Religious Affections

March 5, 2009

The true Christian life doe not revolve around a set of core beliefs to live by. We are commanded to perfectly obey the Ten Commandments. We must attend worship services to be “in fellowship”. We must pray. We are commanded to preach the Gospel to the ends of the earth. We must be good stewards with money, property and relationships. We are told to love our enemies. But, can the born-again Christian maintain a lifestyle of merely attempting to check off these things on our list and measure how we do according to a man-standardized caliper? Would not the mindset of having a “Christian check list” be directly opposed to fundamental biblical Christianity?

If a sinner has standardized his moral behavior according to his own accomplishments, he will succeed every time. If his goal is to feed one homeless person per day and he does it, he has attained the goal. If he plans to not curse as much as yesterday, he has done well. He will build his self-moral empire until he is glorious in his own eyes. It will therefore tremendously affect the way he truly glorifies God in all things and thus attempts to strip all the glory that belongs to Him. If a man already is or is becoming self-sufficient in his moral behavior and affections, he loses the blessed sight of the Spirit’s power, Grace and providence in every action or deed. Instead of seeing the Sovereignty of God and Glory of Christ, he will rather sin by idolizing his perceived self-willed providence. At this rate of continually attempting to realize his own ‘good’ actions, his pride will puff up as he simultaneously continues to stumble and degrade God’s righteousness name. The most dangerous viper on the horizon of spiritual warfare is that even a saint may not realize his that his great moral actions may be nothing more than self-righteous, [perceived] self-willed and demoralizing progressions of idolatry. It is infinitely more so in the unregenerate depraved mind.

Christians are to glorify God in all things. When the Son of God sets a sinner free from sin and death, he is free indeed. He is no longer condemned but is justified by His Grace. The very spiritual state of mind the sinner is caused to see upon the new birth is the very spiritual state of mind we are to [and will if it is a true work of Grace] maintain throughout life on this earth. If one does not pass from death to life and given the Holy Spirit to be lead into all truth, then it is impossible to glory God at all, much less in feeding a homeless person, corporate worship, Scripture reading or various sorts of “good deeds.” The nature that is given upon the new birth is the “new nature” or the “new man” whose very purpose is to, on one hand, crucify the deeds of the body or the flesh through holiness [convict of sin]. On the other hand, the Spirit’s perfect work is to give all glory to God in the accomplishment of these holy affections. That is above all else. Only the Holy Spirit’s work in the soul can generate true worship and affections for Christ, which produces the righteous deeds in accordance to the will of God.

In true Christian living, the regenerated soul realizes that he is delivered from the infinitely self-righteous and self-glorifying state of mind. As the converted continues in the daily battle of the flesh, the Spirit brings conviction upon the things he naturally wants to do. The sinner naturally wants to build his temple of idolatry and worship his own self-righteous works as if it is he who does them and controls them. He will rather take the credit for a good work prior to submitting it to His very Creator, who is Sovereign and works all in all. He would love his works before loving Christ. His mind is naturally corrupted in perversion and sin; so apart from the Spirit’s work, he cannot glorify God in the purity that acknowledges His perfect righteousness. He would rather covet all things to himself before submitting them to the effectual goodness of the Lord.
These affections eternally separate the regenerate from the unregenerate but they may at times look exactly the same on the outside.

“When the Son of Man comes in His glory, and all the holy angels with Him, then He will sit on the throne of His glory. ‘All the nations will be gathered before Him, and He will separate them one from another, as a shepherd divides his sheep from the goats. ‘And He will set the sheep on His right hand, but the goats on the left.’” Matthew 25:31-33

The wisdom of Christ is such that He separates the sheep from the goats according to His own pleasure and glory. Whether we are a sheep or a goat, we must testify in judgment our works according to the perfect glory of Christ. His unsearchable glory cannot and will not be seen in those to whom He has not effectually called by the Spirit. In the unregenerate mind [and the believer at times], works and deeds may make mention of Christ but still ultimately glorify oneself. The stark difference is that when a true believer gives a cup of water, the Spirit causes them see the glory of Christ and do it in Jesus’ name.
“for I was hungry and you gave Me food; I was thirsty and you gave Me drink; I was a stranger and you took Me in[v. 35].”

The true believer clothes the naked and visits those in prison. So does the unbeliever. The true believer does not do it because Jesus says to always “clothe the naked” or “take a stranger in.” They do it because they will not only clothe the naked, but that they will also give him something to eat. If that person happens to be in prison, they will also visit them there. And if they are thirsty, they will give them something to drink too. The wicked desire to complete these things and gladly receive recognition for them as a good steward or Samaritan. Their hearts are too hardened and self-sufficient to remotely fathom the glory of God in such an action. But true saints of Christ realize that even if they offer something, they know they truly have nothing. Because of the precious blood of Jesus, the depths of the soul in the beloved saints have sprung to life of the glory of God in Christ. Their eyes and ears are open to see and know that Christ has freely given them all things when He hung on the tree. They now know what was always their responsibility [to care for the poor, pray, to worship Him, take strangers in, being absolutely perfect as our Heavenly Father is perfect], and plead to Him in utter gratefulness that they now come to His table and eat. We now consider it a gracious honor and pleasure due to the joy given by the Spirit, to give a cup of water in Jesus’ name.

Piercings

March 2, 2009

One would only need to read a small portion of Scripture in the Word of God to be reminded that this world is passing away. I can drive down the street and forget Christ. I can work out in the gym and become completely self-sufficient. I can have a phone conversation and become completely distracted from the Gospel. I think obsessively about an injury or issue and completely overlook the Glory of God.

The Scriptures are not only a source of refuge from this world, but the only source of refuge. If you are born-again by the Spirit of God, then the Word is the only thing that separates you from the world. As we trudge a long day at work, fighting our own natures and the perversions of the world [which is everywhere], the Word of God provides the truth of the Universe to convict and feed the soul. The Word reminds us that God’s people are chosen out of the world. The world as a whole will be judged and the earth itself will be annihilated. As a Christian, it is rare to find others gathered in a circle in public places reading and meditating on the Word of God. It is rarer still to find that in the sense of sound doctrine. The Mercy of Christ is what the believer ultimately sees when he finds ultimate satisfaction in His undefiled, unapproachably pure and unalterably convicting Word. Its power is such that it draws sinners out of the world and unto Himself.