Category Archives: The defeat of satan, sin & death

Q316 “when is repentance sin?”

Repentance is hailed by legalists as the last, best, good work. When they have run out of rules and regulations and have to concede that the old covenant is over, they wave the repentance flag in the desperate hope that someone will remain bogged down in the mire of the law to keep them company.

What exactly is repentance ? Repentance is a change of heart – a turning in the opposite direction – a letting go of the old, to embrace the new. It is to believe in something you previously didn’t. It’s turning toward Jesus.

What is not repentance ? A heart that wants to please God by its remorse. A determination to walk away from sin. A committment to live a more honourable life. A decision of the will to do better. It’s not turning toward my self own improvement.

There is only one last, best, good work ~ the death and resurrection of Christ in payment for our sin debt, we do not participate in the process, nor do we do anything that brings us into God’s favour. Prior to becoming Christians we were dead in our sins, dead people can’t be remorseful, make commitments, or decide to follow God. All dead people can do is be brought back to life, repentance is simply the acknowledgement that Christ breathed new life into us at the cross “I no longer live but Christ lives in me”.

Repentance has nothing to do with how you intend to live now that you’ve chosen to believe, but is has everything to do with realizing that Christ purchased your freedom from sin, death and satan ~ and accepting this new condition.

Repentance becomes sin when we shift the focus off the work of Christ and onto the work of myself, (my decision to do better). Repentance is all about Jesus, and not at all about me.  When I shift the spotlight on to my own effort to respond, my own choice to live better, my own ambition to give it all ~ then I am entering into a work of the flesh, and every work of the flesh has it’s origin in sin.

I guess that’s the tragedy of it all ~ repentance is supposed to be all about realizing the wonder of Christ and falling into His grace and love, unfortunately legalists have turned repentance into a work of man ~ the result being that many Christians remain bound-up by the law, too scared to trust in the goodness of Christ alone to lift them out of the mire of sin.

The sin of repentance is the compulsive need of mankind to do something for himself. The grace of repentance is the realization we can do nothing for ourselves, so we fall into the goodness of the cross of Christ. Our repentance is not a gesture we offer God ~ but a gift He offers us.

It reminds me of the time Jesus dressed-down the Pharisees for keeping the people under bondage in Matt. 23:15 “…you make him twice as much a son of hell as you are”  –   sobering stuff…

Graeme

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Filed under Grace - the most lavish gift, Renewing the mind, The complete work of Jesus, The defeat of satan, sin & death

Q188 ” what happened at the cross ?”

If we view the cross only from the perspective of the visible, earthly suffering and death of Christ we miss the full impact of the drama that took place. It would be like going to the opera and watching only one person on stage when there are many others performing their parts.

I’m sure Christ himself was very aware of the wider drama taking place. He had a clear view of the evil powers that were arrayed against him as well as the angelic hosts looking on. He was also always intimately conscious of the Father and Spirits presence in His life, which is confirmed by His statement on the cross when He became sin for us “my God, my God, why have You forsaken me”.

Christ was true God as well as true man. We know the man part was brutally killed on the cross, but what of the God part. The God part (or eternal Spirit) cannot die, but it was subjected to punishment beyond imagination (separation from the Father). We don’t know if this separation lasted minutes or days, but we do know that when it happened Jesus was full of sin, every sin of mankind was focused into his Spirit, every vile act, every deceitful thought, every lustful intent contaminated His purity.

By choosing to become the scapegoat for mankind Jesus sentenced himself to the most appalling anguish, He knew it was coming, and He took it like a lamb to the slaughter. The nails through His hands and feet were shocking in themselves, the scourging, whipping and beating were unimaginably cruel, but the thing that was most agonizing, was bearing in His perfect Spirit all of the sin of the human race.

What happened on the cross was this, ‘ the perfect darling son of heaven was transformed into the most grotesque  of sinners to ever walk the earth’, this sinful condition attracted the full wrath of His Father God, and He was punished with the full force of the law, He was abandoned by the very one who He had been with in perfect loving union for all eternity, and subject to unimaginable shame and humiliation.

When justice had been done, punishment meted out, the expectations of the eternal legal system satisfied for me and you and every sinner to ever walk the earth, the Father said “IT IS DONE”, I am satisfied that no human being now needs to spend eternity in darkness, removed from my presence.

Now mankind will be friends of God forever, as they look upon the cross and receive for themselves the atoning sacrifice of Jesus.

Such is the drama of the cross.

Graeme

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Filed under Gazing upon the cross, Renewing the mind, The complete work of Jesus, The defeat of satan, sin & death

Q108 ” do suicides go to heaven ?”

There has been a view among Christians that I have heard since my childhood that people who commit suicide go to hell. I heard it again recently and was so disturbed that I feel I must try to clear up some very wrong thinking.

Primarily the idea behind this error is that; if we are in sin as we die then we are excluded from heaven because of our action of defiance against what God holds sacred… human life.

Let me make 2 points:-

1. If we are in Christ then we are not (ever) in sin !! Our sinful nature has been removed from us at the cross and we have been born again of God. We may fail at times along life’s journey, but we will never again be encumbered by the depraved and godless condition known as the sinful nature. This was permanently removed by the magnificent work of Christ and we received it by placing faith in His work.

2. There is no longer any sin that God is offended by. It doesn’t matter how gross, the power of Christ’s shed blood blew all of mankind’s sins into oblivion. We simply need to receive that reality by faith. The sin against the Holy Spirit is altogether different as it is a rejection of Christ’s atoning sacrifice after fully grasping the truth of it. In other words having a genuine revelation of Christ and Him crucified and then saying No! I don’t want it.

A Christian I know recently chose to comfort a family member of someone who committed suicide by proclaiming that the person was now in hell. This is an appalling abuse of not only the person involved but also the sacrifice of Christ. It implies that Christ’s sacrifice is not adequate to deal with all sin, only those sin’s that we have an opportunity to repent of before we die.

This is not the gospel of Jesus Christ, but rather a distorted mix of legalism and proud religious superiority.

If you know my blogs then you will be aware that this reaction is somewhat out of character for me. I don’t usually go to the trouble of confronting individual errors, I normally discuss more general issues of our faith.

In this instance I feel I must address such a miscarriage of the good news square on. Jesus came to unconditionally rescue us from our predicament of sin, death and satan. And He did it!!

Graeme

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Filed under No more guilt or condemnation, Renewing the mind, The complete work of Jesus, The defeat of satan, sin & death

Q19 “what if I die before repenting of a sin ?”

Its a fearful thought to have walked your whole life as a Christian and then to mess up at 1 minute to midnight. This question is similar to yesterday ‘how can I be sure I am saved’. It springs from the notion that there is something I do that adds to or takes away from my salvation. One of the hardest things for mankind to accept is that God has ceased from scrutinising your life, a remnant of guilt and condemnation always seems to linger.

Rom. 8:1 says ‘there is no condemnation for those who are in Christ Jesus’. That means that God’s awareness of our sin ended when we received Christ’s righteousness. From that moment on God can only see us hidden in Christ, we are lost in His virtue. We are forever imprinted with Christ’s perfect DNA, if we still feel guilty then it has got nothing to do with God… feeling guilty is agreeing with satan as opposed to God’s word.

When Christ removed our sin nature at the cross it means that all of the sins we have committed or may still commit, have already been repented of. It is not about keeping short lists anymore… its about trusting that all my sin  was nailed to the cross 2000 years ago, even the one that I don’t get time to repent of.

Stressing over failure is un-Godly living, it is fixing our eyes on ourselves instead of on Christ – Heb. 12:2. Religion is wrapped up in doing things to stay in God’s good books, relationship is resting that my name is forever written in the book of life. This kind of living is very different from the way humanity operates, it takes some effort to retrain our thinking… but the prize is worth the effort. Heb. 12:2 goes on to say ‘Christ is the author and perfecter of our faith’, it seems to me we should restfully allow Him to undertake His job description in our lives – perfecting our faith.

Perhaps the biggest transition to take place for a Christian is the one where we truly believe and trust that Christ did everything necessary, and for me to relax in His love and goodness.

Graeme

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Filed under Gazing upon the cross, Grace - the most lavish gift, No more guilt or condemnation, Renewing the mind, The complete work of Jesus, The defeat of satan, sin & death