If we would follow this plan of God, then in Walking by Faith and not by sight in reliance on the Promises of God we can Hope to be consistent. Then, in Walking in the Spirit with our Mind set on the things of the Spirit, we can consistently remain under the yoke of Christ’s Spirit, and consistently obey, making truly abiding in Him possible. Then, the love of Christ can flow through us in all consistency, that we would love the Lord our God with all our heart, soul, mind and strength and our neighbor as our self, bearing the sweet fruit of righteousness, our faith expressing itself in love.
All this would glorify our Lord and keep us available to serve Him at all times, in season or out. For, less and less would be in our character to make us pop out of the Jesus’ yoke of learning, the yoke of the Holy Spirit.
In light of this insight, we can see you and I have not yet completely trusted in the Lord for our remaining life on earth. In many areas, we have retained our self-sufficiency at Heart, that we may rule, that we may gratify our desires and provide for our self all things. We fooled ourselves about this, because we thought we had overcome it, or at least, most of it.
We see our faulty thinking: Though we like the idea of going to Heaven, for some reason in some areas of life we still like the false Hope that even if we keep our residual pantheon and continue to act out of it, God will nevertheless allow us into Heaven. Having believed we are justified by faith, and not by works, lest any man have cause to boast, we have jumped to the conclusion that it would be incorrect doctrine if we were to believe we could mess it up. We tell ourselves and each other it is sin to believe we can lose our salvation by continuing in our self-sufficiency, keeping our residual pantheon, failing to put on the New Self, or in being inconsistent in our obedience to His commands to love our Lord and others. We consider that would be a sinful theological thought, to suggest that we have within us the power to snatch our salvation from the hand of God. John 10:28-29. But still James is there to remind us, we need living faith, not dead faith. James 2. So, if we want to be sure of our salvation, we must purify our Hearts. James 1, 4; 1Jn 3:3; 2 Peter 1.
Then, our insight from the Holy Spirit shows we have falsely believed we had no choice but to let the Old Self keep cohabiting with the Triune God who lives within us. John 14:17, 23. He shows us we have erroneously come to accept the idea that we must live in conflict between these two natures, that we must live in compromise. We have believed we must keep seeking more grace, grace, grace, grace, grace, for God alone to evict the unwelcome squatters, prying one finger and toe off the altar at a time. Our experience has taught us it’ll take a lifetime of lifetimes, and we’ll barely resemble Christ by the time we kick off. But we believe it would be unfaithful to worry, because we know we will receive a glorified body when He comes.
Not only that, but we have convinced our self that having a glorified body will itself totally transform our inner character, our Heart and Mind, into the very likeness of Christ. But our insight is showing us now that such a logical leap is not justified. To lose the mortal Body is to lose our connection to this World and its desires, leaving only what is precious in His sight. 1 Corinthians 3. Though we are counted righteous through imputation of Christ’s righteousness, that does not mean we are righteous in our character, though all unrighteousness in our character will be burnt up by fire at His coming. 1 Cor. 3; 2 Pe 3:12. What, then, is left over, as we escape as one through fire? How much of ‘me’ will survive into eternity? How will that affect the quality of ‘my’ eternal life?
His insight shows us, the Old Self is willing to put up with the Apostle John when he says, “No one who is born of God practices sin, because His seed abides in him; and he cannot sin, because he is born of God. “ 1 John 3:9.
Why is the Old Self okay with that? Because John didn’t say we would never sin; that would contradict his having just told us, at 1:9-10, that “If we confess our sins, He is faithful and righteous to forgive us our sins and to cleanse us from all unrighteousness. 10If we say that we have not sinned, we make Him a liar and His word is not in us.” Indeed, if the born again don’t sin, what would be the point of being faithful and righteous to forgive our sins? The Old Self thinks, it’s just logic, man! Never mind that John says if we are born of God we will not be able to go on sinning. 1 John 3:9.
Through the Spirit’s insight, we see the Old Self discounting the Hebrews writer who says, “if we go on sinning willfully after receiving the knowledge of the truth, there no longer remains a sacrifice for sins, 27but a terrifying expectation of judgment and THE FURY OF A FIRE WHICH WILL CONSUME THE ADVERSARIES.” Hebrews 10:26-27. After all, the Old Self reasons, the writer of Hebrews didn’t even have the guts to sign his name to his own book. Indeed, even if he’s right, (a) it’s not as if we believers ‘go on sinning’ or make it a practice to sin – we can’t be accused of that if we’re constantly asking God for “grace” to overcome that sin and for forgiveness until He obeys for us – can we?
Besides, (b) we have lots of verses that are stronger than that one! For example, Philippians 1:6: “I am confident of this very thing, that He who began a good work in you will perfect it until the day of Christ Jesus.” Now, if Paul’s confident of that – and he was a lot closer to God than your or I, reasons the Old Self, and if Paul probably didn’t write Hebrews – then maybe we had better go with Paul’s version in Philippians. For, it is God, and not I, who will not only finish my transformation into Christlikeness, but he’ll do it perfectly, something I can’t hope to do in my miserable mortal self and sin nature anyway!
These sorts of rationalizations by the Old Self are pleasant to the ears, and comforting to the compromised Heart. In the face of this kind of thinking, the Spirit reminds me of this anecdote:
I knew a feller who came to his pastor and said, “I’m afraid that when Jesus comes I won’t measure up.”
The pastor quoted Philippians 1:6, and said, you just have to believe in His promise. He’ll complete that good work in you until He comes again. The feller said, “Oh, yea, I see that now. Thanks, Pastor.”
Three years later it was revealed the man had been a pedophile for decades. He was arrested and forced into counseling and did some hard time. So, did this man’s discipline from the Lord have to wait just because it was God’s timing? Was that God’s process of perfecting this professing believer until the day of Christ? Was it, then, just destiny that he should remain a child molester and continue to victimize children for another three years after he confessed to his pastor that he was concerned for his soul?
Now, I wonder. Wouldn’t the pastor have been better off to help this man interrogate his feelings of insecurity, that he would understand why he feels them? Wouldn’t it have been better if the pastor had discovered the man’s iniquity with him, that the pastor could have quoted that “if we go on sinning willfully after receiving the knowledge of the truth, there no longer remains a sacrifice for sins, 27but a terrifying expectation of judgment and THE FURY OF A FIRE WHICH WILL CONSUME THE ADVERSARIES” (Hebrews 10:26-27)?
Would this pedophilic feller have not benefitted more to consider these words of Jesus, had the pastor known to make the man meditate upon them:
… whoever causes one of these little ones who believe in Me to stumble, it would be better for him to have a heavy millstone hung around his neck, and to be drowned in the depth of the sea. 7"Woe to the world because of its stumbling blocks! For it is inevitable that stumbling blocks come; but woe to that man through whom the stumbling block comes! 8"If your hand or your foot causes you to stumble, cut it off and throw it from you; it is better for you to enter life crippled or lame, than to have two hands or two feet and be cast into the eternal fire. 9"If your eye causes you to stumble, pluck it out and throw it from you. It is better for you to enter life with one eye, than to have two eyes and be cast into the fiery hell. 10"See that you do not despise one of these little ones, for I say to you that their angels in heaven continually see the face of Our Father who is in heaven. Matthew 18:6-10.
In the face of such Scripture, the Old Self tells us, we just need to extend more grace, grace, grace, because the only hope for that poor man, who himself was likely molested as a child, is for him to just seek more grace, grace, grace, grace, grace. If that doesn’t do it, he must seek more grace.
The Spirit leads us to ask, what of the long list of broken, damaged souls in this molester’s wake, most of whom will cyclically repeat and propagate his sin, and all of whom will live deeply wounded and often thwarted lives unless Christ heals them? The Old Self answers this conviction, ‘Well, God is available to be with us as we go through the tough things in life. There is always ample, abundant grace. No doubt, this man’s victims will be able to help those who suffer from the things they have had to suffer, because God has them uniquely positioned for that. What this feller meant for evil, God meant for good. Genesis 50:20. …’
The Old Self goes on and on in these rationalizations. But the Spirit leads us to spiritual wisdom and conviction, ‘Enough with that,’ we conclude. ‘We MUST repent of our sinful failure to obey the straight forward command to put off the Old Self and put on the New. Had the unrepentant pedophile done so, what would God have wrought in him?’ Having lacked such repentance, how could this pedophile be saved to begin with?
This kind of repentance fundamentally differs from ordinary, moment-to-moment repentance and from the general conversion to God. This kind of repentance makes increasingly permanent changes in the character of a person, but ordinary repentance usually does not, nor does a general conversion to God.