My sin and the power of the Gospel!

Posted February 16, 2012 by Carlos
Categories: Christian

This morning I sinned.

Suffice it to say that I may have been impatient, may have lusted in my heart, gotten angry, or said an unkind word to someone. I may have been judgmental or self-righteous. Perhaps I pouted in the presence of God and grumbled against him over my morning doughnut not being as good as I am used to.

For purposes of this post it matters little what my sin was.

Like all of you reading this post I suffer from a weak flesh. Meaning that I am all too prone to fall into some sin that gets the best of me at times.

Intentionally chosen sin. Where I knew that the Lord was displeased with what I was falling into but where I did it anyway.

Perhaps you can relate to that.

But this post is not about my sin as much as it is about the power, real power, of the Gospel.

I want the Lord to use my experience of today to help others who find themselves falling into sin and who like me might fall into the further sin of self-condemnation.

You see after my sin I felt unworthy of being called a Christian. While you may think that such a feeling might be the product of some horrendous sin of a kind that would prompt such self-loathing, in the eyes of the world, it’s no big deal. But that is how I felt.

I know something of the holiness of God and any sin, however insignificant in the eyes of others, matters to God.

So there I was feeling unworthy of being called by His fair name. Walking down the street beating up on myself with my head in the gutter so to speak.

For some reason, unlike at other times when I have chosen to fall into some sin, it dawned on me that I was no more worthy today than I was on the day I gave my life to the Lord and became a Christian.

In my natural self, that I am indeed utterly unworthy and that I will always be unworthy of calling myself a Christian. You read that right. In my natural self.

But the Lord did not call me through the Gospel to be His because I am worthy.  He called me through the Gospel to be His because He loves me!!  He saw my need for forgiveness and drew me to Himself through the Gospel message for no other reason than that He wanted to.  I was lost in sin and wandering aimlessly in the realm of self-righteousness until God broke through to my hardened heart and made me His own.

As I walked along to the McDonald’s that I frequent, where I get my morning cup of coffee, I asked the Lord in view of His love having reached out to save me through the Gospel, to speak to me through my bible reading (I look forward to reading the Word over a cup of coffee not the least of which is because the Lord almost invariably speaks to me through what I read).

And as usual He did!

Before I get into what He laid on my heart through my reading I want you to understand something.

What I am about to share with you is not just intellectual in scope.  It is much deeper than that.  It goes beyond the intellect to the core of my being.  What He said reached down to my spirit, captivated me, and held me to gaze upon Jesus all day long.

The sweet and wonderful presence of the Lord was with me all day long till this very minute.  His presence lifted me up and kept me up.  It allowed me to overcome my more normal reaction to the mundane activities of every day life where I get frustrated at having to do things that in and of themselves seem completely meaningless to me.  Sleeping, eating, taking a shower, walking to and from places, wandering around in the aisles of Walmart looking for just the right kind of garbage bag to help keep my stuff dry from the rain that has descended on the San Diego area.  The more my life is consumed by such activities the more frustrated I usually get.

Today I even had to stand under a bus shelter for who knows how long while waiting for the seemingly unending rain to stop or at least slow down enough to allow me to make it to the next overhang or place of dryness.   I normally hate having to “waste” time like that (though today I feasted, I mean FEASTED, in my spirit under that shelter as I prayed over what the Lord had laid on my heart and conversed with the Lord)!

You see I have always wanted to do something great with my life.  Yet I find myself in these, my later years in life, having accomplished little in both the Kingdom of God and even in the world.  Stuck in circumstances that I can’t seem to get out of.  Unable to break free into the usefulness that I have longed for.  Often wanting to die and be done with it rather having to endure another day of just surviving.

For me, personally, there is nothing worse than feeling stuck.  Of feeling that my life has little significance.  That there is no way out into a far more desirable plane of existence where I am having a massive impact in the lives of others.  Where I am significant.  Where I count for something.

I often feel like a has been.  Like life has passed me by.  Like I have made choices in life that have caused me to miss out.  Like I will, to the day of my death, be a man who desires to do far more with his life than he ever ends up accomplishing and who will go to his grave wondering what could have been.

Don’t get me wrong.  The Lord is in my life and often helps me overcome those feelings.  But they come nevertheless from time to time and it is a constant struggle for me to keep my head held high in Christ.  To look to Him and to be content in my relationship to Him.

Today…well, let’s just say there was no struggle about it.  It was relatively easy to walk in the Spirit.  I floated along, basking in His Presence with nary a passing evil thought lodging itself into my heart or spirit.   It was like there was a shield around my heart.

Let me now share with you what the Lord shared with me.  You are going to have to bear with me as I lay it out.  Perhaps you too, if you grasp the implications of what I share, will come to experience the Lord as I did today!

One of the first things that struck me was the following verse…

Mark 14:38

Watch and pray so that you will not fall into temptation. The spirit is willing, but the flesh is weak.

The spirit is willing but the flesh is weak.  This is very similar to something else Paul said in Romans.

Romans 6:19 (NIV 1984)

I put this in human terms because you are weak in your natural selves.

In Romans Paul had been speaking about how Christians have been set free from sin and have become slaves to righteousness (right doing and right thinking).   That though this is true that we do not always see this in our practice because we are so weak in our natural selves that we do not always end up walking triumphantly in the strength of God to be all that He says we have become in the spirit.

Practical and consistent holiness takes time to develop as we grow in our faith and learn to walk out what God says He has made us to be in the new birth.

With that in mind I kept reading. About the arrest of Jesus, His trial (if you can call it that), Peter’s betrayal, and ultimately His crucifixion.

After Jesus was crucified and was put in a tomb with a large stone rolled over the entrance…

Mark 16:1

…Mary Magdalene, Mary the mother of James, and Salome bought spices so that they might go to anoint Jesus’ body. … when they looked up, they saw that the stone, which was very large, had been rolled away. As they entered the tomb, they saw a young man dressed in a white robe sitting on the right side, and they were alarmed.

“Don’t be alarmed,” he said. “You are looking for Jesus the Nazarene, who was crucified. He has risen! He is not here.

What particularly struck me about this passage was this.

The women were looking for Jesus in the natural. Their eyes were focused on the natural body of Jesus. A body that had been crucified and that had died.

But, and this is key, the natural body of Jesus was no longer where they expected His body to be. He had been raised from the dead and was no longer there!

Let me ask you…and I am speaking to those of you who are believers and not just Christian in name only, what happened to us when we became Christians?

2 Timothy 2:11

If we died with him, we will also live with him;

Romans 6:5

If we have been united with him like this in his death, we will certainly also be united with him in his resurrection.

Galatians 2:20

I have been crucified with Christ and I no longer live, but Christ lives in me. The life I live in the body, I live by faith in the Son of God, who loved me and gave himself for me.

We died with Jesus on that cross!!

Let me say that again. We, that is to say our natural selves, that part of us which is the natural self without the Spirit, the seat of indwelling sin and sinful tendencies, died on the cross with Jesus.

It died!

Dead.

Dead as a door nail.

Ever seen a dead, lifeless body? That’s us on the cross.

But that’s not all. What is true of Jesus in His resurrection is true of us as well.

We shared in His death on the cross that we might share in His life. Not that we might share in His life only in the end but also in the present!

Romans 6:10-11 [Amplified Bible]

For by the death He died, He died to sin [ending His relation to it] once for all; and the life that He lives, He is living to God [in unbroken fellowship with Him].

Even so consider yourselves also dead to sin and your relation to it broken, but alive to God [living in unbroken fellowship with Him] in Christ Jesus.

The biggest single hindrance to our walk with God is NOT, NOT, NOT that we fall into sin!! It is that we do not see ourselves as in Him at all times.

We are in fact in Him at all times! What is true of Jesus is true of us. Read the verses above for yourselves again, carefully. I am not making this up.

We have standing with God at all times because of Jesus. We never lose that standing any more than Jesus can lose it!

We are righteous before God our Father because of Jesus. We can never be condemned as sinners any more than Jesus can be condemned as such any longer.

He was condemned once for all time on the cross never to be condemned again!

What is true of Him is true of us in Him.

Just before Jesus died on the cross He cried out…

Mark 15:34 [Amplified Bible]

And at the ninth hour Jesus cried with a loud voice, Eloi, Eloi, lama sabachthani?–which means, My God, My God, why have You forsaken Me [ deserting Me and leaving Me helpless and abandoned]?

The cry of Jesus to His Father asking why He had been forsaken was not a cry of unbelief. An expression of feeling that He was abandoned as a result of a lack of faith on His part.

It was an expression of fact. God the Father had indeed forsaken Him when He became our sin offering and took our place on that cross and before God. He became everything that was displeasing to God. He became unclean. Like filthy rags in eyes of God the Father.

He became unfit to be God’s Son!

He became the unworthy one that I often feel myself to be! Do you get it?

He became our shame. Our self-loathing. Our self-disgust. Our sense of failure. Our foolishness.

That we might become all of Him. All that is best in Him through the new birth.

We traded the rags of our sinfulness for His spotless perfection. He became poor that we might become rich in Him. He suffered separation from God the Father that we might never have to suffer that separation ourselves.

Hebrews 13:5

Keep your lives free from the love of money and be content with what you have, because God has said,  “Never will I leave you; never will I forsake you.”

He is the key to the Christian life!

We will never enter in the fullness of what we are meant to be in Him if like the women who went to the tomb that day, we continue to look at our natural selves and only our natural selves. If we continue to focus on that which our natural self does in our continued sinning.

We are no longer here!

We have instead been raised in Christ to be with Him at the right hand of God the Father. Like Jesus then we have risen from the dead in Him and have been raised up with Christ to be seated with Him in the heavenly realms.

Colossians 3:1-3 [NIV 1984]

Since, then, you have been raised with Christ, set your hearts on things above, where Christ is seated at the right hand of God. Set your minds on things above, not on earthly things. For you died, and your life is now hidden with Christ in God.

I have died. There is no longer anything unworthy about calling myself a Christian. The me that was indeed unworthy died with Christ when He died. I died in Jesus. I was on that cross with Him. Suffering what He suffered in my place that I might never have to endure the wrath of God on my sin. God dealt with Jesus as He would have dealt with me if Jesus had not offered Himself for me, in my place.

This is what made a huge difference to me today.

I am significant in Him. What is true of Him is true of me.

I no longer live but He lives in me. He is me as much as I have become Him. United in spirit. One with Him as He is one with the Father.

John 17:22-23

I have given them the glory that you gave me, that they may be one as we are one: I in them and you in me. May they be brought to complete unity to let the world know that you sent me and have loved them even as you have loved me.

I can rest in who I have become in Him. I can let Jesus carry me along as He walks along through me. Doing what He may will to do.

I can see through His eyes, sense His heart, open myself to being all of Him in complete surrender to who He is in me.

This not some crazy theory. It is fact.

And if today is any indication it is also the way to greater holiness and peace. Consistent joy in the spirit.

Anything less than all of Him in all of me is less than all that He wants to be in me.

I feasted in the heavenly realm today. I rode with Jesus in the chariot of His triumphal procession. I tasted a side of heaven on Earth that is the destiny of every Christian. A fullness that can only be had in Him.

All of Him in all of me.

And all of me in Him.

As it was meant to be.

Carlos

PS.  I do not claim to have as full of an understanding as one can have in any of this so if you see something that you consider to be less than Scriptural in what I have said or have anything to add to what I said please feel free to speak up and let us know your thoughts on the matter.