For someone who acts so excited about God's post-salvation grace in our lives, and our inability to change ourselves, I can be pretty bad about living like Ryan can be perfectly good and capable on his own. What I want to talk to you (but mostly myself) about, is that even a Christians, we must constantly trust in God's faithfulness to grow us in him, rather than using God as our salvation ticket and living like we have put and end to our flesh. The Power to overcome sin and temptation is in Christ. Nowhere else.
I have always hated English Class, but I actually do remember transitive vs. non-transitive verbs. (English people, don't freak out even though I will probably butcher this explanation) A transitive verb takes an object. For example: in the sentence "Chris Krycho sang", the verb sing is non-transitive because there's no object. He isn't singing anything....just singing. In the sentence "Chris Krycho sang a song so loudly that they heard him in West Virginia." the verb sing is transitive, because he is singing a SONG. There is an object....
Lets think about sanctification.
Christians use this word all the time. In short, it is the process of becoming holy, sandwiched by justification and glorification. What is often overlooked, is the source of the sanctification. We all do it....you know..act like we have it all together; we act like we are good enough people to overcome our sin issues by reading a helpful book, making ourselves a promise, or just simply trying harder. I find again and again that It doesn't take much for God to bring us "down on my knees back to the place I should've started from" to quote some old Audio A.
When we break this down to its roots, it is really nothing more than a pride issue. How can we have a proper view of grace and act like we have done something to merit our standing with God? It doesn't take an in-depth study of Paul's letters to see how he treated sin. I have talked about in previous posts, how understanding our sin magnifies God's grace; we should not approach God with anything but a humble contrite heart. Boy did David get it right after the biggest screw-up of his life.
"1 Have mercy on me,O God,according to your steadfast love;according to your abundant mercyblot out my transgressions.2 Wash me thoroughly from my iniquity,and cleanse me from my sin!
3 For I know my transgressions,and my sin is ever before me.4 Against you, you only, have I sinnedand done what is evil in your sight,so that you may be justified in your wordsand blameless in your judgment.5 Behold, I was brought forth in iniquity,and in sin did my mother conceive me.6 Behold, you delight in truth in the inward being,and you teach me wisdom in the secret heart.
7 Purge me with hyssop, and I shall be clean;wash me, and I shall be whiter than snow.8 Let me hear joy and gladness;let the bones that you have broken rejoice.9 Hide your face from my sins,and blot out all my iniquities.10 Create in me a clean heart, O God,and renew a right spirit within me.11 Cast me not away from your presence,and take not your Holy Spirit from me.12 Restore to me the joy of your salvation,and uphold me with a willing spirit.
13 Then I will teach transgressors your ways,and sinners will return to you.14 Deliver me from bloodguiltiness, O God,O God of my salvation,and my tongue will sing aloud of your righteousness.15 O Lord, open my lips,and my mouth will declare your praise.16 For you will not delight in sacrifice, or I would give it;you will not be pleased with a burnt offering.17 The sacrifices of God are a broken spirit;a broken and contrite heart, O God, you will not despise.
18 Do good to Zion in your good pleasure;build up the walls of Jerusalem;19 then will you delight in right sacrifices,in burnt offerings and whole burnt offerings;then bulls will be offered on your altar."
This is how we must live! We must do everything in total light of our depravity, and in out inability to change ourselves. Did David say "God, sorry I messed up, I will try harder, write a promise down in a book, and hope I don't do it again."? Of course not!! He was so broken and crushed by his sin before a holy God that he could do nothing but fall down on his face and wallow in the depths of Grace found only in the same holy God who's perfect law he had violated.
God Sanctifies us. It is transitive. We are the ones being sanctified, by the same God that saved us in the first place. Christians, stop living with an attitude that says "Well yes Christ saved me in the first place, but look what I can do now!" or "Look what I have done since them!" It is all in Christ! God changes us, and will finish that work which he began in us. We need to give the glory where it due.
Paul had it figured out. He captures the essence of Biblical humility in 1 Timothy when he calls himself the chief of sinners.
This is a major problem! So many books, many that I have read, are full of self help tips and ways that we can change our life and grow closer to God, while completely ignoring the fact that it is God who draws us to him. When we are able to conquer sin and temptation, is when we fall on our face before our loving father and cry"Abba! I can't do this. I NEED you to change my heart. Wash it white as snow."
God is faithful, and James promises us that those who ask in faith for wisdom will receive it. Perfect, good wisdom comes only from God, our salvation (though we are new creations) doesn't change that.
We need Christ everyday. We need grace everyday.
Abba Father, You are holy and perfect. I am nothing and you are everything. Father I am completely overwhelmed by my inability to conquer sin. change my heart! Renew me and let my contrite heart rejoice in the rich stores of grace and mercy found only in your arms. You alone are God, and we need you everyday.