There seems to be much simplicity in making a statement to be a professing Christ follower. Many times, it is even a note or a comment to be a Christian. “Yes, I am a Christian, so what’s for dinner?” In fact, most Americans proclaim to be one. It is part of American culture to proclaim God and attend some sort of religious service on Sunday. That is just what you do. Not many people have a problem with you proclaiming to be a Christian until you speak of what is required in such a proclamation. This separates the Christians and professors, which proves that words cut to the heart. God uses words to reveal Himself and His Glory, but He also uses character to realize the words into actions.

As a Christian, our character reflects our understanding of the Gospel. What we speak, how we treat people are all ways to proclaim or demonstrate, publicly, who we are as a person. Christians are to be careful instead of whimsical in each interaction with believers and unbelievers alike. We should be careful to reflect Godly character. Paul teaches,
“Let nothing be done through selfish ambition or conceit, but in lowliness of mind let each esteem others better than himself. Let each of you look out not only for his own interests, but also for the interests of others.” Philippians 2:3-4
If we are born-again, we prove to understand the Gospel with the simple, yet so difficult concept of, “esteeming others better than ourselves.” However, if we do not understand the Gospel, we publicly demonstrate, to our Creator and everyone surrounding, that we do not fear Him. If we do not consider others better than ourselves, then we do not fear God and simply put self before others.

If we understand the Gospel, we reflect the fruits of the Spirit in our character. Namely, these are love, joy, peace, longsuffering, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness and self control. Against these, there is no law (Galatians 5:22-23). There is an overflowing understanding of the responsibility to be conscientiously different from the world. It should not be an act to reflect Godly attributes in the morning, but not at night, or vice versa. Although we sin because of our old nature, upon conversion, it is the will of God to demonstrate His love for His children by portraying it through His children to others; which causes His commands to not be burdensome.
“By this we know that we love the children of God, when we love God and keep His commandments. And His commandments are not burdensome.” 1 John 5: 2, 3
A true saint is caused to know true righteousness and the difference in a feeble attempt to be religious because of the realization of the perfection required. Rather, it is a soul provocation, caused by the Holy Spirit, in utter humility, to embrace and display the righteousness of Christ, rather than our own, which is none.

If we reflect understanding of the Gospel, we will “be Christ” to others. The mysteriously majestic privilege to reflect the light of Christ that is not at all within us naturally, but simply as a chosen people, is the highest calling of a human being from the Creator of Universe to demonstrate the eternal realm on earth and ultimately, the Kingdom of Heaven.
“But you are a chosen generation, a royal priesthood, a holy nation, His own special people, that you may proclaim the praises of Him who called you out of darkness into His marvelous light; who once were not a people but are now the people of God, who had not obtained mercy but now have obtained mercy.” 1 Peter 2:9-10
If we are one of His peculiar or special people, a royal priesthood, then by the Sovereign will of God, we will be set apart from the fallen world to continually, more consistently at an increasing level, reflect Christ in us in the process of sanctification. It glorifies Him to show His light through us to not only make public shame of the sin of unbelievers, but also believers, which causes intense division among the peoples. This is because the perfect character of Christ is diametrically opposed to the whole world and primarily why the world hates Him (Jesus’ compassion alone on outcast people who were lame, blind, deaf and otherwise worthless to society caused immediate recognition and intense strife, not among irreligious but the “religious” people).

Since the fall, sin of all sorts has caused intense pain and suffering among the human race. Because our sins (as believers), which are many, are forgiven, so we must forgive the sins of others. Many Christians understand the forgiveness aspect of Godly character differently at different levels because we have all have sinned and have been sinned against differently. Yet, sin is sin, regardless of the depth, tone, shape or form. Jesus did not die for some sins of all people, but He died for all sins of some people. The Doctrine of Atonement obliterates any act of self-justification because of our utter helplessness without it. If Christ did not die, then we are not forgiven and still dead in our sins. But, since He died in perfect righteousness (and resurrected), our sins are able to be forgiven. Therefore, since we all have infinitely broken God’s law, our undeserved forgiveness from Christ to us should reflect in our character, from us to others in compassionate love and sacrificial gratitude of His Mercy. This also reminds us that when we sin, we not only sin against others who have sinned, but ultimately against Jesus Christ, who never sinned, yet shed His blood to redeem us.
“Then He turned to the woman and said to Simon, “Do you see this woman? I entered your house; you gave me not water for My feet, but she has washed My feet with her tears and wiped them with the hair of her head. ‘You gave me no kiss, but this woman has not ceased to kiss My feet since the time I came in. ‘You did not anoint My head with oil, but this woman has anointed My feet with fragrant oil. ‘Therefore, I say to you, her sins, which are many, are forgiven, for she loved much. But to whom little is forgiven, the same loves little.’ Then He said to her, ‘Your sins are forgiven.’
Luke 7:44-48

Jesus personally proves the wisdom behind the two great commandments, to “Love the Lord God with all your heart mind, soul and strength and your neighbor as yourself.” If you obey and reflect these two, then you will obey and reflect the rest of the commands. If you do not obey these two, then you cannot obey the rest. True Godly character displays Christ-likeness in the assurance by the Spirit of God to produce the fruits of the Spirit in becoming more like Him. The Gospels indicate that Jesus, being the Author and Finisher of our faith, emphasized the infinite value of relationships to publicly demonstrate His power, while ascertaining the difference between good and evil, the reality of faith and ultimate Glory, in His character or who He actually is as the God-Man. In the same way, as His children, we are to be salt and light to the world; to friends, family, enemies, strangers, foreigners so they may see our good deeds and glorify Our Father in Heaven.

‘You are the salt of the earth; but if the salt loses its flavor, how shall it be seasoned? It is then good for nothing but to be thrown out and trampled underfoot by men. You are the light of the world. A city that is set on a hill cannot be hidden. Nor do they light a lamp and put it under a basket, but on a lampstand, and gives light to all who are in the house. Let your light so shine before men, that they may see your good works and glorify your Father in heaven’.” Matthew 5:13-16

I Cry

April 15, 2008

As I contemplate the Infinite and Eternal worth of the Savior, I am reminded of the wretched condition of my body of death, and again, Grace. The Doctrines of Grace replay over and over until I can eloquently repeat them with my mind, while searching the Scriptures. My re-born life and closeness to God has amounted to how much I can learn and know about Him; the way that He thinks, decrees, judges, loves and hates. I am known as a person with “spiritual knowledge”, one who “knows” God and understands the fundamental differences between “Calvinist” and “Arminian” Theology. I read authors like Charles Spurgeon, John Piper, John Owen, Jonathan Edwards, D.A. Carson, Vincent Cheung, Luther and Calvin. I am bored at times in church because I already know most things that are preached and understand the truths sometimes in a way that seems more passionate than the preacher, as if possessing a treasure that he does not know about (?). I enjoy debating the difference between my choosing of God in my salvation and God choosing me. I also enjoy discussing the theology in the middle, like perseverance, sanctification, free will, common grace, “Lordship salvation”, and the losing of salvation. I thrive on reading as many books as I can, to have read as much if not more than the next born-again Calvinist Christian. At the end of the day, my conscience may approve of these things that are good, and check them off the list. Now that I have worked on Theology and Doctrine for a little while, I think I will touch up the Christian cake a little more with some Apologetics. Christian Apologetics is a thought process of “defending the faith” that ultimately differentiates the way of thinking between a believer and unbeliever in understanding our (biblical) worldview. I appreciate the gifts of many great apologists that help my knowledge of defending the Christian Faith, e.g, Van Til, Augustine, Cheung, and Clark. Because of the Grace of God, I am full of knowledge of Him.

Yet, I am sad, and broken, again.

In the midst of my pursuance of the knowledge of God and the way that He thinks, the understanding of Doctrine, Theology, Apologetics and Scripture, I am breaking my own heart in the process. The only One who gives me true knowledge, understanding, patience, and endurance of the faith, is the One seems to be placed on the backend. I must now grow in another way. I must understand God in another way. I must be broken in another way. Instead of repeating in my conscience, “God is Sovereign over my sin,” I need not to justify the very thing that separates me from my Creator and Sustainer, Jesus Christ. I must realize that Jesus is not a concept or mere words. He is not just Theology, or the the One who speaks the red words in the Bible. He is not a fad, label or a “Homeboy.” He is the God-Man that saved me from my sin, i.e, death, hell and the full wrath of God. I know that it is only by His blood that I can see His face, for who He is. It is only by His blood that I can see my sin for what it is. It is only by His blood that I can know the difference between saved and lost. It is only by His blood that I can have compassion for someone who does not know Him. It is Jesus Christ Himself that I need; not Theology, Doctrine, or Apologetics; But, only His Word. All of these great things are derived from the Scriptures, but when not applied to my very life, they are utterly worthless and useless.

May I learn to mortify sin by rewinding 2,000 years ago to that dark day of the crucifixion. As I see Mary and John in tears at the foot of the cross, His righteous, pure blood inches closer to the ground from His wounds. I am vaguely picturing myself in the midst of that day, yet knowing exactly what happened. I know that it quickly became dark the moment His hands and feet were nailed. The full wrath of the God of Heaven is placed on the only One in all of the Universe, before time, that could bear it, and die to bring me back to God. I was trying to picture myself crying at the cross with Mary and John, but, without the Grace of God, I am one of the Roman soldiers to mock and ridicule Him as the “King of the Jews” and scourge Him as if He was worthless and blasphemous. I would be one of them to spit upon him as the crowns of thorns were placed around His head.

I only cry now as I see my responsibility to the rest of the world once I have been rescued from certain death and damnation to the worst placed in all creation, hell. I not only cry about that, but fall to my knees in repentance and inexpressible gratitude that I am not no longer separated from the One that created me In His Image. I now have Him. He is my life (Gal. 2:20). I now know what it means to be brokenhearted over the sin that crucified the perfect Christ. Oh, how glorious and precious is the Lamb of God! This is the one the prophets were speaking of!

God, I do not deserve one word of knowledge of you. I do not deserve to be in your presence or to have you die for my sins. I do not deserve the computer to type this on or the program that it is in, or the fingers I am using to type, or the chair I am sitting in, or the roof over my head to give me shelter, or the food that I am about to eat. I do not deserve the very life that I have; that I can see, and walk and hear and think, communicate, respond, laugh, and cry. I have a broken body with a broken-heart for my wretchedness.

May I never veer from the Cross, where it all began; where I met my first love; where I loved for the first time; where I understood forgiveness for the first time, Grace for the first time and Mercy for the first time. Lord, it is only because of the Cross that I can understand who you really are and not what the world makes you. It is only because of the Cross that I can understand that you chose me before the foundation of the world to walk in and with you. It is only because of the Cross that I can shed light to the (professing) atheist in his non-acknowledgement of what he already knows, due to his own sin and rebellion. It is only because of the Cross that I can never lose the work of Grace that you have begun. And because of these things, may I have a broken-heart in humility because of the One who made me who I am, in every way, the One who is the way, the truth, the life, the One who has sheep that know His voice, that One who is Truly Righteous, Holy and gives His undeserved Amazing Grace and Mercy to the ones who’s hearts He breaks and restores, Jesus Christ. It is finished.