love. We hope only in God -- not in men and not in ourselves." ("The History of Doctrines", Reinhold Seeberg, p. 366)
Dorothy Sayers wrote, "If men will not understand the meaning of judgment, they will never come to understand the meaning of grace."
Probably it was in that moment that all the bickerings and back-talk of husbands and wives originated; when Adam called to Eve to come and look at his First Fish while it was still silver and vivid in its living colors; and Eve answered she was busy.
Sermon Central Staff
THE BLAME GAME
Wayne Dyer writes: "All blame is a waste of time. No matter how much fault you find with another, and regardless of how much you blame him, it will not change you...You may succeed in making another feel guilty of something by blaming him; you won't succeed in changing whatever it is about you that is making you unhappy."
Susan Jocoby writes about people who profoundly believe they are always losers in the game of life. She calls them "injustice collectors" (Pritchard, "Have You Stopped Blaming Others for Your Problems?")
* They endlessly repeat how others have mistreated them.
* They view the world as hostile and unfair to them.
* They are "beachcombers of misery" who see each grievance as a treasure to add to their collection.
* They have a hidden need to feel wronged.
* They live by the childish notion that life should always be fair to them.
"The tendency to blame others is deeply ingrained in human nature...Left to ourselves; we will do anything to avoid taking personal responsibility for our actions. Third, it tells us that blaming others is often nothing more than a subtle twisting of the truth in order to take the heat off of ourselves. Fourth, it tells us that without a deep working of the grace of God within us, we will do exactly what Adam and Eve did" (From a sermon called, "Have You Stopped Blaming Others For Your Problems?" www.keepbelieving.com).
(From a sermon by Paul Barreca, The Blame Game - Taking Responsibility in a World of Excuses, 6/11/2011)
There are many heresies among us; all of them detract from the eternal truths of God. The most dangerous one is the one we hear as the new theme of political speeches and commencement addresses. This heresy is rooted in academia and thrives in prideful minds. This heresy is very evident in popular books, movies and even poetry. One poet, William Ernest Henley, represents this philosophy in his poem “Invictus”:
Out of the night that covers me,
Black as the Pit from pole to pole,
I thank whatever gods may be
For my unconquerable soul.
In the fell clutch of circumstance
I have not winced nor cried aloud.
Under the bludgeonings of chance
My head is bloody, but unbowed.
Beyond this place of wrath and tears
Looms but the Horror of the shade,
And yet the menace of the years
Finds and shall find me unafraid.
It matters not how straight the gate,
How charged with punishments the scroll,
I am the mater of my fate:
I am the captain of my soul.
What is this charming philosophy of self-sufficiency?...
Daniel J. Little
THE ADAM AND EVE VIRUS
The Genesis narrative (chapter 3) tells us how God gave Adam and Eve His wisdom as well as His authority, and then how they pursued a counterfeit authority and an alien wisdom—actually satanic wisdom. The moment they introduced that dark wisdom into their lives a radical corruption took hold of their nature. Think of it like a computer worm virus (malware – malicious software) that is cleverly introduced into one company computer, and that computer communicates it to another, until before you know it every computer in the company is corrupted and headed toward collapsing the whole operating system.
The radical change that took place in Adam and Eve was sort of like that and it has been replicated and passed down the human genome operating system from that day to this. We are all born corrupted by sin and spiritually disconnected from the author of life. We have lost the image of His authority, and death comes to all men. Paul put it like this, 1 Corinthians 15:22 ...in Adam all die.
a. Tim LaHaye in his book Mind Siege notes this, “Ever since God first explained to Adam and Eve how to think so they could live successful, fulfilled, obedient, and happy lives, there has been a constant battle over who will control human thought processes-man or God. Sooner or later, every human being makes that decision” (47).
Max Lucado explains what it looks like existing in the dead zone:
1. “When we attempt to swap roles with God and tell him we can eat (think, say, do, control, own, hurt, inhale, ingest, demand) anything we want, we die two deaths. Adam and Eve did. They died physically, eventually, and spiritually, instantly. Reread God’s warning: ‘When you eat of it you will surely die’ (v. 17). Sin resulted in Adam’s and Eve’s immediate deaths. But death of what? Their bodies? No, they continued to breathe. Brain waves flowed. Eyelids blinked. Their bodies functioned, but their hearts hardened. They stopped trusting God. Their friendship with their maker died” (page 118).
What God the Father, God the Son and God the Holy Spirit endeavored to do in the Garden of Eden has come full circle.
It wasn’t that God made a mistake in the garden and just corrected it.
No, he brought to himself created beings who withstood the evil and temptations of this sinful world to truly love him with all their hearts in spite of the allurements of this present world.
These are the people he fulfilled all the promises of God through
Those that love Christ and freely chose to love and serve him are greater servants of God than Adam and Eve before the fall.
In order to truly love someone we must go through the...
Max Lucado states this about our term Zoe:
a. Jesus offers zoe, the Greek word for ‘life as God has it.’ Whereas bios, its sibling term, is life extensive, zoe is life intensive. Jesus talks less about life’s duration and more about its quality, vitality, energy, and fulfillment. What the new mate, sports car, or unexpected check could never do, Christ says, ‘I can.’ You’ll love how he achieves it. He reconnects your soul with God. What God gave Adam and Eve, he entrusted to you and me. A soul. ‘The Lord God formed man of the dust of the ground, and breathed into his nostrils the breath of life; and man became a living being’ (Gen. 2:7 NKJV). You, a bipedal ape? Chemical fluke? Atomic surprise? By no means. You bear the very breath of God. He exhaled himself into you, making you a ‘living being’ (v. 7)” (page 117).
Adam and Eve were the first bookkeepers. They invented the loose-leaf system.