Monday, October 19, 2009

Where Faith Is Lacking, Sin Is Waiting (Part 2)

This is the second of a two part post. You can read the first here.
When Enoch had lived 65 years, he fathered Methuselah. Enoch walked with God after he fathered Methuselah 300 years and had other sons and daughters. Thus all the days of Enoch were 365 years. Enoch walked with God, and he was not, for God took him.
Genesis 5:21-24
If you read through the account of all the descendants of Adam in Genesis 5, there is a pattern that emerges. During each generation, the life of one of Adam’s descendants is described. And the narrator breaks his life into two distinct periods: the period before he had any children and the period after he had his first child. And then the narrator tells us that he died.

But there’s one exception to the pattern. One of Adam’s descendants is a man named Enoch. And the description of his life differs from the description of the rest of Adam’s descendants described in this chapter? What makes it different? The most obvious answer to this question is that Enoch didn’t die. For every other man, it tells us that he lived X number of years and then he died. But the Scriptures tell us that Enoch walked with God, and he was not, for God took him (Genesis 5:24).

But that’s not the only difference between the description of Enoch’s life and the description of Adam’s other descendants. There’s another subtle yet, in my opinion, huge difference between the description of Enoch’s life and all the rest. For every man, including Enoch, the verb that’s used to describe the years before he had children is that he lived. For every man, except Enoch, that same verb is used to describe the years after he had his first child. He lived. But not Enoch. That second period isn’t primarily defined by the fact that he lived. That verb that’s used to describe this period of his life is that he walked with God. I had always known that Enoch walked with God. But I had never seen this contrast before until today. Those years for Enoch weren’t mainly about living. They were about walking with God. To me, there’s a big difference. And it’s absolutely huge.

This would probably require an entirely separate post (perhaps in the future), but I’m always a little bothered when I hear talk about "loving life". Have you ever heard someone exhort you to “love life” or describe himself/herself as one who “loves life”? Now I believe with all my heart that life is a gift from God that we all are to be thankful for and I don’t want to belittle that. But I can’t think of anywhere in the Bible where we are exhorted to “love life”? In fact, I can think of many places in the New Testament where it is commanded or implied that we do the very opposite: lose our life (Mark 8:35), hate our life (Luke 14:26), love not our life (Revelation 12:11), not account our lives of any value (Acts 20:24). I accept that I don’t know my Bible well enough and stand to be corrected if I could be pointed to a counterexample. But the overwhelming thrust of the New Testament definitely calls us to the opposite of "loving life".

Why do I make this point? Because I think I will have a fundamentally different approach to everything if what I am concerned with above all is walking with God as opposed to simply living. When I think of the former, and what Enoch’s life must have been like, the following line from the Sovereign Grace song “O Great God” comes to mind:
You are worthy to be praised with my every thought and deed.
That’s a challenging line to sing. Do I really believe it? Every thought? Every deed? I think this was the banner that flew over Enoch’s life. Walking with God meant his every thought and deed, waking or sleeping, was wholly consumed with God so that it didn’t matter whether he was healthy or sick, strong or weak, young or old, rich or poor, gain or loss, happy or sad, or even alive. He was walking with God.

The author of Hebrews says that he did this by faith. Faith in what? Faith in the reality that God is more real than anything he could touch, see, taste, hear, or smell in life. And this faith pleased God (Hebrews 11:5). Enoch did well. And he was accepted by God. Because of his faith. Just like Abel. And unlike Cain.

Cain was mastered by sin because he didn’t rule over sin. Enoch was not mastered but instead he ruled over sin. How did he do it? By walking with God. Every waking thought and deed, he was actively consumed with God and in so doing it left no opportunity for him to passively walk into a dark room where sin would shut and lock the door behind him in order to eat his lunch.
If you do well, will you not be accepted? And if you do not do well, sin is crouching at the door. Its desire is for you, but you must rule over it.
Genesis 4:7
Enoch is evidence that there is biblical merit to the saying: “The greatest defense is a good offense.” If sin will not rule over us, but instead we will rule over it, we must go hard after God. This is the essence of faith and sheds light on Paul’s conclusion to chapter 14 of Romans.
For whatever does not proceed from faith is sin.
Romans 14:23
I close with words from the Sovereign Grace song, “O Great God” as my concluding prayer:
O great God of highest heaven
Occupy my lowly heart
Own it all and reign supreme
Conquer every rebel power
Let no vice or sin remain
That resists Your holy war
You have loved and purchased me
Make me yours forever more

Help me now to live a life
That’s dependent on Your grace
Keep my heart and guard my soul
From the evils that I face
You are worthy to be praised
With my every thought and deed
O great God of highest heaven
Glorify Your name through me
In Jesus’ name, Amen.


Chris Kiagiri said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
Chris Kiagiri said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
Chris Kiagiri said...

"Let no vice or sin remain." :)

pilgriminconflict said...

Good catch. Thanks brother. =)