Friday, April 26, 2013

Your Thorn In The Flesh

I am prompted to address something . . . to the Believer.  'Tis not a matter a goat would understand.

There may be a recurring sin in your life--something you struggle with . . . over and over.  You feel you have conquered it for a while--it has flown the coop, but then like a bird that disappeared over the horizon, a few days later, you realize in the midst of it, the bird is back picking at your assurance.

["Theologically, assurance is the state of being confident in a condition or outcome.  Usually it is applied to one’s assurance of salvation."]

Paul asked God for the "thorn" in his flesh to be removed.  The Lord said, "My grace is sufficient."

Paul realized that the thorn was to torment and weaken him so that he would not become puffed up with religious self-righteousness.  It was a blessing, in fact, to keep him humble.

This does not mean that the disciple ceases struggling with some "besetting sin".  With the Holy Spirit working in you, you will continue to war against the flesh.  And oftentimes, He will finally take it away.

But in the midst of these troubles what you do not want to do is allow the devil to harass your mind with debilitating guilt and accusations of "see, you are not worthy to be a disciple of 'the Master!'"

We already know and have confessed that we are not worthy!  It is not by our worthiness that we are accepted by God.  This we have already discovered--He showed it to us and made us to understand our utter brokenness and need for a Savior.  The devil is conniver and a liar . . . and so are his minions who will likewise harry you with doubts and Spiritless self-loathing.

"My grace is sufficient for you; My strength is made perfect in weakness."  --2 Cor. 12:9

When you have failed yet again and begin to seriously question your salvation and imagine that God is freshly displeased and considering revoking your passport to Heaven, tell the devil to flee!  [I am talking to the genuine Believer who HAS repented and seeks constantly to trust and follow the Lord, which is a fruit of being saved.] 

Once you were saved--when His grace came to you, opened your eyes and Justified you through the redeeming work of Jesus, IT WAS FINISHED!  Your present mistakes and ongoing battles with this or that thorn are not what God acknowledges . . . . He sees the perfect, holy life of Christ, and all the sins that you once committed, continue to commit and will commit WERE FORGIVEN.  It is done! 

Not only that, but the Lord's righteousness was attributed TO YOUR ACCOUNT~!

Your efforts, your works, your this or that struggle, missteps, stumbles . . . are just part of the lingering momentum from when you moved solely in the material, fallen world, as a child of the devil.  You will continue to war with and lament them and little by little they will diminish and fall away; although if He allows some thorn to persist, it makes no difference regarding your salvation.  You were saved by the Lord's perfect work on your behalf.

When He says, "My grace is sufficient" . . . He is saying, don't panic . . . don't stew and wallow in continual self-condemnation, such that you are of no use to the furthering of the Kingdom.  THAT is what the devil would have you do.  But God says, "My grace is sufficient."  And now all you must remember and assert . . . is the FAITH you have in the completed, sacrificial work of Jesus Yeshua Ha Mashiach.  Are you saved or not?  YES!  By His grace alone and not because of anything you did, are doing or will do.  HIS GRACE ALONE saved you and now what you must do--will do--is recall that fact and assert your fall-on-your-face gratitude and faith that it is so.

Rather than mope or absent-mindedly battle here and there, feeling guilty all the while, with the recurring sin, looking at it, maintaining a constant nagging regret and fear . . . INSTEAD take captive your thoughts and take some time--some holy, honored time . . . and LOOK AT THE CROSS.  Recall in vivid detail, experiencing again the emotion of it, what Jesus did for you!  Do this regularly, through the day, every day. 

Do not concentrate on the besetting sin but instead concentrate on the magnanimous, glorious, loving, self-sacrificing burden Jesus took upon Himself, so that YOU ARE SAVED!  Keep thinking on that.!

What is likely to happen, is that when you maintain your focus and faith upon the finished work of Christ, the devil and his nagging pricks and pokes become small and petty and lose their strength.  Sins begin to fall away.  Through the powerful emotional feelings and awe you get when you seriously and genuinely ponder what He did for you--for you by name!--you will find that you are less and less inclined to sully and foul up the air with your wretched and paltry self-serving evils.

Goats do not understand this kind of thing.  They will say that it is dangerous to assume you are fully saved.  They will insert some type of work you yet must do to please the Father with your worthiness.  They will assume that if you are not working for your salvation and but relying in faith on a finished work, that you will become licentious--sin at will--thinking that nothing you can do can harm your salvation.

But they do not understand how it works.  They themselves do not realize the seriousness of sin nor the holiness of God.  You do, though.  So will never take sin lightly and nonchalant.  It vexes you and you wish it were altogether gone.  The idea of willfully sinning in the face the Lord's battered and bleeding body on the Cross abhors and disgusts you!

God bless you in this,
brother, Thomas

1 comment:

Anonymous said...

Thank you with all my heart Brother Thomas. I have never read anything like this refreshing word before.

You have made a very sore heart feel free for the first time in many years . All I have heard on the subject is judgement . My sin is taking sleeping pills without which I have no sleep and on withdrawal go into severe symptoms such as seizures.

God bless you
Ailsa

Brother Thomas ©2015

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