In a previous post I talked about the Biblical reasons for people being evil. These are the three reasons I mentioned (there are probably more):
1. The world has been cursed due to the sin of our first parents (Adam and Eve) and is under the influence of Satan, who is the source of all that is evil.
2. People who function apart from God-centered faith have placed humans as the highest life form and man’s intelligence and observations as the ultimate source of truth (ignoring God’s truths) which eventually leads to a self-centered existence that promotes evil behavior.
3. God has rejected some men who have consistently chosen evil and He has given them over to a reprobate, evil mind.
I looked deeper at reason number 1 in that earlier post. Now for reason #2.
The person who exercises a true sincere faith in the truths that God has revealed to His creation, will experience an internal conversion. To be more specific, if a person accepts what God has offered through His Messiah, Jesus Christ, and places their full hope in what was promised, this faith will cause a spiritual birth in them resulting in a drastic transformation. They become a new creation in Christ Jesus. They now have a focus on heavenly things, and, having died to what this world has to offer to them, they now are free from the negative impact of having their hope set on these worldly things and can live and walk in a spiritual way that allows them to truly love God and truly love others.
The person who has not set their hope on the promises from God, but still looks to this world for fulfillment and satisfaction, will be disappointed and disillusioned. The things of this world can never truly satisfy us; the Scriptures confirm that our “flesh” (carnal desires) are never satisfied.
“Hell and Destruction are never full; So the eyes of man are never satisfied.” Proverbs 27:20
As the years pass, people recognize that this world cannot fulfill their true, internal needs. This typically results in some degree of disappointment or depression that people deal with in different ways. Some cover it with alcohol or drugs, or laughter, or food, or excessive work, or many other things. Inside, they are trapped, because they may want to do what is right and good, and may succeed at it to some extent, but ultimately, because of this trap that the world has put them in, they are unable to do the good that they want to.
“Hope deferred makes the heart sick, But when the desire comes, it is a tree of life.” Proverbs 13:12
The Scriptures define this condition as “the law (or principle) of sin and death.”
“For the good that I will to do I do not do; but the evil I will not to do , that I practice. Now if I do what I will not to do, it is no longer I who do it but sin that dwells in me. I find then a law, that evil is present with me, the one who wills to do good. For I delight in the law of God according to the inward man. But I see another law in my members, warring against the law of my mind, and bringing me into captivity to the law of sin which is in my members.” Romans 7: 19-24
It is clear from the Scriptures that the person who lacks faith, who is functioning in this physical realm of the world only, and most importantly, who has placed their hope on the things of this life only, this person is unable to please God, and is powerless to do what is right and good. Romans goes on to explain this in chapter 8: (vs. 5-8)
“For those who live according to the flesh set their minds on the things of the flesh, but those who live according to the Spirit, the things of the Spirit. For to be carnally (fleshly) minded is death, but to be spiritually minded is life and peace, because the carnal (fleshly) mind is enmity against God, for it is not subject to the law of God, nor indeed can be. So then, those who are in the flesh cannot please God.”
Only faith in God can cause you to be spiritually minded; it is impossible without faith. Setting our minds on fleshly things, that is, the things of this world that offer us pleasure or satisfaction or fulfillment, will cause us to be fleshly minded and therefore put us in this trap of death where we cannot free ourselves from sin and evil, even if we want to. Therefore, it is a lack of faith in God that is the source of much evil in this world.
Jesus calls us to die to this world and the offerings that the world has for us. This death is the exercise of our faith. If we truly believe in the promises that have been offered through Christ Jesus, then we will fully set our hopes on these promises of eternal life in heaven, and turn away from, or die to, this world.
Jesus also instructs us to make ourselves rich in heavenly things, not earthly things, and confirms that our hearts will be focused on either heaven or earth, depending on what place we are storing our riches. Not only is there great wisdom in this advice since heavenly riches cannot be stolen or corroded, but this is also the key to becoming spiritually minded. Treasuring what you have stored in heaven and having your heart and mind focused on these things will transform your way of life, shifting you from being carnally minded to being spiritually minded!
“Do not lay up for yourselves treasures on earth, where moth and rust destroy and where thieves break in and steal; but lay up for yourselves treasures in heaven, where neither moth nor rust destroys and where thieves do not break in and steal. For where your treasure is, there your heart will be also.” Matthew 6: 19-21
It is unfortunate that many Christians have missed this critical exercise of completely dying to this world and living for heaven. Unfortunately, they continue to set their minds on the things of this world, rather than setting their minds on the things of the spirit, and therefore, they remain in bondage to sin and death. As Christians, if we are truly in Christ Jesus, then we have died to this world completely, and we do not walk according to the flesh, but according to the Spirit, and we have been freed from the condemnation of those who live in the flesh and continue in sin.
“There is therefore now no condemnation to those who are in Christ Jesus, who do not walk according to the flesh, but according to the Spirit.” Romans 8:1
In conclusion, it is very clear that the evil of this world is rooted in the absence of God in the thoughts of many who are therefore bound to the cycle of sin that results from being focused on the things of this physical world, or being “fleshly minded”. Christians have been given an opportunity to escape this death trap by becoming spiritual through Jesus, by associating with His death and dying also to this world, and associating ourselves also with His resurrection, and placing our hope totally on His promise of eternal life. This is being “in Christ Jesus” and will result in us becoming spiritual and bearing the fruits of the spirit which are love, joy, peace, longsuffering, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness, self-control (Galatians 5:22).
The Scriptures are not suggesting that you should never have any pleasure in your life, that’s not the issue. The key is to recognize the main focus of your life or the thing that you are treasuring. You need to ask yourself, “What am I hoping for? or What am I living for?” (Is it heavenly or earthly?) It’s okay to have fun and enjoy things in life, of course, but if the main focus of your life is on the physical things of this world, and the “riches” that you are treasuring are based in this world, than you are carnally minded and will be trapped in the cycle of sin and death, and will be unable to produce the fruits of the spirit.
One final Scripture from Galatians, chapter 5, vs. 16&17:
“I say then: Walk in the Spirit and you shall not fulfill the lust of the flesh. For the flesh lusts against the Spirit, and the Spirit against the flesh, and these are contrary to one another, so that you do not do the things that you wish.”