As anyone reading this blog lately can tell, I’ve been thinking about holiness and sin a lot lately. I guess it’s the one year anniversary that is making me ponder this so much…knowing from whence I came and where I am still tempted and where I still fail.
I’ve also been listening to a message on Humility by C.J. Mahaney all week which I guess has primed me to respond in a more intense way to the thoughts the Lord is stirring up in me…and to what I’ve been reading.
Part of my morning readings has been in Romans (the past couple of days in chapters 6-8)…and then there is the ever faithful Elisabeth Elliot devotions and Daily Light.
This is what I read this morning:
The Fruit of Forgiveness
Every day I am forgiven for many sins of many kinds, and although on the one hand forgiveness seems such an impossible thing (but grace is greater than all my sin), on the other hand I receive it often without wonder and nearly always without offering any "fruit."
When the Lord punished Israel, Isaiah wrote: "Only then can the fruit of his forgiveness be shown: they must smash their stone altars into pounded chalk" (Is 27:9 JBP).
When I acknowledge a specific sin, it is a good thing to do something specific to demonstrate my determination to forsake it. Smash an altar, sacrifice an hour of sleep or a meal (if the sin has been, e.g., failure to do what I want to do "because I haven't time"), write a note of apology to one sinned against, make restitution in some way for a wrong. To arise and obey in such a particular act is an appropriate sign of the genuineness of my repentance--the fruit of forgiveness.
The death he died he died to sin, once for all, but the life he lives he lives to God.
He . . . was numbered with the transgressors.—Christ, having been offered once to bear the sins of many.—He himself bore MY sins in his body on the tree, that I might die to sin and live to righteousness. By his wounds I have been healed. (WHEW! Can’t read that today without getting choked up!)—By a single offering he has perfected for all time those who are being sanctified.— Consequently, he is able to save to the uttermost those who draw near to God through him, since he always lives to make intercession for them.—Since therefore Christ suffered in the flesh, arm yourselves with the same way of thinking, for whoever has suffered in the flesh has ceased from sin, so as to live for the rest of the time in the flesh no longer for human passions but for the will of God.
Even more reminders of the truths the Lord revealed yesterday…sin is not an inevitability for the believer. When I read words like “die to sin and live to righteousness” “uttermost” “ceased to sin” I know that though temptation is certain… I do not have to give in…EVER…because he “lives to make intercession for” me! Jesus had His cross…which for the joy set before him (our salvation and fellowship) he bore with joy. My cross, which He commanded I take up daily (to do as Paul says and die daily), is to live in this world surrounded by temptation, desiring to seek my own and have my way, and deny myself and follow (obey, submit to and chose to honor) Him…in all my ways…not just in a few things…not just in the easy stuff…not just by going to church or NOT doing things on a certain list…across the board, even into the inward parts…even when no one is looking…and especially when it is hard.
Sounds impossible, right?
It is…for with man it is impossible, but with God…WITH GOD…ALL things are possible…most especially holiness because He wills it!
Lord, make me holy as you are holy. Hear my cry and have your way. Bring the dross to the top and scoop it away, sift me that the chaff might float away in the breeze never to return. Continue to humble me and make me smaller in my own sight…I must decrease and you must increase! For your glory and by your power…have your way, Lord! And give me faith to stand regardless!