Wednesday, April 14, 2010

THE SLAVE TO LOVE: Faith We Must Exercise

A genuine Christian can be properly called a “believer” because he or she has come to salvation by faith in Christ alone. Yet, for some reason, many of these same believers in grace to save, then set off trying to be sanctified through their own efforts and the energy of the flesh. They miss the reality that from start to finish, the Christian life is all of grace and is a walk of faith! Perhaps this explains why so many believers either are at the point of giving up and giving in to defeat—often expressed as, “Well, I’m just a sinner saved by grace” or “Christians aren’t perfect, just forgiven.” While these statements aren’t incorrect, they are incomplete. We are sinners saved by grace, but we are not “just” that—we are more, having become “partakers of the Divine nature” (2 Peter 1:4) and as Paul tells us in Romans Six, that the old man has been crucified and new resurrection life and power has been given.

In this world with all its temptations and the ever-present, weak flesh we dwell in, there is no way we will be sinless, yet, we ought to sin less! The flip side of the coin, as opposed to those who have just accepted defeat, is the self-righteous hypocrite who pretends he or she is better than they are. They have tried so hard to live up to God’s standards and failed again and again, but are so concerned with keeping up appearances that they seek to cover up their sin and hide it under a veneer of piety. Neither of these positions is acceptable; neither is Biblical.

God’s supernatural grace that flows to us through faith is the key. There is a faith that we must exercise. Paul puts it this way, “Likewise you also, reckon yourselves to be dead indeed unto sin, but alive to God in Christ Jesus our Lord.” (Romans 6:11).

The crucial word is: “reckon.” This is an accounting term. Let me illustrate this truth. Each week, my salary is directly deposited into my bank account. I never see the check. I never hold the cash. It is processed electronically. Based on the numbers I see on the computer screen, I reckon the fact that I have x amount of dollars and then can pay bills over the internet without ever writing a check or handing someone cash. I am acting in faith based on the facts. I reckon it—I account it to be done. In the same way, I am to account that I am dead to sin and alive to God. Whatever my senses may dictate, or however I may feel, the facts are unalterable.

You may say, but I don’t feel dead to sin, or I can’t see how I’m living in Christ’s power! Your salvation was by faith—not dependent on your experience or feelings—and so is your sanctification. If you trust that by believing in Christ you were saved, can you not trust that through Him you now can walk in victory? You may argue, “Well, I’ll believe it when I see it.” God says, “You’ll see it when you believe it!”

This isn’t possibility thinking. It isn’t occultism, conjuring up some reality we wish were true. It is taking by faith that which we know to be true, and as we do that, the wondrous grace of God is released in us to live as one dead indeed unto sin, but gloriously alive in Christ!

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