Renewing the Mind Part 1
It is Finished
By Jim Allen
Renewing the Mind, the Series
"It is Finished"
The Mind of the Spirit
Our Highest Priority
Don't Live in the Past
In the previous article, "Our Position in Christ," I wrote briefly about two natures and that one of them isn't going to pack up and leave to our beckoning call. It wants to stay and remain our best friend, and I mean "like" forever; it's not at all open to the idea of being taken off the stage of our life.
But here's the thing about the old Adamic nature. It was crucified with Christ nearly 2,000 years ago. We are asked to believe this is true. Its power to rule over you and me was broken. But what does that mean? It means everything. Unless we know the truth about its power outage it will be sure to have its way.
Regrettably, fewer and fewer churches teach the finished work of Christ on the cross. We need to wonder why so many evangelicals see this most important work of all as foolishness (1 Corinthians 1:18). Why would they throw aside the need for the Lamb of God to be their substitutionary sacrifice (John 1:29)? Though they believe in a Jesus, their Jesus cannot be the one who took the full extent of God's wrath at Calvary, and here's why.
Not too long ago a pastor told a story about a man and his young son mourning over the passing of the man's wife and the boy's mother. Both were in a car and driving away from the graveyard. The boy was upset at Jesus for allowing his mother to die so young. The dad understood the sting and tearfully said with a quiver in his voice, "Son...see that truck coming toward us...and do you see the shadow following on the road?" The boy said, "Yes, I see both!" The dad said, "Jesus died when he pushed your mother aside and took the full force of God's judgment so your mother would only take the passing shadow."
The image of the true Jesus is sobering. It grips the heart. It reminds me that God's grace is so profound and so deep we can barely begin to imagine this kind of love. Jesus' sacrifice highlights three important truths: We were redeemed from the curse of the law (Galatians 3:13-14), saved from guilt of sin (Romans 3:24), and released from the power of sin (1 Peter 1:18-19).
While all three are important, to be released from the power of sin is the liberating truth found in this article. We are called to believe it is finished. But, there is a surprise. While learning to overcome sin and grow in grace and knowledge, we keep finding sin. It's like a never ending story. John MacArthur writes:
In Romans 7:18–19 Paul isn't saying he can't figure out how to do anything right. He's saying he can't obey to the extent his heart longs to. If you examine your spiritual growth, you should be able to recognize a greater hatred for your sin now than you did before you understood how serious sin is and how holy God is. Although spiritual growth results in a decreasing frequency of sin, it inversely involves a heightened sensitivity to it. (Source)Just the other day I was talking on the phone to my sister, Sharon, about another family member's waning health caused by poor eating habits. Though what I said was true, the Holy Spirit reminded me about the insensitive tone in my voice. I agreed and sent an apology to Sharon that said:
I didn't mean to sound critical, though I sense she is partly responsible for her medical problem. None of us can know the deepness of her pain or recent disappointment. It's a dreadful thing to lose one's health. If anything, she needs empathy and all the help we can give her. Who knows, perhaps some of what we do will help her rethink her decisions in life.In closing, Jesus took our place to set us free from the power of sin. It was broken. Paul says Jesus set us free (Galatians 5:1). As part of growing up in the faith, MacArthur says we eventually ingest this truth until we grow to abhor even the slightest sin, resulting in a broken and contrite heart.
Even so, I find it refreshing to remember God's work is complete and our work is to believe it is finished (John 19:30). God helps us isolate and deal with even the little sins. Though Paul struggled to obey to a greater extent than he did, his focus was always on the goal of the high calling of God in Christ Jesus (Philippians 12:3).
Note: Having a goal to focus on helps stay the course. The next article will continue with this theme on renewing the mind and how focus plays an important role.
Image Credit: OpenClipart-Vectors; untitled; Creative Commons
Tags: Biblical-Salvation | Biblical-Truth | Christian-Life | Jesus-Christ | Sin-Evil
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