As persons derived of Person our personhood is confirmed by our choosing faculty. When we penetrate to the rock bottom of our existence it turns out that we basically are dealing with two possible choices in the similitude of Eve and Adam in the Garden. Do we believe what God says about us, or are we more inclined towards perpetuating that illusion that we are self-operating selves with a nature of our own? All other choices we make will be influenced by and is derived from this simple basic choice. In the context of what we are going to discuss here it is vital that we know that as redeemed people we are perfected once and for all, and freed from sin, that is, Satan who formerly ran our lives and who is sin.
There are some difficult verses in the Bible which have caused devout Christians unnecessary condemnation, but which suddenly make sense on the backdrop of the aforementioned:
For all that is in the world, the lust of the flesh, and the lust of the eyes, and the pride of life, is not of the Father, but is of the world (1 John 2:16).
But every man is tempted, when he is drawn away of his own lust, and enticed. Then when lust hath conceived, it bringeth forth sin: and sin, when it is finished, bringeth forth death (James 1:14-15).
We will discuss those two verses also in the context of: “And when the woman saw that the tree was good for food, and that it was pleasant to the eyes, and a tree to be desired to make one wise, she took of the fruit thereof, and did eat, and gave also unto her husband with her; and he did eat” (Gen 3:6).
Before we proceed we have to make one thing absolutely clear; there is nothing wrong with us and our humanity. Body appetites, emotions, feelings, reasoning, thoughts are all made perfect on account of that we are now run by the Spirit of TRUTH. Everything in this universe is Person, never principles as symbolized by the three of good and evil. Thus sin is a person and righteousness is Person who manifest in our individual personhood. Sin was therefore us manifesting the deeds of the deceiver, but now as holy saints we manifest Christ as us in righteousness.
John writes about the lust of the eyes and the pride of life which he settles are of the world, that is, those things belong to Satan and his realm. Those are the same lusts James deals with in his epistle. Lusts are pleasant to the eyes because they deceive us into thinking that we have a nature of our own and that we are self-responsible entities in this universe. Not much is more enticing than to believe that we are self-operating-selves. This is the origin of self-effort and self-righteousness. Lust is thus believing that we have a life outside God and that we somehow can improve ourselves, which the law came to expose is an impossibility. The final revelation that takes us to full liberation is that everything is spirit, and thus we go free as Norman Grubb put it. It was this revelation that finally made Norman see that self-effort is sin. “Our human “being”, with all its potential, can only express in its quantity the quality the spirit nature of which indwells it, either that of “the spirit of error” or alternatively “the Spirit of truth” (1 John 4:6)” (Norman Grubb).
Self-effort, which is caused by this illusion of independent self, leads to “death” and anguish so that we can come to our senses and “know” that we walk in Christ who is our life. The purpose of every temptation coming our way is to establish us further in this total truth as free people managed by God. With every temptation we face a choice; continue to assert who we are or resort to self-effort, that is, believing the lie that we are responsible for the mess we’re in. The truth is that it is His mess and He has provided an escape.
God is the originator of everything and is everything whether we are talking about faith, love, revelation or ad infinitum. Since we are joined one spirit with Him and taken over by Him everything He is we are, and as a result of this union revelation and faith wells up in us from the depths of our being. Do we dare to believe what the Spirit teaches us and consequently walk on water? That is our basic choice. Or do we prefer the safety of our own imagined sufficiency, that is, the lust of the eyes? Is it simpler to believe like Eve did that God is holding something back from us? Isn’t it pride to believe that we can do it on our own, that we can erect our own righteousness?
How we choose confronted with those two basic choices will determine how we view our existence. We will either walk the walk with a light heart at ease with our unique way of expressing Christ trusting that we can do nothing of ourselves and therefore we firmly believe that we do only what we see our Father is doing, or alternatively our walk will be characterized by suspicion and mistrust towards ourselves and evidently this will determine and influence how we relate to others and not least our Father. Choosing the faith path means that we take no condemnation from the liar, whilst the other option evidently has the opposite effect.
Owing to the fact that everything in this universe is persons and those persons are spirit/Spirit they can only make themselves known by expressing themselves in human-beings. A person is either run by the spirit of error or God. There are no other alternatives. That’s why we have to conclude with that lust is a person as well. It was his lusts (who he is) we did by thinking that we were self-operating selves with a nature of our own. As redeemed people his main effort will be channeled into trying to deceive us into thinking that we still are running our lives and have a nature of our own that needs improvement, and temptations are the means by which He tries to pull us back into or perpetuate the deception. But as always, God will turn his apparently victories into bitter losses since everything works together for good for those who love God.