Posted by: forfreedomalone | 05/07/2016

In time of need

Sometimes, in the evenings, I like to play one of those games you find on facebook, as a wind-down before bed.
They are rather mindless but I find them relaxing.
 
I was playing one the other night after reading a post and many comments which had started with the statement that believers should never feel guilty.
I knew from the outset that that is not true, but as I read down the list I came across comments such as “believers cannot sin”, “believers do not have to repent” and “believers have already been forgiven everything, so that’s that”.
 
I was annoyed that these people had been taught wrongly and were now regurgitating what they were told, but could not see they were in slavery and were not truely free.
I was trying to think of a way of explaining that what they were believing about sin, guilt and repentance was not helping them, but binding them.
 
Many aspects of our believing walk are oxymoronic…….that is……they are two opposing things at once.
The concept that it is all done and you still have things to do is one of those times.
 
We have been forgiven all sin, past, present and future and there is nothing we can do to alter that.
BUT, we do not receive that freedom until we acknowledge our sin, repent and receive mercy.
 
As soon as I say that, many who read it will be leaping up and down shouting “Works!!” or maybe “Legalism!!”.
So hold on a moment, sit down and keep reading……..I am NOT saying what you may think I am saying.
 
When we sin we do not go to God, confess our sin and HOPE he might forgive us. We go to him and KNOW we will receive mercy and grace.
BUT, we can’t receive that mercy and grace if we have no need of it. Remember Hebrews 4:16 says we go boldly to the Throne of Grace to obtain mercy and grace IN TIME OF NEED. If we have no need, there is nothing to receive.
 
If we have need it is right there for us to obtain.
 
But, believers can’t sin!
Really?
Are you honestly saying you do not sin?
1 John 1:8 says that if we say we have no sin we deceive ourselves and the truth is not in us. This was not written to non-belivers, but to believers.
 
What effect does seeing sin in your life have on you?
Does it make you feel condemed, guilty, shameful?
 
Before you answer that, make sure you know that those three are NOT all the same thing.
Guilty is a healthy response to wrong doing. If I wrong someone I should feel guilty, it is how my conscience tells me that was wrong. The Holy Spirit is not against me feeling guilty and is quite happy that I should.
 
However, if I feel guilty all the time I am no longer feeling guilty, I am feeling either condemed or shameful; or maybe both.
Condemnation is the feeling of strong and constant disapproval.
Shame is the feeling that I, as a being, am flawed. It is no longer about my behaviour, but about me as a person.
 
Neither shame nor condemnation are of God and neither have any place in a believer’s life.
 
Guilt is altogether different.
Guilt is the motivation to acknowledge, or confess, that offense, that sin
Confess means, ‘to say the same thing’ and many say, saying that we are forgiven is saying the same thing as God says about our sin.
That is true but it is skipping an important step.
First we have to say the same thing he says about the sin…..it is sin.
 
Having confessed that what I did was sin, I then approach the Throne of Grace and obtain mercy……’being treated better than i deserve’. Mercy is the by-produce of forgiveness.
As forgive means ‘to send away’ it is not possible to receive forgiveness; forgiveness affect the one who forgives, mercy affects the one who offended.
 
Then I receive grace, God’s favour and influence working on my heart. This grace enables me to walk free of the sin as it draws me closer to the one who loves me and has set me free.
 
But none of this is of any effect to me if I keep telling myself I cannot sin. 1John 3:9 does not actually say ‘cannot sin’ it says ‘cannot go on sinning’.
Sinning is not beyond the believer, a life of sin is.
Why?
Because the Holy Spirit pricks our conscious with guilt to draw us back to the Throne and to continual cleansing.
 
So, what has all this to do with my mindless game?
 
At the beginning the player is given 5 lives. If all goes well on each level and you win, your lives are not needed, but, if you lose a level you will then draw on one of the lives and keep going.
In the game the lives run out, but the point is, with God they never do.
 
When we sin, (fail a level) we go to him and receive mercy and grace (another life) then we get back into the game.
If I were to deny that I have failed a level (sinned) I would be powerless to continue because I’d need another life and I wouldn’t be taking hold of one (RECEIVING mercy and grace) so I’d be stuck and powerless to continue.
 
Jesus has done it all. We cannot earn anything, but we do still need to go and receive that which has been done. If we deny that we sin we deny ourselves the powerful resources of God to over come that sin and to live in righteousness.
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