Precious Jesus

"Afresh, precious, precious Jesus, I resign this body to You, for doing or suffering, for living or dying. Will You accept it? Will You use me for Your glory more than heretofore, that You may have some little return for all the benefits You have done to me? Oh, do grant this request; my heart longs for it, my spirit pleads for it; and "if You will, You can." You know the hot temptation of which I am the subject. Bring Your glory out of it, and keep me from the evil, and it shall be well." - Ruth Bryan

Friday, March 30, 2012

The Bondage of Sin

"For I see that you are in the gall of bitterness and in the bondage of iniquity."  - Acts 8:23





Sin is not fully understood by most, even those who profess Christ do not thoroughly understand this deadly poison. It is the bondage to sin that keeps sinners from being able to simply choose to believe in and follow Jesus Christ.
The Apostle Peter exposed Simon the sorcerer for what he really was, even though he claimed to believe and was baptized {Acts 8:13}. How many today profess, as Simon did, to believe and undergo baptism and yet are in the gall of bitterness and the bondage of iniquity? Countless sinners are on the broad road and yet insist they are saved simply because they repeat prayers or follow the 'Roman road', or countless other methods of salvation. They continue on day in and day out sinning against God and never come under conviction to the point of repentance. A broken and contrite heart is a heart that sees its own vileness, this is the one who has been set free from the power of sin.  Those who continue in willful rebellion against God will face His wrath. I am not speaking of sinless perfection, no one will attain sinless perfection this side of heaven. We are commanded to strive for holiness and to kill sin, those who have been born again will do just that.

Peter knew Simon was still in bondage to sin because he'd tried to buy the authority to lay hands on people. Simon wanted this supernatural power and he was willing to pay for it. He was not born again, for if he had been, he would have known his money was useless and he would not have desired wrongly for such power.  Simon desired to rob God of glory by attempting to purchase a supernatural power only God possesses. Perhaps he wanted such power to further enhance his sorceries,  this is merely speculation on my part.
 Peter points to Simon's ignorance in Acts 8:20, 'But Peter said to him, "May your silver perish with you, because you thought you could obtain the gift of God with money!' Salvation is not attainable by any human effort, you cannot buy it, earn it, or obtain it by any work; it is a gift given by God to those He chooses.
 Peter exclaims 'you are in the gall of bitterness', meaning what? John Gill explains in his commentary, "Alluding to Deu_29:18 with which compare Heb_12:15 and signifying, that he was in a state of nature and unregeneracy; under the power and dominion of covetousness, ambition, and hypocrisy; and in a way pernicious to himself, infectious to others, and ungrateful to God, and to good men; and that instead of the root of the matter, the truth of grace being in him, there was nothing in him but the bitter root of sin; which bore gall and wormwood, and everything that was nauseous and disagreeable."
 Gall is likened to poison, it is defined as 'bile, wormwood - which means bitterness and is associated with curses and poison. To put it simply, it is deadly. What kind of deadly poison filled Simon? A bitterness, an extreme wickedness; this is how sin is defined by God.  Bitterness is from the Greek word πικρία and is translated pikria, meaning 'acridity' {sharp, bitter to the taste or smell}. Pikria comes from the root word pikros meaning 'piercing, sharp, pungent, bitter'. Sin pierces, it is bitter, foul, drank down by all like water without understanding the horrible 'aftertaste', the results it brings: it poisons from the inside out.
Matthew Henry rightly says this concerning the 'gall of bitterness', "Now the character here given of Simon is really the character of all wicked people. First, They are in the gall of bitterness—odious to God, as that which is bitter as gall is to us. Sin is an abominable thing, which the Lord hates, and sinners are by it made abominable to him; they are vicious in their own nature. Indwelling sin is a root of bitterness, that bears gall and wormwood, Deu. 29:18. The faculties are corrupted, and the mind embittered against all good, Heb. 12:15. It intimates likewise the pernicious consequences of sin; the end is bitter as wormwood."
 Peter goes on to say 'in the bondage of sin'. He knew from Simon's foolish actions that he was still unregenerate, now he points to Simon's bondage, which is why he attempted to buy the Holy Spirit.
Bondage is from the Greek word σύνδεσμος and is translated sundesmos. This word is defined as a union, a bond, that which binds together.  Sundesmos is made up from two words, sun - denoting union with or together- and desmon desmos - shackled, chain, prisoner. This describes sin's  grip of death and its hold on every sinner ever born. We are shackled to sin, chained to it with no humanly possible way of breaking free. The evidence of this is seen in our thoughts, actions, words, motives, feelings, and understanding. There is not a part of us that is not tainted by sin and imprisoned to it. To understand this is to cherish what the Lord Jesus Christ has done for those who believe on the cross.
For more on the bondage of sin, we turn once again to John Gill's excellent commentary, " referring to Pro_5:22 and suggesting, that he was held fast bound in the bonds of sin, and with the cords of iniquity, or was entirely under the government of his lusts: the preposition εις, which we render "in", may retain here, as is by some observed, its proper sense of "for", or "into"; and have the same signification it has in Heb_1:5 "I will be to him for a father", or "a father", and "he shall be to me for a son", or "a son": and then the sense of Peter is, I plainly perceive and clearly see by thy words and actions, that thou art nothing else but a lump of bitter gall, and a bundle of sin and wickedness."
Sinners will never see the beauty of the cross if they are not told of their own vileness and their inability to free themselves from sin. They need to be told of their status before a holy God; we are all wicked and unclean, despised, repulsive, utterly disgusting and profane before a God who is holy, pure, undefiled, set apart. The Lord Jesus Christ took the wrath of God upon Himself when He bore the sins of His people in His own flesh, when He gave Himself, even unto death, so that God the Father would be appeased.  He was sinless, holy, the perfect sacrifice for sin; we could never appease God's hatred of our filth. The fact that God slaughtered His own Son should terrify those who continue on in sin, for if God did so to His own Son, what will He do to rebellious sinners who hear this news of Christ's sacrifice and their hopeless condition and yet continue on in sin? May sinners cry out for mercy, may the bondage to sin be broken through the Lord Jesus Christ...may God be gracious to rebellious, wicked sinners who love sin, who cling to sin, and have no power over it. Sin controls all and takes many an unsuspecting soul to Hades each day; sin will definitely take you farther than you want to go and in the end, you will be destroyed by it and because of it. God desires mercy, it pleases Him to save those who cry out to Him for mercy.

2 comments:

Anonymous said...

Good post, Lyn. Well thought out and well said. It is not good that this kind of talk is so lacking in many pulpits today. Along with this it is even harder to find those who teach the priciples found in verses like Rom. 6:6&14; Col. 1:13 & 2:11; Gal.5:24 and others, that is that Christ has delivered us from the power of sin. "For sin shall not have dominion over you". This is not teaching sinless perfection for earthbound believers, rather it is teaching that we are delivered from the power of our old sins and sinfull ways and that sin is no longer our master. For those who claim to be a born again, heaven bound believer and still have problems with the same old sins that have plagued them all their lives it would be a good time to reevaluate your eternal destiny. The Christ of the Bible delivers from the power of sin to the point that your former sins are now repugnant to you and to even entertain thoughts of returning to those activities makes you immediately cry for mercy and deliverance (deliverance that is provided). To remember, occasionally, one's former life is not a bad thing IF it is seasoned with gratitude, thanksgiving and humility for the deliverance that Jesus Christ has afforded all of His elect. He was and is under no obligation to do anything for any of us, but He has chosen to do so because it pleased Him.

Darrel

lyn said...

Hey Darrel,

There is an epidemic of professing believers who still practice the same besetting sins, which causes me to wonder if they understand what repentance means and the power of the cross. Sad to say, many are not born again, instead, they are a product of a man-made manipulative plan of salvation that tells the sinner to repeat a prayer, or invite Jesus into their heart, or make a decision for Him. They believe this is all that is necessary for salvation, so they go on just like before they were coerced, still in bondage to sin, still under its death grip.
You are right too in stating we aren't talking about sinless perfection; striving for holiness should be a crucial part of our walk with Christ. This leads to sinning less and less, however, our struggle will never be over this side of heaven.

The bondage of sin in every person isn't addressed, so they don't think it strange to continue on in it. I'd made a comment on another site concerning Whitney Houston's claim to be a 'child of God'; when I pointed out her bondage to sin as evidence she was not a child of God, I was ripped. These verbal attacks came from...you guessed it, professing Christians!