Saturday, January 12, 2013

Who Will Rescue Me From this Body of Death?

My last post ended with:

"And you’re different only when you are no longer so self centered to think that you can fix you when you are the problem."

So, how did I become different?

First, my eyes were finally opened to this funny thing called sin.

I discovered a radio station that I tuned into out of curiosity of the call letters WPFF which I saw on a bumper sticker. I tuned into the pastor who preached at 9:00 a.m., and within days was feverishly writing into a notebook everything the man said because it was all so new to me and made complete sense. This pastor told me about sin. And as I listened, it dawned on me that sin was my problem! After 38 years of searching, that was it! And Jesus, the pastor taught through the radio waves, was the answer

Week after week I tuned in, at first incredulous that nobody in my hometown or family had ever explained this before and then frustrated that the Christianity I have come to know and love was snubbed and smugly mocked by the adults who were in a position to mentor me when I was growing up and attending college.

And so, at age 38, through the teaching of a radio pastor and the ensuing full immersion into a Christian community, I finally found the answer to why I am broken: sin; and Who it is that can rescue and transform me: Jesus.

Thus began the fixing of my eyes on Jesus, the author and perfecter of my faith (Hebrews 12:2). Through His Word, His Holy Spirit and His gift of new life, I have been freed of the baggage of me. I am not perfect, as any born again Christian is not perfect. “For all have sinned and fall short of the glory of God,” (Romans 3:23).  But Matthew 5:48 says, “Be perfect, therefore, as your heavenly Father is perfect.” John MacArthur comments on this verse: “He who is perfect could not set an imperfect standard of righteousness. The marvelous truth of the gospel is that Christ has met this standard on our behalf.” 

This is further backed up by 2 Corinthians 5:21, 6:1-2: “God made him who had no sin to be sin for us, so that in him we might become the righteousness of God. As God’s fellow workers we urge you not to receive God’s grace in vain. For he says, ‘In the time of my favor I heard you, and in the day of salvation I helped you.’ I tell you, now is the time of God’s favor, now is the day of salvation.”  

This is the point where I feel as though I cannot even begin to explain the process of God in transforming hearts and minds: “Oh, the depth of the riches of the wisdom and knowledge of God! How unsearchable his judgments, and his paths beyond tracing out! ‘Who has known the mind of the Lord? Or who has been his counselor?’ ‘Who has ever given to God, that God should repay him?’ For from him and through him and to him are all things. To him be the glory forever! Amen” (Romans 11:33-36).

Salvation is so unique to each person. I want to explode sometimes for lack of being able to put it into words, and can only conclude by saying that, until a person allows God to grab them, they will never “grasp how wide and long and high and deep is the love of Christ, and to know this love that surpasses knowledge” (Ephesians 3:18-19).

So I end this abruptly, with nothing more to say except to implore us to chase after God with every fiber of our being, desiring our will to line up with His will, our love to overflow with His love, our strength to grow out of His strength, the joy of our salvation to be the root of our humility, and His perfect love to cast out all fear of everything and everyone, including ourselves and our sin. It is my prayer that His righteousness boots out our self-righteousness so that we can, in times of desperation, call out, “What a wretched man I am! Who will rescue me from this body of death?”  (Romans 7:24).  I pray we hear His faithful answer: “I will.”

God promises in Isaiah 41:10, “So do not fear, for I am with you; do not be dismayed, for I am your God. I will strengthen you and help you; I will uphold you with my righteous right hand.”

And so we are equipped by God through faith to go forth in His care, freely surrendering full authority to Him, confident that He is able to do immeasurably more than all we ask or imagine, according to His power that is at work within us (Ephesians 3:20).

“So I tell you this, and insist on it in the Lord, that you must no longer live as the Gentiles do, in the futility of their thinking. They are darkened in their understanding and separated from the life of God because of the ignorance that is in them due to the hardening of their hearts. Having lost all sensitivity, they have given themselves over to sensuality so as to indulge in every kind of impurity, with a continual lust for more. 
You, however, did not come to know Christ that way. Surely you heard of him and were taught in him in accordance with the truth that is in Jesus. You were taught, with regard to your former way of life, to put off your old self, which is being corrupted by its deceitful desires; to be made new in the attitude of your minds; and to put on the new self, created to be like God in true righteousness and holiness.” Ephesians 4:17-24

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