Friday, January 30, 2009
GOD'S ORDER IN THE APPLICATION OF SALVATION-PART 2
Most people would resent being told that they delighted in EVIL... They would indignantly ask if we supposed them to be moral perverts. But that is not always the case. A person may be completely chaste, and yet delight in evil. The Bible says in Jeremiah 17;9 that ''the heart is DECEITFUL above all things'' and what the Bible says is not open to any argument; the plain teaching of Scripture decides the point once and for all, and beyond its verdict, there is no appeal. What, then, does the Bible say/ So far from the Bible denying that there is any delight to be found in sin, it expressly speaks of ''the pleasures of sin.'' The Bible warns that those pleasures are for ''but a season'' [HEBREWS 11;25], and the aftermath is painful, and not pleasant; and unless God intervenes in HIS SOVEREIGN GRACE,they shall entail eternal torment. Also, The Word refers to those who are ''lovers of pleasure more than lovers of God [2 Tim. 3;4]. This discordant note is struck often in Scripture. It mentions those who ''love vanity'' [Psalm 4;2]; ''him that loveth violence'' [PSA. 11;5]; ''thou lovest evil more than good'' [PSA. 52;3];''HE LOVED LIES''[PSA. 62;4]; ''scorners delight in their scorning'' [PRO. 1;22]; ''they which delight in their abominations [ISA. 66;3]; ''their abominations were according as they loved'' [Hosea 9;10]; ''if any man love the world, the love of the Father is not in him'' [I JOHN 2; 15]. To love sin is far worse than to commit it, for a man may be suddenly tripped up or commit it through fraility. The Fact is that we are not only born into this world with an evil nature, but with hearts that are thoroughly in love with sin. Sin is our native element. We are wedded to our lusts, and of ourselves are no more able to alter the bent of our corrupt nature than we could shange our skin color, or the leopard his spots. But what is an impossibility with man, is possible with our God [LUKE 18;27], and when God takes us in hand, He begins by saving us from the pleasure, or love of sin. This is the great miracle of grace, for the Almighty stoops down and picks up a loathsome leper from the dunghill, and makes him a new creature in Christ, so that the things he once loved he now hates, and the things he once hated, he now loves. God begins by saving us from ourselves. He doesn't save us from the penalty until He has delivered us from the love of sin. You may ask, how this miracle of grace is accomplished, or more specifically, What does it consist of/ NEGATIVELY, NOT BY ERADICATING THE EVIL NATURE, nor even by refining it. POSITIVELY, BY COMMUNICATING A NEW NATURE, which loathes that which is evil, and delights in all that is truly good. To be more specific, FIRST, God saves His people from the pleasure, or love of sin, by putting His holy awe in their hearts, for ''the fear of the Lord is TO HATE EVIL'' [PROV. 8;13], and again, ''the fear of the Lord is to depart from evil'' [PROV. 6;6]. SECOND, God saves His people from the pleasure of sin by communicating to them a new and vital principle; ''the love of God is shed abroad in our hearts by the Holy Spirit [ROM. 5;5], and where the love of God rules the heart, the love of sin is dethroned. THIRD, God saves His people from the love of sin by The Holy Spirit's drawing their affections unto things above, thereby taking them off the things which formerly enthralled them. THE BELIEVER'S STRUGGLE If on the one hand, the unbeliever hotly denies that he is in love with sin, many a believer is hard put to persuade himself, that he HAS BEEN SAVED from the love thereof. With an understanding that has been partly enlightened by The Holy Spirit, he is better able to discern things in their true colors. With a heart that has been made honest by grace, he refuses to call sweet bitter. With a conscience that has been sensitized by the new birth, he more quickly feels the workings of sin and the hankering of his affections for that which is forbidden. Moreover, the flesh remains in him, unchanged, and as the raven constantly craves carrion, so this corrupt principle in which our mothers conceived us, lusts after and delights in that which is the opposite of holiness. It is these things which occasion and give rise to the disturbing questions that clamor for answer within the genuine believer. The sincere Christian is often made to seriously doubt if he HAS BEEN delivered from the love of sin. Questions like these agitate his mind; ''Why do I so readily yield to tempation/ Why do the vanities and vanities of the world attract me still/ wHY DO I chafe against restraints placed on my lusts/ Why do I find mortification [ROMANS 8;13] so difficult and distasteful/ COULD THESE THINGS BE, IF I WERE A NEW CREATURE IN CHRIST/ Could such horrible experiences happen, if God saved me from the pleasures of sin/'' What do you say to these questions/ How is this distressing problem to be solved/ THE BELIEVER'S ASSURANCE How may one be assured that he has been saved from the love of sin/ Let's point out, first, that the presence of that within us, which still lusts after and delights in evil things, IS NOT INCOMPATIBLE with our having been saved from the love of sin. It is part of the mystery of the Gosoel that those who be saved are yet Sinners in themselves. THE PRINCIPLE OF FAITH IN THE HEART DOES NOT CAST OUT UNBELIEF. Faith and doubts exist side by side with a quickened soul, as seen in these words, ''Lord, I believe; help thou mine unbelief'' [MARK 9;24]. In like manner the Christian may pray, ''Lord, I long after holiness; help my lustings after sin.'' He can pray this because of the 2 opposing natures within him. The presence of faith can be known, not by the ceasing of unbelief, buy by it's OWN fruit and works. fruit may grow amid the thorns, as flowers among weeds, and yet it is fruit nonetheless. Faith exists amidst many doubts and fears. Notwithstanding outside and inside forces, faith still reaches out after God. FAITH CONTUNUES TO FIGHT REGARDLESS OF DEFEAT AND DISCOURGAEMENT. Faith's presence is seen, when it causes one to come before God as AN EMPTY-HANDED BEGGAR beseeching Him for mercy and blessing.