Monday, February 2, 2009
GOD'S ORDER IN THE APPLICATION OF SALVATION-PART 3
In our last post we said that the presence of faith may be made known amid all the workings of unbelief. Just as that is true, so our salvation from the love of sin may be ascertained notwithstanding all the lusting of the flesh after that which is evil. But, how is thiis initial aspect of salvation to be identified/ We anticipated this question in our first post when we said that God saves us from delighting in sin by imparting a nature that hates evil, and loves holiness, which is given to us, at the new birth. THEREFORE, THE REAL QUESTION, TO BE SETTLED IS;''How may the Christian positively determine whether the new and holy nature has been given to him/ The answer is; by observing its activities, especially the opposition it makes, under the control of the Holy SPIRIT, TO INDWELLING SIN. Not only does the flesh lusts against the Spirit, but The Spirit against the flesh. FIRST, OUR SALVATION FROM THE PLEASURE, OR LOVE OF SIN MAY BE RECOGNIZED BY SIN'S BECOMING A BURDEN TO US. This truly a spiritual experience. Many people have burdens of worldly worries, but know nothing of being weighed down by a sense of guilt. But when God takes us in hand, the iniquities and transgressions of our past life are made to lie as an intolerable burden upon the conscience. When we are given a sight of ourselves, as we are before God, we will exclaim with the Psalmist; ''For innumerable evils have compassed me about; mine iniquities have taken hold upon me, so that I am not able to look up; they are more than the hairs of mine head; therefore my heart faileth me'' [PSALM 40;12]. So far from sin being pleasant, it is now felt as a cruel incubus, a crushing weight, and unendurable load. The soul is ''heavy laden'' [MATTHEW 11;28], and bowed down. A sense of guilt oppresses and the conscience cannot bear the weight of it. Nor is this experience restricted to our first conviction; it acutely continues throughout the Christian's life. SECOND, OUR SALVATION FROM THE PLEASURE OF SIN MAY BE RECOGNIZED BY SIN'S BECOMING BITTER TO US. It is true, that there are millions of unregenerate who are filled with remorse over the harvest reaped from the sowing of wild oats. Yet that is not hatred of sin, but dislike of its consequences--ruined health, squandered opportunities, financial strictness, or social disgrace. No, what we have reference to is that ANGUISH OF HEART which ever marks the one the Spirit takes in hand. When the veil of delusion is removed and we see in the light of God's countenance; when we are given a discovery of the depravity of our very nature, then we perceive that we are sunk in carnality and death. When sin is opened to us, in all its secret workings, we are made to feel the vileness of our hypocrisy, self-righteousness, unbelief, impatience, and the utter filthiness of our hearts. And when the penitent soul views the sufferings of Christ, he can say with Job,''God maketh my heart soft'' [23;16]. IT IS THIS EXPERIENCE WHICH PREPARES THE HEART TO GO AFTER CHRIST; those that are whole need not a physician, but they that are quickened and convicted by the Spirit are anxious to be relieved by the great PHYSICIAN. ''The Lord killeth, and maketh alive; he bringeth down to the grave and bringeth up. The Lord maketh poor, and maketh rich; he bringeth low, and lifteth up'' [I SAMUEL 2;6-7]. God slays our self- righteousness, by making sin to be an intolerable burden to us. There can be bo saving faith until the soul is filled with evangelical repentance-IE. a godly sorrow for sin, a holy detestation of sin, a sincere purpose to forsake it. It is impossible for the Gospel to be good tidings to those who are in love with sin, and would rather perish, than to part with their idols. THIRD, OUR SALVATION FROM THE PLEASURE OF SIN MAY BE RECOGNIZED BY THE FELT BONDAGE, SIN PRODUCES. It is not until GOD SAVES US FROM THE LOVE OF SIN, THAT WE ARE CONSCIOUS OF THE FETTERS, IT HAS PLACED AROUND US. Then we see that we are ''without strength'' [ROMANS 5;6], unable to do anything pleasing to God.