GRACE TO BE HONEST ABOUT OUR SIN

“I am not really that excited about grace. Why? Because I have convinced myself that I don’t really need the rescue and forgiveness that grace offers. And to the degree that I am able to work myself into believing that I am righteous, I have less esteem for the perfect righteousness of Christ, which is the only righteousness with which I can stand before God. [S]elf-righteousness stands in the way of that grace having functional and transformative value in my life” Paul David Tripp (ref#190, May 18th).

“Here was my functional theology of my life as a child of God: I knew that by grace I had been granted God’s forgiveness and I knew that I had been graced with an all-inclusive pass into eternity, but I thought that between now and then, my job was to just gut it out. It was my responsibility to identify sin, to cut it out of my life, and to give myself to living in a much better, more biblical way. I tried this, trust me; I tried it and found it didn’t work” Paul David Tripp (ref#190, Jan 7th).

“How foolish can you be? After starting your new lives in the Spirit, why are you now trying to become perfect by your own human effort” (Gal 3:3 NLT).

“[I]t is a right affection if we desire to do well; if we hate sin, though we falter, seeing our purpose is good; and if we strive to go forward in the fear of God and in obedience to his will. Jesus Christ then accounts us as though we were just; he frees us from all our faults and does not charge them to our account. The faithful, though they are not entirely perfect and though they have many sins, are considered to be God’s children. Jesus Christ considers it no dishonor that they are called by his name, for he causes the goodness that is in them and through his grace makes them acceptable to God” John Calvin (ref#164, Nov 10th).

“We must keep going back to His grace. Only the grace of God revealed in the gospel of Jesus Christ will give us the courage to get up again and keep on going even after we have failed for the umpteenth time. It is only grace that will allow us to be as honest about our sin as David was about his” Jerry Bridges (ref#192, p206).

 “[J]ust as you once presented your members as slaves to impurity and to lawlessness leading to more lawlessness, so now present your members as slaves to righteousness leading to sanctification” (Rom 6:19 ESV).

“Here is one of the most beautiful fruits of grace—a heart that is content, more given to worship than demand and more given to the joy of gratitude than the anxiety of want. It is grace and grace alone that can make this kind of peaceful living possible for each of us” Paul David Tripp (ref#190, Jan 6th).

“Make no allowance for sin, frame no excuses for inactivity, shrink from no cross, be disheartened by no difficulty, give place to no temptation, yield to no excessive grief” Octavius Winslow (ref#135, Mar 28th).

FORGIVEN SINNERS

“Blessed is the one whose transgression is forgiven, whose sin is covered. Blessed is the man against whom the LORD counts no iniquity, and in whose spirit there is no deceit” (Ps 32:1-2 ESV).

“[T]he psalm is about forgiven sinners, not about perfect people. [T]he righteous and the upright are not perfect. They are persons who confess their sin, hate it, and trust God for forgiveness and help” (ref#200, p214).

“Because I am a sinner, I need mercy, and because God is merciful, I can face the reality of my sin. Maybe it’s a thoughtless word, a selfish act, a prideful thought, a moment of envy, a flash of lust, a willing act of disobedience, an attitude of vengeance, or a minor moment of thievery. [W]e all give daily proof to the truth that sin still lives inside us. [I]t’s only when you admit how deep and comprehensive your problem is that you get excited about the rescue that only God’s mercy can supply” Paul David Tripp (ref#190, Jan 16th).

“The knowledge that we are sinners should not keep us from fighting for God’s truth. If the accusation of sin was enough to silence God’s children, no one would be left to herald his truth. Having confessed our sin we should not be afraid of calling our cause righteous and go forward in God’s strength” John Calvin (ref#164, Jan 27th). “[W]e are vindicated in the eyes of God” John Calvin (ref#164, Jan 28th)!

“[Y]ou must consider yourselves dead to sin and alive to God in Christ Jesus” (Rom 6:11 ESV).

Description: Macintosh HD:Users:geraldfaurote:Desktop:Screen Shot 2021-10-18 at 9.47.25 AM.png“[S]alvation through Jesus Christ has given us complete separation from the oppressive dominion of evil. We may be people who can still sin and most certainly do, but not because we are still in the grip of sin. We no longer live where we are forced to do what we do not want to do. If we often feel that way it is only because we have not learned how by faith to count ourselves as ‘dead to sin.’ Nor have we learned to no longer offer our bodies to sin, but to be slaves of righteousness.” Doug Newton (ref#166, p84).

“But thanks be to God, that you who were once slaves of sin have become obedient from the heart and, having been set free from sin, have become slaves of righteousness. For just as you once presented your members as slaves to impurity and to lawlessness leading to more lawlessness, so now present your members as slaves to righteousness leading to sanctification” (Rom 6:17-19 ESV).

TRUE CHRISTIAN OR FAUX?

HYPOCRITES

“To do righteousness and justice is more acceptable to the LORD than sacrifice” (Prov 21:3 ESV).

“…the whole world…is without excuse.  For if we scrutinize the intentions of men, we eventually understand that people carefully and anxiously seek various superstitions because they are unwilling to come before God and to devote themselves to him without deceit and hypocrisy.  Since it is so, all who desire to pacify God with their own ceremonies and other trifles cannot by any pretext escape judgment” John Calvin (ref#164, May 25th).

“God has clearly and distinctly prescribed what he requires of us, but the ungodly wish to be ignorant of this.  Hence their error is at all times willful….It is much easier to render to God anything other than a broken heart and an upright life.  Sacrifices are easily obtained…” John Calvin (ref#164, May 25th).  My note: I would have to acknowledge that anyone who will not read Scripture and pray on a regular basis “wishes to be ignorant.”

“It is obvious what kind of life develops out of trying to get your own way all the time: repetitive, loveless, cheap sex; a stinking accumulation of mental and emotional garbage; frenzied and joyless grabs for happiness;…paranoid loneliness; cutthroat competition; all-consuming-yet-never-satisfied wants; a brutal temper; an impotence to love or be loved; divided homes and divided lives; small-minded and lopsided pursuits; the vicious habit of depersonalizing everyone into a rival; uncontrolled and uncontrollable addictions…I could go on….If you use your freedom this way, you will not inherit God’s kingdom” (Gal 5:19-21 MSG).

“The whole purpose of our salvation is that we be ‘holy and blameless in his sight’ (Eph 1:4).  To continue to live in sin as a Christian is to go contrary to God’s very purpose for our salvation” Jerry Bridges (ref#244, p34).

A characteristic of a Christian is: “The man who is born again is a holy man.  He endeavors to live according to God’s will, to do the things that please God and to avoid the things that God hates….to prove himself to be Christ’s friend by doing whatever He commands…” J.C. Ryle (ref#222).

TRUE CHRISTIAN OR FAUX?

NOT REAL

“There are many today who are sincere, but they are not real; they are not hypocrites, but perfectly honest and earnest and desirous of fulfilling what Jesus wants of them, but they really cannot do it because they have not received the Holy Spirit who will make them real” Oswald Chambers (ref#83, p85).

“It is the Holy Spirit alone who by His indwelling can make a spiritual man” Andrew Murray (ref#272, p25).

 “…I bear them witness that they have a zeal for God, but not according to knowledge” (Rom 10:2 ESV).  “…they trusted…and argued that because they were zealous they were therefore of necessity right….they rejected the knowledge the Gospel was offering them because of that very ardor.  The conflict in their case was between zeal and knowledge, between sincerity and truth” Martyn Lloyd-Jones (ref#189, May 27th).

“There can be no doubt at all but that these qualities—zeal and sincerity—are being exalted in our day precisely as they were by the Jews of old.  Knowledge is being depreciated, almost despised.  Clear, logical thinking and exact definitions are discounted.  Doctrine and dogma are taboo and regarded as being almost the enemies of truth, and even good deeds are not given the prominence they had a few years ago” Martyn Lloyd-Jones (ref#189, May 27th).

“…knowledge…draws us to the kingdom of heaven or takes our affections from the world, and leads us to Jesus Christ…when we do not know what the salvation means that was purchased by our Lord Jesus Christ, we belong to the world and are profane” John Calvin (ref#164, Nov 9th).

A characteristic of a Christian is: “A man who is born again…believes that Jesus Christ is the only Saviour who can pardon his soul, that He is the divine person appointed by God the Father for this very purpose, and beside Him there is no Saviour at all….trusting in Him, he believes that his sins are all forgiven.  He believes that, for the sake of Christ’s finished work and death on the Cross, he is reckoned righteous in God’s sight. (Rom 4:20-5:1, 8:1)” J.C. Ryle (ref#222).

TRUE CHRISTIAN OR FAUX?

SPIRIT CHECK_2

“Make sure that the light you think you have is not actually darkness” (Luke 11:35 NLT).

Did I, on my own, decide to become a Christian?

“…his purpose is not a hit-or-miss thing dependent on what we do or don’t do, but a sure thing determined by his decision, flowing steadily from his initiative….” (Rom 9:10-13 MSG).

Do I have any evidence that I’m a Christian?

Understand now, that just because you consider yourself a Christian doesn’t mean you are in GOD’s eyes.

Do I praise JESUS but then not do what He says?

“…you are near in their mouth and far from their heart” (Jer 12:2 ESV).

Am I sure that the love of GOD is in me?

“Unforgiving people have not been forgiven themselves; those who are forgiven are so broken by it that they cannot but forgive others.  They are children of God, and they act like God” Martyn Lloyd-Jones (ref#211, p115).

Do I gladly give an account to the LORD of the good things I’ve done?

“…all our righteousness (our best deeds of rightness and justice) is like filthy rags…” (Isa 64:6 AMPC).

Do I read Scripture and pray daily?

“Has studying the Word of God become dull and tedious to you?  Have you become so busy that reading the Bible has only become perfunctory?  Are the sorrows and cares of life intruding on your prayers as so many thorns?  If so, beware lest the thorns of life gain such root that they choke off your faith.  Take the hardness of your heart to the Lord and ask him to soften it and pour new life into it” John Calvin (ref#164, June 26th).

“If true conversion involves fleeing from our evil desires and corruptions and devoting ourselves obediently to God, it should be our regular practice to examine ourselves to make sure that, by God’s grace, we have indeed done these very things” John Calvin (ref#164, May 7th).

TRUE CHRISTIAN OR FAUX?

KNOWLEDGE BUT NO ACTION

“If saving faith were nothing more than a mere mental assent to the contents of John 3:16, then any man could make himself a true believer whenever he pleased—the supernatural enablement of the Holy Spirit would be quite unnecessary” A.W. Pink (ref#269, p82).

“…in the whole question of practicing and living the Christian life, how easy it is to be content only with thoughts and with feelings and with expressions of what we believe and feel, and to fail utterly and entirely to put it into practice.  How easy it is to fall in love with loving instead of actually loving” Martyn Lloyd-Jones (ref#211, p111)! “…the doing, says our Lord, is absolutely vital and essential” Martyn Lloyd-Jones (ref#211, p113)

“…let us not love in word or talk but in deed and in truth” (1 John 3:18 ESV).

“If we live by the Spirit, let us also keep in step with the Spirit” (Gal 5:25 ESV).

“The two most important things in our holy religion are the life of faith and the walk of faith.  He who rightly understand these is not far from being a master in practicing theology, for they are vital points to a Christian” Charles Spurgeon (ref#34, Sept 18th AM).

“If you’ve forgotten who you are in Christ, what are you left with?…Christless Christianity, which is little more than a system of theology and rules.  And…if all you needed was theology and rules, Jesus wouldn’t have had to come” Paul David Tripp (ref#190, April 12th). 

“Continue in the things revealed in the doctrine of the Gospel, and you shall have a satisfactory experience that they are true, and that they are of God.  Cease not to act in faith regarding them, and you shall enjoy their effects” John Owen (ref#225, Oct 7th).

“With the great blessing of gospel light comes great responsibility to steward that light” John Calvin (ref#164, May 1st).

TRUE CHRISTIAN OR FAUX?

SHUN VAIN BABBLINGS

“Dear friends, do you think you’ll get anywhere in this if you learn all the right words but never do anything?  Does merely talking about faith indicate that a person really has it?…God-talk without God-acts is outrageous nonsense” (James 2:14-17 MSG)?  “…It’s the way you live, not the way you talk, that counts…” (James 3:13-16 MSG).

“When the Prodigal Son recognized his sin, he did not sit there and think about it, write poetry about it, or send telegrams home to dad” Albert N. Martin (ref#221, p16).

“Don’t shoot off your mouth, or speak before you think.  Don’t be too quick to tell God what you think he wants to hear….” (Eccl 5:2 MSG).  “…when…words grow many, there is vanity…” (Eccl 5:7 ESV).

“…shun vain babblings, for they offer nothing but fine rhetoric and exquisite words to give credit to him that speaks and to show that he is well learned.  None of this should be received into the church; it must be banished….the desire for anything new is always powerful….we are tempted to find something novel to say, and, in the pursuit of that goal, to veer into vain babbling” John Calvin (ref#164, Nov 9th).

“…the real trouble with the person who is seated there in his study reading beautiful poems or books about love and who feels that he is controlled by it and that he is a fine Christian is this: What is really happening to that person is that he is simply in love with himself, because he appreciates these elevating thoughts” Martyn Lloyd-Jones (ref#211, p116).

“…Merely hearing God’s law is a waste of your time if you don’t do what he commands.  Doing, not hearing, is what makes the difference with God” (Rom 2:13 MSG).

“Christianity is not primarily teaching; it is a recorded history.  Christianity is not urging men to think and to try to delve into the mystery and to discover the truth about God….our salvation depends not upon our understanding but upon what God has done in Christ” Martyn Lloyd-Jones (ref#189, July 3rd).

TRUE CHRISTIAN OR FAUX?

NO SHORTCUTS

“False teaching is easily identified by the fact that it is willingly received by all, and is to everyone’s liking.” John Calvin

“Don’t look for shortcuts to God.  The market is flooded with surefire, easygoing formulas for a successful life that can be practiced in your spare time.  Don’t fall for that stuff, even though crowds of people do.  The way to life—to God!—is vigorous and requires total attention” (Matt 7:13-14 MSG).

“We can be committed to a set of Christian values or to a lifestyle of discipleship without being committed to God Himself” Jerry Bridges (ref#192, p149).

“When I was coming to Christ, I thought I was doing it all myself, and though I sought the Lord earnestly, I had no idea the Lord was seeking me” John Piper (ref#220, p124).  “If we love Christ, it is because he loved us first (1 John 4:19).  If we are Christians at all, it is not because we have decided for Christ, but because Christ has decided for us” John Stott (ref#258, p18).

FATHER, it is so easy for us to choose our own work we are going to do for you.  Caution us when we find our choice doable and satisfying—even if it is “difficult and meticulous at times” it still can be our own choosing.  John Fischer (ref#3, p10).  The standards we tend to set for ourselves in work choices are just “difficult enough to weed out the undesirables but not so difficult as to become overly burdensome” John Fischer (ref#3, p10).  The sin of pursuing Christianity by human methods disguised itself so easily as spiritual activity.  FATHER, prompt us to recognize the subtlety of working for ourselves instead of following GOD’s choice.

 “…self is the cause for every sin, every shortcoming, all failure, and all that has been dishonoring to God…let us allow Jesus Christ to take entire control of our life, in the faith that His life can be ours” Andrew Murray (ref#272, p38).

TRUE CHRISTIAN OR FAUX?

DOUBLE MINDED CHRISTIANS

“It is not enough to yield assent to the divine word unless that is accompanied with true and pure affection, so that our hearts are not double or divided” John Calvin (ref#164, March 2nd).

Double minded Christians are “babes.”  They have the right actions but are only actors.  They are yet fleshly but preform spiritually.  They are “…people of the flesh…infants in Christ” (1 Cor 3:1 ESV).

“…you can’t have it both ways, banqueting with the Master one day and slumming with demons the next.  Besides, the Master won’t put up with it.  He wants us—all or nothing.  Do you think you can get off with anything less” (1 Cor 10:19-22 MSG).

“…they flattered him [the Most High God] with their mouths; they lied to him with their tongues.  Their heart was not steadfast toward him…” (Ps 78:36-37 ESV).  “…they were carnal, and not qualified to understand the deep mysteries of the gospel…” Albert Barnes (ref#299).

“Yet he, being compassionate, atoned for their iniquity and did not destroy them; he restrained his anger often and did not stir up all his wrath.  He remembered that they were but flesh…” (Ps 78:38-39 ESV).

“…when we come to Jesus, a marvelous exchange takes place….He first lifts our burden and then lays his upon us instead.  But too many people, influenced by the ‘pick ‘n’ mix’ mentality of postmodernism, want the rest without the yoke; they want to lose their burden but not to gain Christ’s.  Yet the two invitations of Jesus [Matt 11:29-30] belong together; we have no liberty to pick and choose between them” John Stott (ref#258, p128, brackets mine).

“It is possible for us to do the right action from a wrong motive…Holiness has to do with more than mere acts.  Our motives must be holy, that is, arising from a desire to do something simply because it is the will of God” Jerry Bridges (ref#244, p43).

“’Either make the tree good and its fruit good, or make the tree bad and its fruit bad, for the tree is known by its fruit….For out of the abundance of the heart the mouth speaks” (Matt 12:33-34 ESV).

PRAYER

GRATITUDE 

“Satan presses his agenda by sowing seeds of ingratitude….By focusing Eve’s eyes on the one thing God hadn’tgiven her, Satan was able to distract her attention from all He had given her” Carol J. Ruvolo (ref#228, p102-103).  This is disastrous.  We run into much trouble because we don’t take the time to give GOD our gratitude!

“When done well, prayer is a most powerful tool in God’s service.  For that very reason, it is a prime target of Satan.  As temporary Prince of This World, [I love that descriptive word for satan—‘temporary prince.’] he attacks prayer quite successfully by raining down discouragement and distraction on God’s children.  The timebelievers need to pray can be eroded by a flood of ‘essential’ activities.  And the still, small voice of the Spirit calling Christians to commune with their Father can easily be drowned out by the rushing cacophony of busy schedules.  And the hope that should draw us often to God’s throne in prayer can be immersed in anxieties produced by life’s pressures” Carol J. Ruvolo (ref#228, p100, brackets mine).

“His throne…is to be approached with devout joyfulness.  If I find myself favored by divine grace to stand among those favored ones who frequent His courts, shall I not feel glad?…Shall not my thankfulness ascend into joy, and shall I not feel that I am honored and that I am made the recipient of great favors when I am permitted to pray” Charles Spurgeon (ref#212, p29)?

“The umbrella of gratitude concentrates our attention on the goodness of God.  It fills our minds with His glory (adoration), humbles our souls with His grace (confession), and inspires our hope with His promises (supplication)” Carol J. Ruvolo (ref#228, p103).

“…receive all his benefits with true gratitude and thanksgiving…having obtained what we asked…we are led to long more earnestly for his favor…have greater pleasure in welcoming the blessings which we perceive to have been obtained by our prayers….” John Calvin (ref#113, p565).

“If our prayers are to function as God intended, they must be shielded from environmental bombardment that dilutes devotion and washes away hope.  The umbrella of gratitude serves that purpose well” Carol J. Ruvolo (ref#228, p100).

“…how abundant is your goodness, which you have stored up for those who fear you and worked for those who take refuge in you….you heard the voice of my pleas for mercy when I cried to you for help….Be strong, and let your heart take courage, all you who wait for the LORD” (Ps 31:19,22,24 ESV).