An autopsy of sin.

Let no one say when he is tempted, “I am tempted by God”; for God cannot be tempted by evil, nor does He Himself tempt anyone. But each one is tempted when he is drawn away by his own desires and enticed. Then, when desire has conceived, it gives birth to sin; and sin, when it is full-grown, brings forth death. Do not be deceived, my beloved brethren.
(Jas 1:13-16)

With all the of the CSI programs on TV today, not to mention the old medical shows like Quincy M.E., it seems that people have an interest in autopsies. An Autopsy is the procedure performed on the body after death to see what killed it. (So I suppose my title should really be something like “An Autopsy of a spiritually dead person” but that is too long and not as intriguing as “An Autopsy of Sin”) Today’s post is going to look back and see what kills us, spiritually speaking, from James’ book.

First, off it is important to note that he says not to blame God for the temptations you are going through. Not only is He not tempted, he does not tempt anyone. Flip Wilson, a comic from way back was famous for his phrase “The Devil made me do it!”  James is going to show that the devil doesn’t MAKE you do anything. From early on in our life we learn to blame others. Even Adam tried to blame both God and his wife in one shot: “The woman YOU gave me….” is why I ate. We will look everywhere and at everyone else that  we can except at ourselves.

It is true that Satan tempts us but James is going to show us the limits on his ability to tempt us. It not true that God tempts us and Paul says that God protects us from being tempted above what we can handle. In other words, he reins Satan in so that he is not able to overpower us.  (I cor 10:13)

James says that each of us is tempted when we are drawn away and enticed by our own desires. The word ‘desire’ is an appropriate word here. The meaning in this context is ‘illicit desires’ which is why some versions use the word “lusts”. At its core, a lust is a desire but one that passes beyond the boundaries that God has set. An example is our desire for hunger. It is a perfectly normal desire to feed ourselves and satisfy our desire for food, but when turned into lust, it results in gluttony. Our natural sexual desires when taken in to the category of lusts results in fornication. Basically ‘desire’ is fine when kept within the boundaries God has established.

Temptation is the enticement to take a desire beyond its boundaries. So to be tempted means you must have some desire to begin with.  It would be useless to tempt me with liver. I do not like it, can’t stand it and so if I were guarding the ACME liver factory, there would be no temptation, to take any home with me. The same would not be said if I were guarding the See’s chocolate factory or the Blue Bell factory. It could become a temptation. The desire is for chocolate not to steal. Theft would be the result of letting the enticement go too far.

Once the lustful desire has been conceived and accomplished it brings forth sin. Then when the sin becomes fully grown, it brings forth death. Since Scripture teaches that ONE sin is enough to result in death, I asked myself why sin would have to become full grown in order to kill. (“Self”, I asked…..)

Keeping in mind that James is writing to Christians, already cleansed in the blood of Christ, the lesson James teaches has to apply to our current temptations and desires. Christians are not prevented from sinning mechanically. God does not make it impossible for us to sin or the first chapter of First John wouldn’t make much sense.  The blood of his Son cleanses us from our sin….if we walk in the light as he in in the light.

But what if we like our lust and desire. What if the sin conceived is enjoyable to us and we do not wish to stop. Well, it grows. Cain had already sinned in not offering an appropriate sacrifice. God warned him that sin was ready to take control and urged him to do right so that he would be accepted. As we know, he didn’t listen, held on to his own sin and let it grow.

You see, if you could blame God for all this then there should be no fault attributed to your account. If you can blame Satan for making you do it, then again no fault is yours. But, if, just what if, that sin you are doing and giving into actually started from your own heart,  your own desires that you fanned into lust and then into sin and then decided you liked enough to live in it. Well, that would be a horse of a different color.

So on our death certificate it should read:

Cause of death:

Sin caused by an acute desire.

(we could have saved this one if he had repented)

About Steven Sarff

If I were to offer any one piece of advice to one wishing to serve God, it would be to put Hebrews 11:6 and Acts 17:11 into action and let God guide you to grow in the grace and knowledge of His Son Jesus Christ.

Posted on November 24, 2011, in Christianity, Comments on James, Faith, lust, sin, temptations and tagged . Bookmark the permalink. 6 Comments.

  1. Interesting enough it actually answers the question I left in the comment on my post! The desire is natural but is either fed from someone else’s deception or our own greediness for the thing. That explains James’ attempt at breaking sin down by saying, “sin gives birth to sin” so the more you desire something the more it turns into a “strong desire,” lust, for that thing. When lust takes place that would be the birth and lust leads to covetousness which then leads to death.

  2. Steven you draw on many important points. The thing I liked about what you said here is that “Temptation is the enticement to take a desire beyond its boundaries”. Boundaries are there to keep us safe from falling off the rails over the cliff side. On the other side of that boundary is sin. Many people fail to understand that God loves us and that’s why He sets limitations in order to curb our enthusiasm to run quickly into danger, into sin and into evil. Temptation is like a child playing with scissors wanting to stick it into the electrical socket. It looks fun but does the child no the repercussions of their actions? God is a parent who takes away those scissors because He wants to protect us from harm. However, how many of us follow God’s ways from our ways? Desire beyond its boundaries is loss of self-control derived by selfish-ambition & selfish-motivation. What are our motivations for doing the things we do? Do they fit in line with what God desires for us. In fact, do we even care to know what God desires for us? God desires Jeremiah 29:11 for us but we often fail to understand that it is by His Will that we shall recieve the best. God is King! and a Kings riches and Glory is higher than anything the devil can offer us and yet, just like Esau who despised his birth right for a morsal of food lost his blessing. How often do we lose out on our blessings because we seek to statisfy our flesh in this temporal existance? You’ve really going me going on this subject Steven. These are my thoughts on this discussion/topic.

    • Well, your thoughts have gotten me going too. It is far to easy to blame Satan when he is only playing off of our desires. “our” being the key word.
      Do we care to know what God desires us to do is a huge question and important. Eve knew because she responded to the serpent. Cain knew because God told him “if you do well, you will be accepted”

      Putting their own desire above God’s boundaries was their choice as it is ours. Continue to do that and death will result.

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