“For rebellion is as the sin of witchcraft, and stubbornness is as iniquity and idolatry. Because thou hast rejected the word of the Lord, he hath also rejected thee from being king.” (1 Sam. 15:23)
I recently received in the mail a series of counseling books. There was a book on Anger, Depression, Rejection, Victimization, Fear, and several other topics as well. As I perused the material, I realized that in all of these counseling books, nothing was being said about the source of all sin.
While it is important to treat any symptoms of a mental or physical issue, it is far better to find the source of the problem. In the spiritual world, the source of all sin is traced back to Satan, whose original name was Lucifer, meaning “brightness.” The Bible provides a cryptic insight into what happened, one dark day, in eternity past. Before he ever spoke a word, or moved to act, Lucifer talked to himself. In his heart he formulated a plan of rebellion against God.
“For thou hast said in thine heart, I will ascend into heaven, I will exalt my throne above the stars of God: I will sit also upon the mount of the congregation, in the sides of the north: 14 I will ascend above the heights of the clouds; I will be like the most High.” (Isa. 14:13-14)
It is in the heart of every created being that the sin of rebellion originates. It is in the heart of every person that rebellion, the ultimate source of all sin, finds its origin. What Lucifer eventually did overtly, in making war with God, was simply to carry out his secret plan of rebellion. What every individual does is simply to give visible expression to their own personal, secret, plan of rebelling against God.
Of course, what is secretly planned in the heart is known to God, for as the Creator, He is omniscient. “Behold, I know your thoughts, and the devices which ye wrongfully imagine against me.” (Job 21:27)
Sin is no surprise to God. The Lord is hurt, and angry with sin, to be sure. The Lord is angry with the rebellious, and for good reason. There is no need for it.
In His infinite mercy and kindness, God has provided everything that is necessary for the comfort of His creatures. Yet, in the act of rebellion, individuals say, in essence, “God, you have not done enough for me. I want more. ”
When a person, be that person an angel, or a human, tells God that what He has provided, and what He had made known to be His will is not good enough, then, in that moment, they have entered into a state of rebellion. Simply defined, rebellion is a refusal to obey rules, or accept the standards of behavior. There is a spirit of defiance that undergirds the overt expression of the same.
Whatever transgression of the Law a person performs, whatever manifestation of the flesh a person may display, the source of that transgression, the source of whatever is manifested, is rooted in rebellion.
When a person rebels against God in order to manifest a particular sin they are determined to commit, they must first become hard hearted. Moses recognized the union between rebellion and having a hard heart when dealing with the people of Israel. “For I know thy rebellion, and thy stiff neck: behold, while I am yet alive with you this day, ye have been rebellious against the Lord; and how much more after my death?” (Deut. 31:27)
Jesus united a hard heart with the sin of a man divorcing His wife thereby rebelling against the known will of God regarding the permeance of marriage. “He saith unto them, Moses because of the hardness of your hearts suffered you to put away your wives: but from the beginning it was not so.” (Matt. 19:8)
Because sin is an expression of a hard heart against God, because a hard heart is the overt manifestation of secret rebellion formulated in the heart, consider what it takes for a person to have a hard heart in order to carry out a rebellion. Since every sin is patterned after Satan, Lucifer becomes the prototype.
Self-talk. The Bible reveals that one day Lucifer began to talk to himself. “For thou hast said in thine heart.” The reason why God tells people to guard their heart, is because it is possible to talk one’s self into the most despicable acts, and feel virtuous in the process. While virtue is honored, vice is embraced. No doubt, Sarah felt magnanimous when she gave Hagar to Abraham, and told him to have a child by the slave woman. There was nothing noble in the act. The world is aflame today because of the consequences of Sarah’s sin, and then Abraham’s sin, being passed on from generation to generation. When a person talks themselves into rebelling against God, there is nothing virtuous in such foolishness, no matter how eloquent it might sound in the solitude of one’s mind.
A plan. Once he began to talk to himself, Lucifer formulated a plan. “I will ascend into heaven.” What Lucifer was saying was, “I will be like God.” “I will dethrone God.” That sounded like a good plan to Lucifer. When a person does something, they do it because it seems good to them. No one ever acts against their own self-interest. No matter how much pain and suffering is inflicted on someone else, a person proceeds, because their plan is in their own best interest, as far as they know.
Courage. Once Lucifer had his plan worked out in his mind as to how he would proceed to openly defy God, he had to reach inward, and find the courage to continue. Any child can tell you that it takes a certain amount of courage to rebel against mom and dad. Any criminal can tell you that it take courage to defy the law. Courage is simply the resolve to face a difficult or dangerous situation. Lucifer had to have courage to go against God. A person must have the courage to continue in a particular course of action they know to be contrary to God’s will.
Determination. United to courage, is determination. Determination will strengthen the resolve, and help harden the heart against God. Make no mistake about it, people are committed to their plans. They are wedded to the evil, or injurious behavior, they have talked themselves into. They have found the courage that is needed to continue, because they are determined to pay any price to have their way. That is part of their self-talk.
“I will live with the consequences,” they say. “Even if I am wrong, or unsuccessful.” That thought is a shallow thought, but it emboldens the sinner.
People who plan to transgress, know not of what they speak. Most have never actually experienced the consequences they think they are willing to endure. They know nothing of the pure wrath of God, or the hell into which they will one day be plunged.
A willingness to accept any negative consequences for one’s actions is part of the deceptiveness of sin. Nevertheless, self-talk makes a person bold, determined, and hard hearted.
Allies. Once Lucifer talked himself into a state of rebellion, once Lucifer formulated his plan, the next step was to find allies. Some Bible scholars believe that Lucifer was able to convince no less than one third of the created angels to join him in his rebellion against God. These angels became demons. They are now the devil’s angels, for they are no longer God’s holy angels (Matt. 25:41)
Like Lucifer, people who have entered into a state of secret rebellion against God, people who formulated a plan to proceed in open defiance of the Word of God, people who no longer care that they have a hard heart because they mistake false courage, and determination, as being virtuous, people who convince themselves they are willing to accept any negative consequences for their actions, including divine wrath, must find allies.
Some will use God talk to try to find allies in Christian churches, counselors, or pastors. They learn God language. They learn Biblical concepts. They just have no intention of honoring them. Jesus recognized such people, and asked, “Why do you call me, ‘Lord,’ and do not do what I tell you?” (Luke 6:46)
Once a person with a hard heart realizes that a true Christian will never respect, or unite with them in their rebellion, they become angry. They claim they are misunderstood. They tell themselves that anyone in their position would do what they are determined to do. They tell themselves they just want to be happy. God wants them to be holy, but they want their personal happiness. They just want peace, at any price. In this way, many a person has sold their soul to the world, the flesh, and the devil, for a small price. They are like Esau, who sold his soul for a bowl of soup. They fail to value their soul.
Such people, just like Lucifer, want allies to join them in justifying the unjustifiable. When they fail to find an ally in one person, or place, they turn on those they once claimed to love.
The practical problem is this. In order to love, there has to be the capacity to love. Those who hardened their heart against God have no capacity to love. These people will use phrases and expressions of love, but they are just words to manipulate others with, and to find allies. These people even think it is virtuous to stop loving someone. That, of course, provides a rational for separation, in our society, regardless of any vows taken before God.
Suppression of the truth. In order for Lucifer to rebel against God overtly, he had to suppress the truth. What was the truth? Lucifer could never be like God. God is God. Lucifer was a creature, subject to the Creator, no matter how much he rebelled against his status.
In like manner, the person who cultivates a hard heart in order to continue to sin must suppress the truth. This is easily done. The woman who would murder her baby simply says that the life in her womb is not a baby, but fetal tissue. The person who is angry with someone else simply says they have a right to be angry. They are vitreous. They will not tolerate – whatever the transgression might be. They demand respect. Meanwhile, they show no respect to God, His Word, or godly counsel. Why, because they need to suppress the truth.
Countless hours are spent in counseling dealing with the symptoms of sin, such as anger, infidelity, lying, profanity, pornography, verbal and emotional abuse, and much more. Perhaps it would be better if Christians considered more fully the source of these transgressions, which is rebellion. Follow the heart. How did it become hardened? Consider the original sin of rebellion.