Friday, October 7, 2011

The Nature of Sin

Over the past few days I have been reading Oswald Chambers devotionals on the Nature of Sin, Redemption and Reconciliation and there is such a richness about this, I couldn't help but write about what I am reading. Forgive me if I have said any of these things before. This is a new spiritual year for us and I think it is good to remember the foundational things of God in our lives. Our salvation hinges upon the things he writes about here.

I think it is important to understand what the "Nature of Sin" is. We have to come to terms with where we are at in our agreement with God. Sometime, somewhere, there is a time for us to examine ourselves and see where we stand with God. Whether you have done that recently or sometime in the past, it must be done. There is a day of judgment and you will be required to account for your words and deeds.

Everything we do is based upon the one point of whether we are in agreement with God or not. Either God is the creator of our life and we submit ourselves to His control or we don't. That decision and the living out of that decision determines our destiny. It is a decision that confronts us every day, several times a day. We are in perpetual motion towards that day of reckoning with God. It is inevitable that we will arrive at that time and place. No one can escape this place in time.

So there are some things we need to understand. One of them is what is the "Nature of Sin". What makes me do what I do? Why do I sin? What can I do about it?

Three days ago Oswald's devotional talked about the origin of that "Nature of Sin" and it was plain to see that we can be easily deceived into thinking we are the gods of our own lives and the destruction which follows after. We tend to live our lives without thought of what we are doing, as it pertains to the whole picture of God, and who He is. We get up; go to work, start our day and live our lives based upon what we were taught to do. We barely think about the things we habitually do each day. Our lives are filled up with what we want to do and most often that does not contain the mind of God. It contains our mind, our will and our abilities to decide things for ourselves.

However, that thinking and habit  is the "Nature of Sin".

Oswald says that the "Nature of Sin" is "my claim to my right to myself" and that the attitude of “I am my own god” is what separates me from a relationship with God. I desperately need a saving relationship with God. I am condemned when I refuse to be in reality and see God, recognize that He is Lord of my life and try to hide from all that is revealed by Him. We call a right relationship with God "walking in the light" because He is the light of the world. He says, "Condemnation comes when I realize that Jesus Christ came to deliver me from this heredity of sin, and yet I refuse to let Him do so".

In order for me to be saved from this "Nature of Sin" I inherited, I have to be redeemed. I cannot redeem myself. I can't work my way out of it because I have no control over it. I can try to fight it, grit my teeth and be as good as I can, but it will never be good enough to redeem myself. Even if I could, it would eliminate the need for God and especially Jesus Christ. His whole existence would be nothing but a waste of time if I were able to redeem and save myself. 

No, there is no getting around the fact that there is a "Nature of Sin" in which I "... had no say or decision; I am not holy, nor am I likely to be; and if all Jesus Christ can do is tell me that I must be holy, His teaching only causes me to despair." He must do a work in me of redemption. He is the only One who can replace that "Nature of Sin" with "His Nature". I must agree with God that the "Nature of Sin" has been judged and dealt with on the cross. 

Once I am reconciled to the fact that I cannot change the "Nature of Sin", I can then agree with God that it must be redeemed in me. I can then see my need for reconciliation and redemption. Unless there is that need burning within me, I am not able to be redeemed. A hopelessness of changing on my own must come to light. I must be able to see, in the light of God bringing me to reality, that I am desperately lost and in need of His very life. His life, the very essence of God himself, must replace that "Nature of Sin". It is my act of obedience to believe, trust and hold on to the reality of redemption working life in me through faith in Jesus Christ. The life he possesses becomes the redeeming power, I need, to change me into a new creation. (Romans 5:12-19)
Redemption means that I can be delivered from the "Nature of Sin". Through Jesus Christ I can receive a pure and spotless heredity, namely, the Holy Spirit.

It is a wrong relationship that condemns us and keeps us in sin. It is our "deliberate and determined independence from God" that keeps us trapped in the nature of sin. That relationship is what Jesus dealt with when He walked this earth. It was the "Nature of Sin" He looked at and said repent and follow Me. Repentance was the key to redeeming the relationship and being reconciled to God. It was through Jesus Christ that reconciliation was completed.

The power of the Christian gospel is weak in that we forget that the "Nature of Sin" must be dealt with and not just sinful actions or deeds. Sinful actions and deeds are the result of having a "Nature of Sin". Jesus identified Himself with us and the "Nature of Sin" in order to redeem the entire human race. He completed the work that He was sent to do on the cross and took with Him the "Nature of Sin" to death. The "Nature of Sin" died with Him on the cross. We were set free from that nature and given the opportunity to receive a new nature. That nature of Life through the work of Jesus Christ as the sole basis of our redemption.

We can now experience reconciliation with God and become one with Him. A place in our spirit had to be emptied for us to receive such a reconciliation. The "Nature of Sin" filled it before but now it can be filled with the Life of God. We can receive grace to live the life of Christ and be holy. What an awesome work! What an awesome God! 

What is your response to all that? Can you believe that and receive that new nature of God? Or will you dismiss it and choose to remain in control of your life? Either way you have a decision to make. Every day when you wake up you have to decide what you will do with that fact. You can flee evil and follow Christ or you can flee from God and follow your own opinions and thoughts. Each one has it's own reward. Each one is available for you to choose. The choice is yours. Life or Death.

And so you don't deceive yourself into thinking that you have all the time in the world to make that decision, consider that while you are in the process of deciding to choose God and Life you are living in the decision and choice of the "Nature of Sin" and Death. Just saying . . .

Saturday, October 1, 2011

ATTENTION: Choose Wisely

In a recent post by Shammah [CLICK HERE] a statement he made about the Communist underground movement reported by a congressman was this, "Today, however, no one is shocked at such awful advice. It’s now the American way to live, ...". This statement was made in regard to the way people were living in California and how Americans in general live today.

When I was growing up in the 50's and 60's this communist agenda was going on and we did not know that it was even an agenda. We were impressed with information from newspapers, magazines, radio, movies, television (B&W) and what we were taught in school. It never crossed our minds to check out what was being said. We trusted that our parents and teachers, the media and all those in higher places were being careful and taking care to direct us in a moral and righteous way. 

It is obvious to us now that even though we thought those things and those who were influencing us were not as aware as we thought. I can't directly blame them for what influenced me but they are responsible for what they passed along to us. They will be held accountable for what they knew. I hate to think that most of them were not paying attention to what was going on or even knew at all what the communist party was doing in America.

Understand that I am not a patriot or flag waver, I am concerned about what my children and others around me are receiving with regard to the truth. The truth is that many things are happening under our noses that we are not aware of. These things are spiritual in nature and are manifested in the physical realm through the actions of those that are either purposely carrying out this agenda or unconsciously passing along what they believe to be true.

So, what am I saying? What is the point of this raving?

I'm saying we need to pay attention! We need to be serious about what we take in and consider to be true. We need to look more carefully at the information we accept from the news, Internet, email, TV, radio and in general, everyday conversation and rumor. I'm also saying we need to be careful how we communicate information as well. We are guilty of passing along false information without even knowing it is false. We do this by not being careful with what we receive. We react to an emotion created from the information we see or hear.

There is nowhere on this earth, that I know of, that we are not influenced by false information every day. Even our own mind will deceive us into thinking things about people and events that are not true. We trust what we perceive to be the truth. Our perception is not always what is the truth. It's just our perception of the truth. Think about how your mind thinks that a scary movie scene is real and you react with an emotional response. Your mind perceives the scene to be real and you respond. But, you know it is a movie yet you accept that the images and sounds on the screen are real. Shouldn't we pay attention and check out what we perceive to be the truth before going forward and acting upon it? 

YES! We should prove all things. But we don't.

As men and women of God we are especially needful of sound judgement. We have a responsibility to God as his children, to follow after those things he commands us to do. We have a responsibility to share those things of God that are honest and truthful to others as we evangelize, teach and shepherd those who need to give their lives to God as the body of Christ.Teachers hold a position of accountability for what they teach to others and will be judged for it. It is a wise things to prove what is true before teaching it to others.

We should be like the Bereans who "... received the word with all readiness of mind, and searched the scriptures daily, whether those things were so." Acts 17:11. They called upon God and were sensitive to His Spirit to check out the truth and reality of what was said about God. Paul wasn't offended but encouraged by their diligence and prudence as responsible people of God. What a great example for us to follow.

Paul says to the Romans "I beseech you therefore, brethren, by the mercies of God, that you present your bodies a living sacrifice, holy, acceptable to God, which is your reasonable service. And do not be conformed to this world, but be transformed by the renewing of your mind, that you may prove what is that good and acceptable and perfect will of God." Are we any less in need of this advice for today? I think we should be sober minded in things of such great importance.

When we were in Africa, we experienced the effects of well meaning Christians who were taught from evangelical missionaries many years ago. Their traditions were passed along to the people of that country and they gave them an evangelical gospel. However, the people needed a full gospel of God, in a sense that would equip them for the work of sharing their lives with one another and caring for those around them. They needed to see an example of how the church functions and not just a salvation message. Their traditions of loud boisterous shouting, charismatic singing, dancing and prayer left the indigenous people of that area with a partial picture of what they were to do. They were not able to enter into the fullness of Christ and his body.

Kingdom Hikers

When we shared several truths from the scriptures, their reactions were, "We thought that was true but we were not sure. Thank you for helping us understand what that means." They were excited and elated that God really did mean what was recorded and not what someone had dismissed with liberty to twist and traditionalize  the truth. They saw for themselves what God had said was true and found a new freedom to live out the life of Christ in a much fuller way.

Today, there are many who teach a false doctrine, a watered down, socialistic, greasy graceful gospel and call it the truth. There are many who bring prophesies about the end of the world, the rapture, the unconditional salvation of God and many more things which need to be proven. Don't just sit back, relax and enjoy the show. Get up and prove what is said and done. Be an active participant in the living out of this life we have. There are principalities, powers to be in spiritually dark places and demonic things that have captured the minds and wills of many people to do their bidding. We need to guard ourselves against them and turn our attention to walking in the light of the Truth.

As one radio celebrity used to say, "WAKE UP AMERICA!" and I follow with, "WAKE UP SLEEPER, ARISE FROM THE DEAD..." because your time is at hand to be delivered either into the hands of the enemy or into the hands of your Lord and Maker. It's your choice.