>If you are not struggling with sin, it is because you have (1) died, or (2) you are not saved.
Perhaps that is an insensitive statement to some, but, deal with it. It is truth.
And so is this reminder from Ray Stedman (and, if you’ve not read Authentic Christianity, do so!):
“Since we can live only in one area of relationships of our life at any given moment, it is evident that we can be in a Spirit-controlled area one moment and in a flesh-dominated area the next. This is why we can be a great person to live with one minute (delightful, because we are in the Spirit) and then a moment later some old habit of the flesh reasserts itself and we are right back in our old covenant behavior—harsh, nasty, or cruel. When we become aware of those feelings within, we know we will lose our Christian reputation if we are allowed to show, so we snatch an evangelical veil and hide the fading glory.
But how encouraging to know that the Spirit will never give up the battle! He seeks in a thousand ways to http://rcm.amazon.com/e/cm?t=jacksjots-20&o=1&p=8&l=bpl&asins=1572930179&fc1=000000&IS2=1<1=_blank&m=amazon&lc1=0000FF&bc1=000000&bg1=FFFFFF&f=ifrinvade each separate relationship of the soul, and gradually He is doing so—sometimes faster, as we yield to him; sometimes very slowly, as we resist and cling to our veils. The more we work and live with the face of Jesus clearly in view, the more quickly we find each area of our life being changed into His likeness”
>“We never see sin aright until we see it as against God…All sin is against God in this sense: that it is His law that is broken, His authority that is despised, His government that is set at naught…Pharaoh and Balaam, Saul and Judas each said, “I have sinned;” but the returning prodigal said, “I have sinned against heaven and before thee;” and David said, “Against Thee, Thee only have I sinned.”
W. S. Plumer
>How you “fill in the blank” of the title “The Cross: Picture of God’s _______” determines how you look on things like atonement, hell, wrath.
Most will put the word “love” in the blank…and it should be there…but should be followed by “hate.”
Love of people. Hatred for sin.
A simultaneous portrait of His amazing love and the horribleness of sin.
It is “normal,” (but not right) to get off balance on the love portrait. But to ignore, or be ignorant of, God’s absolute holiness, and thus His hatred of sin, opens one to all kinds of error.
I look at the cross and, gratefully, I see His love (Romans 5.8). The very next verse reminds me that I am “…saved by Him from the wrath of God.” That wrath should be poured out on me, but it is not…because it has been poured out on the Sacrificial Lamb.
Don’t hear many (any?) songs about God’s wrath…His fury, anger, and indignation at sin.
John R. W. Stott has a well-written reminder in a book that, if you’ve not read it, you should:
“Only he who knows the greatness of wrath will be mastered by the greatness of mercy. All inadequate doctrines of the atonement are due to inadequate doctrines of God and man. If we bring God down to our level and raise ourselves to His, then of course we see no need for a radical salvation, let alone for a radical atonement to secure it.
When, on the other hand, we have glimpsed the blinding glory of the holiness of God, and have been so convicted of our sin by the Holy Spirit that we tremble before God and acknowledge what we are, namely ‘hell-deserving sinners’, then and only then does the necessity of the cross appear so obvious that we are astonished we never saw it before.
The essential background to the cross, therefore, is a balanced understanding of the gravity of sin and the majesty of God. If we diminish either, we thereby diminish the cross.”
Side note: some readers are aware of the ongoing controversy regarding universalism ( all humans are “saved” according to this school of, ah, thought)..Stott is NOT a universalist, though he does believe nonbelievers are annihilated rather than confined to an endless hell. I really respect Stott, but as march as part of my heart wishes to agree, I can’t. His books, especially this one, are well worth reading:http://rcm.amazon.com/e/cm?t=jacksjots-20&o=1&p=8&l=bpl&asins=083083320X&fc1=000000&IS2=1<1=_blank&m=amazon&lc1=0000FF&bc1=000000&bg1=FFFFFF&f=ifr
>How incredible it is that we do not hate sin more than we do! Sin is the cause of all the pain and disease in the world. God did not create man to be an ailing and suffering creature. It was sin, and nothing but sin, which brought in all the ills that flesh is heir to. It was sin to which we owe every racking pain, and every loathsome infirmity, and every humbling weakness to which our poor bodies are liable. Let us keep this ever in mind. Let us hate sin with a godly hatred.
~ J.C. Ryle
>Too true…thanks to Schuller, Osteen, etc etc etc
Good word from Josh Harris:
“I was sobered this morning reading Judges 16:20 about Samson and his final flirtation with sin: “And he awoke from his sleep and said, ‘I will got out as at other times and shake myself free.’ But he did not know that the LORD had left him.” When we indulge in sin, we often think we’ll be able shake it off and walk away unharmed. Don’t believe that lie! Fear God and flee temptation today.”
>”How much we ought to hate sin! Instead of loving it, cleaving to it, dallying with it, excusing it, playing with it, we ought to hate it with a deadly hatred. Sin is the great murderer, and thief, and pestilence, and nuisance of this world. Let us make no peace with it. Let us wage a ceaseless warfare against it.”
The Beatles broke up when they stopped having fun. They were no less talented. They were even more experienced. But they started picking at each other, even provoking each other. John brought Yoko into the recording sessions because he knew it would hack the other guys off.
When they were nothing, they were friends. Then they succeeded. And we do not steward success well. We don’t even know how to have fun with it.
“Where jealousy and selfish ambition exist, there will be disorder.” James 3:16
HT: Todd MacDonald
“The difference between a Christian and a non-Christian: when a non-Christian is convicted of sin, he sides with his sin. When a Christian is convicted of sin, he sides with God, against himself.”
– Mark Dever