Thursday, September 02, 2010

Faith in Action (pt. 2)

Have you ever noticed that no matter how much you desire to be free of it, sins tentacles have a lock tight hold in all kinds of areas of your life? It has been my desire, and is still my desire to be totally free from sin. Sin is insidious. It entices and toys with you, and then when you give into temptation, becomes a sticky, stinking cesspool, from which you cannot seem to fully escape. It's mire of guilt clings to every pour of your flesh.

After a while, you grow to hate your sin. You detest it. But you can't escape it. Paul called it "this body of death" in Romans 7. The illusion seems to be to a particular practice of justice, once done. Where a murderer, once convicted was bound naked, back to back with the victim, by tight binding arm to arm, leg to leg. Then the murder was sent out into the countryside, where he would search in vein for relief. After a while the corruption of the rotting dead corpse would spread into his flesh, and after a while of living rot, he would die a painful death.

Paul, looking at his own reality stated: "I am of the flesh, sold under sin. [15] For I do not understand my own actions. For I do not do what I want, but I do the very thing I hate. [16] Now if I do what I do not want, I agree with the law, that it is good. [17] So now it is no longer I who do it, but sin that dwells within me. [18] For I know that nothing good dwells in me, that is, in my flesh. For I have the desire to do what is right, but not the ability to carry it out. " (7:14-18).

It seems that saints throughout all history have felt this way. In Psalm 38, David recorded his expereince, "there is no health in my bones because of my sin.[4] For my iniquities have gone over my head; like a heavy burden, they are too heavy for me. [5] My wounds stink and fester because of my foolishness, [6] I am utterly bowed down and prostrate; all the day I go about mourning. [7] For my sides are filled with burning, and there is no soundness in my flesh. [8] I am feeble and crushed; I groan because of the tumult of my heart." (Psalm 38:3-8).

And here is the power of faith. As I argued in part one, faith is not an external airy fairy thing, but rather, "faith is the assurance of things hoped for, the conviction of things not seen. "(Heb 11:1).

When my wife says she loves me, I can't see yer love. But I know my wife, so I have a confident assurance, that she is telling me the truth. I have a conviction based on who she is.

God is trustworthy. I know him. He keeps the stars in their course faithfully. He brings the seasons, faithfully. He promised freedom from sin. He promises redemption, "we are God's children now, and what we will be has not yet appeared; but we know that when he appears1 we shall be like him, because we shall see him as he is." (1 John 3:2). This is a restoration to the way we were creates, "In the image of God" (Gen 1:27).

I trust God
I trust his promises
made through Christ
and in the Scriptures.

Christ promised: "if the Son sets you free, you will be free indeed" (John 8:36).
The Scriptures make plain: "We know that our old self was crucified with him in order that the body of sin might be brought to nothing, so that we would no longer be enslaved to sin. [7] For one who has died has been set free from sin." (Rom 6:6-7).

In Paul's words, "Wretched man that I am! Who will deliver me from this body of death? [25] Thanks be to God through Jesus Christ our Lord!" (Romans 7:24-25).

Now the obvious question is, "who cares?" Faith in Action, is the confidence that you will overcome sin? What about practical things? For every person who has ever suffered the guilt of the enslavement of sin, no other deliverance can be preferred. If death or poverty was the price for overcoming sin, I would gladly submit.

But there is no price. There is only promise. God promises, for all those who put their hope and trust in Christ, that we shall be free of sin. Thank Christ.

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