Pride rears its ugly head in manifold forms. Personally, it’s the perverse pride of feeling I can never “walk in a manner worthy of the calling to which [I] have been called.” (Ephesians 4:1) But I realize that sense of inadequacy will render me ineffective for the Lord’s work if I allow it to rule my life.
Thanks be to God through Jesus Christ our Lord! So then, I myself serve the law of God with my mind, but with my flesh I serve the law of sin.
There is therefore now no condemnation for those who are in Christ Jesus. For the law of the Spirit of life has set you free in Christ Jesus from the law of sin and death. For God has done what the law, weakened by the flesh, could not do. By sending his own Son in the likeness of sinful flesh and for sin, he condemned sin in the flesh, in order that the righteous requirement of the law might be fulfilled in us, who walk not according to the flesh but according to the Spirit. (Romans 7:25; 8:1-4)
If you’re a believer in the Lord Jesus Christ, you already know the words of this precious promise. From my early days as a Catholic youth I realized the sacrament of penance was completely futile for me, encouraging the hypocrisy that was so familiar. Now, if you’re a Catholic, don’t get all upset over that apparently rash statement; that was my personal issue. Many other Catholics take the confessional quite seriously.
Realize that I wasn’t a truly bad boy in the sense of murder and adultery, but I knew I wasn’t in any way fit to call myself a Christian. Though I revered the Lord, I realized that, for me, living up to God’s expectations was completely out of the question. If you want to know more about my testimony, click over to the About Me page of this blog.
In short, I was hopeless to elevate my miserable moral condition. Time passed … but I’ll cut to the chase: When God finally opened my eyes to what Jesus died to do for me, … well … I’d love to say I greeted his Good News with ecstatic joy, but that would be a slight overstatement. God had to work on my thick head and heart for many years before I finally understood the true gospel of God’s love administered through his Son’s living blood. Now I’m truly consumed with gratitude for the unimaginable sacrifice he made for me.
That delay between accepting Jesus’ sacrifice for myself and realizing what it meant involved my struggle to bury my dead and rotting “old man” who, like the fictitious zombies of movie infamy, keeps climbing out of its grave. With that graphic statement, I’ve come full circle to my pride problem to which I alluded in the title.
The problem with knowing and loving our Savior is, the closer we get and the better we know him, the more vivid is the huge gulf between his perfect love and holiness, and our imperfect attempts at emulating his qualities. I realize he has imputed his holiness to us, and that’s good enough to reconcile us to God, but in view of his love, and the sacrifice he endured to show it, our meager response is, at best, anemic … well, speaking for myself, that is.
I had planned to avoid further controversy after dissing the confessional, but there’s a factitious issue involving two opposed doctrinal views of believers’ sin: Sinless Perfection vs. Eternal Security.
More knowledgeable people than I have written tomes, promoting their views on both sides of this divisive subject, but here’s a sketchy treatment for the uninitiated: “Sinless Perfection” is the theory that says once believers have received the “Second Work of Grace,” or entire sanctification, sometimes referred to as the “Pentecostal Experience,” the sin nature is dead and we no longer have to sin. The problem is subscribers to that theory have to change their definition of “sin” in order to claim it; what was once sin becomes only mistakes or errors in judgment. Convenient, eh? For a more exhaustive treatment, tune your dial to Wesleyan Arminian.
The Eternal Security side bases their theory on God’s sovereign election(choice), where God picks one and rejects the next without either having done anything to influence him. You can’t sin your way out of this one, because they pull the same sleight-of-hand as the holiness people.
Have I made ya mad yet? Well, I’ve dissed both sides so you have no high-horse(or saw horse) on which to stand. My problem with both sides is they get so defensive when defending themselves. I’ve witnessed scholarly(?) gentlemen(??) nearly come to blows over the issue, effectively denying the unqualified love our Savior requires of his followers. And hey, pick your subject; you’ll find more than enough mean-spirited debate to go around. No wonder the world ridicules our faith.
Now I’m back to the awesome promise I inserted above, before I embarked on my tangent: “Thanks be to God through Jesus Christ our Lord,” for his infinite love and grace!