Weekly Thought – December 8, 2015
Fred, during one of his hospital stays, called a number of friends to say goodbye. As expected these were emotional conversations. Fred ended each one with an expression of affection, adding “remember I am just a sinner, saved by grace.”
The teams are forming for the 2016 BWFLI schedule. The campus venues are coming together. And, throughout the process, we are trusting God for providential work. If you want to help us financially, we will be most grateful.
We are so afraid of minimizing sin we find it difficult to accept forgiveness for fear we will begin to enjoy sinning. We set up the test of a Christian as one who sins, but does not enjoy it. “He cannot continue in sin” is how we perceive mature Christians. But for how long? Does the remorse hit immediately or is it delayed? Is the penalty of sin sudden death like lightning strikes?
We fail to see the change of attitude toward past sin and future sin. Our gratitude for grace is evidenced in our attitude toward future sin. If we adhere to the “sin that grace might increase” school of thought, we accept grace as a bromide for the morning after sickness of sin. If we accept grace as the only answer for our sin, then we realize how limited we are in our ability to truly handle sin. Only grace gives us hope for a different outcome as we mature in Christ. But it is a gift, not an achievement. If we couldn’t save ourselves initially, then we certainly can’t resave ourselves. And sin doesn’t mean loss of salvation – that is what grace is about.
We try to minimize the power of sinning by creating guilt over the past so it will cloud our future. We deny that those who have sinned have accomplished any happiness following their repentance from sin. We are so afraid someone will get by with sinning we take away the full affect of repentance. There are some who foolishly feel they are denied some sins, but feel they can make up for it with other varieties. That just doesn’t sense.
I once spoke for a friend at her one year mark in Alcoholics Anonymous. I used a phrase she shared with me… “the joy of sobriety.” She said she couldn’t stay sober by trying to avoid drinking. When she came to understand the joy of sobriety, she turned a corner. Sin is like that. When we try to grit our teeth and live the Christian life, we are prone for failure. Only when we realize the joy of grace do we start understanding why sin has lost some of its magnetic pull.
When our children were little we took them to evangelistic meetings where men and women like Johnny Spence and my friend Gert Behanna shared their testimonies. Frequently I doubted the value of displaying the gory details before our young children. Too many got caught up in the “I had everything the world had to offer” talk and failed to properly demonstrate the changed life.
I thankfully acknowledge I am a sinner saved by grace. And I focus on the grace, not the sin.
This week think about: 1) How do I think about sin? 2) What does grace really mean to me? 3) Who demonstrates the quality of graciousness living?
Words of Wisdom: “Only when we realize the joy of grace do we start understanding why sin has lost some of its magnetic pull.”
Wisdom from the Word: “What shall we say then? Are we to remain in sin so that grace may increase? Absolutely not! How can we who died to sin still live in it?” (Romans 6: 1,2 NET Bible)