Thursday, July 2, 2009

Book Review - Believing God - Chapter 11: The Good Work Shall be Completed - Philippians 1:6

This chapter is different from any other so far. It is mostly a high-level theology discussion as well as another tiresome replay of Dr. Sproul's cast of theologian associates and family. It leaves me wondering sometimes whether he struggles with his beliefs about his beliefs, just as we all should if we are honest.

Today's devotion from "My Utmost for His Highest" was therefore no coincidence as I read it and thought about this chapter. Oswald Chambers writes, "THE CONDITIONS OF DISCIPLESHIP

"If any man come to Me, and hate not . . . he cannot be My disciple." Luke 14:26, also 27, 33

If the closest relationships of life clash with the claims of Jesus Christ, He says it must be instant obedience to Himself. Discipleship means personal, passionate devotion to a Person, Our Lord Jesus Christ. There is a difference between devotion to a Person and devotion to principles or to a cause. Our Lord never proclaimed a cause; He proclaimed personal devotion to Himself. To be a disciple is to be a devoted love-slave of the Lord Jesus. Many of us who call ourselves Christians are not devoted to Jesus Christ. No man on earth has this passionate love to the Lord Jesus unless the Holy Ghost has imparted it to him. We may admire Him, we may respect Him and reverence Him, but we cannot love Him. The only Lover of the Lord Jesus is the Holy Ghost, and He sheds abroad the very love of God in our hearts. Whenever the Holy Ghost sees a chance of glorifying Jesus, He will take your heart, your nerves, your whole personality, and simply make you blaze and glow with devotion to Jesus Christ.

The Christian life is stamped by 'moral spontaneous originality,' consequently the disciple is open to the same charge that Jesus Christ was, viz., that of inconsistency. But Jesus Christ was always consistent to God, and the Christian must be consistent to the life of the Son of God in him, not consistent to hard and fast creeds. Men pour them selves into creeds, and God has to blast them out of their prejudices before they can become devoted to Jesus Christ."

It's that last sentence that really grabs me and makes the point of this review as well as my own personal struggle. "God has to blast them out...." Well, what if we don't want to. Perhaps Chambers' wording is too dogmatic, for in fact, God will not force us to do any such thing. He will do all in His power to make it happen. But there is just one little problem - sin.

God allowed me to go through a little exercise this past week so that I could write something very personal to you. It is personal to me yet I believe universal to the saints. I had some sin in my life this week. When that happens, among the Biblical consequences that I share so often, I am also unable to write. That prophetic gift of God dies as the old man of the flesh comes back to life.

This time, God brought all that together for a purpose - to bring this message today. So perhaps in a way He did "blast" me. But I still have to wonder, for if sin is left unconfessed and unrepented, the inevitable searing of the conscience comes along. Perhaps it is the beautiful reality of the indwelling Holy Spirit Who would not allow me to get more than one step away rather then steep in sin.

But don't listen to this foolishness. The point is that in sin, the flesh is delighted to heep upon itself its own beliefs. As Chambers says, our flesh "pours 'its' selves into creeds" whole-heartedly. The old man will not hesitate to build such walls against God and then we convince ourselves of our theology, our beliefs, and creeds. We gain tremendous comfort that our thoughts are all right and Biblical when in fact they are not. We build myths, extra-Biblical manifestos.

So in my sin I was doing just that. And then God allowed me just a glimpse of just how heinous this path was. Not just the path was foul however. It was the fight of the flesh to keep on it. I refused to deviate. I told God it was no big deal. I could shake it off. Of course I realize the consequences God but don't worry, I can handle it.

Do you ever have conversations with God like that? Do you know you are in sin? Do you hear the checking voice of the Holy Spirit calling you to repent, to not go too far?

Sure, and just like me and all the saints, we struggle still. We get convicted. So we say to God, "Just give me a minute. I'll clean up this mess I got myself into. I know I should repent right now but I have to fix a few things first." The wicked, evil flesh is still fighting, holding onto its Edenic desire to be god. But what does Jesus say? "Come unto me."

We have a favorite hymn, "Just as I am". Truly that is how we must come to Jesus in repentence with immediacy. We could not clean up before salvation. We cannot do it as saints either. The only difference now is as saints we have the indwelling Holy Spirit to convict and give us the presence of mind to know and do the right thing.

This week Love Worth Finding aired a repeat message from Dr. Adrian Rogers, one of my favorites on Romans 6. God used this again for my restoration, just as He uses this truth every time. It is the only truth from which we obtain God's mercy and grace. There is no other way. I highly recommend getting a copy of the message "Three Steps to Victory". Go to

Here it is in short:

I KNOW that I am in Christ Jesus, baptized into His death. Therefore,
I RECKON myself dead indeed unto sin, but alive unto God through Jesus Christ my Lord. Therefore,
I YIELD myself to God in obedience unto righteousness.

Ahh, back again, right with God. Free from sin. Alive. Awake. Free in Jesus to worship God, rejoice in His mercy and grace, and be bold to write to you.

"For of him, and through him, and to him, are all things: to whom be glory for ever. Amen." - Romans 11:36

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