1996-07-05 - Spiritual Training Wheels
Rom 6:11-14 In the same way, count yourselves dead to sin but alive to God in Christ Jesus. Therefore do not let sin reign in your mortal body so that you obey its evil desires. Do not offer the parts of your body to sin, as instruments of wickedness, but rather offer yourselves to God, as those who have been brought from death to life; and offer the parts of your body to him as instruments of righteousness. For sin shall not be your master, because you are not under law, but under grace.
Tit 2:11-14 For the grace of God that brings salvation has appeared to all men. It teaches us to say "No" to ungodliness and worldly passions, and to live self-controlled, upright and godly lives in this present age, while we wait for the blessed hope--the glorious appearing of our great God and Savior, Jesus Christ, who gave himself for us to redeem us from all wickedness and to purify for himself a people that are his very own, eager to do what is good.
The Grace of God is our "Spiritual Training Wheels". The Father, much like an earthly parent, has given us a system whereby we can grow and learn. This is His Abundant Provision of Grace, and of the Gift of Righteousness, which is spoken of in Romans 5:17.
Rom 5:17 For if, by the trespass of the one man, death reigned through that one man, how much more will those who receive God's abundant provision of grace and of the gift of righteousness reign in life through the one man, Jesus Christ.
Over the years I have found many Christians, myself included, who would be bound by a vicious cycle of temptation/sin/guilt/failure consciousness. All too often we wind up wrestling with ourselves, so focused on our past failure that we give up the struggle against sin. Either we see it as being inevitable that we will give in, or we are so conscious of our failure that we lose hope, convinced that others might be able to walk free, but not us. Many Christians fail to make a distinction between walking in a sin, and stumbling. And because of that they feel great guilt and self-condemnation for having stumbled, while at the very same time wish with all their hearts that they had not sinned. When we have sinned, but wish with our whole heart that we had not, the more important fact is that we wish we had not. What is important is God's grace, and our heart set. We have been translated from the dominion of darkness (sin) and brought into the Kingdom of God's son (Col 1:13). Sin can not be our master anymore. Our struggle is against sin, that is true, but we have ALREADY been given an ABUNDANT (more than sufficient) PROVISION (a commodity already ours, and/or at our disposal) OF GRACE, and OF THE GIFT OF RIGHTEOUSNESS. Sin is now an irritant that, like a grain of sand in an oyster, will produce a wonderful treasure in our lives. Because GRACE teaches us to say NO, and to LIVE in the way that pleases the Father. We can know, trust in, and rely upon the Abundant Provision of Grace, and in doing so we will no longer struggle as though we are destined for failure, but rather with great HOPE as one who has indeed been destined for success.
1 John 1:8-2:2 If we claim to be without sin, we deceive ourselves and the truth is not in us. If we confess our sins, he is faithful and just and will forgive us our sins and purify us from all unrighteousness. If we claim we have not sinned, we make him out to be a liar and his word has no place in our lives. My dear children, I write this to you so that you will not sin. But if anybody does sin, we have one who speaks to the Father in our defense--Jesus Christ, the Righteous One. He is the atoning sacrifice for our sins, and not only for ours but also for the sins of the whole world.
All we need to do is to keep our hearts quick to repent, to stay focused on God's Provision, and on His Word, and be quick to forgive, to be merciful.
By not claiming to be without sin, but rather acknowledging when we do sin, we are able to repent, to turn back to a commitment to the truth, and to living by the truth. The work of purification from unrighteousness is done by the Lord, we are merely responsible for acknowledging the truth in our heart and choosing to act upon it. He forgives us, and provides us with the ability to walk free of the unrighteousness.
This process of acknowledging that we have sinned is very important; it undoes the work of Satan. When we are tempted, we are being enticed to reject the Word of God, and to choose the word of Satan. Just like Eve, who was told "did God really say …" and "God knows that when you eat, you will be like Him..." and the scripture says "when Eve saw that the fruit was desirable …". This is a pattern that leads to death, but God has given us a pattern to restore us to a path that leads to Ever-Abundant Life. When we have sinned, we have turned away from the Truth, but when we acknowledge our sin, we are rejecting that path again, and are turning again to the Path that says "It is Written (God Really Said)"… and where we "See that the sin is Undesirable". We are able to then walk on that path, saying "God said" and I want it, and where we "See that God's Gifts and Call are desirable". We turn around from failure and guilt, to Love of God, and Hope in His Promises and Provision.
Father, we acknowledge to You that we sin, but Lord we accept the Higher testimony of Your Word, and of the Blood of Jesus (which speaks a higher word (of testimony)[Heb 12:24]) than our sin. We take to heart the reality that You have given us an abundant provision of Grace, and of the Free Gift of Righteousness. Lord we choose Your Way, we turn from sin and turn to You. We forgive others, as You have forgiven us, and we forgive ourselves as well. In the Name of Jesus. We rest in Your Provision. We will no longer condemn ourselves, but will instead acknowledge the sin, and reject the testimony of the enemy, and of the sin. Satan, in the Name of Jesus, I allow your words, thoughts, imaginations, and attitudes no place in me. I allow the Word of God, and the Mind of Christ and the testimony of the Blood of Jesus, full place in my heart and life, in the Name of Jesus. Sin shall not be my master; I will reign in life through Jesus Christ. I am not under the Law, but am under Grace, the Law of the Spirit of Life has set me free from the law of sin and death in Jesus. Thank You Lord!
All verses are from the New International Version (NIV) unless otherwise noted.