Spiritual Truth You Can Depend On

Filed under Discipleship, Holiness, Nature of God, Salvation, Truth

Always Something There to Remind Me

A part of the problem of looking into philosophical concerns is that the questions they raise become questions that encompass areas of our lives that we hadn’t intended. The problem of the presence of evil becomes the personal failing of sin in my life. The question begins with the seeming paradox between a benevolent God and the evil we see in the world around us. Is God unable to prevent sin? How then can He be omnipotent? Is God unwilling to prevent evil? How then is He not malicious? If He is both able and willing; how can evil exist? With slight modification, this way of thinking seeps into my own private musings about the person I know myself to be.

Is there any sin in my life? Of course there is. I act in wrong ways; I think impure thoughts and plot the methods to gain the things I know are not in the light of glorification to God. But I am one who has been saved by the grace of God in the sacrificial death of Jesus of Nazareth at the cross on Calvary; why do I still sin? Is God not able to remove the sinfulness from me? Does God not care? What’s the deal? I have to believe that there is a bigger picture than my limited philosophy can see; something else going on. We often make the mistake of thinking that the ways of God must make sense to us when we have not the capacity to understand the simplest things of God.

The problem I am describing is similar to the problem of quoting Scripture out of context, or incompletely. To have any chance of understanding the Word of God, His Bible, we must keep all of it in play at all times. We cannot hang on the parts of theology that teach mercy and forgiveness without also balancing those with God’s vengefulness and wrath. It is improper to look at the sin in our lives without the realization that there are bigger reasons for what is allowed in our lives than those which we may be able to comprehend in our short-sightedness. If I look at the sin in my life as though it were a closed system of study, then I miss the reality that there are other factors that must be considered.

By faith in Jesus I have been set free and am no longer a slave to sin; the Bible says so. Why then, doesn’t the propensity toward sin disappear? Our humanity predisposes us to err in judgment and to act in ways that are in anything but our own best self-interest. In thinking about this issue I have had shown to me a light, which while not excusing my part in my own problems, may illuminate a little of the bigger picture that I am but a small part of. The solution must begin with the sure knowledge that nothing reaches us but that it first is considered by the will of God. The next stop is in knowing that what God allows is ultimately for the benefit of His chosen people; so what next?

Consider the opposing ends of the spectrum when it comes to the enduring problem of sin in our lives. First, what if we were never saved in the first place? If we had never been convicted by the Holy Spirit and brought to the knowledge of the will of God in our lives, we would be sinning just as the world does, without regard for the offense it is toward God, or the desire to do anything about it. We would be mere cosmological accidents rushing headlong towards an oblivion which makes every action, thought and intension basically meaningless. It wouldn’t matter what we did because in the end we all return to the vacuous nothingness of the universe. Without a standard of moral rightness, any proper action we might stumble into would only be an accident. Just as a broken clock is afforded the opportunity to be correct twice a day, even the lost occasionally get it right.

It is only the law of God that teaches us that we are sinners. It is the moral standard that allows us to see how far we are from keeping to it. Without the law there is no sin. If we are only animals, doing what animals naturally do, why should we be judged for it? It is no more sensible that condemning water because it is wet, or gravity for making things fall to the earth. If we are natural beings only, then we should have a pass for doing the stupid things that natural beings do. But God has given us the law and He has explained that we are to act in certain ways, ways we name as moral. Why can’t we do the simple things we are told we are to do? It’s our nature.

Now consider Christians on their walk of salvation. Knowing the distinction between right and wrong we strive to do the right things and avoid the wrong. This is something that even the Apostle Paul had trouble maintaining, (Romans 7), and no sooner than we set out to do the right thing, evil is there to confuse even our best efforts. We have our good days, make no mistake about that, but then before we know it we are back in the mire from which we had been lifted. Since we were made clean in the blood of Jesus, why can’t we stay clean? Is God unable to keep us that way or doesn’t He care? There must be something going on that gets too easily overlooked.

The humble often turn into pious hypocrites and the devout become abusive in their righteous indignation. If we never were revisited by the sinfulness in our lives we might soon begin to think that anything we did, no matter how absurd it was, was God’s will in our lives because we would be operating under the deluded opinion that God had made sin impossible for us. Do we see churches that blaspheme the principles of Christianity for the sake of some misguided idea of piety? Are there quasi-religious factions compounding the grief of those who have lost loved ones because of the life-style choices of the departed? Does compassion get forced into submission for the sake of literal religiosity? Did Jesus say that He forgave sin for everyone except THAT guy?

We all tend to want to live on the hill-top but our growth only occurs in the valley. Our sin drives us to seek out the hill-top experiences and our folly takes us back down into the mire. If I live continually in my sin, then it becomes acceptably normal, if I never see my sin then I can get prideful and stumble. We must rely on God to set us on the hill-tops of our lives and to resist the forces that want to knock us off. Our descent into the mire proves our weakness, and the rise to the next hill-top proves God’s grace.

Every born-again Christian can look hopefully forward to the day when we can live in a sin-less world, the new heaven and earth; now we have to struggle in the fallen world God has graciously allowed us to be a part of. Our struggle with sin, with even repeated sin, is the chisel that is shaping the people of God into the people we need to be. The sculptor when asked how he makes a statue of a horse answers, “I start with a block of stone and then chip off everything that isn’t a horse;” God uses our sin, even our repeated sin, to chip off the parts of our stony heart that aren’t a part of the likeness of Christ that He is making us to be. We have to be patient, teachable and willing to be molded into the likeness God desires of us, a likeness which is intended to be…

All for the Glory of Christ

A Cup?

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