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Sunday: The Ultimate Original Sin? — 10 Comments

  1. I mentioned yesterday that covetousness was behind disobedience to all the other commandments and that it has its origins with Lucifer when he made the claim that he was just as good as God. This week we will study the examples of Lucifer, Achan, Judas, Ananias and Sapphira. The big temptation for us is to click our tongues and wag our fingers and say to ourselves, "But, I am nowhere near as bad as these folk!"

    The issue is that coveteousness is so engrained in our DNA that we do it without thinking. And sometimes we do it with such finesse. Serve on a church nominating committee and observe human behavior and interaction. I could tell lots of stories here, but my lips remain sealed.

    This week's study should be an invitation for us to examine our motives for our own actions, rather than just a theoretical discussion.

  2. Today's lesson asks:

    "Could covetousness be, then, wanting something that we shouldn’t have, and wanting it so badly that our desire for it, rather than the Lord, becomes the focus of our heart?"

    I would propose that this is an outcome of covetousness rather than the core of what covetousness actually is. What then is the actual core 'dynamic' that is covetousness? The Ellen White quote included in the lesson 'hits the nail on the head':

    "Instead of seeking to make God supreme in the affections and allegiance of all created beings, it was his endeavor to secure their service and loyalty to himself."

    Do you see what is going on? Instead of being motivated at his core by the desire to benefit others, Lucifer instead indulges the opposing desire to benefit himself. The lesson is therefore correct to identify covetousness as the original sin because it is in fact the core of what sin is - self-seeking.

    So, why is covetousness inherently or intrinsically so damaging and destructive - including self-destructive? Because life can only truly operate on a foundation and basis of other-benefiting. This is why other-focussed, self-renouncing love is THE core principle of life on earth and in heaven - and has its source in the heart of God. Attempting to do life on any other basis ultimately does not, can not, and will not work. This is why our world is passing away (1 John 2:16-17) and why, in order to not also be part of that passing away, we each need a new heart and right spirit (Psalm 51:5,10)- which includes daily 'walking' in that new heart and right spirit (Romans 12:2; 1 John 3:9-10).

    What do you think?

    • I think you are right, Phil, but I suppose none of that will do us any good without a miraculous new-birth regeneration by the power of the Holy Spirit, repeated and maintained every day, and bought for us by the blood of Christ. In the end, it's all about Him. We have nothing to offer but our sin-polluted hearts.

      • I would say, R.G. White, that we have "Nothing to offer," period. When God gave Adam and Eve life (Eternal to be sure), it was a Gift from Him. God did not expect any more from their hearts before they had a heart at all. It was after they already had the Gift of Eternal Life and a heart too, that He then sets boundaries as to how they are to maintain their Gift of Eternal Life. In His Son Jesus, we have a chance at "Eternal Life" now also. And again it is a Gift from God too. And our hearts are still "Deceitful above all things and desparately wicked," so He has no use for our hearts at all. But we can "Choose," whom we will serve. Either our sinful selves and the Devil or Jesus and His Father via His Holy Spirit. This is how we maintain our Eternal Life via Jesus. And yes, He then has to create in us "A New Heart."

  3. What does Paul say in 1 Timothy 6 to protect us from covetousness (a sin of thinking)?

    1 Tim 6:4 (KJV) "doting about questions and strifes of words" ... to me, this says that when the mind is allowed to be obsessive it leads to mental imbalance and illness, eventually dotage and dementia and senility. Jesus reminded us to let our words be "yes" and "no" and modeled this simplicity of thought in His teaching. A covetous mind is busy in matters too high for oneself (Ps. 131:1). I have seen firsthand and closeup how chronic anxiety and dementia are related. And covetousness, I think, is a type of anxiety.

    1 Tim 6:5 (KJV) "supposing that gain is godliness"...behaving as though gain is the purpose of faith and conversion, gain is put in the place of reverence for God as the desired goal. Striving for something other than our deeper awareness of and respect for God...there's the idolatry the lesson spoke of...

    1 Tim 6:6 Reverence for God, on the other hand, sees God's wisdom; Contentment thanks and praises. It seems Paul is telling us that godliness and contentment go together. The growing godliness within helps us to be more and more fully aware of all God is doing for us and in us....loss and insult are overshadowed by a "yes" answer to these questions... praying for "yes" answers for us all...

    Lord God,

    Am I aware of Your power in me/us? Am I increasingly aware of what You have given me/us? Am I certain that I am in Your plan, in Your Providence, and nothing can mess that up? Can I see more and more clearly how wise Your ways are, far above my/our own? Am I satisfied that You are in charge?

  4. How do we see covetness in our world today, how do we recognize it?
    If I desire a big TV,and right now I cannot buy can we speak of couvetness?

    • It is not just things, Ingrid. I have a big TV - reason? A big one was the same price as a small one. And my bird photos look great on it. Actually, there are even bigger TVs than the one we bought but I dont need anything bigger. Seriously some of our most serious coveting is more about position, social standing, power, and control. We limit our view of covetousness if we just think about coveting things.

  5. Where does covetousness spring from; what causes one to be ‘covetous’? These questions came to mind as I am trying to wrap my mind around the lesson writer’s conclusion that it could be the ultimate, original sin – expressing dissatisfaction with God’s design and purpose.

    Like Phil, I think ‘covetousness’ to be the expression of one’s refusal to accept one's place within the Creator’s design. Though, to be 'covetous' can be expressed in two ways – possitive support and improvement of that which is, or, nagatively attempting to alter or destroy, oppose, undermine that which is the established order of life in God’s kingdom.

    Ellen White points out that the covetous person chooses this way of life in an attempt to ‘enrich’ himself in every way covetousness finds its expression. Raewyn Petrie Fish in Saturday's comment provided great insights how “covetousness can manifest in so many subtle ways”.

    As an example to support that ‘to be covetous’ can also be employed to ‘support’ the existing order, Paul strongly encouraged/was ‘covetous’, in expressing an earnest desire for Timothy to become aware/learn how to stand against pressure and resisting changes to Jesus’ Gospel message - 1 Tim.6.

    Lucifer's unbridled discontent motivated him to engage in actions to undermine/replace the law/order established by the Creator. Discontent was the motive and rebellion against the established order followed; his design's goal - self-governance outside the Trinity’s oversight and Authority. His efforts aimed to be “like the most High" in power and authority! – Isa.14:13-14.

    I find that, as soon as one finds thoughts of government by ’self' to be more attractive than following the Word of God, the adversary is quick to lend a hand in coveting to live life ‘my way’. There cannot be and there is no other order or authority outside that which the Creator of all life has ordained.

    Avoiding discontent/dissatisfaction in life, we humble ourselves and ask God to change our heart from ‘coveting self-governance’ to ‘covet HIS righteousness. We will find that 'contentment and fulfillment' is the law's natural expression when one's life is lived according to the Creator's design - 1 Tim.6:6.

  6. "...godliness with contentment is great gain. For we brought nothing into this world, and it is certain we can carry nothing out." (1 Timothy 6:6-7)

    I think we are basically being bombed by a lot of "good for nothing" news all around. Also, a bunch things are offered to us as if they are essential, while most of the time they are just a waste.

    When I am not focused on my connection with the Father, the whole world around me may distract me, and I may lose the sense that as I came to this world (owning nothing) is the same way I'll leave it. Thus, why do insist on desiring what I do not have?


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