Wednesday, January 16, 2008

Rising to Truth

Rejoice not over me, O my enemy; when I fall, I shall rise; when I sit in darkness, the LORD will be a light to me. I will bear the indignation of the LORD because I have sinned against him, until he pleads my cause and executes judgment for me. He will bring me out to the light; I shall look upon his vindication.
(Micah 7:8-9 – ESV)

When we mess up real bad, and we lack an assurance of our salvation, we need to focus on the more complete truth, which includes the primacy of Christ’s sacrifice for the payment of our sins. The current truth is that you are guilty, you have sinned, but the ongoing truth, the complete truth is that you are also forgiven, and that you will rise up again. You may feel His righteous chastisement, but He will always bring you back into His loving arms once again. Indeed, because He chastises you, this is the indication that you never left. Repent, and be restored to the joy of God’s salvation with a blessed assurance.

Of course, our sin is personal and we cannot simply expect theological ramblings to help us if they remain cold, sterile, and impersonal. These things must be lived out in community. Often what we need is to do a better job modeling brokenness and forgiveness in church. Somehow, we don't trust grace; we think we need to shame people into repentance first. I disagree with that. God's way is love; we draw people to repentance by showing them how much more beautiful life is when we are free from sin and free to love.

We think freedom from sin means an absence of desire, but it doesn’t. What it does mean is that I am free to not sin, not that I am never going to have sinful desires. I have a choice; I can enter in, or fall back into sin. Our flesh is not cured by God it is killed by God, and we live that out by faith. We are able to rise up again. Whatever the issues may be, the single issue has been forever settled in your favor. Rise up to Him in faith.

When you are able to see this beautiful truth of the gospel more and more clearly you will sin less and less, because Christ will become more and more what you treasure. We have this great treasure and a down payment in our lowly bodies, these jars of clay hold the power of God. We have nothing of ourselves to boast about, but we can always be boasting of the cross, what God has done for us in Christ. That is something worth being thankful for. It is the reason we come to church, and why we can rejoice in Christ with one another. It means that I can believe in God and I can believe in you because you believe in God. We are justified by faith, and we can live by that same faith. Amen.

“Living For Today With An Eye For Tomorrow”©


Christopher Cohen said...

This is my favorite post yet, possibly because it encompasses my overall personal experience with God over the last year and explains things in a way that I can never seem to put into words.

“Somehow, we don't trust grace; we think we need to shame people into repentance first. I disagree with that. God's way is love; we draw people to repentance by showing them how much more beautiful life is when we are free from sin and free to love.”

This is my ministry to my un-believing family members.

I often feel the stranglehold guilt of sin and feel that I begin to fall away, relating to the lyrics, “I don’t want to fall away from You. Gravity is pulling me to the ground.” Yet, He does faithfully continue to bring me back into His loving arms once again.

Great post.

Even So... said...

Thanks Chris, and thank God for His amazing grace...

donsands said...

" ..we think we need to shame people into repentance first. I disagree with that."

I agree. But shame surely may be needed, and it may be a blessing to the heart of the one who has sinned.

I recall a member of my church say to me, "I was feeling guilty about what I did, but I realized this was the devil."
I said, "Well, guilt can be a good thing. I know you sinned in a horrible way, and your wife was very hurt. Should you go to her, and say, "I'm not feeling guilty at all about what I did, Praise the Lord!"
He seemed to catch on. Shame leads to the Cross, and shame can be a good thing indeed. But it surely can be lifted, as forgiveness fill the soul, and grace embraces our hearts, and God renews our mind.

Btw, I heard yesterday that Chuck Swindoll testified on his radio program that he committed adultery. I heard a portion of the broadcast, but didn't hear his confession.
I love this man, and I hope this is some-kind-of a mistake.

Even So... said...

I'm with you, Don, on all of that...BTW, I answereed that guy on Susan's blog, about the "bat" thing, and some more stuff...I am glad you are not ashamed to proclaim His truth...

donsands said...

Good job on the bat, and with all your words to this unbeliever. May the Lord open his eyes, as He opened ours. Amen.

Chuck Swindoll is fine! I went and listened to his messsage from yesterday, and he was speaking of a pastor in his church, not himself, and my friend was all upset because he thought it was Chuck. Man! I'm such a nincompoop. I need to check things out before I speak.

" .. let every man be swift to hear, slow to speak,"

Craver Vii said...

I heard that message also. The message was first delivered in 2006. He did not broadcast the names of the people involved, even though it was brought out in the open to their congregation. I was impressed by the weight that Chuck (and other frontline ministry leaders) have to bear. They are held to higher standards of scrutiny by a lot of people, and much of what they do is criticized. I'm sure there are people on both sides of how he handled the case of infidelity among his staff.