Thoughts from the Word– We have spent the past four Sundays springing from 1 Corinthians 10 and probing the topics of idolatry, our struggle with sin and Christ-centered holiness. So many times we can find ourselves on the playing field of Christianity and not really having any clue what we are supposed to do. The result often is that the opposing team runs roughshod over us (picture a gruesome threesome of the fallen world, the devil and our own sinful nature– the chief player and enemy coming straight at us). It is so important for us to grasp what the scripture teaches us about our life in Christ. This past series has been an attempt to give us “the game plan”. It can be summed up as follows:
1. OUR GREATEST ENEMY IS THE SIN THAT DWELLS WITHIN US.
2. OUR GREATEST WEAPON AGAINST SIN AND TEMPTATION IS THE GOSPEL OF CHRIST.
3. WE MUST BELIEVE AND APPLY THE GOSPEL IN ORDER TO SLAY INDWELLING SIN.
Consider the following passage (one among many like it.)
2 Peter 1:3-11 (ESV)
3 His divine power has granted to us all things that pertain to life and godliness, through the knowledge of him who called us to his own glory and excellence, 4 by which he has granted to us his precious and very great promises, so that through them you may become partakers of the divine nature, having escaped from the corruption that is in the world because of sinful desire. 5 For this very reason, make every effort to supplement your faith with virtue, and virtue with knowledge, 6 and knowledge with self-control, and self-control with steadfastness, and steadfastness with godliness, 7 and godliness with brotherly affection, and brotherly affection with love. 8 For if these qualities are yours and are increasing, they keep you from being ineffective or unfruitful in the knowledge of our Lord Jesus Christ. 9 For whoever lacks these qualities is so nearsighted that he is blind, having forgotten that he was cleansed from his former sins. 10 Therefore, brothers, be all the more diligent to make your calling and election sure, for if you practice these qualities you will never fall. 11 For in this way there will be richly provided for you an entrance into the eternal kingdom of our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ.
Peter calls his readers to progressive holiness in this passage. But note something very critical here. Verse 9 says that if someone is not walking in holiness the problem is they have forgotten they have been cleansed from their sins. They have forgotten the gospel. Additionally, it is the promise of the gospel, received, that gives us all the power we need for life and godliness – verse 1-4. Because of the sure promise in the gospel that we are already cleansed and already new creations in Christ we are totally free from the penalty and power of sin. And, because of the sure promise of the gospel we can effectively battle the presence of sin that dwells within (until we see Him face to face). Because God has already decisively and irrevocably acted for us in Christ (before we had any say!) we can now walk out the realities of our salvation in Him. Listen to how John Piper sums this truth up as taught in Romans 6-8.
Because we have a Savior and Lord who has won us a decisive and irrevocable victory let us fight with great joy and faith to gain the territory that is rightly his. Let us believe and apply the gospel! Let us use all the means He gives us (faith, the word, prayer, church and trials) to walk in His glorious ways, becoming more and more like our wonderful Savior, Jesus Christ – until we see Him face to face and receive our reward.
Got a clearer idea of what it is all about and what you are called to do? Ready to resist the opposing team and experience victory? I hope so. May the Lord bless you as you grapple with these life-transforming truths!
Check out these links:
Already: Decisively and Irrevocably Free, Not Yet: Finally and Perfectly Free
Christ and Him Crucified