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So how does one overcome embedded sin? Each person must answer the question for themselves. But, is there help. And What does help mean? I ask the question who will start the answer?

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I come from a farming background. Every spring when I was a kid we had to go out to the fields and pick out the rocks that the frost heaved up before Dad took the plow to the field. The stones, of course, would dull the blades. God heaved those rocks up to the surface using natural processes. All we had to do was remove them.

I think that often these embedded sins are "brought to light" by natural life processes. The "battle" may be more of a motivational thing--expending the effort to just pick that thing up and remove it. If we convince ourselves that that rock is too heavy or too big there is less motivation but if truly believe God is able to save us to the uttermost, then maybe it is not so big...or God's strength is adequate and it is He who is moving through me to get rid of the rock (embedded sin). Sometimes we honestly did not know that we carried a sin pattern until life events exposed it to our sight and we could finally "see" it for what it was.

The term that seems to be missing from this discussion is love.  Might we define sin as self love?  As Augustine called it:  Concupiscence?  I believe sin is relational and not propositional although is often spoken of in propositional terms in the scripture to look at it in different ways.    An example might be of "falling short of the glory of God".  It is propositional, yes,  but as Paul argues in Romans:  "If you'd like to try meeting God's glorious standard by adhering to the Law, be my guest."

I'll suggest that the way out of entrenched sin is a greater love for God that challenges a lessening love for self and the world.  Our central reference point is to be a whole hearted love for God in Christ (Eph. 3:19).   This is not an intellectual exercise but one of deep affection fueled by the intellect/God's word.  How could Jesus challenge the teachers of His day more pointedly than to say in Luke 11:42:

But woe to you Pharisees! For you tithe mint and rue and every herb, and neglect justice and the love of God. These you ought to have done, without neglecting the others. 43 Woe to you Pharisees! For you love the best seat in the synagogues and greetings in the marketplaces.

His rebuke includes the manifestations of their love (tedious attention to rules and synagogue seats) but seems to focus in on their desire to bask in the praise of their onlookers.

Sin is self absorbed love at various levels e.g. a love for medicating emotional pain with savory foods.  Entrenched sin is a self focused love that becomes so centralized that all other loves orient around it e.g.  "For Demas, in love with this present world, has deserted me and gone to Thessalonica (2 Tim. 4:10).

This paradigm has not only opened my eyes to the scriptures, it has changed the way I relate and love God and neighbor.


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