Friday, December 22, 2006

Luke 2:34-35 & Conviction of Sin

D. Martin Lloyd Jones' writes in his classic book titled 'Spiritual Depression: Its causes and its cure' on pg. 28:

"Indeed the real trouble with the miserable Christian is that he has never been truly made miserable because of conviction of sin. He has by-passed the essential preliminary to joy, he has been assuming something that he has no right to assume."

He also goes on to quote from Luke Chapter 2 when the aged prophet Simeon said of Jesus the Christ child to His mother Mary:
34 "Behold, this child is appointed for the fall and rising of many in Israel, and for a sign that is opposed 35 (and a sword will pierce through your own soul also), so that thoughts from many hearts may be revealed."

We studied this in our Bible Study group exactly two weeks ago today. And I 'so illustriously' spoke about how much this reminds me of my recent studies of Jonah -- how he sinned and fell into a pit - the belly of a great fish - but how the LORD in His great mercy spared Jonah, saved him, brought him back to his duty, and caused him to rise up and go fulfill his commission. And others at our Bible study shook their heads, yeah! That sounds right. Good analogy.

OH! But how wrong-wrong-wrong, dark-dark-dark, wicked and deceitful is the heart! What a casual tone and approach to the wretchedness and very sinfulness of sin on my part. Not that what I said was not true, but that my conviction and my attitude was not coming from true understanding or self-examination. What a process understanding is.

I don't know about anyone else but when I share what God's Word says about about sin or idolatry with others (especially at Bible study), it's almost inevitable that some heinous, crushing idol or sin pattern is soon revealed to me along with the resulting pain of wrestling with and ultimately giving it up to God, placing it on the altar and leaving it there, so that God can change my heart.

And boy oh boy is my heart one big idol factory. I'm completely unworthy before God, a complete failure and utterly condemned. (If only you knew.) That has been the lesson of these past two weeks since I spoke so boldly on sin during Bible study. I am but a wretched sinner in desparate need of a savior! (Romans 7:24)

Please dear God, do not allow me to accept this as a modus operandi any longer. Please continue to convict me of the very sinfulness of sin, purge my complacency with idolatry, so that I might truly learn and remember that it is only You oh God. You alone and nobody else. And nothing of myself could ever pay for my sins. And I could never punish myself enough to pay for it all. And that I would never, ever be able to bear the punishment of the Your holy wrath.

It is only by Christ's brutal sacrifice on the cross that sin can ever be dealt with or ever be fully paid for and justified. He paid it for me. He paid it for us. He lived the perfect, righteous life and deserved none of Your wrath. But it cost Him everything - the wages of sin is death. His death.

And what do I deserve? eternal banishment from God. But Christ took it upon Himself for me. For us. Dear LORD help my unbelief, that I might not be so glib, passing off the very essence of our salvation from sin in a few short, nonchalant sentences at Bible study? Even in this writing now, I pray Heavenly Father that you might forgive my sin and help my unbelief. Amen

Isn't it kind of ridiculous that a person who decided to call her blog "Sola Fide" (meaning Justified by Faith Alone) struggles with the most basic elements of faith? Ridiculous, yes. Unique, absolutely not. "For all have sinned and fall short of the glory of God" (Rom 3:23)

But Dr. Lloyd-Jones goes on to say: "Look at nothing and nobody but look entirely to Christ and say:
'My hope is built on nothing less
Than Jesu's blood and righteousness,
I dare not trust my sweetest frame,
But wholly lean on Jesu's Name.
On Christ the solid Rock I stand,
All other ground is sinking sand.'
....
"Say farewell now once and for ever to your past. Realize that it has been covered and blotted out in Christ. Never look back at your sins again. Say: 'It is finished, it is covered by the Blood of Christ.'
.......

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