|“He who does what is sinful is of the devil, |
because the devil has been sinning from
the beginning. The reason the Son of God
appeared was to destroy the devil’s work.”
|—1 John 3:8|
When we talk about “original sin,” we always think of Adam and Eve in the Garden of Eden and their disobedience against God’s one and only command. I’ve written about that encounter frequently on this blog because it is often greatly misunderstood. Nevertheless, the first **human** sinners were Adam and Eve. And, their sin has passed down to each of us upon our birth.
But the real “first sinner,” the one who set disobedience into motion by rebelling against God, was not a human. No, it was an angel named Lucifer—the one we know today as Satan or the Devil. He was the real first sinner.
The Apostle John gives this report in 1 John 3:8:
He who does what is sinful is of the devil, because the devil has been sinning from the beginning. The reason the Son of God appeared was to destroy the devil’s work.
From this passage of Scripture we learn that the work of the devil is to destroy humankind through sin. In fact, it’s to destroy humankind through their own sin—the sin they inherited from Adam and Eve, and the sin they have committed all on their own.
But, the work of Jesus is to destroy the devil’s work. He does this by bearing the price of our sins on the cross. In unwavering obedience to His Father, Jesus pays the penalty for our sins. Then, He rises from the dead to conquer the eternally sealing power of death.
When we sin, we act as if Christ’s work was in vain. We temporarily take the devil’s side in this great spiritual battle. Even though we will be stained by sin until we die and pass on to our eternal life, at which point we will become glorified (Romans 8:29-30), we can obediently work at putting away the besetting sins that plague our lives.
When tempted to lie, we can tell the truth. When tempted to covet, we can rejoice that others have something we do not have. When tempted to gossip, we can hold our tongues. When tempted to react in anger, we can react with kindness. When tempted to lust, we can mentally turn our backs on that lust. When tempted to… Well, we can insert our particular sin here and we can also insert the opposite of that sin because we know what that is, as well.
Struggling against sin takes discipline. It’s hard work. But, it’s good work. It’s worthwhile work. It’s challenging work. It’s work that pleases the God who loves us. It’s work we can determine to tackle, as this new day begins.