May 16, 2016

Confession or manipulation . . .

I consider 1 John 1:9 as a major verse for Christian living. It says: “If we confess our sins, he is faithful and just to forgive us our sins and to cleanse us from all unrighteousness.” This is about recognizing sin and keeping short accounts with God.

A Christian teacher explained it this way: Our lives are like an empty glass. If we are walking aright with the Lord, it means we are filled with His Spirit. As soon as we sin, we tip over and like a glass of water, the contents spill out. As soon as we realize our condition and confess it to God, we again become upright and He fills us with Himself.

Of course we go through life upright/tipped/upright/tipped/upright. The best we can do is more quickly confess so as to remain longer in that filled with the Spirit, upright condition.

Today’s passage is about the precious gift to us of the nature of God. When I am upright and filled with Him, it is only because He has granted this wondrous gift of Himself . . .

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, 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. (2 Peter 1:3–4)

It bothers me that Chambers says as partakers of the Divine nature we have to ‘manipulate’ the Divine nature in our human nature by habits. While he may not mean it the way it sounds, this runs across the grain of my understanding. I cannot form even the slightest habit without His power and grace. I cannot be filled with His Spirit by any other habit than keeping short accounts and admitting to Him that I am needy and asking His fullness.

Chambers goes on to discuss the sin of self-pity and how much that pushes God off the throne of our lives. I agree, yet that sin is also cleansed by confession and the power of God. Even as He tells me to put of the old life and put on the new, that is done the same way. Paul says we live as we were saved, through confession of sin and the saving power of God . . .  

Therefore, as you received Christ Jesus the Lord, so walk in him . . .  (Colossians 2:6)

While I might be able to ‘control’ myself in some areas — and it is not me or my habits that make that control possible, but the Holy Spirit. Indeed, my struggles with sin always end up bringing me to my knees saying, “Jesus, You are my Savior, please save me. I cannot do this.

Habits are valuable. For me, the habit of being in the Word of God every morning has been life-changing. However, the desire comes from Jesus and it is always Jesus who makes the changes. I cannot ever say that I ‘manipulated’ His divine nature by anything I’ve done. I can only say, “God, have mercy on me, a sinner.” 

No comments: