Saturday, October 24, 2009

The more I know God's love letters to us (Bible), the more I struggle

with understanding my sins against Him.

Martin Luther's Quote: The great difference between doctrine and life is obvious, even as the difference between heaven and earth. Life may be unclean, sinful, and inconsistent; but doctrine must be pure, holy, sound, unchanging ... not a tittle or letter may be omitted, however much life may fail to meet the requirements of doctrine. This is so because doctrine is God's Word, and God's truth alone, whereas life is partly our own doing.... God will have patience with man's moral failings and imperfections and forgive them. But He cannot, will not, and shall not tolerate a man's altering or abolishing doctrine itself. For doctrine involves His exalted, divine Majesty itself (WA, 30 111, 343 f.)

We all are still sinners because we still make mistakes.It is just that people do not so willingly acknowledge that fact (for an example, Christians are divided by sin through errors). The sins of the godly are worse than others, because they bring a greater reproach upon Christianity. Sin is still here. It is just that people do not so willingly acknowledge that fact. A sin is two sins when it is defended.All sin, not least sexual sin, begins with the imagination. Therefore what feeds the imagination is of maximum importance in the pursuit of kingdom righteousness (Phil. 4:8). Though sinning itself is bad enough, denying sin is an additional sin, so that those who deny sin are actually double sinners.

The first degree (of temptation) relates to the mind – it is dragged away from its duties by the deceit of sin. The second aims at the affections – they are enticed and entangled. The third overcomes the will – the consent of the will is the conception of actual sin. The fourth degree disrupts our way of life as sin is born into it. The fifth is the flesh’s goal, a hardened life of sin, which leads to eternal death (James 1:14-15). Our life as a Christian is seemingly full of Christ and there is no room for self, but an aggressive sin comes in and wiggles his way in, crowding out Christ just a little bit. We give place to this sin and soon another does the same thing. Sin by sin, error by error, selfishness by selfishness, the backsliding continues until you are virtually empty of Christ and full of self. The root of our sinfulness is the desire for our own happiness apart from God and apart from the happiness of others in God. Especially when you desire something that is contrary to God's will. Sin dwells in hell, and holiness in heaven. Remember that every temptation is from the devil, to make you like himself. Remember when you sin, that you are learning and imitating of the devil. Sin is what you do when you are not satisfied in God. Sin arises when things that are a minor good are pursued as though they were the most important goals in life. If money or affection or power are sought in disproportionate, obsessive ways, then sin occurs. No matter where it ends, sin always begins when an evil thought is sown in the mind and heart. Sin in the mind goes to work in the emotions which incites the will, which yields the act.

As a result of grace, we have been saved from sin’s penalty. One day we will be saved from sin’s presence. In the meantime we are being saved from sin’s power.When we sin as Christians, we do not sin as slaves, but as individuals with the freedom of choice. We sin because we choose to sin. When our flesh and mind wants to know God, the flesh imposes ignorance, darkness, error and trivial thoughts. The truth is, our evil desires are constantly searching out temptations to satisfy their insatiable lusts (James 1:14).The Believer’s Warfare are internal, with the flesh- Gal. 5:17; Not after the flesh- 2 Cor. 10:3; with the armor of light- Rom. 13:12; external, with the world- John 16:33; not by resistance but submission- James 4:7; with the armor of righteousness- 2 Cor. 6:7; infernal, with the devil- Eph.6:12; with the whole armor of God- Eph. 6:13

Jesus saves us from our sins. He saves us from the guilt of sin, by washing us in His own atoning blood. He saves us from the dominion of sin, by putting in our hearts the sanctifying Spirit. He saves us from the presence of sin, when He takes us out of this world to rest with Him. He will save us from all the consequences of sin (including future ones), when He shall give us a glorious body at the last day (resurrection day or eternal life). . When God’s grace changes our nature (from old to new), it doesn’t change the nature of the flesh. Once regenerated, we are delivered from the penalty of sin and from the authoritative power of sin, but not from the continued presence and influence of sin. Sin is no longer reigning, but it is remaining. The Christian life is a war, and the fiercest battles are those hat rage within the heart of every believer. Our new birth radically and permanently changes our sinful nature, but it does not immediately liberate that nature for all of the remnants of sin. Birth is followed by growth, and that growth involves warfare. We are in spiritual warfare. Anything that springs from self, however small it may be, is sin. We are not simply sinners because we sin; we sin because we are sinners. Indwelling sin remains in us even though it has been dethroned by Jesus Christ. And though it has been overthrown and weakened, its nature has not changed. Sin is still hostile to God and cannot submit to His law (Romans 8:7). Although sin no longer rules us, we still are naturally sinful. God considers us righteous and credits us with the spotless record of Christ, but we still do sin. In fact, the battle with our indwelling sin starts at our conversion. Through justification we are declared righteous, and it is at this point that our sanctification – our growing in sanctification (holiness) – begins.

The atonement is the work of God from beginning to end. God alone provides the means of salvation through the incarnation, life, death, and resurrection of Christ; through the call of God for all to repent and don't reject; and through the God-given restoration. God wants our hearts more than He wants us to follow rules. If we give our hearts to God, then we will know what is sinful and what is not sinful. One of the greatest examples I have learn is from Lot's wife. Lot's wife died when she looked back. Looking back means you rely on flesh's desires more than God's commands and desires.

When I became a Christian, I understand a spiritual process begins in my life in the process of sanctification in which Paul refers to it as "inner man being renewed day by day." The Bible explains the promise of God that when I am saved, the sanctification process begins. There is a continual working of the Holy Spirit in my life that renews that believer from one level to another level spiritually to be conformed to the image of Jesus Christ. During my sanctification over the years, I have faced groanings in my life, and longing to be delivered from sin and the debilitating power of temptations. I need to look into God’s gracious means of sanctification are revealed to us in Scripture. I understand that there is no sanctifying power in human intuition, there is no sanctifying power in insight and also there is no sanctifying power in experience. It is all in the Scripture with the help from Holy Spirit. Only the truth of God revealed in Scripture sanctifies through sound teaching accurately interpreted, understood, applied. And as I embrace the truth, I progress spiritually. By doing that, my Christian life is no longer defined by my theology because it is defined by my adoration and passion for God. All my biblical knowledge has introduced Him to me and now I’ve engaged in a communion with Him that has deepened. I don’t want to be ignorant about great truth. I don’t want to be ignorant about it because I want to be able to thanking God for everything He’s done.

Grace is we live in the Spirit AND also walk in the Spirit. The Holy Spirit dwells in us with all the power and gifts of God, necessary to enable us to walk the noble, spiritual, Son-like life with God. Many Christians seem to understand the concept of being saved by grace, but they have missed the concept of being sustained by grace.

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