Knowing and Doing

Chris

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Staff member
Knowing and Doing
By Nathele Graham

Life is a series of choices. The choices we make affect our entire life. For instance, if you choose to overindulge in rich foods, you can seriously damage your health. Weight gain, high blood pressure, diabetes, high cholesterol, and more are all a result of poor food choices. Too much alcohol brings serious consequences, as does sexual promiscuity. Bad choices have been around since the beginning of time, and all of creation suffers because of Adam and Eve knowing what was right, but choosing to do what was wrong. We must remember that God had very clearly told Adam what would happen if he ate from the tree of Knowledge of Good and Evil. God tells us too, through Scripture. Sin separates us from God, who created us. God is love and wants to forgive our sin. Even though Adam willingly chose to disobey God, his sin was covered by God by shedding the blood of an animal to clothe Adam and Eve with the skin.

“Unto Adam also and to his wife did the LORD God make coats of skins, and clothed them.” – Genesis 3:21.

Life in the Garden, prior to Adam’s sin, was very different than life today, but God still loves us and has given us the only way to take away the sin that separates us from Him.

“Jesus saith unto him, I am the way, the truth, and the life: no man cometh unto the Father, but by me.” – John 14:6.

Adam made a choice to sin, and we have that same choice. There’s only one sin that cannot be forgiven, and that is choosing to reject the sacrifice which Jesus made. He shed His blood as the final sacrifice to take sin away. You must make the choice to accept His sacrifice while you’re living this life.

Still, knowing what’s right and doing what’s right are two different things. Knowing is head knowledge, but doing comes from the heart. After Adam and Eve were expelled from the Garden of Eden, life became difficult. Nobody has ever been more aware of the result of sin than they were.

“For the wages of sin is death, but the gift of God is eternal life through Jesus Christ our Lord.” – Romans 8:3.

They knew what was right, but did what was wrong. People haven’t changed much over time. After Adam and Eve were evicted from the Garden, they had two sons, Cain and Abel. They were well aware of the importance of shedding animal blood to cover sin. God gave the example when He shed blood to cover Adam and Eve’s nakedness with animal skins.

“And almost all things are by the law purged with blood; and without shedding of blood is no remission.” – Hebrews 9:22.

The importance of animal sacrifice was known to Cain and Abel, and they knew what was right. Cain was a farmer who grew crops, but Abel was a rancher who raised sheep.

“And in the process of time it came to pass that Cain brought of the fruit of the ground an offering unto the LORD. And Abel, he also brought of the firstlings of his flock and of the fat thereof. And the LORD had respect unto Abel and to his offering: But unto Cain and to his offering he had not respect. And Cain was very wroth, and his countenance fell.” – Genesis 4:3-5.

Cain knew what was right, but chose to do things his own way, which was wrong. Because God rejected Cain’s sacrifice, he was angry with his brother and killed him. He knew what was right but he did wrong.

What exactly is sin? That’s a word we use a lot, but do we understand what it means? Many things get named sin by people that God doesn’t name as sin in Scripture. There are also things God names as sin, but people accept as a lifestyle. Sin is something we commit against God. The word in Greek is “hamartia” and means “to miss the mark” or to “miss or wander from the path of uprightness and honor, to do or go wrong”, or “to wander from the law of God, violate God’s law, sin”. So, when God told Adam,

“But of the tree of the knowledge of good and evil, thou shalt not eat of it.: for in the day that thou eatest thereof thou shalt surely die.” – Genesis 2:17.

It was a warning for Adam’s protection, rather than God trying to ruin Adam’s fun. Adam knew what was right, but instead of doing what was right, he sinned. Throughout Scripture, we see God’s love as He guides mankind toward the path that leads to salvation, but we also see mankind choosing the wrong path.

“In those days there was no king in Israel, but every man did that which was right in his own eyes.” – Judges 17:6.

That’s why we have troubles in life.

Most Christians know what is right. Scripture tells us God’s ways. Loving one another is a command from Jesus.

“These things I command you, that ye love one another.” – John 15:17.

Knowing and doing are two different things. We know we are to reflect God’s love, but do we? We need to study Scripture and use Jesus as our example of love. The Gospel of John shows us many examples of how Jesus loved people. Jesus was fully God, but He was also fully human. His body got tired, but even when He needed rest, He had time for others. Humans had no way to bridge the gap to God; sin had made that impossible. Jesus was God’s answer to our need. God Himself stepped into this world and putt His glory aside to provide our only way for salvation. Jesus said:

“Greater love hath no man than this, that a man lay down his life for his friends.” – John 15:13.

Jesus showed us that love. Knowing we should unselfishly love others, and actually loving them are two different things.

We know that we need to be humble. Pride gets in the way of us showing God’s love. Instead of building up our own ego, we need to humble ourselves before our Lord. James tells us:

“Humble yourselves in the sight of the Lord, and he shall lift you up.” – James 4:10.

Humility is something we humans have a very hard time with. If we think someone else is getting more kudos, we get miffed.

“Pride goeth before destruction, and an haughty spirit before a fall.” – Proverbs 16:18.

We know that, but what do we do about it? Instead of living as an example of a humble child of God, too often we allow pride to stumble our walk. We see so many special interest groups who think that rioting or having parades to display their sin is the way to be respected. The truth is that living a humble life that honors God is how Scripture tells us to live. Marriages fail because both the husband and the wife demand to be in control. Pride gets in the way of contentment. A man is to love his wife in the same way Christ loves His church and a wife is to submit to her own husband.

We aren’t alone in our plight. The Apostle Paul wrote about his own struggle with knowing and doing.

“For I know that in me (that is, in my flesh,) dwelleth no good thing: for to will is present with me; but how to perform that which is good I find not. For the good that I would I do not: but the evil which I would not, that I do.” – Romans 7:18-19.

He wanted to do right, but he felt as if he didn’t do what was right…

“Now if I do that I would not, it is no more I that do it, but sin that dwelleth in me.” – Romans 7:20.

Paul was a very smart man. He knew the problem was sin dwelling in him. We all have that same problem today. We allow sin to rule our actions rather than allowing Christ to be our example to follow.

“O wretched man that I am! Who shall deliver me from the body of this death? I thank God through Jesus Christ our Lord. So then with the mind I myself serve the law of God; but with the flesh the law of sin.” – Romans 7:24-25.

So often I feel wretched because I have failed to do what is right. In my mind – Greek word “nous” meaning the intellect and thoughts – I know what God says to do, but in my flesh – Greek word “sarx” meaning my human nature – I fail to do what’s right. Knowing and doing are two different things.

Even though we know what’s right, but don’t do it, we have forgiveness through Jesus Christ. Jesus was God incarnate, and only faith in His death, burial, and resurrection can take sin away. Good works don’t earn salvation, but it’s our kindness that shows Christ to a lost world. There is nothing we can do that’s good enough to earn our right for salvation. Only faith in Jesus will bring eternal life.

“For by grace are ye saved through faith; and that not of yourselves: it is the gift of God: not of works lest any man should boast.” – Ephesians 2:8-9.

We cannot work for our salvation, but we should work because of our salvation, out of gratitude for what Christ has done for us.

“For as the body without the spirit is dead, so faith without works is dead also.” – James 2:26.

Let your faith show in the way you behave.

Knowing and doing. We all struggle with it. Pray and be sure to study Scripture in order to know God’s will. Follow the example of Jesus.

God bless you all,

Nathele Graham
[email protected]
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All original scripture is “theopneustos” God breathed.

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Andy C

Well-Known Member
So often I feel wretched because I have failed to do what is right. In my mind – Greek word “nous” meaning the intellect and thoughts – I know what God says to do, but in my flesh – Greek word “sarx” meaning my human nature – I fail to do what’s right. Knowing and doing are two different things.

Even though we know what’s right, but don’t do it, we have forgiveness through Jesus Christ. Jesus was God incarnate, and only faith in His death, burial, and resurrection can take sin away. Good works don’t earn salvation, but it’s our kindness that shows Christ to a lost world. There is nothing we can do that’s good enough to earn our right for salvation. Only faith in Jesus will bring eternal life.
A real stumbling block for Christians is not understanding this, which can then lead to not having assurance of salvation.
 

Wally

Choose your words carefully...
We struggle with so many things that work or don't hurt anyone, often with no perceived bad results.

But we lose our joy. Our confidence is shaken, and every buffet of wind shakes us to no end.

That is why we need to rejoice in the persecution. We need to give thanks for the chiding of God.
They are designed to destroy our confidence in those things.
They are to wake us up from the numbness and feel the hurt we do to ourselves.
They resuscitate us to life.

Doing is the result of the Spirit's work in us. Submitting to the Spirit is something we learn by responding to Him.
But we need to be regularly IN the Word to recognize His voice.

Pray. Study. Sing Psalms. Fellowship.
It will help get our ears in tune.
 
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