Monday, April 6, 2009

It is No Longer I

The story goes that Augustine (St.) was walking down the street when he saw a familiar woman walking towards him. He bowed his head and walked to the other side. She called out to him, "Augustine! Augustine!" He did not look up or answer. She called all the more urgently and other passers-by began to notice. "Augustine! Don't you remember me? Don't you remember those nights together? Augustine! It is I!" Finally he looked up and replied, "Yes, but it is no longer I."

As long as we walk freely in the fullness of the resurrection life of Jesus Christ, we too can claim, "It is no longer I." The truth of this is in Galatians 2:20, "I am crucified with Christ: nevertheless I live; yet not I, but Christ liveth in me: and the life which I now live in the flesh I live by the faith of the Son of God, who loved me, and gave himself for me."

But when we choose to allow the lust of the old man to conceive and bring forth sin, we then walk in this truth of Romans 7:17, "Now then it is no more I that do it, but sin that dwelleth in me."

In both accounts as a new creature, the "I" is subjugate to either the life of Jesus or the death of sin. There are no other options. One of these two always applies to me, neither at the same time, not part of one and part of the other. It is always all or nothing.

I read Proverbs 14:2 the other day and my immediate conclusion was, "This can't mean me!"

"He that walketh in his uprightness feareth the LORD: but he that is perverse in his ways despiseth him." Surely when I sin it does not mean that I despise the Lord. Surely not I!

But the Holy Spirit would not let me go. It was like hearing Him say, "What part of your flesh is good enough to say this does not apply? What part of you apart from Me is upright and not perverse?" And He began to reveal just a bit of how perverse my old man of sin really is. He did it by taking me to Hebrews 10:28-31, "He that despised Moses' law died without mercy under two or three witnesses: Of how much sorer punishment, suppose ye, shall he be thought worthy, who hath trodden under foot the Son of God, and hath counted the blood of the covenant, wherewith he was sanctified, an unholy thing, and hath done despite unto the Spirit of grace? For we know him that hath said, Vengeance belongeth unto me, I will recompense, saith the Lord. And again, The Lord shall judge his people. It is a fearful thing to fall into the hands of the living God."

There was that word again, "despite".

And so I ventured into a study to understand this horrible state, and to affix into my mind Scripture so certain, so solid, that it would act as a rampart to stifling any further such activity on my part. The very thought that I could despise the Lord is itself despicable and abhorrant. It is a powerful deterrent to sin. I hope that it shall be to you as well.

I shall leave this as a simple word study and let the Spirit of God do His holy work in you and me.

Proverbs 13:13, "Whoso despiseth the word shall be destroyed: but he that feareth the commandment shall be rewarded."

Proverbs 15:32, "He that refuseth instruction despiseth his own soul: but he that heareth reproof getteth understanding."

Proverbs 19:16, "He that keepeth the commandment keepeth his own soul; but he that despiseth his ways shall die."

Proverbs 5:12-14, "And say, How have I hated instruction, and my heart despised reproof; And have not obeyed the voice of my teachers, nor inclined mine ear to them that instructed me! I was almost in all evil in the midst of the congregation and assembly." (Indeed you can be right in the midst of church and worship and this can be you!)

II Chronicles 36:16, "But they mocked the messengers of God, and despised his words, and misused his prophets, until the wrath of the LORD arose against his people, till there was no remedy." (Yes, there comes a point when God will say, "Enough," and grace and mercy run out.)

Isaiah 53:3, "He is despised and rejected of men; a man of sorrows, and acquainted with grief: and we hid as it were our faces from him; he was despised, and we esteemed him not." (Notice the present tense of the first part of this verse.)

Jesus said in Luke 10:16, "He that heareth you heareth me; and he that despiseth you despiseth me; and he that despiseth me despiseth him that sent me."

He says in Matthew 6:24 and Luke 16:13, "No man can serve two masters: for either he will hate the one, and love the other; or else he will hold to the one, and despise the other. Ye cannot serve God and mammon."

Read Leviticus 26. These are God's conditions. Jesus reiterates them when He says in Proverbs 4:4, "He taught me also, and said unto me, Let thine heart retain my words: keep my commandments, and live." And finally He says in John 14:15, "If ye love me, keep my commandments," and in John 15:10, "If ye keep my commandments, ye shall abide in my love; even as I have kept my Father's commandments, and abide in his love."

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