Snares, Predators and Spiritual Truths

“Our soul has escaped as a bird out of the snare of the trapper; the snare is broken and we have escaped.” Psalm 124:7 NASB

A snare is a device used to trap animals or birds. As young boys and aspiring Boy Scouts, we built snares to catch rabbits, in my Grandfather’s briar patch. Needless to say there was no fear of us, in the rabbit community.

Fifty-five years later, I finally saw how deadly snares could be. We frequently visit a whitetail deer and exotics ranch, in the Hill Country of central Texas, where they use snares to control the predators (coyotes, foxes, etc.) that kill fawns and young deer.

The snare is four or five foot long cable, small in diameter. There is a loop on one end, which is placed in front of the predator’s access hole, under the high fence. A short lead on the opposite end of the snare, is then securely attached to the fence or the steel post. When the animal sticks his head through the hole, the forward motion of his body causes the noose to tighten around the neck. Since the lead is short, he cannot get enough speed to attempt to tear the end loose from the post or fence. No matter how much the animal fights, it cannot gain its freedom.

The final result is not a pretty site. A desperate struggle takes place in the dust to gain freedom, followed by suffocation or a slow death from starvation and thirst, in the Texas heat.

With this life and death scene in our mind, let us briefly look at spiritual snares that capture Christians.

Paul told Timothy in II Timothy 2: 25-26, concerning people who are in opposition to the gospel, the following:

“…if perhaps God may grant them repentance leading to the knowledge of the truth, and they may come to their senses and escape from the SNARE of the devil, having been held captive by him to do his will.”

To use the example of the ranch, Carl, the Christian, can stick his head under the fence of godliness to get into the devil’s ranch and be snared. The devil’s snare has a long lead which allows Carl to enjoy the pleasure of sin for awhile, until he hits the end of the lead. Hitting the end of the lead causes me to realize that I cannot get free from what I now realize is evil and is now controlling me. This is the wake up call. In my life, it is now as Paul said in Romans 7:19:

“For the good that I wish, I do not do; but I practice the very evil that I do not wish.

At the end of the lead, Carl can twist, turn, struggle in the dust of my making and bemoan my lack of willpower to overcome the evil practice in my life, but it is too late. Satan’s snare is controlling my suppose-to-be-dead, sinful nature and me. I, a Christian, will be under the control of Satan’s snare until there is true, deep repentance. This will lead to “the knowledge of the truth” and a “coming to their senses” which empowers us to forsake our sin and escape from the devil’s snare.

How do we escape? After repenting, we yield ourselves to God, afresh and anew. This “yielding” comes with a mighty promise:

“Thus, also, as for you, you be constantly counting upon the fact that, on the one hand, you are those who have been separated from the sinful nature, and, on the other, that you are living ones with respect to God in Christ Jesus. Stop therefore allowing the sinful nature to reign as king in your mortal body with a view to obeying it [the body], in its passionate cravings. Moreover, stop putting your members at the disposal of the sinful nature as weapons of unrighteousness, but by a once-for-all act and at once, put yourselves at the disposal of God as those who are actively alive out from among the dead, and put your members as weapons of righteousness at the disposal of God, FOR [THEN] THE SINFUL NATURE WILL NOT EXERCISE LORDSHIP OVER YOU…” (Romans 6: 11-14. Wuest Expanded Translation. Emphasis added)

Unlike the Texas predators, there is hope for repentant saints. If Carl wants to be stubborn, which in God eyes is equivalent to idolatry, Carl will remain snared. On the other hand, if I am repentant, though the devil means it for our destruction, God will teach me something, if I will listen.

The Apostle John tells us in I John 1 that our fellowship is with the Father and Son. In Revelation 3, our Precious Savior says that He is knocking at the heart of the believers and wants to come in and fellowship with us. Maybe you, like me in the past, are fellowshipping with something evil in God’s eyes. You need to experience God’s grace of repentance and restoration, to His fellowship. If you feel the Holy Spirit convicting, don’t take it for granted. Turn now. We are praying for you.

The Pure Creator of the universe longs to fellowship with you, His child. Don’t settle for something evil and base.

May the following be said of us:

“Our soul has escaped as a bird out of the snare of the trapper; the snare is broken and we have escaped. Our help is in the name of the Lord, Who made heaven and earth.” Psalm 124: 7-8 NASB

Carl

God’s Rescue of Man (Part 5)

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“Do not love the world, nor the things in the world. If anyone loves the world, the love of the Father is not in him. For all that is in the world, the lust of the flesh and the lust of the eyes and boastful pride of life, is not from the Father, but is from the world.  And the world is passing away and also its lusts; but the one who does the will of God abides forever.” (I John 2: 15-17 NASB)

(To access the first four parts of this study scroll down at end of this blog.)

Welcome back. Man has created some lovely cities in the world. The aerial view above of Jakarta is beautiful. Many things in the world are pleasing to the senses of man but are  traps of the devil. Today we are continuing our study on Jesus rescuing us from this evil present age.  In this post we are looking at I John 2: 15-17 where God warns us about the world (kosmos).

In our last post we discussed the Apostle John’s command that said “Do not love the world, nor the things in the world.” (verse 15a)

John next writes “If anyone loves the world, the love of the Father is not in him”.  This is a description of an unsaved person because the Greek experts tell us it is saying more than he just doesn’t love God but that the love of God does not dwell in him as the ruling principle of his life.  He is saying that in this person the love of God does not exist.  This love (agape) is the love for the Father that the Holy Spirit generates in the heart of the yielded believer.  Apostle Paul wrote in Romans 5:5:

“…because the love of God has been poured out within our hearts through the Holy Spirit who was given to us.” 

This “love of God” is one of the characteristics of a born again believer and is expressed by obedience to Him.

Philo (20 B.C. – 50 A.D.) said “It is impossible for love of the world to coexist with love to God, as it is impossible for light and darkness to coexist.” This person is habitually and continually loving the world and the things in it. This is an unsaved person.

In II Peter 1: 4 the Apostle Peter tells us this corruption from the world comes by lust which here means evil cravings. Today we think of lust as immorality but it just means cravings in the NT and can be good or evil depending on the context.   In James 1:14 He tells us “But each one is tempted when he is carried away and enticed by his own craving.”

John continues in I John 2: 16 writing “For all that is in the world, the lust of the flesh and the lust of the eyes and the boastful pride of life, is not from the Father but is from the world.”

The “lust of the flesh” is the passionate desires or cravings of the indwelling sinful nature (the flesh) which govern an individual’s reason, will, and emotions.  A Christian’s evil nature died on the Cross with Jesus but still exist within him.  It was not eradicated as some teach. Writing to believers, the Apostle John said : “If we say that we have not sinned and are now in a state where we do not sin, a liar we are making Him, and His word is not in us.” (I John 1:9).  Therefore, if not reckoned dead by the believer, his old indwelling sinful nature will continue to dominate his life.

One of the manifestations of the evil nature is the “lust of the eyes”. The evil, passionate  cravings of the sinful nature that satisfy itself through a person’s eyes.  Peter, speaking of false teachers, says they have “eyes full of adultery and that never cease from sin…”. In our day we have seen the rise of pornography and the increase in immoral TV shows and commercials that corrupts the person thru the lust of the eyes”.  This is also a portal for the sin of covetousness.  We see something someone has and we lust after it.

Another manifestation of the evil nature is the “boastful pride of life” which could be translated “vainglory of life”. This is an insolent and vain assurance in one’s own resources, or in the stability of earthly things, which issues in a contempt for divine law. Thayer defines it as “an insolent and empty assurance which trusts in its own power and resources and shamefully desires and violates divine laws and human rights”. Insolent means “showing a rude and arrogant lack of respect”.  If you find your prayer life waning or non-existent, check yourself for this misplaced assurance. If we really in our hearts are operating in the “boastful pride of life”, we order our lives in a way that we see no need to request God’s help thru prayer. If this is you, stop right now and repent and ask God to forgive you.

The word “life” (bios) refers to that which sustains life, such as, food, clothing, and shelter.

To pull this together for us, the Wuest Expanded Translation of I John 2: 15-17 says:

“Stop considering the world precious with the result that you love it, and the things in the world. If anyone as a habit of life is considering the world precious and is therefore loving it, there does not exist the love possessed by the Father in him. Because everything which is in the world, the passionate desire of the flesh and the passionate desire of the eyes, and the insolent and empty assurance which trusts in the things that serve the creature life, is not from the Father as a source but is from the world as a source. And the world is being caused to pass away, and its passionate desire. But the one who keeps on habitually doing the will of God abides forever.”

This completes part 4 of this blog. Part 6 will summarize this subject. I hope you will join me for it.

The “lust of the flesh, the lust of the eyes and the boastful pride of life” are from the world and not from God. Let each of us ask the Holy Spirit to examine our hearts and show us where we are ordering our conduct in these characteristics of the world so we can stop doing the will of the world ruler, Satan, and do the will of God.  He will do it and bless our obedience to Him!

“…if perhaps God may grant them repentance leading to the knowledge of the truth, and they may come to their senses and escape from the snare of the devil, having been captive by him to do his will.”  (II Timothy 2:25 -26)

Thank you,

Carl