For if, after they have
escaped the defilements of the world by the knowledge of the Lord and
Savior Jesus Christ, they are again entangled in them and are overcome,
the last state has become worse for them than the first.
2 Peter 2:20 (
It was for freedom that Christ set us free; therefore keep
standing firm and do not be subject again to a yoke of slavery.
Galatians 5:1 (
Chicken Fences & Sin
Stay away from chicken wire fences around your garden if you are using a front-tine tiller.
It was a lesson I failed to learn the
We do that, too, with sin. We think the closer we get the more profitable and exciting it will be. So we creep nearer and nearer. Then, bang!
Like most sinners, especially Christian ones, I quickly confessed my stupidity and set about trying to get out of the mess. Wire cutters did the trick. Snip, snip, pull, pull – ouch! Finally, I was free, although a big hole was now in my critter-blocking fence.
The disciple Peter warned early Christians to be careful about getting wrapped – entangled – in wrong doing. Primarily talking about false prophets, he gives a warning we should chew on today! The first time one chooses to sin, or unwittingly steps into it, well, that's kind of understandable. Repeating it after you know better leads to worse consequences, he said.
I should have remembered that and applied it to preparing a garden for planting. But, no! I yanked the start rope, the tiller roared to life and carefully steered around the buried stump. My objective was a 3x4 foot patch where I can plant a head or two of cabbage. Fallen leaves had lodged against the inside of the chicken wire and . . . well, you know it! The tiller climbed the chicken wire on the other side of the corner post.
True to biblical warning, the consequences were greater. Two tines (actually four considering there are two per side) were wrapped up big time in chicken wire. I had done so good a job of messing up that wire cutters would be of no use. I got my cordless drill, attached an abrasive, metal-cutting disk and went to work.
After cutting the tiller from the fence, Janet came out and held the machine so I could untangle the wire around the tines. “Why did you get so close the second time?” she asked.
Don’t you love it when your wife makes a logical, common-sense statement that further exposes your stubborn stupidity? How do you feel when you realize that you have repeated a sin against God, yourself and/or others and the Holy Spirit confronts you?
I needed Janet's help. All the time I need Jesus' help to get me out of my rebellious entanglements. He died on the cross to set us free from the punishment of our sins. And, if we confess our sins, truly clinging to Christ's sacrifice, God will forgive us. Don't think for a moment, however, that's the end of it.
Forgiveness from God is one thing. Now, I must replace the wire and repair the fence. Our sin-guilt may be taken away, but one who has been truly forgiven will want to repair the damages they've caused. Many people don't realize that or won't admit it.
I’ll bet you've done something similar and asked: “Why on earth did I ever do that -- and again?”
Oh, the consequences in the garden were of little importance. It delayed the completion of the soil-preparation project that day. Silly, selfish and stupid rebellious actions can’t always be easily fixed. Sins which involve and tear apart a family, compromises of our Christian witness, our name and family’s reputation -- and God's name? When will we learn? I’ve put that tiller into the fence three times (once last year); and I am not going to do it again – I pray.
Remember the words of Paul, in his effort to counteract the influence of Judaizers in the early church:
was for freedom that Christ set us free; therefore keep standing firm
and do not be subject again to a yoke of slavery.” Galatians 5:1 (
Stay away from fences after you get free; don’t even come close to sin It'll get ya' every time.
NOTE: Has God spoken to you in a special way through nature? Please share. Send us an e-mail, with a picture attachment to illustrate. We'll post suitable "parables" and give you credit for it. We reserve the right to edit, to fit in available space and to be consistent with our theological convictions.
Paul's doctrine of grace is dangerous!" cried the Judaizers. "It replaces Law with license. Why, if we do away with our rules and abandon our high standards, the churches will fall apart."
First-century Judaizers are not the only ones afraid to depend on God's grace. Legalists in our churches today warn that we dare not teach people about the liberty we have in Christ lest it result in religious anarchy. These people misunderstand Paul's teaching about grace, and it is to correct such misunderstanding that Paul wrote the final section of his letter (Gal. 5-6).
Paul turns now from argument to application, from the doctrinal to the practical. The Christian who lives by faith is not going to become a rebel. Quite the contrary, he is going to experience the inner discipline of God that is far better than the outer discipline of man-made rules. No man could become a rebel who depends on God's grace, yields to God's Spirit, lives for others, and seeks to glorify God. The legalist is the one who eventually rebels, because he is living in bondage, depending on the flesh, living for self, and seeking the praise of men and not the glory of God.
No, Paul's doctrine of Christian liberty through grace is not the dangerous doctrine. It is legalism that is the dangerous doctrine, because legalism attempts to do the impossible: change the old nature and make it obey the Laws of God. Legalism succeeds for a short time, and then the flesh begins to rebel. The surrendered Christian who depends on the power of the Spirit is not denying the Law of God, or rebelling against it. Rather, that Law is being fulfilled in him through the Spirit (Rom. 8:1-4). It is easy to see the sequence of thought in these closing chapters:
Galatians 5:1-12 (NASB)
Galatians 5:13-26 (NASB)