By: BILLIE J. BALDWIN
Sin isn't one of those things that ranks in a top-10 list of fun topics for discussion. Some consider it an old-fashioned concept. For others it's simply a bore. The fact is sin is real, and it remains a vital topic that needs to be addressed in the Christian community The Christian experience requires growth and change. Salvation ought to be a life-altering beginning to a long process of learning to be separate from the world, and to embrace the reality of the cross and its meaning, to live as children of light (Read Eph. 4:17-32, 5:1-21). Instead, all too often it becomes merely a safeguard against going to Hell - an end in itself.
How then does the world know that we are different if we do not act differently than the world? What is there to single us out as believers? We have a responsibility to the title of Christian to behave in a way fitting the term. We accept God's gift of pardon greedily without thinking of the enormous sacrifice it took to bring that pardon about. Christ's death provided appeasement to the wrath of an angry God. We did not deserve anything. We should be living our lives to please the God who pardoned us. We should be so thankful for what Christ did that we want to live pure and spotless lives. Unfortunately, human nature is selfish. We tend to want to please ourselves and not the Lord.
To overcome our sinful condition, we must have a relationship with the Lord. In this, we gain His wisdom and knowledge. We cannot be a judge of ourselves for our own hearts are evil. What is in your heart? If it is anything like mine, you would be ashamed if people really knew what was there. Our hearts must come under constant submission to God. Endurance in our situations and struggles is so important. It is foolish to say that God's grace can cover our sins, but that God cannot give us the grace to endure our temptations so that we do not sin. Endurance builds character and he wants us to develop character.
When we fail to endure, we stay babes in Christ, just as the Corinthians did. "I gave you milk, not solid food, for you were not yet ready for it. Indeed, you are still not ready You are still worldly For since there is jealousy and quarreling among you, are you not worldly? Are you not acting like mere men"? (I Cor. 3:2-3)1 can't think of a better scripture to prove that we are still sinning than that. How many of us are still jealous and quarreling? Christ constantly calls us to be separate: "Therefore come out from them and be separate, says the Lord. Touch no unclean thing, and I will receive you" (II Cor. 6:17). This is yet another of God's famous "if, then" promises. IF you are separate from the world and touch no unclean thing, THEN I will receive you. We are held accountable for our behavior.
In today's instant microwave-minute society, we want answers and results - and we want them now. God does not work that way We want to talk everything through and work it all out. God does not work that way We want to feel our salvation and have experiences. God does not work that way We want life to be fair. God does not work that way "The kingdom of God is not a matter of talk, but a matter of power" (I Cor. 4:20, italics mine). God alone has the power necessary for us to walk out our lives as Christians.
God's power to convict our hearts of sin is one of the greatest gifts we have. This is what speaks to us beyond the sinful condition of our own judgmental abilities. Conviction shows us the real need for the forgiveness and grace of God. It is what shows us the reality of the cross, the sacrifice that was made because of our sinful nature. If we harden our hearts to the convicting power of God, we become ignorant to the things of God. We then are separated from the life of Christ and become of this world. When we no longer feel conviction, we are more willing to give ourselves over to the selfishness of our hearts.
It is time we raised the standard for our behavior and behaved in a manner fitting to the term Christian.
"Do not let any unwholesome talk come out of your mouths, but only what is helpful for building others up according to their needs, that it may benefit those who listen. And do not grieve the Holy Spirit of God, with whom you were sealed for the day of redemption. Get rid of all bitterness, rage, and anger, brawling and slander, along with every form of malice. Be kind and compassionate to one another, forgiving each other just as Christ forgave you." (Eph. 4:29-32)
Regeneration News is published monthly by Regeneration, Inc., a nonprofit tax exempt Christian ministry associated with Exodus International-- North America. We seek to bring God's healing to homosexuals and to help the Body of Christ in reaching Out to those caught in homosexuality. Permission is granted to churches and ministries to photocopy or reprint for non-commercial purposes any article from this newsletter. Abridgments or modifications of articles do require prior approval by Regeneration. Regeneration News is sent without charge to those who request It. Our continued operation is entirely dependent on contributions, and we op predate any financial help from our subscribers. For further information write: Regeneration, RD. Box 9830, Baltimore, MD 2 1284-9830.
October 21, 1997
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