Thursday, March 30, 2006

kept by God

Recently I have been really blasted with my own sinfulness relating to God's holiness. Some of the "fuel" for this ongoing eye-opening experience has been J.C. Ryle's book Holiness (see a quote from this book and my comments on it by reading J.C. Ryle on Sin), but more than that - I think it has been a revitalized personal study and commitment to studying the Word and to prayer that God has used to open my eyes to my vast sinfulness. Now, I don't say this to pat myself on the back. On the contrary, I am ashamed that some of the things that I am learning (or Seeing more clearly), that are the direct result of the disciplined nature of how I daily esteem God and His word and how He is working in my heart, are coming into focus now instead of years ago.

Now that you kind of know where I am coming from, a little bit of encouragement for my fellow brothers & sisters who have been saved by grace (if you're not saved, or if you're not sure, take the Good Person Test to see if you are). Remember, if you're not saved - what I have to say next IS NOT FOR YOU.

As a Christian - we will never cease from sinning. We cannot, no matter how hard we try completely cease from sin. The point of our Christian life is to live trying to sin less, but it is so frustrating when we do sin against the one who saved us. Have you ever felt the way that Paul describes his own walk?

"For the good that I want, I do not do, but I practice the very evil that I do not want.... Wretched man that I am! Who will set me free from the body of this death?" (Romans 7:19,24 NASU)

Another great text to see how we should see ourselves in light of God's holiness would be what Isaiah said when he saw God in a vision.

"Woe is me, for I am ruined! Because I am a man of unclean lips, And I live among a people of unclean lips; For my eyes have seen the King, the LORD of hosts." (Isaiah 6:5 NASU)

about our faith

After taking a true look at my life and seeing how wretched I really am and how badly I sin against God and cause His name to be can cause me to doubt if I am saved. But isn't it great that if we are truly saved1, it is not my job to keep me is God's. Here are a few verses to encourage you (and me) when we are striving to please God, but fall flat on our face and wonder how could God love and save me when I am so wretched.

"My sheep hear My voice, and I know them, and they follow Me; and I give eternal life to them, and they will never perish; and no one will snatch them out of My hand. My Father, who has given them to Me, is greater than all; and no one is able to snatch them out of the Father's hand. I the Father are one." (John 10:27-30 NASU)

"For I am convinced that neither death, nor life, nor angels, nor principalities, nor things present, nor things to come, nor powers, nor height, nor depth, nor any other created thing, will be able to separate us from the love of God, which is in Christ Jesus our Lord." (Romans 8:38,39 NASU)

1 This is the big question for many people. "Am I truly saved?" The book of 1st John was written so that we might know that we are saved (1 John 5:13). If I were to boil down what it truly looks like to be born again, it would be this: Believers sin. But, we do not wallow in our sin, we war against it (see Romans 7:19ff). If you casually sin and think, "God will forgive me because..." you're probably not saved. Because no one who has truly been saved goes through life using Christ on the cross as a get out of jail free card that you can just hold up after you've heartily broken the law. If you sin, habitually, and are not broken by your sin...that is cause for concern as well.

But...if your life is a struggle against sin - a true struggle, and you hate it when you curse, take the name of the LORD in vain, looked at a person and lusted, lied, etc. and you confess these things to the LORD and beg Him to give you new desires... that's the mark of a true believer. Also - if you're growing in holiness as time goes on, that is a sign of being a true child of God.

This topic is a big one, and I will devote more time to it in the future.


sj said...

It's amazing how really truly sinful we are. I see all the little things all day long in myself that make me cry out, "I am a horrible sinner", and I get so upest with myself. I enjoy reading what you have to say. It is a great encouragement to me, a fellow sinner who desires to sin less, and your wife, who wants to grow in love with you more as the days go by. Good job!

Nate J. said...

Another good topic Eric. Interesting, because we just talked about the security of the believer this last week in the S.S. class I teach along with Jon Eckblad. We are going through Ephesians. Ephesians 1:13 states that we are "sealed" with the Holy Spirit. Of course a couple of the implications of something being sealed are that the item is authentic and tamper-proof. The spirit has also been given as a pledge or down payment of our future inheritance and to show us that we are truly saved (Eph. 1:14). Once again, very necessary topic and I'm interested in what you are going to write next. You have a way of laying things out very clearly for the reader - which helps readers like me :)

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