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Daniel of Doulogos Name:Daniel
Home: Winnipeg, Manitoba, Canada
About Me: I used to believe that evolution was reasonable, that homosexuality was genetic, and that people became Christians because they couldn't deal with the 'reality' that this life was all there was. I used to believe, that if there was a heaven - I could get there by being good - and I used to think I was more or less a good person. I was wrong on all counts. One day I finally had my eyes opened and I saw that I was not going to go to heaven, but that I was certainly going to suffer the wrath of God for all my sin. I saw myself as a treasonous rebel at heart - I hated God for creating me just to send me to Hell - and I was wretched beyond my own comprehension. Into this spiritual vacuum Jesus Christ came and he opened my understanding - delivering me from God's wrath into God's grace. I was "saved" as an adult, and now my life is hid in Christ. I am by no means sinless, but by God's grace I am a repenting believer - a born again Christian.
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Daniel's posts are almost always pastoral and God centered. I appreciate and am challenged by them frequently. He has a great sense of humor as well.
- Marc Heinrich

His posts are either funny or challenging. He is very friendly and nice.
- Rose Cole

[He has] good posts, both the serious like this one, and the humorous like yesterday. [He is] the reason that I have restrained myself from making Canadian jokes in my posts.
- C-Train

This post contains nothing that is of any use to me. What were you thinking? Anyway, it's probably the best I've read all day.
- David Kjos

Daniel, nicely done and much more original than Frank the Turk.
- Jonathan Moorhead

There are some people who are smart, deep, or funny. There are not very many people that are all 3. Daniel is one of those people. His opinion, insight and humor have kept me coming back to his blog since I first visited earlier this year.
- Carla Rolfe
 
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Friday, March 30, 2007
Are You Having a Hectic Day Christian?
Are you feeling frazzled spiritually?When scripture tells us that we do not walk by sight but by faith, it means that the Christian part of everything we do is not what is seen with the eyes, but what is done through faith.

If today my littlest girl insists at some time that I serve her momentary whim, and if I should say "no" to such a request, and if she therefore begins to fuss so that I am in danger of compromising behavioral boundaries that I am are trying to set for her, and if I am leaning towards giving in to her and casting my boundaries aside for no other reason than because I am growing weary of maintaining those boundaries against her full frontal "fussing" assault - that is, if I find maintaining those boundaries "not worth it" because I loathe the hassle... or if I find myself driven in a situation by some emotional charge (in one direction or the other) - it is time for me to step aside from myself and remember that whatever I do in whatever situation I find myself (regardless of how difficult or easy the situation is) I can either walk one way (by faith) or the other (by sight), and the choice I make defines what kind of Christian I am - a (morally superior but ultimately) carnal Christian, or a spiritual Christian.

Oh, I may perform all the "right" actions in any given situation - that is, to the outside observer, whichever path I choose it will look the same: I will be going through the correct external motions, doing what ought to be done. My actions can be genuine and even rise up from a "righteous" disposition - but however morally superior any action on my part might end up being, proper (or even superior) "conduct" is not unique to Christianity. In fact, most world religions share on one level or another, the same moral high ground (conduct-wise). To the outside observer, the paid nurse who reads the book to the sick child is performing the same "good" deed as the mother who reads the book to her sick child - but internally - where it counts - the deeds are as different as night and day. The one is doing a "good deed" for which she is being compensated both financially, and also (perhaps) by keeping her "coincidentally" busy during the time that one of the nurses has to sponge bath that creepy old guy in bed six ~ that is, her good deed can be both self serving/advantageous, and also entirely compensated from beginning to end. The mother however, is acting purely and only out of concern for the child and her efforts are not going to be done in order to avoid something more unpleasant or in order to justify a paycheque.

You see, if you are a genuine Christian you have something that no other religion has, that is, if you have indeed come into union with Christ by grace through faith and in this way you have Christ Himself within you, and not only that - you yourself have been crucified with Christ - and that for a reason: so that sin will no longer have dominion over your mortal life in the here and now.

In Romans eight we read about how the law of the spirit of life has set us free from the law of the sin and death.

What is the law of sin and death?

That is the bondage to sin that Paul describes in Romans 7 - (you know, the whole -what I want to do I don't do, and what I don't want to do I do- thing. Paul describes it as a law that he finds in his flesh, but here in chapter 8 he says that the law of the Spirit of life in Christ Jesus sets (those who are united with Christ in His death and resurrection) free from that bondage - not later on, but now, and not metaphorically, but literally.

If you find that the Romans 7 experience describes your walk, then (frankly) you are not walking by faith, for when you walk by faith you are made free, and when I say free, I don't mean free from sin's penalty since we were freed from that the moment we were put into Christ - I mean free from the bondage to sin described in Romans 7. If Romans 7 is your experience, even though by grace you have been set free from sin's dominion - yet if you are still living out your faith practically as one who is under the law (that is, if you are not applying the gospel to free you from your sin, but are instead simply resisting sin as "best you can" - then even though you have been set free, you are still in bondage on a practical level. Paul describes that as being carnal in his letter to the Corinthians, and he uses that term correctly - you are not walking in the spirit but in the flesh, not by faith, but by sight.

True, it is the Spirit who motivates us to flee sin, but if we are not fleeing sin through faith, but rather are trying to flee the desires of the flesh in the power of the flesh - we are not going to succeed because, frankly, our flesh is not really on God's side, but is in fact not subject to God's law and never will be, and is described in scripture as being enmity (hatred) against God - our flesh =hates= to be ruled by God.

It is easy to describe doing things "in the flesh" because that is the default way in which a man tries to live righteously (regardless of his religion). But how do we battle sin in the Spirit? How do we get out from under sin's bondage if we find ourselves thus bound? How do we get victory over sin in the Spirit?

First of all we need to ditch our "cause and effect" mindset; our salvation from sin has already happened if we are in Christ, and we cannot make it happen or make it "real" by "doing" anything. The battle isn't fought there - it is fought in the arena of faith. There is a world of difference between trusting that Christ has saved us from sin's dominion and trying to get suddenly spiritual when we are tempted. Anyone can keep a commandment superficially (The Pharisees were experts at this), but no one can really keep Christ's commandments unless (until) they genuinely love Christ more than they love their own sin.

But how can we love Christ more than we love sin? Not by gritting our teeth and trying to love more - that doesn't work. By faith. We need to settle it in our heart that God is for us, and not against us. We need to settle it in our heart that Christ is going to save us from sin not by making us stronger and better able to suppress our nature, but rather that God has done so already, and that because he loved us already, with a love that will not be augmented by our own efforts. Our death in/with Christ satisfied God's wrath toward us, and our having been raised in/with Christ demonstrates that we are eternally acceptable to God in His Beloved. We must let this truth penetrate our thinking - we must trust that God hasn't left us orphans but is working even this very moment to change us from glory to glory, and that it is only when we doubt this that we go about trying to make it happen by other means - the greatest hindrance to genuine holiness is self effort - for self effort springs from UNBELIEF. Who sanctifies? Christ sanctifies, not in response to me, but in spite of me. The only thing that hinders this is unbelief, remember, we are saved from sin by faith - not by works.

My wife likes me to keep it practical, so I will try and wrap up with a practical application of this truth:

If we are sanctified by the same kind of faith that saved us, a faith that came simply by believing that God will do what He said (save those who turn to Him), then we must trust God to save us from sin in the same way - by turning away from it in faith - but our faith is not in the vague goodness of God, but in truths that are as specific as the gospel - in this case the truth is that we are dead to sin and alive to God in Christ, and that it is trusting that when the Holy Spirit through Paul said that it is this union with Christ that is going to save you from sin's power - that God wasn't lying. Take that cheque to the bank and cash it.

We are not set free by our strength, but by the truth and when we are set free, we are set free indeed! Meditate on these truths now, don't wait till you are tempted - choose for yourself today to trust God to do what you have failed to do these long years...

Labels: , ,

posted by Daniel @ 10:43 AM  
4 Comments:
  • At 4:19 PM, March 30, 2007, Blogger Even So... said…

    Indeed...we don't work for that relationship we work from it...we believe we are dead because we are...

    Oh, and I just realized it is near April 1 (opening day for baseball)...therfor this metaphor...

    After the winter months and spring traning session, we are ready to play ball, as team Doulogos sends their ace Daniel to the mound, his first pitch, a fastball right down the plate...

     
  • At 10:28 PM, March 30, 2007, Blogger Precision said…

    Amen Daniel, that was excellent. I really appreciate this timely post as I was asked to preach on Sunday and am going to tackle the subject of faith in the life of a believer.

    This is really the key to living an overcoming and victorious life in Christ.

     
  • At 7:59 AM, April 01, 2007, Blogger Daniel said…

    JD - the gospel is for everyday Christian life being the very power by which God saves men from their sins. Like yourself, I desire that men would see this.

    Precision - Welcome to my blog! Faith makes for good preaching ;-)

     
  • At 9:28 PM, April 03, 2007, Blogger MaLady said…

    Great post, Daniel. It seems that you've resolved your angst about the cup factor (being clean on the outside but stained on the inside).

    I have different questions about trust as it relates to God....to my perception of God to be more specific.


    "The battle isn't fought there - it is fought in the arena of faith."

    This comment of yours reminds me of a period of struggle I was having as a mom - suddenly devoted to diapers and dishes rather than the more obvious ministries of the church. The Lord's clear answer to me came in scripture - John 6:29 "Jesus answered, 'The work of God is this: to believe in the one he has sent.'" I learned then that to continually live in faith is the battle...

     
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