Day 27: Obedience & Sanctification

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But it is so hard to love God and continually obey!!!  Yes, we love God, yet we continue down paths of disobedience each and every day.  Just the other morning I was telling one of my children that their time in the word obviously was not long enough because it hadn’t affected their relationships, all the while my time in the word that morning had apparently not taken root either since my voice was much higher than it should have been!!

So what do we do?

We first have to call a spade a spade and call our sin what it is—SIN and get our eyes on God instead of ourselves.  Jerry Bridges states it this way in the book The Pursuit of Holiness.

Our first problem is that our attitude toward sin is more self-centered than God-centered.  We are more concerned about our own “victory” over sin than we are about the fact that our sins grieve the heart of God….God wants us to walk in obedience—not victory.  Obedience is oriented toward God; victory is oriented toward self.  This may seem to be merely splitting hairs over semantics, but there is a subtle, self-centered attitude at the root of many of our difficulties with sin.  Until we face this attitude and deal with it we will not consistently walk in holiness.  This is not to say God doesn’t want us to experience victory, but rather to emphasize that victory is a by-product of obedience (20-21).

I know that this statement may rub some a little hard, but the reality is that we as believers have become to entitled to the victory we have in Christ to truly recognize the infinite grace He has given to us.  Bridges continues:

It is time for us Christians to face up to our responsibility for holiness.  Too often we say we are “defeated” by this or that sin.  No, we are not defeated; we are simply disobedient!  It might be well if we stopped using the terms “victory” and “defeat” to describe our progress in holiness.  Rather we should use the terms “obedience” and “disobedience.”  When I say I am defeated by some sin, I am unconsciously slipping out from under my responsibility.   I am saying something outside of me has defeated me.  But when I say I am disobedient, that places responsibility for my sin squarely on me.  We may, in fact, be defeated, but the reason we are defeated is because we have chosen to disobey.  We have chosen to entertain lustful thoughts, or to harbor resentment, or to shade the truth a little.

We need to brace ourselves up, and to realize that we are responsible for our thoughts, attitudes, and actions.  We need to recognize the fact that we died to sin’s reign, that it no longer has any dominion over us, that God has united us with the risen Christ in all His power, and has given us the Holy Spirit to work in us.  Only as we accept our responsibility and appropriate Gods provisions will we make progress in our pursuit of holiness (84-85).

These are some strong words for us to consider as we walk about our daily lives as Christians.  Are we walking in obedience or are we walking in self-centered, entitlement mentality?  Are we taking ownership for our sin?  The apostle Paul reminds us that while we are free from sin, we are slaves to righteousness.

Therefore do not let sin reign in your mortal body, so that you obey its desires.  And do not offer any parts of it to sin as weapons for unrighteousness.  But as those who are alive from the dead, offer yourselves to God, and all the parts of yourselves to God as weapons for righteousness.  For sin will not rule over you, because you are not under law but under grace.

What then?  Should we sin because we are not under law but under grace?  Absolutely not!  Don’t you know that if you offer yourselves to someone as obedient slaves, you are slaves of that one you obey—either of sin leading to death or of obedience leading to righteousness?  But thank God that, although you used to be slaves of sin, you obey from the heart that pattern of teaching you were transferred to, and having been liberated from sin, you became enslaved to righteousness.  Romans 6:12-18

Therefore, while we have been set free from sin through the grace of God, His grace does not yield license to sin more (Romans???).  Instead, followers of Christ should reflect the continual death of our flesh to the world around us.  In the book, For A Time We Cannot See: Living Today in Light of Heaven, Crawford Loritts stresses the moment-by-moment surrender of obedience to the cross.

We become slaves of whatever we yield ourselves to (Romans 6).  And because Jesus has broken the power of sin over us, we have to choose, on a moment-by-moment basis, to yield to the victorious Christ who lives within us.  When we yield to the indwelling Christ, He lives His life in and through us and empowers us to overcome sin.  In this regard, victory over sin or conquering sin is the result of a moment-by-moment surrender to the power of the cross (29).

Erwin W. Lutzer in How to Say No to a Stubborn Habit: Even when you feel like saying yes also agrees with the premise that the Christian life is one that is a moment-by-moment willingness to say yes to Christ and no to the flesh.

The Christian life is a growing relationship.  Applying the cross to your life is not something you do once for all. Nor is it sufficient to do it every week or even once a day. It is a moment by moment, daily process.  As you develop sensitivity to the Holy Spirit’s work in your life, you will find that saying no to the flesh and yes to Christ will become a way of life” (68).

Step-by-step, moment-by-moment by the grace of God and His sanctification through His Word, may we say no to the flesh and walk in obedience to the commands of Christ.

Lord, God forgive us for sugar-coating our sins.  Help us to call our sin, sin.  Give us Your heart to sanctify all areas of our lives and walk in the joy You have for Your children.

 


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