THE ROMANS ONE SPIRAL - P6
“Slanderers, haters of God, insolent, arrogant, boastful, inventors of evil, disobedient to parents” (Romans 1:30).
We see in the story of Cain an illustration of Paul’s “Romans One Spiral”. He exchanged the truth of God (personal responsibility for your life) for a lie (it was all Abel’s fault), which led “to a depraved mind” that does “things which are not proper” (Rom. 1:28b). In this, Cain was playing out his parent’s denial of personal responsibility in Eden that had brought death upon all humanity.
Today, we see the same denial of personal responsibility, self-righteous blame, scapegoating, and anger that leads to self-justified cruelty, violence, brutality, and murder.
The origin of this lie is satan who was “a murderer from the beginning, and does not stand in the truth because there is no truth in him. Whenever he speaks a lie, he speaks from his own nature, for he is a liar and the father of lies” (Matt. 8:44). Through a lie, satan “murdered” mankind by tempting them to sin, knowing that “those who practice such things are worthy of death” (Rom 1:32b).
Satan is not all-powerful, so he enlarges his “cause” on earth (to be God’s adversary and man’s accuser) by employing the “divide and conquer” tactic against the strong bonds of love, integrity, and truth in family and society.
In Eden, satan leveraged God’s tiny prohibition of that one Tree to destroy their “bond of unity” (Col. 3:14). He presented this prohibition as an unfair inequality, painting man the victim of some imagined injustice: “God knows that in the day you eat from it your eyes will be opened, and you will be like God, knowing good and evil” (Gen. 3:4b). He insinuated a conspiracy: “God is keeping you from what you deserve, and it is because you would be His equal that He doesn’t want you to have it.” He sowed strife, suspicion, and enmity, driving a wedge between the innocent union of God and man with a lie.
Satan convinced man that man deserved equality with God—to be a god to himself. His lie was pledged in the “service” of the creature—“the boastful pride (self-confidence) of life” (1 Jn. 2:16b).
Sowing enmity unraveled Adam and Eve and their son Cain, just as it has empires and alliances into the Marxist class warfare of the 20th century and the present unrest and violence of neighbor against neighbor.
In all these cases, satan lies to us to give us a push down the “Romans One Spiral”. First, he needs to get us to “exchange the truth of God [His Word, His will] for a lie” (Rom. 1:25a) —worship and serve “the creature” (Rom. 1:25b), devote yourselves to your flesh. He flatters us to strengthen the creature’s self-confidence: “you are special”, “you are a good person”, “it isn’t your fault”, “you are the victim”, “its their fault”, “you deserve better” —echoes of his own delusion: “I will make myself like the Most High” (Isa. 14:14b).
Using this lie of self-worship as a lever, he convinced Adam and Eve to throw God under the bus for equality, evolution, advancement. And when confronted by God, Adam threw Eve under the bus to save his own skin, even going so far as to lay the blame for it all at God’s feet— His situation was the woman’s fault, “whom You gave to be with me” (Gen. 3:12b). Satan’s work fractured the bond man had with God and then fractured the bond between husband and wife. They went from strength in union with God to a cascading spiral of brokenness and weakness, becoming a prey for satan— “slaves to sin” (Rom. 8:8).
Satan is the architect of division and discord, profiting from the resulting moral, relational, and societal brokenness—and so do all his servants in this world. Love, “which is the perfect bond of unity” (Col. 3:14) is difficult to despoil, but the brokenness and weakness of self-service makes us prey for the wicked.
Thank God “the Son of God appeared for this purpose, to destroy the works of the devil” (1 Jn. 3:8). Even so, may it be. Amen.