Only men and devils

There is no creature that conspires against God but only devils and sinful men.” Jeremiah Burroughs in The Evil of Evils.

This sentence brought me to a complete standstill. The book it is from is not one to read quickly anyway, but the stark bluntness of being classed with Satan and demons because my sin is so evil is hard to swallow. It is true, I just don’t like it.

I have often envied the birds and animals in moments of Romans 7 frustration (see Romans 7:19-20). They simply do what God made them to do, we humans on the other hand have exchanged the truth for a lie and rebelled against God (Romans 1:25). That rebellion is sin, and sin results in death (Romans 6:23).

God is opening my eyes to see that whereas I like to refer to my sinful nature as fallen’ and think of it in terms of being a bit bent and broken, God calls it evil — not that I do evil, I am evil. In the same way that demons are evil — in open rebellion against God (2 Peter 2:4, 1 John 3:8).

God is holy, totally separated from any hint of sin or evil. It is important to grasp some idea of how blindingly pure He is and that by nature we are sinners, we cannot stop ourselves sinning and so cannot exist in God’s presence. Frankly, in such a state we are doomed, not because God is mean but simply because we are evil. For people to exist in the presence of God they would have to also be holy as He is (1 Peter 1:15-16).

So, here we are, separated from God because of our sin and completely without hope (Ephesians 2:12). Then what does God do?

For our sake he made him to be sin who knew no sin, so that in him we might become the righteousness of God. (2 Corinthians 5:21 ESV)

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