I had to cut out a large chunk of my message today and so I thought I would post that part here on my blog. I hope you find it helpful.
Let’s dig into this a little deeper and focus on the desires of sin. In the Old Testament the desires of sin had a very tangible, visible form. Sinful desires came in the form of idols. You see idol worship all throughout the Bible. God strictly forbade idol worship in the 10 commandments. He said you shall have no other idols/gods before me. Now when we hear that today we brush it off because we don’t practice worshiping idols in western culture.
But when you study idols you discover they all are about the activity of men. They are about their identity and activity on earth. For example, Abraham grew up worshipping An, Ki, Anil, Enki, which represented heaven, earth, air, and water. You would appeal to “An” for supernatural life, “Ki” for the earth to be fertile ground for the crops, “Anil” for great weather, “Enki” for protection from floods or for wells not to dry up.
They had gods like Ishtar who was the goddess of love. Nabu was the god of science and knowledge. Nergal was the god of hunting and war. You would appeal to these gods for success in your endeavors. Before you went out on a date you would pay tribute to Ishtar. Before hunting you would sacrifice an animal to Nergal.
When God said that no other gods can come before me he wasn’t just saying make me number one in your life. He was saying take all these pursuits that these false gods represent and bring them under my realm of influence. Your pursuits, your dreams, your responsibilities, your family life, your bedroom, your finances, they all belong under my realm of influence.
Then in place of the false gods Yahweh gave them the law. The law, or the 10 Commandments or the Torah, were the instructions on how to bring all these pursuits of men under God’s influence. The Israelite lived for hundreds of years with the law as their guide. In fact, they didn’t have a king for a long time because they were a people ruled by the law of God, and not a man. When they got me to be king they started walking away from the ways of God. Eventually the Israelites for got the law and God’s blessing. Then 400 years after that Jesus hit the scene and said, “I have come to fulfill the law.” In other words it is through having life with Jesus, being crucified with Jesus, that God’s influence will come over your life. Sin then becomes more than just not living up to the law, but doing life, pursuing life, without or outside the influence of God / Jesus.